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Living on a Thin Line

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I'm a little confused lately and I'm not the only one. Now that things have opened up again, and I did my civic duty and got the jab, what's the plan? I find myself oscillating between going maskless and fancy-free until I read something about the Delta variant and go back to covering up for a hot minute. How about you, what do you think, dear reader? I see that the mask-optional rules in businesses are built entirely on a premise of the honor system, which is not a traditionally strong bulwark against bad behavior (in this country at least). And it isn't like the pandemic has just gone away. People are still getting sick. I saw an advertisement for the coming summer Olympics this week and I'll be honest, it felt like something from the first act of a horror film. I've been going to shows and events and afterward felt an uneasy, queasiness I can't just chalk up to my alcohol intake. We are living in the hangover days of this pandemic and I can't say for certain the troubles are receding. So I have a list of events here, developed with different comfort levels in mind. Whatever balance your Fear of Missing Out has struck with your fear of getting sick is entirely your business and I suggest that you not let anyone fault you for it. Use your discretion and have a good time.

Good luck.

Thursday

Ween is a band that covers genres hopping and skipping from style to style through every record's sequencing like a bingo roller. So that there are so many Ween cover bands out there is itself a sort of meta-event that desires its own analysis, which I won't attempt here. Suffice it to say, you can catch one of them, appropriately called Weener, at the Wave Lounge in the Blue Lake Casino at 9 p.m. for a free show, if you are so inclined.

Friday

Siren's Song has a free rock-ish show going down tonight at 8:30 p.m. Not Ewe are a funky and talented outfit with a pastiche of eclectic styles and influences I dumbed down and generalized in my notes as, "These dudes probably like Primus." It will be opening for the mighty FHOG, aka Finger Hash of the Gods, which last I checked are still a fun-loving stoner band of merry bandits.

Saturday

Soul Party is back at Humbrews at 9 p.m. You remember that old school, all vinyl orgy of power curated by DJ Red and company? Well, I do and as I am into maxing and relaxing — and most importantly, vaxxing — I feel comfortable enough to endorse this glorious sweat fest with about as much cautious vigor as I muster for anything else these days. Let's just hope that the people on the dance floor are generally of the correct opinion when it comes to the germ theory of disease ($5).

Sunday

If indoor shows aren't quite your thing yet — and believe me, you have nothing but sympathy and understanding coming from me if that's the case — then I will continue to endeavor to suggest some outdoor gatherings for the duration of the plague. There are two great ones today. At the new Art Market on the Eighth Street side of the Arcata Plaza, you can catch two back-to-back acts for free, with the James Zeller Trio starting at 11 a.m., followed by a new group called The California Poppies at 1:30 p.m. I am told these poppies have a sound derived from a distillation of hippie-era West Coast bands, so bear that in mind.

Later on, at 7 p.m. on the great lawn in Redwood Park, there is a meet-up for another one of those delightful forest shows put on by Outer Space Arcata, which, like too many Arcatans these days is technically homeless with the loss of its M Street location due to development. Quick aside: I don't use the term "houseless," because that is useless bullshit. Word games that fix nothing, a hallmark of American liberalism. Anyway, on the bill are two excellent indie folk acts from New York City, the Georgia-born Larkin Grimm and the multimedia sensation (read: puppets) Cookie Tongue. Daniel Nickerson curates the event, and you are politely reminded to wear a mask and donations are happily accepted.

Monday

Steve Poltz is a long-running troubadour whose CV is filled with some fairly impressive milestones, including founding indie-folk act The Rugburns and co-writing a smash hit with '90s folk sensation Jewel. Tonight, you can catch him at the Trinidad Town Hall for an intimate set of tunes from his large discography. It's an early one at 7 p.m., so if you are not much of a night-owl, this is a good bet for you ($25).

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 music@northcoastjournal.com.

Collin Yeo (he/him) lives in Arcata with a mild sense of general alarm.

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