People are itching for summer. The river calls. Trails await. Road trip ideas lace through conversation. Sometimes the music scene slows down a bit, what with the students gone and seemingly half the population on vacation. For now, however, we're still enjoying the ever-bountiful live music options, some suitable for your summer soundtrack, others a reminder of the dark corners even the brightest sunlight can't reach.
Venerable singer/songwriter Greg Brown graces the Van Duzer on Friday night. His songs grow like snap peas, stories and music trellising up into sweet, sharp, nourishing delights. When he croons, "Ah, you get the feelin' things may be alright/On a summer evenin' before the dark of night," you believe him. Expect much triggering of nostalgia and laughter. Also, the man's voice is sexy as hell. Tickets are $35 general, $15 HSU students. Show starts at 8 p.m. and is all ages.
Friday: Unholy crusade
On the other side of things, Nebraskan punk-blues band Saint Christopher arrives blistering from the get-go. From the band's website: "Art has been raped under the idea that we need to sell and profit, instead of challenge and inspire the person consuming the product. ... We value conformity and comfort, not heart and uniqueness. ... They have the wealth: the oil companies, the media, the bullshit music that they play on trashy commercial radio." This is old-school punk rock dedicated to destroying the status quo. Saint Christopher plays with Arcata skate rockers Imperial Destructo and A-town's Hollow Down, purveyors of dark acoustic jams. This antithesis-of-summer-sunshine gig takes place at the Jambalaya with doors at 9 p.m., showtime at 10 p.m., $5 cover and it's 21-and-over.
Saturday: Folk legend
Let's return to the sunnier side, specifically the bright light that is Westhaven Center for the Arts. Longtime folksinger Jim Page returns to Humboldt for a special evening hosted by the Northcoast Environmental Center and the Humboldt Folklife Society. Counting Bonnie Raitt and Utah Phillips among his admirers, Page needs little introduction — but if you don't know him, think socially relevant messages delivered in a classic 1960s/1970s-era style. That is to say, sharp, humorous and with no slight sense of irony. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 advance and for NEC or HFS members. Local music sweethearts Mo and Morgan Hollis open. (Note: Your faithful music columnist has a day job with the NEC.)
Ghostwriter brings his visceral songwriting and unrelenting DIY ethos back to the Alibi. The one-man band has spent years carving a niche in underground music with his stark take on Americana, opening for such luminaries as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Th' Legendary Shack Shakers along the way. Think fire and brimstone deep in the backwoods. The Smashed Glass, local Irish punk balladeers, shares the bill. Cover is $5, show is 21-and-over, and music starts around 10 p.m.
Saturday: Unwind your mind
For those seeking a dance party and then some — do you have your summer jam dialed in yet? — Robot Koch, Wu Wei and Naive Melodies join Blue Angel Burlesque and weed activist Ed Rosenthal at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Berlin-based producer Robot Koch brings beats too large to define, Wu Wei combines ambient IDM (intelligent dance music) with the earthy bass of futuristic world hip-hop, and Arcata's Naive Melodies perform and honor music created by the Talking Heads. Got that? Doors open at 8:30 p.m., cost is $20 and the show is 21-and-over.
Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers roll into the Arcata Playhouse with upbeat honky-tonk tunes and slow, sad story-songs. Referred to as Seattle's version of Emmylou Harris, Muth's music is beloved by No Depression readers and other people who like good things. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 general and $15 for students and Folklife Society members, and are available at Wildberries and Wildwood Music.
Monday: Hey, hey!
Oh, The Placebo, my favorite ongoing movement to "create a sustainable all-ages concert and practice-space through drug-and-alcohol-free events and corporate-entanglement-free venue-spaces," I'm so glad to see you. And what's this? Garage-pop-surf-synth-band-from-Seattle, Tummy? And instrumental-post-rock-trio, Heavy Petting? And psychedelic-math-rock-from-Seattle-band, Leatherdaddy? And also that Joy-Divisiony Blood Orphans band? Nicely done! Everyone should go check out and support the goodness of Placebo by attending this gig at The Ink Annex (47B West Third St., Eureka). Doors open at 7 p.m., cost is $4 with membership, $6 without, and it is all ages. And if you miss the gig or want to immediately relive the glory, please note that DJ Ratrace presents Tummy and She Fetus from 10 p.m. to midnight on KHSU's Los Ensemble Economique.
Couple interesting shows coming up Wednesday, April 30. You've got finger-style guitarists Brooks Robertson and John Standefer at the Arcata Playhouse. Tickets are $15 general, $13 students and Folklife members. You've also got South Bay reggae stand-outs Fortunate Youth at Humboldt Brews for $12 advance, $15 at the door. (That latter 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 email@example.com.