I'm hastily typing this out a few days earlier than usual because I'm trying to beat the clock on PG&E's incoming Saturday power austerity, which I am sure you will have all been heartily inconvenienced by as of press time. I'd like to say that this sort of thing is unexpected and will likely be an anomaly in the future but let's not kid ourselves. As long as we live in a country that puts profit above all else, things are only going to get much worse. Let's just be happy that we still have access to clean water and food. Well, those of us who do, anyway. Maybe spend some blackout downtime helping the ones who don't?
The brilliant music writer Nick Tosches, who died this month just shy of his 70th birthday, once said in an interview that he never thought that the apocalypse would be such a mediocrity that no one would notice it. Perhaps he was indulging in the same hyperbolic language that this writer sometimes uses in the service of a larger truth about the broken world in which we all live, but it's hard to look around at the current failures of American society and not see mediocrity writ large. The back end of the devil's deal of capitalism is supposed to be unsuppressed innovation. Instead, we get a power grid run by grifters who can't supply energy or guarantee public safety, the dumbest man in the world as our president with a criminal and stupid cabinet that still manages to utterly rook the democrats over and again, and a new blockbuster religious album by Kanye West that I can only describe as holy shit. Folks, we don't have to live in a techno-utopia but can we at least aim a little higher? Does the dystopia have to be so cheesy and pathetic? Could we at least have homes, healthcare and a representative democracy?
Anyway, enough science fiction. Assuming there are basic utilities available, here's what's happening this week.
Well, it's the big night. The night that I dig into the back of my closet and find the suit bag stuffed with the (fake) blood covered clothes I put on every year and wander into town to growl at people. If you'd like to do something more ambitious here's a short list.
RampArt Skatepark is hosting a huge punk show with legendary U.K. act The Subhumans at 8 p.m. ($15).
Another likely very big/possibly will sell out show is happening at Humbrews at 9:30 p.m. Local funketeers Object Heavy will be tearing it up for keys-man Swizlo's spooky birthday with a little help from the Oh So Heavy Horns, Lovebush and Nada Clue ($10).
Finally, there's a free costume party over at the Logger Bar at around the same time with music brought to you by the talented folks in Belles of the Levee and Absynth Quartet. If you wander off looking for ghosts, just remember to stay out of the river if you've been drinking and that the Blue Lake Cemetery is on private property and is covered in weeds and brambles.
Friday (All Saints Day)
Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and Californian cellist Natalie Haas combine the traditions of the former's home country to showcase the wonderful world of bowed instrument dance music. Tonight you can catch the duo at the Old Steeple, where the lively reels and jigs might not raise the dead but will likely soothe them during this time of the thinning of the spectral membrane caused by the attention and devotion of the living at 7:30 p.m. ($25).
Saturday (All Souls Day, end of Día de los Muertos)
As the evening stretches out and the scene in Fantasia shifts from Mussorgsky to Schubert, come celebrate the wind-down over at the Outer Space at 7 p.m. with Boston's experimental rock band Pile ($8). Also on the ticket are electronic primitivists Sea Moss, as well as Sneeze and Fucko, whose names sound like lower-tier Ninja Turtle villains.
Local world traveler Oryan Peterson-Jones is putting on a cool one tonight under his moniker Die Geister Beschworen at Blondie's at 9 p.m., where he will be playing field recordings from his time in Senegal, Peru, Cuba and Europe with an accompanying slideshow of pictures from those places (free). He is hoping to produce what he imagines a rave in the desert many millennia would be like. Along for the ride is Portland, Oregon's visual artist J$Fur making a return trip to the 707 and Max Brotman's high rollin' electronic dream machine Complex Crown.
Big stinkin' modern jazz event popping off over at the Arcata Playhouse tonight. Amendola vs. Blades is a project of drummer/composer Scott Amendola and Bay Area organist extraordinaire Wil Blades. Filling out this crack improvisational team is saxophone madman Skerik, percussionist Cyro Baptista and guitarist Jeff Parker from the sublime band Tortoise. Starts at 7 p.m. ($20).
The Hanneke Cassel Band is fronted by the titular fiddler whose playing style spans from Cape Breton to the Isle of Skye. A former student of Alasdair Fraser, Ms. Cassel now tours with her own trio, which includes cellist Mike Block and guitarist Keith Murphy. When the crew takes the stage at the Arcata Playhouse tonight at 7 p.m., you can expect breathtakingly virtuosic tunes with down home Americana touches. This should be a good one for any fans of Friday's show at the Old Steeple who want to see some next generation freshness ($20).
Vancouver punk collective and harm reduction advocates Crack Cloud are coming to the Miniplex this evening for a very special show. Expect multimedia visual art with music from that magical intersection of post-punk and dance music. Local distortion strummers and button-mashing, perverted reverb retailers CV will kick out some tasty licks too starting at 9 p.m. ($10).
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 lives in a country of rugged individualists who are so rugged and tough that they will shine the boots of the ruling class using only their tongues. He prefers he/him and takes his showers in Arcata.