Since you're a loyal "Setlist" reader, you know I am not above exploiting my children in order to fulfill my word count. In general, I'm just not above exploiting my children. So, not too long ago I found myself showing parts of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival to my 9-year-old son. The context or reasoning behind this eludes me at the moment, but I did make sure to focus on The Who's performance of "My Generation" and later, The Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Wild Thing." As you know, these two performances have in common what Pete Townsend might call "auto-destructive art." To put it more simply, they destroyed their instruments. Pete and Moonie took out a good part of the stage — in typical Who fashion — and Jimi set his guitar on fire.
Now, you and I are familiar with these historical acts. But my 9-year-old had never seen anything like it before. I wasn't expecting his question, but I was not surprised when he asked, "Why did he set his guitar on fire?"
I had a difficult time trying to answer. Did he not like his guitar? No, that wasn't it. Was he angry? Doubtful. Was he trying to follow up The Who? Probably. I just responded with "Well, he felt like lighting his guitar on fire at that particular moment."
A few seconds passed. Parents are familiar with his follow up: "Why?"
I said something like, "I don't really know, but maybe he wanted people to know the show wasn't really about the instruments the band was playing. Maybe it was his way of expressing that even though the guitar is gone, and the set is over, there's still something left behind with the audience."
To be honest, I don't know why Pete smashed the shit out of his guitar, or why Jimi torched his axe. But I'm still thinking about it 49 years later, and a 9-year-old now knows about it and may even tell his friends. Maybe I won't tell our son this quite yet, but maybe it was Pete, Moonie and Jimi's way telling us that there are no rules when it comes to art.
Arcata has the local music, and two very different kinds of music at that. First, catch Humboldt "nastiest steel band" at Humboldt Brews. Pandemic features traditional pan music and throws in some originals to get you moving. Bring $10 to get in at 9:30 p.m.
If you're looking for some distortion, The Alibi is your spot. Upsidedowncross presents some Whitethorn black metal with Zelosis and some Shively sludge punk from Blackplate. A deal for only $3.
Not too long ago I found myself sitting at a bonfire in Trinidad singing Eagles songs into the clear and cold night. I also found myself in the company of a trombonist who — after joining in on "Take It Easy" — mentioned that he'd be playing with Burt's Big Band at the Palm Lounge. You'll find timeless and classic songs from the swing era delivered by a 14-piece band, and while you may hear songs from the '20s all the way up to through '70s, don't expect to hear "Take it to the Limit." The music starts around 8 p.m. for a $5 donation.
Richard's Goat Tavern and Miniplex is showing videos about the Rojava Revolution (which has something to do with Kurdistan, I think) with music by Dot Com Dot Com, Catalogue of Sonic Mutations with "other bands and DJs TBA" at 7 p.m.
Recreating the Pink Floyd sound as a 4-piece, Money will return to The Logger Bar in Blue Lake. Hear songs from the Waters era around 9 p.m. for free. (Full disclosure: Self-promotion is uncomfortable for everyone.)
Just down the road, The Getdown funks it up at the same time. The talented locals will ask for none of your money, so reward them with your applause.
Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy band will be playing tunes you love at 9 p.m. at Cher-Ae-Heights Casino. Expect to rock out and sing along, but don't expect Jimi to torch his guitar during the last set.
Music from an overlooked composer will be performed tonight up at HSU's Fulkerson Recital Hall at 8 p.m. Cellist Elizabeth Grunin performs Mieczyslaw Weinberg's Sonata No. 1 for Violoncello and Prelude 21 for Cello. To make this a truly intimate experience, the audience will be seated on stage for $10.
You can't sit on the stage at The Alibi, but you can pretty much stand on it during angsty indie rock from Chachi Hands and garage pop from L.A.'s ViceVersa. $5 cover charge for this 11 p.m. Humboldt Free Radio presentation.
Sip your beer to the varied and eclectic sounds of locals La Musique Diabolique at Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata. LMD will be on around 7 p.m. and they're not asking for any of your money at the door.
The Acoustic Africa tour brings Vusi Mahlasela and Habib Koité to the Van Duzer Theater tonight. Outside of performing at Nelson Mandela's '94 inauguration, Vusi has gotten to share the stage with Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Paul Simon and Taj Mahal, to name a few. Habib has his own share of celebrity musicians — Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt, among them — impressed by his guitar skills. These two will be sharing the "richness of the African traditions of voice and song" for only $36 at 8 p.m. $10 for HSU students.
"Slamgrass pioneers" Leftover Salmon return to Humboldt to bluegrass 'n' roll at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. No strangers to Humboldt County, where all things jam are appreciated, these folks made the wise choice to have locals The Absynth Quartet start the show and warm up the jam at 8 p.m. Groove on, but bring $30 so you can get in.
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 Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He has considered lighting other people's instruments on fire.