The Fourth of July is nearly upon us and, as a red-blooded patriot, I quested to write something about music, America and perhaps Brexit. After long thoughts about John Phillip Sousa, Donald Trump and David Cameron, I realized I was not up for the task. My mind wandered to a scene I came across last weekend when I was in Sacramento, walking around in the 100-plus degree heat. While contemplating why more than 400,000 people would choose to live somewhere that is hotter than a hot tub, I saw a line of people just standing around. Then I saw that this line wrapped around the block with somewhere close to 140 people standing, waiting for something. Now this was strange to me for two reasons. One of them being that I was constantly on the move between air-conditioned watering holes, being fairly convinced that anything that was in that heat for more than three minutes would immediately combust. The second being that we Humboldters are wholly unaccustomed to waiting in lines. There aren't that many of us, so lines are almost nonexistent.
So you can imagine how perplexed I was at this sight. All those people, seemingly of their own free will, standing in this inferno. I had to ask my friends, who live like this every day, "What the hell are these people doing?" One of them responded with, "Oh, they're in line for a show at the Ace of Spades." I then discovered that this was a music venue and there must have been some hot act that night, as it was only about 6:30 p.m. and doors, I imagine, wouldn't open for another hour and a half. I never actually found out what band was playing but I had to marvel at the crowd's willingness risk their lives like this for a show. Reflecting upon that, I realized there wasn't much that I would stand in an oven for, but music? Yep, that's one of 'em. Count yourself lucky — your show of choice this week will be a much less painful affair.
At the Siren's Song Tavern is local rocker Roland Rock who will be joined by Portlandinistas Coloring Electric Like. I'm told that this is CEL's first stop in our neck of the woods, so let's give this duo a good impression of our music scene, eh? The Tavern must be on a shoe-gaze kick, as this Portland band has a touch of the foot-staring vibe to it, along with some more industrial sounds rounding things out. They'll have their new EP with them in the event you want to pick up a copy to remember the night. This is a 9 p.m. free show. Wear shoes that you can get lost in.
It's Arts Alive! tonight, and I'm glad to help announce that the North Coast Repertory Theatre (where they do it live) is holding its debut concert tonight. And to kick it off, the theater is hosting Santa Cruz multi-instrumentalist Joe Kaplow. This is his second tour of 2016 and I think his first visit to our fair county. I'm a little unclear if he is joined by The Stringtown Ambassadors or Rosalind Parducci of said ambassadors or if both entities are one and the same. However, I'm pretty sure Rosalind will be performing at this debut show starting around 9 p.m. After you're done checking out the scene in Old Town, swing by this $10 show. The late-night rockers will be at The Alibi tonight to catch the "fuzzed-out surf rock" of The Earthtones, who are up from San Luis Obispo at 11 p.m. As of my deadline — which I heard whoosh by — the local band headlining the show was still to be determined. But since you are reading this in my future, and your present, you may already be familiar with who's closing out the show. Feel free to let me know. $5 for this futuristic show.
Former Seattle duo — and now a trio — Lonesome Shack stops by the Siren's Song Tavern tonight in support of their new album The Switcher. I'm glad to hear so many touring bands are releasing new works and bringing them to us here in Humboldt (and to the Siren's Song Tavern, no less). With this new 14-song release now out, the band is on the road sharing what they do, which can meander between rollicking rockers and slower, more expansive tunes. It's been 9 p.m. show times for all the Tavern gigs this week, so might as well stick with it. Also free to boot.
Trevor Dunn fans, look out! One of our local heroes is returning to town tonight as a member of the so-called Miscreants who will be at the Arcata Playhouse at 8 p.m. This confounding co-founder — I stole that from the press release — of Mr. Bungle will be plucking the strings of his upright bass with friends and musical collaborators Scott Amendola (who has played his drums here in Humboldt many a time) and Mr. Ben Goldberg on the clarinet. One of these fellas is a Leo, but you'll have to figure out which one. Expect original songs but you may also be treated to some covers of "Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Ornette Coleman, Diamonda Galas, Black Sabbath, Wayne Shorter, The Beach Boys and others ..." That's quite a range and it already has me intrigued. Bring $15 to welcome Trevor back home. An hour later, there's a three-band bill at the Miniplex (also in Arcata). Merrick tells me that Eldren, a super talented prog ensemble, will be performing its intricate rock songs for you tonight joined by local hard rockers Lord Ellis and fellow locals Blood Gnome. Only $5 to get in and it's got a 9 p.m. go time.
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.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He functions best at 62 degrees Fahrenheit.