I was in my early 20s when I realized that I would never cut it as a strictly objective journalist. I had just sold my second piece of freelance writing to a now-defunct magazine called Clamor. It was an interview with Christian Parenti, the author and Iraq War correspondent for The Nation magazine. Hearing about the manifest evils and clear injustice of that illegal war, I was impressed that Mr. Parenti had been able to write anything without boiling over in rage. I knew then what I have known ever since: The only writing I could hope to do with any cogency would have to be sprinkled with some of the caustic shards of my often strong personal opinions. Happily, I eventually discovered music journalism. I have also discovered that the balm of ironic humor can help ease the sting of bile. I may be an asshole but I strive to be a funny asshole.
It is my luck as a writer and yours as a member of the concert-going public that we have such an active and diverse music scene here in Humboldt County. Every week I comb through my emails, check events on Facebook — this job has unfortunately kept me tethered to Mr. Zuck's unholy social experiment even more than my juvenile love of shitposting ever could — as well as beat the streets looking for fliers and taking notes. I scribble a lot of things down, half of which I can understand later, and I go to shows selectively. I have a policy of listening to at least one track by every act that I write about. Sometimes I'll even do a deep-dive on an artist's SoundCloud while compiling data. Then, when all is scribbled away in its right place, I begin my writing ritual. It usually goes something like this: I will read the news until I have broken my brain enough to allow some of its wet invective and opprobrium to leak out through my nervous system and onto the keyboard. I play some music in the background, something from one of the week's artists, or a subterranean synth soundtrack from a movie, or even this record of bird calls from New Zealand that I own. And I drink some booze, which is admittedly pretty louche for a Monday night but I keep my own hours and I don't hurt anybody. And I try my very best to tell you the reader exactly what I think of the live music offerings for your week in as fun and honest a way as possible. That this often translates to a sweet and sour mix of acidic brain drippings is simply a byproduct of my unfortunate character. Love me or hate me, I am a member of your media. And while I can never claim objectivity, I will always strive to tell you my version of the truth. In that way, I guess that I am not much different from the monks of antiquity whose life work was scribing the chronicles of their demon-haunted lives. Except I get to occasionally meet cool musicians and refer to world leaders as "shitheads." Viva.
The Humboldt Poetry Show is back on at Siren's Song this evening. Body positivity is the theme of the month and sign-ups start at 7 p.m. There will be music provided by DJ Goldylocks and the featured poet is United States-born, Dublin, Ireland-based author and performer Beau Williams ($5).
Canadian violinist Liana Bérubé will be performing with the Eureka Symphony tonight with a diverse selection of music, including Rossini's "Thieving Magpie" as well as pieces by Beethoven and Dvoák. The world-traveling artist has performed with non-classical musicians like Death Cab for Cutie, Stevie Wonder and Josh Groban, among many others. There will be cash-only rush tickets available an hour before the 8 p.m. performance at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts for $15, $10 for students.
Birmingham, Alabama, soul ensemble St. Paul and the Broken Bones brings its loud and muscular sound the the newly remodeled Van Duzer Theatre tonight at 8 p.m. ($49). Gird your ears and body for a standing-room friendly, dance-happy set of loud and fuzzy four-on-the-floor electric gospel. Canadian songster Jeremie Albino opens.
"Better is peace than ever war," noted Thomas Malory in Le Morte d'Arthur some 534 years ago. And I certainly believe that he was correct in that claim. However, the author of epic tales of chivalric journeying certainly had a taste for some conflict. If you share that sort of taste yourself, you can safely feed it at 10 a.m. on the last day of the Medieval Festival of Courage at Christie's Pumpkin Patch in Blue Lake ($5, $3 children). In addition to all of the usual armored fracases on display, you can enjoy the music of local minstrels Joanne Rand and Seabury Gould, as well as Bay Area Celtic rock band Tempest. Whether there will be a sword in a stone, the Holy Cross and the Sacred Grail are unclear as of press time.
Lit-hop nerdcore rapper MC Lars brings his punk-edged laptop act to the Miniplex this evening at 9 p.m. Local fans can help the straight-edge vegan celebrate his birthday — which was the day before — by getting down to his alternative and emo-tinged beats. Newark, New Jersey's hot soul duo The Jack Moves are also on the bill so dancing will likely be a must at this 9 p.m. show ($15).
For four decades the modern dance troupe Momix has been thrilling the world with its unusual and high-energy, avant garde performances. The troupe has something of a home at the Van Duzer Theatre — I saw them there as a teenager — so it is perfectly fitting to see the group back on that theatre's stage. Tonight's performance at 7 p.m. will likely be very colorful and awesome, so any young minds that you might know will be excellent companions for this show ($25-$49).
David Block, aka The Human Experience, is an electronic music composer whose tools range from the turntables to the excellent musicians in his backing band Gone Gone Beyond. The whole shebang will be at The Arcata Theatre Lounge tonight at 8 p.m. Also on the marquee is Western Canadian electronic-folk duo Moontricks ($15, $20).
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Yeo prefers he/him and thinks that anybody with a lot of power who casually threatens a civil war should have all of that power, and everything else, quickly taken away from him. He lives in Arcata.