Many musicians will tell you that summer in Humboldt County can be a rough time of year for working bands. Nothing stops completely on the coast, but it sure slows down a lot. With the mythical Humboldt State University student back home in San Diego showing off his or her new Bernie Sanders shirt and unwashed hair, it can be hard for local bands to draw decent crowds. Fortunately for us, this doesn't stop many of them from trying. Festival season is behind us, but with drought and local infernos blazing, the inland evacuees may provide a captive (and paying) audience until the students return.
The Eureka Concert Series continues at the C Street Market Square at 6 p.m. with a free concert from San Franciscan Tom Rigney and Flambeau. The Cajun sounds will pair nicely with the vague barbecue smell hovering in the air.
A little after that, doors open at the Arcata Playhouse as a local returns home. Carrie Ferguson, who has been living in Massachusetts, was born and raised in Arcata and returns for a rare performance at her old stomping grounds. She will be joined by, and later joining, friends The Gaslight Tinkers, who are billed as "Afro-Celtic-funk." Imagine combining the films Waking Ned Devine and Cool Runnings with a focus on John Candy's character in the latter film. I can't imagine any other band providing the soundtrack. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $15 for this show with those under 16 get in for free.
Catnip Tea, a band not afraid to stretch out musically and let its somewhat gently psychedelic sound wash over you, will be at the Jambalaya at 9 p.m, winning the coveted "$5 and Under Award."
At 7 p.m. at the Fortuna Library (that's the building with all the books) Silk Road Junction 101 provides an evening of traditional music featuring "South Asian table drums, Japanese koto and flute." The show is free. Both musicians in the duo hold doctorates in music, and let's just hope they're smart enough to slip in a Merle Haggard cover or two.
The indie rockers of Be Brave Bold Robot once again leave their home in the state capital and join us here in Humboldt County. Although unaffiliated with the red graffiti bearing their moniker that used to plague downtown Arcata years ago, this band has played Humboldt enough to leave a less tangible (and more pleasing) mark on our area. It joins locals The Trouble for $5 at the Palm Lounge at 9 p.m.
Some of the casinos see covers and undercovers. Humboldt's very own Beatles tribute band Silver Hammer reminds you that good music never dies at the Blue Lake Casino for free at 9 p.m., while also-locals The Undercovers play the Bear River Casino at the same time, also free. Choose wisely.
The Arcata Playhouse hosts Supermule, which, I am told, mixes bluegrass (uptight dance music) with funk/soul (laid-back dance music). Just watching Arcatans attempt to dance to this will be worth the ticket price ($15, $13 members). This seven-piece kicks off the potential kinetic hilarity at 8 p.m.
Speaking of large ensembles that provide music to showcase our lack of dancing skills, catch local 10-piece Motherlode for free at the Arcata Farmer's Market starting at 10 a.m. Bob your head and shake your organic produce while that guy (you know who I'm talking about) gyrates awkwardly out of time in front of you.
The Absynth Quartet plays a free show with Be Brave Bold Robot at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake around 9 p.m. and thusly receives the "$5 and under award" for the evening.
The Sanctuary has local duo The Belles of Levee performing with out-of-towner Quinn Deveaux at 8 p.m. After checking out a music video by Quinn for his song "Left this Town," I hope he'll come back someday. I also hope that if they ever make "O Brother, Where Art Thou Part II," they'll give him a call. Admission is $5-$20 sliding scale.
The Jambalaya sees the members of The Dusty Green Bones Band after their stint at the Trinity River Jamboree. They'll be on around 10 p.m. (price TBA) and they have a banjo. For you insomniacs, Humboldt Free Radio Presents local "skate rockers" Imperial Destructo with the Portland punkers of Toim at the Alibi. Doors at 11 p.m., $5 to get in, 21-and-over.
If you don't mind a bit of wine with your jazz, the Morris Graves Museum of Art has both with the Opera Alley Cats from 3 to 5 p.m. Also in Eureka, at Lil' Red Lion Cocktail Lounge, you can hear Catheter, Ignit and Laughing Dog, all of which are billed as "loud." Bring earplugs, but don't be so uncool as to actually use them.
Should you have missed Be Brave Bold Robot earlier in the week, catch 'em at the Sanctuary in Arcata with Lyndsey Battle and John Ludington starting at 7:30 p.m. A sliding scale is mentioned as "$5-$20," but I don't believe they'll turn down your Benjamin.
For you high rollers, the eclectic Watkins Family Hour will be at the Van Duzer Theater featuring members of Nickle Creek (too often associated with Nickleback) and Fiona Apple's band. Tickets are $36 for this 8 p.m. show.
My second favorite band that my wife is in, Electro Saloon, plays a free show at Siren's Song Tavern in Eureka at 9 p.m. They open for Roselit Bone, a West Coast Country band from Portland, $3 suggested donation (full disclosure: I get none of it). A few blocks away local songsmith and storyteller Anna Hamilton is at the Palm Lounge doing her thing at 7 p.m., for free. It'll be nice. It's a good room and has a full bar. Don't ask about the swimming pool.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m.