It's another rainy May in Humboldt. Summer seems far off, yet in a way it's already here in that the college year has ended and most of the students are skittering off to elsewhere. It's easier to park in my neighborhood, anyway. As a result, many promoters have gone on hiatus and some of the clubs that rely on the student trade seem to be moving into semi-mothball mode. Thus there will be fewer musical options, at least this weekend.
That doesn't mean there's nothing to do.
For example, you might try something different -- like Thursday's Savage Henry Comedy Night at the Jambalaya hosted by the irreverent local mag. This is something akin to an open mic joke night -- we're talking amateur comedy, which can at times be painfully unfunny. But you could say the same about most of the "comedy" absorbed by the masses on TV. At least this will be different. Same thing can be said about Random Acts of Comedy, a local improv group that's over at the Arcata Theatre Lounge that night. Their promise: "You never know what will happen in a show, because we never know."
Meanwhile, Thursday at the Red Fox, Bad Kitty presents Three Bad Jacks, a rockin' psychobilly trio from SoCal with a frontman named Elvis (Suissa). Among their claims to fame, touring with The Clash and placing a song on the HBO vamp series True Blood. Eurekan alt. alt. band Scotch Wiggly opens -- you can see them on TV, too. (Viva la Access!)
The Jambalaya is definitely not in mothball mode. They're keeping up the endless stream of music with The Bump Foundation funkin' on Friday, Dominican/Jamaican dancehall from Gappy Ranks and Special Delivery Saturday, the usual Deep Groove Society Sundaze and Rock Steady Monday with Gabe Pressure. Tuesday the Jam shifts to underground hip hop with Myka 9 and Medusa. That brings things full circle to the weekly Wednesday Reggae Night with Akaboom Sound. Seven days, seven styles of music. Keep it up.
How about some action north and south? Friday night at the Winema Theater in Scotia, Studio 14 Productions presents something they call "Keeping Music in Scotia Elementary School," with four local bands: The Lokalz, According to Legend, Dias (with special guest Johnny Hoppis), and Saint John's Fleetwood Mac tribute, Mirage. "All proceeds from the show will be donated to the Scotia Elementary music program." That includes cash from the dessert auction between sets. Music starts at 7 p.m.
That's also start time for Third Friday Jazz at Westhaven Center for the Arts, where pianist Darius Brotman is joined by bassist Tommy Lockett and Ed Campbell on drums for a night of classic jazz standards.
Saturday, farther north in Trinidad, you have back-to-back benefits: First, the Trinidad School Education Foundation has a fundraiser at Trinidad Town Hall with stringy music by Moonstone Heights and Pilot Rock Ramblers plus food and drink. They promise "Quality folk music, followed by kick ass rock 'n' roll through vintage tube amps in one classy setting. Something for everyone."
The Trinidad Skatepark Alliance Benefit is a bit later that night at Ocean Grove, with terrorockers Splinter Cell, Arcata noise mavens Nipplepotamus and a new band, Drifter Killer. I ran into one of the D-Killers recently. Bret (formerly of Que La Chinga, The Solitary Men and The Common Vice) just happened to have a CDR demo on him, which he gave me after some arm-twisting and a promise not to judge the band by unmixed roughs of songs. It was enough to show that their sound lives up to the somewhat frightening name. Expect dark music with lyrics that I'm glad to say I could not exactly make out. Bret calls it "heavy psychedelic rock." That works too.
For unadulterated heaviness, let me recommend Thrones, playing Saturday at the Arcata Alibi. No, there's no connection to Game of Thrones; this is bassist Joe Preston, formerly of Earth, The Melvins, High on Fire and several other awesome bands, playing drone metal solo. That's right, bass only. And it's more than enough. Joe is from Olympia, Wash. -- same with piano player Scott Seckington and drummer Danny Sasaki, aka Sedan, who share the bill late night Saturday.
Monday the Arcata Alibi has King Maxwell spinning old-school funk, soul, R&B, etc. Since he is now following my infrequent tweets on Twitter (@bobbobbob), I know that @1kingmaxwell is aka Maxwell Schnurer, who has done some writing for the Journal and is one cool dude, a deep thinker with good taste.
The Eureka Symphony presents the final concert for its 19th season Friday and Saturday evenings at the Arkley Center. Maestra Carol Jacobson conducts a program including music by contemporary composer Libby Larsen, and "Escapades" by John Williams, from the Spielberg/DiCaprio film, Catch Me If You Can. Featured soloists include Virginia Ryder on saxophone and Jonathan Kipp on vibraphone. The program concludes with Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 in E minor.
When he was born, on May 24, 1941, his parents named him Robert Allen Zimmerman, which means we share the same first and middle names. Both of us were nicknamed "Bob." The other Bob changed his last name when he became a singer/songwriter.
Local singer/songwriter Chris Parreira is among Bob's legions of fans (me too). You might remember that Chris' band The Trouble spent a night recently working through one of Bob's great albums, Blood on the Tracks. Chris took pains to emphasize that "The Trouble is not a Bob Dylan tribute."
That said, Chris is bringing together a few friends who share an affection for Bob's songs to celebrate his 70th birthday by singing some Dylan tunes this coming Tuesday at Mad River Brewery. The Trouble will be there, as will The Lonesome Roses, Chris' duo with Claire Hashem-Hanlon. You'll hear Bob's songs done by Redwing, Kulica and The Singing Nettles, Folklifer/Lost Coaster Patrick Cleary and his wife Cat Koshkin.
Call the party what you will, I hearby dub it the "Million Dollar Bash" and invite you to sing along as we go out with a couple of verses from the Dylan song written in 1967, recorded with The Band, bootlegged not long after and later released on The Basement Tapes. (In between it was recorded by Fairport Convention.) It somehow captures my mood of late.
"Well, I'm hittin' it too hard; my stones won't take. I get up in the mornin', but it's too early to wake. First it's hello, goodbye, then push and then crash. But we're all gonna make it at that million dollar bash. Ooh, baby, ooh-ee. Ooh, baby, ooh-ee. It's that million dollar bash.
"Well, I looked at my watch; I looked at my wrist; punched myself in the face with my fist. I took my potatoes down to be mashed, then I made it over to that million dollar bash. Ooh, baby, ooh-ee. Ooh, baby, ooh-ee. It's that million dollar bash."