I have a bunch of extra tickets to The Mountain Goats," my friend posted to Facebook. "Who wants to go?"
"I do!" I commented, joking — she's in Portland and I'm in Manila.
"Get your ass up here!" she replied.
I laughed — well, posted a laugh-y emoji — and said, that's crazy and I'm broke: dentist, vet, yadda yadda.
"Free ticket, free food, free place to stay," she insisted. "Just don't run out of gas." (I have been known to run out of gas.)
"I'll do it!"
And so I left my house Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m., drove to Portland, drank wine with my longtime friend all afternoon, saw the Mountain Goats, stayed through breakfast, got back on the road at 10:30 a.m. and made it to Eureka in time to catch a friend's art event. (I then went home and slept for nine hours.)
On the upside: How lucky am I to have such friends and get to see an excellent, beloved band? (Answer: Very.) Also, the drive back along the Smith River boasted blue skies, cute clouds, the glimmering river and otherwise served as a herald of summer promise. And I was able to catch up on some podcasts (including a transcendental "How to Be Amazing" with Michael Ian Black and Bob Odenkirk).
Still, 14 hours of driving in a 36-hour period? Kinda brutal for the nonprofessional haulers among us.
I mention all this for a few reasons: If you think it's crazy to pop up to Stumptown just to see a band, well, you're probably right. But you should try it anyway, since summer often results in a dearth of local shows, and also because, starting Sept. 15, you'll be able to catch a flight from Crescent City to Portland. The current price for this convenience is $147, about double what I just paid in gas, and fares will likely go up, so keep that in mind. But, for fans of live music who have the funds, this expands opportunities to see the sort of bands — specifically, bigger-name indie and rock acts — that rarely play our small towns. Three hours of travel time each way instead of seven? Someone else doing the work? Sounds sweet. Then again, if you have friends up for a road trip... Yeah, plenty of variables. But, big picture, having a small adventure will be that much easier.
OK, let's circle back to Humboldt, where Friday is the night of note.
Let's start north and work our way down. At the Logger Bar, Let it Fever, led by the talented and prolific Ellis Wallace along with the Monster Women and the Lost Luvs, a "reverbilicious grrl group" starring members of Automatic Pink and the aforementioned Monster Women. Spacy rock 'n' roll! Music at 9 p.m., free, 21-and-over.
The Queens of the Islands Tour arrives at the Arcata Theatre Lounge with Hawaiian pop-folk-songwriter star Anuhea and Jamaican reggae songstress Etana. Anuhea is a major presence on the islands with multiple hit songs in heavy rotation, favorable critical comparison to fellow islanders Jack Johnson and Bruno Mars, and the distinction of being specifically requested to perform for his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
Her tour partner, Etana, has faced challenges as a woman in the reggae world that her male counterparts do not. In a press release, she explains, "It seemed like females were never dealt with fairly. They were still paid less than men, disregarded as not being important on the flyer." Etana and her management set out to teach people in reggae "how to treat a female artist."
She succeeded, becoming the first female to achieve a Reggae Billboard #1 album in 17 years with I Rise, produced by Jamaican luminary Clive Hunt (Peter Tosh, Rolling Stones, The Wailers, Chaka Khan, Grace Jones, Jimmy Cliff). The album reflects the singer's ongoing maturity while maintaining the R&B-inflected take on reggae that she's known for. "Over the years I've learned a lot and in the learning process came a lot of pain and struggle," Etana says. "And to see the growth and see hard work pay off felt really, really good."
Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 advance at Wildberries, People's Records and The Works, $25 general. The show is 21 and over.
Let's go with the promo descriptions here, because I find them endearing: "Floating out of the dusty tombs of Eureka, Coffin Moth. Creeping from the grey skies of Arcata, Smooth Weirdos. Lurking from the muddy banks of Humboldt Bay, Dead Drift. Growing from the misty redwoods, The Mother Vines." Yes, it's a local good time at the Siren's Song Tavern, $3, all ages, 8 p.m.
Elder statesman graces Arcata
Legendary rock and folk/Americana singer, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader and occasional actor James McMurtry brings his talent to Humboldt Brews. Doors at 8 p.m., music at 8:30 p.m., tickets are $15, show is 21-and-over.
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.