- Photo by Stephanie Severance, courtesy of the artists
- Spirit Award plays the Outer Space at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 21.
It's been an interesting local news cycle as far as the local music scene is concerned. The Mateel Community Center can't seem to catch a break, with back-to-back cancellations of Reggae on the River and the Andre Nickatina show in July. This doesn't augur well for the state of SoHum or the rest of the area, as the Mateel in general and the festival in particular have not only served as strong cultural institutions, but as real boosters for the local economy. It can be hard living in the Alaska of California — as I think of the remote triad of Mendo, Humboldt and Trinity counties — and we need every dollar we can get from our summer visitors. I hope things turn around before they get worse.
On a brighter note, summer is officially here and that's absolutely something to rally around. We don't get too many flashes of the sort of "eternity in an hour" that William Blake was talking about in "Auguries of Innocence," but we might catch something nearby during the right sunrise, afternoon at the river or sunset on the ocean. And that's always good food for the soul.
Have a long week of daylight.
The Gatehouse Well is playing a free show at Pierson Park in McKinleyville at 6 p.m. today. Imagine this: The penultimate longest day of the year, sunshine and grass everywhere and the sounds of insects in the late afternoon punctuating the songs of one of Humboldt's premier Celtic folk bands. Pretty fine, right?
Friday (Summer Solstice)
It's finally the official beginning to the summer and I have two great shows for you to check out tonight to celebrate. The Outer Space is hosting Seattle psych rock act Spirit Award at 7 p.m. ($7-$20 sliding scale). The stereophonic trio will be joined by local musician Gabriel Lubowe from the band Wild Abandon, who will be debuting his solo set for you, as well Arcata garage duo Two Platoon.
Ami Dang is a sitar player whose work fuses Indian classical music and ambient sounds via contemporary electronics and sonic manipulation. The Baltimore-based musician will be appearing tonight at the Miniplex at 9 p.m. ($8-$10). The local ethereal sound collective Medicine Baul will also be on the bill.
The Northcoast Regional Land Trust is holding a fundraiser at Freshwater Farms Reserve today at 4 p.m. This family-friendly event will feature the music of Wild Abandon and Huckleberry Flint in a rare live show since its big holiday to-do at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts last December. There will be a limited amount of tickets available at the event but be prompt if you wish to attend, this will very likely sell out ($15 adults/ $5 kids).
The boys in the band are going their separate ways, in the literal geographic sense of the term, so it's time for Unholy Orifice to play its swansong at The Jam tonight at 8 p.m. ($5). I will always look back fondly at the many times I reflexively shuddered as I typed out the group's name and I am sorry to lose that experience. Along for the fun is the black metal band Miasmic, who haven't played in town for a minute, as well as deth techs Locust Furnace and crusty duo Klod. Parenthetically, I'd like to add that apart from being genuinely impressed by the trio's sonic output, I will also miss the full, yet concise press packs sent out by Sam from Unholy Orifice and Angry Hammer Productions. It's been my experience that metalheads really understand the need for good promotion so kudos, pal, and safe journeys.
It's another installment of Sundaze at the Jam — tonight's techno dance will be curated by Paul Leath and go All Night Long. Like many of these Sundaze gigs of yesterday, the show's free until 10 p.m., at which point a mere $5 gains you entrance through the door. Baggadonuts also has a slot tonight. Come one, come all.
Monday and Tuesday
It's summertime now and with the students out of town there is a bit of a slump going on, live music-wise. So may I recommend some books for your evening's fun? I've been putting a lot of eye-time into contemporary weird fiction and can suggest some quick corkers for any fans of the outré out there. Thomas Ligotti's first two collections of deeply uncomfortable horror stories, Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe, have both been compiled into the same paperback and make for great reading. If you want things weird dialed back in the horror department though, I have also been enjoying Karen Russell's Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Her stories are oddly funny but no less strange. And speaking of strange, Kelly Link's stories from the 1990s are collected as Stranger Things Happen, and if you have ever wondered how deconstructed sci-fi, horror and fairytales could be funny, then this is the book for you.
It's Sci-Fi Pint and Fry night over at the Arcata Theatre Lounge and this week's installment is a favorite musical of mine from childhood, one whose themes range from sadistic medical professionals to the best organic body disposal unit in the universe. I am, of course, talking about the 1986 iteration of Little Shop of Horrors, starring Rick Moranis, Steve Martin and Levi Stubbs in director Frank Oz's remake of the Roger Cormin classic. Admission is just a $5 minimum purchase of food and/or beverages, and, as always, there will be a free raffle. Dig in.
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 would like to say goodbye to an old friend who introduced him to thrash metal and, in the process, proved that early Metallica is actually good. He lives in Arcata.