Despite some of the disapprobation I get from the public as feedback for a few of my hotter takes in this column, I am not a particularly "woke" person nor do I have much interest in being one. The only reason I talk about politics so much in a local music column is that I understand, as Gore Vidal did, that politics inform everything. Nothing in the material world is upstream from politics, which seems obvious if you think about it for any amount of time, yet the creative world still suffers under the delusion that art changes politics. Only people do that, with direct action. Art and culture comment on the process. Don't get mad at me, this is just how it is. Otherwise we'd have all gotten back to the Garden of Eden a long time ago, as Joni Mitchell suggested in her song about Woodstock.
And right now, our politics are extremely xenophobic. The Democrats blame the chimera of Russia for losing a lay-up election against what they thought was a be-wigged bronzed ham of controlled opposition. And the Republicans blame immigrants because they are racist capitalists who thrive on exploitation and understand the dark and gruesome power of white resentment. And that's why I'm not woke. Because our class struggles ultimately inform our greater problems and supercede everything in the general name of collective yoked suffering. I suggest everyone find unity within that pointless and ensnared struggle to upend the lives of the ruling class. And you absolutely won't get there by complaining about Russian bots as a cover for the domestic decay designed by the last four decades of capitalist, neoliberal policy. Or by turning against your new neighbors who are coming into this burning mess in an attempt to escape the greater trouble that the "haves" have forced on the "have-nots" of the global south. As that Joni Mitchell song suggests, we are golden and we are all stardust. And as I would suggest, try reaching laterally to the hands of those suffering like you to help tip the cart rolling over us all.
Have a fantastic week.
Come out to the Arcata Theatre Lounge tonight at enjoy the Northern California premiere of Thomas Campbell's mid-century American culture-informed skate film Ye Olde Destruction at 7 p.m. ($10). This all-ages event features a live soundtrack performed by local punks Imperial Destructo and a portion of the ticket price and the associated raffle will go to the Humboldt Skatepark Collective.
RampArt Skatepark has another solid all-ages punk show going on tonight at 8 p.m. Fat Wreck Chords act Good Riddance is bringing its straight-edge gospel to the church of the half-pipe along with punk elders MDC and Cigar. Locals KLOD are also on the bill ($17).
If you are in the mood for sounds from the intersection of experimental noise music and rock, the Outer Space is the place for you. No Face from Tallahassee, Florida, describe its sound as "southern noise drawl," while Everybody's Broke Everything's Free is a multimedia solo side act of Joe Zeph from Chicago's fine dance duo Zigtebra. Depressed drone solo act Thousands of Burning Christmas Trees and experimental set by perdido provide some local panache to the proceedings at 7 p.m. ($5).
The Robert Cray Band is the touring machine of blues artist Robert Cray, whose musical output has lasted over four decades and whose sound has dug an innovative groove in between the post World War II, delta-inspired, fat, low-end electric blues of Chicago's Chess Records label and the tight, Fender guitar-sharpened sounds of Texas championed by Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Tonight at 8 p.m. the group gathers at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts to bring the goods to the fog-scuttled masses ($66).
Touring off their major label debut album Ámbar, which was released in May to wide critical acclaim, Camila Meza and the Nectar Orchestra will make a stop this evening in Fulkerson Hall for a team-up show with the Arcata Bay String Quartet at 8 p.m. ($15, $10 students). The music is lush and bright, a lovely jazz butterfly floating in a chamber pop orangery-greenhouse on the grounds of a stately manor turned dance hall. You should really check it out.
Travelin' West Coast troubadour John Craigie makes a return visit to our home to bring his modern storytelling folk songs to the big stage at the Arcata Theatre Lounge tonight at 8 p.m. ($25). He brings along another returning act in the form of Portland, Oregon, indie-folk darlings Shook Twins, who are themselves well known to local audiences. This is the night to see the show, for when Mr. Craigie takes his Keep It Warm tour a little farther down the road to Ferndale tomorrow night, he faces a sold-out crowd at The Old Steeple ($25, $20 advance).
Here's a really special show for all you fans mixed-medium music and polymath-produced art. Comic book artist, New Yorker and indie musician Jeffrey Lewis brings his band The Voltage to the Outer Space to showcase his illustrated songwriting. And he will be paired with the perfect local act, as Violet Crabtree's The Comix Trip has made its mark playing music-curated slideshows of illustrated oddities for grateful local fans for some time now. Comfort Creature cozies up on the bill as well at 7 p.m. ($8-$20 sliding scale).
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.
Collin Yeo would like to say Rest in Peace to his old buddy Fred Ruchte. What a laugh, what a wit, such sweet kindness and fun times throwing darts and bullshitting. We will miss you dearly. Much love to his family. The author prefers he/him and lives in Arcata, which isn't as cool as it was a week ago.