We are definitely into November, the 11th month of the year, helpfully named after the ninth month of the old Roman Calendar. Of course, it has had many other names throughout history. One of my favorites is Brumaire, the so-called "month of fog" in the argot of the French Revolution. On Nov. 9, 1799, came the Coup of 18 Brumaire, a largely theatrical sleight-of-hand by Napoleon Bonaparte and Co. that unofficially ended the French Revolution and started the continental conquest that would engulf Europe until the Congress of Vienna in November of 1814. Where am I headed with this? Well, November seems to historically be a time of radical political change (I am not even going into Guy Fawkes because those masks being co-opted by the most annoying fringes of internet culture have eclipsed the usefulness of a brief discussion of his legacy). And as you read this you have the benefit of knowing what change — if any — the midterm elections have garnered for our troubled society. Depending upon how fucked we presently are, I would like you all to remember one thing about Novembers past and present: Meaningful change doesn't always come from the ballot box alone. Sometimes it comes from the wellsprings of popular expression and collective desire. Keep an ear open this week.
And, as always, be kind and look out for each other on the dancefloor.
Since the Joan Baez show is sold out and since not everyone who reads this column is a baby boomer, here's a younger funk show to warm up your Thursday night. Sebastopol's Burnside is touring with fellow Sonoma County mamma jammas Black Sheep Brass Band for a tour that lands on the stage of The Jam tonight at 9:30 p.m. ($10). Portland players Dirty Revival fill out the bill for an evening of hip swaying.
Die//Fam is a Portland band with Humboldt roots, being one of the numerous "Ellis bands" fronted by former Arcata musical gadfly Ellis Wallace. Tonight they play an all-ages show at Blondies at 8 p.m. with Berkeley's pop punk brats Adult School ($5).
An hour later at The Logger Bar, you can find a free-for-all rock show when Blood Hunny and The Bandage team up with Monster Women for a lo-fi freakout.
SquarPeg is a different kind of quartet. With members ranging in provenance from the Eureka Symphony to the European Jazz circuit to Bengal music venues, this group has a mission statement aimed at making chamber music for the 21st century. For only $10 you can experience that sound live at the Fortuna Monday Club at 7:30 p.m. I suspect this show will be pretty special.
Later tonight at the Alibi, a number of very talented women roll out their tunes under the guise of two very different but complementary bands. New York City's Jane Lee Hooker is first and foremost a blues band with the window dressings of a vintage British Invasion band informing its sound. Meanwhile, Beaux Cheveux is a duo made up of Zepparella's drummer Clementine and Adrian from Hell's Belles playing a twangy blissed-out sort of pop music. Just $5 gets you in the door, 11 p.m. is the time to be there.
History will show that I am fond of repping matinee performances on Sunday. This has a lot to do with my desire to include at least one recommended show for the whole family during peak hours per column, a goal of which I often fall short. But this Sunday I am in the zone, as I am heartily endorsing the 2 p.m. performance of the North Coast Repertory Theatre's run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This popular modern work has already joined the canon of modern musical theater so bring your crew at $20 a chair for a fun romp.
Known for a multidimensional approach to storytelling and songwriting, as well as a highly regarded NPR Tiny Desk Concert, New York's Florist is a gentle trio of talented writers who want to entertain you. They are appearing at the Outer Space tonight at 7 p.m. ($7). Joining in is the have-to-be-seen synth/wizard/ninja act Doctor Foxmeat — accompanied by the talented DJ Subzero — and promising young folk artist Hollan.
DJ Goldylocks spins the background sounds for a free spoken-word event at Northtown Coffee in Arcata brought to you by the folks in the Word Humboldt collective. Featured artist Alyx Muro anchors this event which begins at 6 p.m.
The Mad River Brewery Tasting Room offers another installment of Pints for Nonprofits. This week's beneficiary is none other than the Blue Lake Museum. The band is banjo/guitar/bass trio The Spindrifters. The audience can be you if you choose to roll by after 6 p.m. (free).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collin Yeo doesn't do this often but he requests that those of you who do that sort of thing to consider his brother's beloved dog Arrow in your prayers. He is a good boy who is in a bad way through age and no fault of his own or his owner's. May he have a speedy recovery.