Oh baby, it's that most magical time of the year. I know you can dig it because the ground around here is profoundly wet but can you smell it? Hell, I think I can even taste it. I am talking, dear readers, about the first week of spring. It has come at last and not a moment too soon. As I type this out on Monday, I am reluctantly preparing myself to vacate my deck, where I have been laying out all fat and sassy like a pale and greasy lizard soaking up the last rays of sunshine before the coming rainstorm. But that's A-OK because without the rain we'd have no fresh water and without that there would be no one alive to read this column, which would inconvenience my writing career to say the least. And rain or no rain, there are some truly amazing shows this week just popping up out of nowhere like beautifully fruited fungus after a March storm. Old hip-hop stars from decades past, young upstarts carving notches in the cultural talking stick and plenty of dreamy out of towners bringing magical sounds from faraway lands to our doorsteps. If the appetitive third of my Platonic tripartite soul were an animal, it would be a large mammal coming out of a long and starved sleep to whet its teeth on the offerings this week has in store. This is a gorging and foraging week for the hungry soul and the pickings are good, my friends, so let's get out there and fatten up.
Singer-songwriter Alice DiMicele brings her band Force of Nature to the Arcata Playhouse tonight at 7:30 p.m. ($15) for an evening of blended Americana folk music with hints of jazz and blues thrown in the mix.
Over at The Jam at 9 p.m., there is a spring equinox celebration in the form of a reggae and dub party. Come ring in the coming showers and flowers with The Dubsmashers, Altar Tones, and Madi Simmons (price TBA).
There's a fundraiser at the Outer Space for Preparatoria Comunitaria José Martí in San Francisco Ixhuatán, Oaxaca, a radical community high school that was heavily damaged by the Central Mexican earthquake in September of last year. Starting at 7 p.m. and for $7 — all proceeds going toward rebuilding the school — come jam out with four touring bands and a local supporter for a good cause. The line-up is Lansing, Michigan's She/Her/Hers, Heavenly Bother and Gal Pal from Santa Cruz, Portland Oregon's folk punkers Raccoon Venom and Arcata's own Chuliya.
Meanwhile, at 8 p.m. up at The Van Duzer Theatre, come listen to the inscrutable and soothing crooning Latin gorgeousness of Roberto Carlos Lange, better known by his stage name Helado Negro. Currently signed to Sufjan Stevens' label Asthmatic Kitty, there just aren't the right kinds of words in English or Spanish to describe the otherworldly sheen of this of the music of this Miami-born son of Ecuadorian immigrants, so for only $10 you get to invent your own language to figure it all out.
It's a celebration of sorts. Though not quite a CD-release party — the album comes out next month — Object Heavy teams up with DJ Gabe Pressure for a night of heavy funk at 7 p.m. at The Jam. For a mere $10, come join the NCJ's Best of Humboldt Best Band and Best Club DJ as they get down for the evening.
At the same time over at The Outer Space, come check out the dark melodic pop of Kelli Schaefer of 4AD Records. Arcata's newest post-rock outfit Ms. God provides support alongside Eureka bangin' rockers The Tweeners ($7).
And finally tonight, if you still have a rock itch to scratch go join local dark reverb masters CV and San Francisco's bizarre outfit Samvega for a late night bash-out at the Alibi. The hour of the witch for this one is 11 p.m., $5 is the price of your soul. Spooky.
There's another fun rock 'n' roll daytime show at The Jam today. Talented local songwriter Cliff Dallas brings his "spaghetti western" band The Mojave Green across the bay from Eureka to join the fuzzy roots band Hollow Down at 2 p.m. The show is a benefit for the Arcata Vet's Hall, so your $5 door fee goes toward keeping that set of doors open and thus perpetuates a net positive for the local scene. Neat.
Yhung T.O., Slimmy B, Da Boii and Lul G are the kids who comprise the up-and-coming Vallejo rap collective SOBxRBE. Though barely born in the heyday of Mac DRE, these guys are operating in the wake of his East Bay Thizz Nation scene and are starting to get a lot of recognition lately. Come down to the Arcata Community Center at 8 p.m. for an all-ages shindig to see what all of the fuss is about. Cuban Doll opens ($30, $25 advance).
Musical duo Peter McCoid and Anthony Pellico bring their funky acoustic jams to Blondies tonight at 7:30 p.m. (price TBA).
As far as I can tell, Ghost Light is some breed of jam band from the same sort of pedigree that East Coast genius Marco Benevento has, albeit with more of a Grateful Dead nod. I say "as far as I can tell" because after checking out the website — which was full of many mellifluous adjectives involving the five-piece — I still had no idea what it sounded like. So I dug up a live recording of members Holly Bowling and Tom Hamilton performing a very modern take on The Dead's staple song Eyes of the World, which I found pleasing despite my prejudices. So if academy-level jamming par excellence is your thing, swing over to Humbrews tonight at 9 p.m. and watch Ghost Light's deal go down. Local guitar magician Piet Dalmolen opens ($15).
Haiti-by-way-of-New Jersey's own one third of '90s supergroup The Fugees, Wyclef Jean visits our little county for an evening of fun at the Mateel tonight at 9 p.m. I can't imagine that I need to introduce him further, so I will only add that good vibes So-Cal duo Culture Crew will open the evening ($40).
Another 4AD band, this one from Toronto, comes to the Miniplex for a night of unique and skilled pop at 9 p.m. U.S. Girls recently had a neat write-up in The New Yorker featuring its main mind Meg Remy, whose once lo-fi songwriting has become more brilliant and sophisticated in recent years. Local Latin/cumbia rockers La Mancha opens ($12, $10 advance).
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 is not sure if he in fact has a Platonic tripartite soul with an appetitive third but something is hungry this week. He lives in Arcata.