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Preach, Manic Street Preachers

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As I write this, I am watching the snow melt on my porch in the early afternoon of a bank holiday Monday. What could be more wholesome and Peanuts-esque than snow on President's Day? Well, how about living in a country where children don't get slaughtered at school on Valentine's Day? All because a group of the wealthiest people on the planet since the pharaohs have convinced a bunch of smooth-brained rubes that "well-regulated" means that nearly everyone can get their very own murder machines. Our American big-boy hobby equals death on an almost unimaginable scale in this country and it needs to stop. Yes, people do kill people and, yes, they will continue to do so despite any attempt at regulation from the G-men. However, they will have a much harder time doing so on the level seen in Florida last week or in Las Vegas last October without access to assault weapons. And cops shouldn't have them either but that's a different story for another time. Don't want the only people with guns to be criminals? Then stop voting for them. What does this have to do with a weekly music column? Not much but I have a very dark memory of a Mardi Gras parade many years ago when a shooting erupted and seeing what bullet holes look like in children up close, and I honestly felt like I had to inject myself into this conversation because enough is enough. As the Manic Street Preachers said in the single of the same name — quoting a leftie poster from the Spanish Civil War — "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next."

And to tweak the words of the great N.W.A., "Fuck the NRA."

Have a safe week.

Thursday

It's going to be a night of intricate low-fi rock exploding into artful blasts of pop splendor at The Outer Space, when Los Angeles and ANTI- Records' own Girlpool turn on the bright lights. Supported by the likeminded — though noisier — Special Explosion from Seattle and local queer punk kids Slop this show starts at 6:30 p.m. but I would get there earlier because the buzz hitting my ears suggests this one's gonna sell out ($10).

If the above likely scenario does occur and you still find yourself fiending for a fantastic Arcata show, might I suggest a free soiree at the Griffin tonight at 9 p.m.? Accordion/washboard/guitar and tambourine two-piece Cats Meow play a folk-tinged alternative country set that travels just as good by sea or land. Dead Bird Sons shuffles out some bluegrass tunes, too. Is there a connection between a griffin, a cat's meow and some dead bird sons? I dunno, ask the players yourself.

Friday

It's the end of the work week and the beginning of that all-too-brief recess we call the weekend, so let's not waste any time — or money — and go straight to the inexpensive thrills with two $5 dance options. Over at Humbrews at 9 p.m. it's the ninth installment of Soul Party and this edition promises groovy vinyl revolutions curated by DJ Red, Jaymorg and Funky T-Rex, with help from East One and Philly Fresh. Proper.

An hour later and a few feet closer to sea level, The Miniplex presents Sambamonium 4, an electronic/live drum hybrid of Brazilian dance music powered by the twin talents of DJ Pandemonium and Samba Floresta. The cover charge is a donation for Planned Parenthood affiliate Spare Change, so shake the sand out of your pockets for a good cause.

Saturday

Local rhythm generating sextet Timbata has an 8 p.m. show at the Arcata Playhouse ($15). Featuring Humboldt State music program alums and professors, Timbata is a favorite on the scene, noted for its finely crafted Latin and Afro-Cuban beats inspired by the musical panoply that is the legacy of the Caribbean/African diaspora.

Motherlode, the best funk band in the county, is celebrating the release of a new EP tonight at Humbrews. The show kicks off around 9 p.m., although who knows when the 10-piece will assemble on the stage. I will bet they play until closing time, though. Seattle's Klozd Sirkut joins the fun as well ($10).

And rounding out this Saturday is Boise's dark duo The Sun and The Mirror, playing an ambient metallic set at The Alibi. (11 p.m.). Whitethorn's only black metal band worth seeing Zelosis pads out the bill nicely and for $5 this show is a steal.

Sunday

Arcata Pirate Radio presents an all-ages benefit show at The Jam today for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Coast. (2 p.m.) Join the all-local cast of rockers Lord Ellis, stoners Ultramafic and one-man punk band The BoredAgain for a daytime blitzkreig bop bounce-house for the kiddies young and not so young ($5-$20 sliding scale).

The Siren's Song hosts Grocery Outlit and The Monster Women as both bands support Los Angeles' Burger Records-signed psyche rock group Feels tonight at 9 p.m. (price TBA).

Monday

It's the free bluegrass jam at Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. again this evening. Come on down to the marsh around 6 p.m. for some pickin' and grinnin'.

Tuesday

It's a singer-songwriter night of sorts at the Outer Space as Portland's Sunbathe is supported by local tune-smiths. Blood Honey is the stage name of Ariel Fishkin, whose tunes have a bluesy and sad cadence, while Skyler McCormick and her unstoppable synth-flavored ukulele is Mother Munchie. Sleeper.Wav rounds out the team with acoustic experimentation. And $7 at 7 p.m. is the deal.

Chris Wood, bassist extraordinaire and one third of modern jazz powerhouse Medeski, Martin and Wood, is also one third — with guitarist brother Oliver and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix — of roots rock and country act The Wood Brothers, who play the Kate Buchanan Room at 8 p.m. Expect a lively display of godlike musicianship ($36/$15 students).

Wednesday

I was going to suggest going to the Old Steeple to check out the folk stylings of Greg Brown but it looks like that act is sold out. So let me hit you with two free shows and a curve ball. Local jazz trio RLA plays the Mad River Brewery Tasting Room with a little help from singer Paula Jones and Don Baraka on the sax at 6 p.m. And a half an hour later over at the Palm Lounge, singer and trombonist (tromboner is a much more psychically satisfying term to me but whatevs) James Zeller jams with his jazz trio.

Finally, beginning around 6 p.m. and for a mere $5 beverage or food minimum, the Arcata Theatre Lounge is playing the movie Blade. Not a music event you say? Fair enough but the soundtrack to this first film starring a black superhero from the Marvel Universe is an absolutely precious artifact of the late '90s hip hop/techno landscape featuring heavy cuts by Mobb Deep, Bounty Killer, Gang Starr and DJ Krush, among others. Maybe pre-game a viewing of Black Panther with this gem from 20 years ago and marvel at how far we have come.

Collin Yeo has no problem saying what he said about the NRA to gun activists in person or on paper. He lives in Arcata.

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