You, like me, are probably someone that truly appreciates time spent listening to music. It's good for our souls. But as much beauty as we can find in the rhythm and melody of music, we can find just as much insight and care in silence. The two are of course not mutually exclusive — music, after all, is the notes we hear and the silence between. It's the space, the ebb and flow, the dynamics, the give and take of sound and silence that makes music alive.
We still have a bit more summer here on the North Coast and a few more river days ahead of us. Although I'm a music lover, my ideal river day is directly related to how quiet it is. I'm not so cranky as to want absolute silence — I enjoy the sounds of people and the river becoming one, the water and the breeze and kids laughing and all that shit, of course. However, the sounds of dogs barking their goddamn heads off and a crappy boombox can easily sully an otherwise wonderful day at the river. Sure, music can increase our enjoyment of nature. I might love to hear "Blue Sky" by The Allman Brothers Band or Van Morrison's Astral Weeks while staring at a crane on a Mad River log. But I'm not sure you would. Hence you won't hear me cranking Yes' "Starship Trooper" when I'm getting sunburnt on the riverbank. If you're going to have a shit day at the river, I want it to be because of something you did. In our non-work hours, we can listen to almost any music we want, whenever we want. At home, in the car, on our goddamn phones. So why do we feel like we can't take a break while out in nature?
So maybe we can make some basic ground rules. If you're at a secluded river spot with no one else around, crank the tunes and live life to the last drop. If other people are around, turn it off. In the event that means you'll have to listen to the wind blow or, God forbid, the thoughts bouncing around in your head, just keep the music nice and low as the river belongs to all of us, and we to it.
It's the last weekend before school starts for many of our youngsters here on the North Coast, so parents, this might be the final weekend of summer where you're not doing homework for your kiddos. The Compost Mountain Boys return to the Mad River Brewery Tap Room this evening at 6 p.m. doing their string thing for you for free. Dance around and celebrate the summer. "Nostalgic pop/rock" band Decades will be down on the Madaket Plaza playing hits from many decades for you around the same time. From a radio spot about the band, I heard some great hits from the early pre-psychedelic '60s ranging all the way up to what I thought were some hits from the '90s and early aughts. It's something for everyone, outdoors and free.
Swinging jazz tunes are on the bill up in Blue Lake when Lizzy and the Moonbeams stop by the Mad River Brewery at 6 p.m. Get your dance partner out there and feel free to tip the band during this free show. Former Eureka-based rock band Blood Orphans — now based out of Olympia, Washington — return to Humboldt with fellow Olympia-ites First Boyfriend, who are stopping by Outer Space in Arcata at 7 p.m. for an all-ages show for only $5. They're joined by local Philip Dekat, who falls somewhere in the emo vein. An hour later, high priestesses of harmony Belles of the Levee appear at Cafe Mokka at 8 p.m. for a free, all-ages performance. At the same time, a Sacramento band that's been playing for as long as I've been gigging up here is at The Miniplex in Arcata. Quirky creative pop-rockers Be Brave Bold Robot, unrelated to the random red graffiti that would pop up all over Arcata about 10 years ago, will be joining locals the Absynth Quartet for $5 tonight. Come prepared as this will all be electric music for the pre-frontal cortex tonight. Also at 8 p.m. will be local funksters Object Heavy, laying it down at Redwood Curtain Brewery and for free. Buy 'em a beer or leave 'em some cash for their service. The Jam is hosting "Oakland-based neo-soul fusion act" The Seshen in its first Arcata performance tonight at 9 p.m. with local band The Velvet Touch.
If you've been around the Arcata Creamery District, you know it's been a weekend of partying with the Creamery Arts Festival in full swing celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Creamery Building. As a part of this festival, the second annual Humboldt Fervor Fest is kicking off at 1 p.m., celebrating all things fermented, samples of which all come unlimited — as long as you stay sober — with a $35 ticket. What goes better with a festival than music? You'll hear music from locals Timbata, Paula Jones Band, Belles of the Levee, RLA Jazz Trio with Rob Diggins and Bandamonium with some "special surprises" I'm told. All of this while trying out and supporting local makers and producers of fermented items here in Humboldt. Ferment on. Original surf rock is ready for your ears at Mad River Brewery courtesy of Band O' Loko, who'll be up there from 6 p.m. until about 8:30 p.m. As always, a free show at the Tap Room. San Francisco-based Gypsy-rockers Diego's Umbrella return to Humboldt Brews tonight at 9:30 p.m. and for $15. The Alibi brings in local psychedelic dune rockers White Manna anchoring a rock show with garage-poppers Bearcats from San Luis Obispo. Showtime for this one is around 11 p.m. and $5 gets you in the Alibi doors.
Here in Humboldt, we have a chance to see the partial solar eclipse, which, admittedly, won't be as cool as seeing the total eclipse. But we'll also be spared sitting in traffic for hours on end and camping outside booked hotels up in Oregon. With that said, check it out from around 9 a.m. until 11:34 a.m. Let's hope the clouds give us a view and remember not to stare directly into the sun. Believe it or don't, but it'll still fry your eyeballs just like it will every other day of your life. Pick out some good tunes to listen to during the eclipse. Perhaps Dark Side of the Moon, "Total Eclipse of the Heart", Pink Moon, The Moon and Antarctica, "Black Hole Sun," etc. (Maybe on headphones.) The Logger Bar is opening early for an eclipse party, so if you'll be getting drunk before work anyway, why not stop by? Blues heavyweight Coco Montoya is playing an early show at Humboldt Brews tonight at 8 p.m. Taught by the "Master of the Telecaster" Albert Collins, Coco has risen to the top of the contemporary blues scene and cut his teeth with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers early on his career. Get in to this intimate show for only $20 and get home at a reasonable hour.
The Mad Liver Bandery, a supergroup of Mad River Brewery employees is playing at, well, where else? The Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. and for free. They're joined by Knick Moore and Mike Grady, from what I'm hearing. At the Outer Space in Arcata you've got some hip-hop from Milo with Randal Bravery along with Signor Benedict the Moor and Kenny Segal. This all ages show starts at 7 p.m. and is $10.
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 email@example.com.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Album of the Week Show on KWPT 100.3 FM Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Feel free to leave the dogs at home, too.