As a music-obsessed teen in the late-1990s, I often found myself at odds with prevailing sensibilities, an alienating experience that has actually helped me over the years. How? Well, to paraphrase my cousin Jet, the secret of eternal relevance is a withering distrust of most current popular culture. So while some of my peers were sporting JNCOs and listening to Limp Bizkit and Sublime, I was perfecting my seasonal Kate Bush theory while wearing a sleeveless, thrift store Black Sabbath shirt. Oh, about that theory — I have worked out that for each of the first five Kate Bush records (minus The Dreaming, that's for haunted liminal spaces, Halloween and leap years), there is a corresponding season for peak listening enjoyment. This is, of course, a Northern Hemisphere-centric view, but since I started the theory in Canada and perfected it in New Orleans, it does handle a wide swath of weather and geography. Regardless, now that summer is going to be officially street legal on Wednesday, if you'd like to test my theory, it's a perfect time to listen to 1980's classic Never for Ever. See what you think. I'm going to play it on repeat in the evenings after the baseball game. If Kate Bush isn't your bag, there's lots else to do this week, so get after it.
Guitarist and composer Oryan Peterson-Jones is kicking off his June tour with a free evening at the Humboldt Bay Social Club at 6 p.m. If you're in the mood for the goods — very well-played Americana, folk, world music and flamenco-style guitar — tonight's the night, until he returns at the end of the month to the Logger Bar. Two hours later at the Jam, you can catch local punk heroes Dead Drift opening up for So-Cal psychobilly acts The Rocketz and Three Bad Jacks ($10).
The Outer Space is hosting a triad of off-kilter "dark was the night, cold was the ground" noisemakers at 7 p.m. Come check out Setlist favs Blackplate as they share the stage with Vulture Feather and Monkey Business, both of whom have been given the thumbs up from this writer. This all-ages event has a sliding scale cost of $5-$20, and none of these acts are from Arcata, so think about the cost of gassing up a band van and chip in accordingly.
The Freeks are a phuzzy as phuck Los Angeles psych band featuring members of Fu Manchu, Claw Hammer and Backbiter. They are known for playing it loud, hard and weird. Eureka is lucky enough to host that glorious noise tonight, specifically the Shanty, where the fellas will be joined by Sky Screamer and Mystery Meat. Luckier still, this 9 p.m. freekshow is free.
Fernstock, Fernstock, Fernstock! Fernstock 2023 is coming to the Humboldt County Fairgrounds today. Starting at noon, there will be two stages with 15 bands competing for $5,000 and a chance to play at the Humboldt County Fair. In addition to the music, there will be oodles of food and local vendors, tasty local beverages, family activities, etc. Tickets range from $15-$50, and it looks like I'm going to be one of the judges this year, so I'll be wearing my best ears. Here's a quick list of the bands, in no particular order, to maintain my official neutrality: Makenu, The Undercovers, Caribbean Jazz Odyssey, Jacki & the Jollies, Insomnia Syndrome, The Critics, Thundercloud, Buddy Reed and the Rip It Ups, Malicious Algorithm, The Triple Tones, Ruckus, The Melange, Young & Lovely, So Hum Girls Band, and September Rain.
Oh look, another river day. Cheers.
The violence and upheaval of human history, particularly that of its empires and colonies, has created — among other things — a paradox of suffering and beauty the moral scales of which no mortal can hope to balance. What art comes from the brutality of conquest is part of the longform passion play of human existence, and that art is, thankfully, part of my beat. I'm thinking of the tango, one of the finest mergings of music and dance in the known universe, a gorgeous rose grown from the fecund and bloody ground of Argentine, African, Spanish and South American history. From the late 19th century salon dances in Buenos Aires to the new forms championed by masters like Astor Piazzolla, the tango is one of the greatest kinetic artforms, and a personal favorite. Pianist Winnie Cheung seems to agree, as she has spent the last decade traveling the world spreading the gospel of this fantastic dance. Her tour stops in the Arcata Playhouse at 7 p.m. tonight, where her musical partner on the bandoneon (a form of accordion popular in tango) is Argentine player Hugo Satorre ($15, $13 for Playhouse fanclub members).
Wednesday, Summer Solstice
Assuming the weather cooperates and you can enjoy some sunshine on either end of the workday, that's my real pick for the longest day of the year. However, evening is another matter and I'm going with another movie night, specifically Sci-Fi Night at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Merging some of my favorite artists into one cult classic is always going to be a draw for me, and few films achieve that better than Total Recall, where director Paul Verhoeven oversees a story sourced from the work of Philip K. Dick and fleshed out by, among other people, Dan O'Bannon, who wrote the screenplay for Alien. This one doesn't miss. It's 6 p.m. for the pre-show, $5 to get in, $9 for admission and a poster.
Collin Yeo (he/him) is too low rent to be a snob. He's a cheap date in a tailored secondhand coat. He lives in Arcata, a land fat with thrift stores and ground scores.