Music » The Setlist

This is a Love Letter

Hello students! Goodbye readers!



Like a lot of you, I'm a sucker for a good story and enjoy being filled in on topical issues by smart people, which means listening to podcasts on long drives is my usual go-to. But last week, while traveling home from San Francisco, I instead put on a (very extensive) playlist of familiar songs that make me happy. I sang along. For hours. The music cheered me through traffic jams and construction delays, accompanied me as I drove into an apocalypse, the sun reddened by smoke from our fire-ravaged hills.

I listen to music regularly, of course, but mostly while cooking breakfast or in the car on short trips around town, and usually I'm listening for something new to turn me on. I forget sometimes how much fun exists in the familiar. The playlist was on shuffle and with each song came a rush akin to answering the door and finding an old friend grinning on the porch. "I love this song!" I kept saying (to no one in particular, as I was traveling alone). And I do. I love the power of a song to transform one's mood, banish one's woes — even when simultaneously illustrating them (thank you, The National). I love songs that make me want to dance (Oh, yeah! Janelle Monae). Or make out (mmmm, Diego Garcia). I love re-discovering songs by artists I'd forgotten all about. (Fu Manchu!) I love being caught unawares by songs I thought I'd outgrown but clearly still love (looking at you, Michael Franti). I love, love, love that both formerly local artists (hi, Lila Nelson!) and still-local artists (yo, Strix Vega!) are part of my favorite songs playlist. I've been writing about the local music scene, on-and-off, for 13 years and have never stopped appreciating not only how often excellent touring acts stop through, but how much homegrown goodness Humboldt has to offer.

Also appreciated: You, reader friends, especially those of you who go out, see bands and help keep our music culture thriving. And the folks who book the various venues (particularly the ones who take a moment to send well-formatted info about upcoming performances). You ensure our menu regularly features Reasons to Go Out. The people on local radio who talk up shows, invite bands in — you're fantastic. And, of course, those of you who learned how to play something, sing and write songs, then decided to get a room full of similar-minded musicians together to make something happen — man, I have had so much fun with you. Thank you.

Does this gushing have a point? Yes! Which I am now getting to: Goodbye!

Due to a new gig at Humboldt State University, I'm moving on from writing the Setlist. I'll miss it — and you — but you're getting a fresh voice and perspective in the form of Andy "Boom Boom" Powell, longtime area musician (the aforementioned Strix Vega, The Solitary Men, Money) and nighttime DJ on KWPT The Point. It's going to be great. (And likely have fewer parentheticals.)

Now, onward with this week's offerings, exceptionally well-rounded as a result (I believe) of the HSU semester starting.


Two kinds of love

Siren's Song serves up two events: the first a Lagunitas Pint Night featuring deep-fried Chicago country in the form of The Lint Trappers at 6 p.m., and the second, Goth Night with The Funeral and The Twilight, ritualistic gloom rock from Minneapolis, Blood Cave, Eureka goth, and DJs Wrye and Decoffinated starting at 9 p.m. The venue is all ages, but bring your ID if you want to order something boozy. Both events are free.

No adjective left unloved

Here are the genre words that accompany the event listing of the Diggin Dirt, Pistachio and Comfortable show at the Jambalaya: funk, reggae, soul, jazz, rock, roots, gypsy, psychedelic, groove-driven, Latin, reggae, disco, jazzy funky fusion. I feel like I should get very high. Expect this show to be musically large. Cover's $5, show is 21-and-over, music at 9:30 p.m.


The Return of Club Triangle

"Queers, allies and all fun-loving individuals" are invited to join Humboldt Pride for Club Triangle: Celebrity Edition. Doors open at 9 p.m., the drag show starts at 10 p.m. and the dance party — grooves provided by DJ Joe-E and Pressure Anya Duo — gets underway around 11:30 p.m. The magic's happening at the Jambalaya, with $5 and the usual 21-and-over stipulation. 

Looking for some hot love

Around the corner at Humboldt Brews, Matt n' Adam, Jaymorg and DJ Red celebrate Soul Night #46 with all-vinyl and a "Heatwave" theme. Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $5 and this good time is 21-and-over.

Reggae happy

The Arcata Theatre Lounge goes big in welcoming back HSU students with Jamaican reggae superstars Black Uhuru (plus Ishi Dube, The Tuff Riddim Band, Ju Drum, Seed n Soil and Sarge OneWise) touring in support of the band's latest album, I Love King Selassie. Tickets are $25 at the door, $22 in advance at Wildberries, People's Records and The Works. Show is 21-and-over, music at 9:30 p.m.


To the flame

The lifespan of your average moth varies by species, but none of them live all that long — including Arcata garage rockers of the Spliff Moth variety, who lovingly announced a final show this week. "It's been a good run," the band said, "and we are eternally grateful for your continued support." Say goodbye at Blondie's, 9 p.m., all ages, no cover. Oh — almost forgot. Experimental sludgesters and HSU music majors Mullet also play. Think heavy. Stay light.

Funky love

The Jambalaya would like you to celebrate returning to school with a serious funk party. Black Star Safari and Motherlode will lay it down starting at 10 p.m. No cover charge advertised, 21-and-over.

Because we love punk rock!

I very much enjoyed receiving an email titled "Promoting Insubordination" because sure, I'm down with fighting The Man! Turns out the email was actually about an upcoming gig at the Alibi with Virginia's Insubordination, which provides excellent punk rock that's both classically thrashy-angsty and full of sing-along-able choruses. "Yell Scream" and "Pit Stains and Migraines" are highlights on the band's page. Think early Social Distortion. Fortuna's The Gnards also play. Cover is $5, music starts at 11 p.m., the 'bi is 21-and-over.


Wha??? Daytime rock? All ages?!

Well, this is downright awesome! A chance to see some of Arcata's most rocking bands in the daytime with your kids? It's a show tailor-made for the middle-aged. (And also those poor souls trapped in the purgatory of not-quite-21-ness.) You've got your pysch-laden White Manna, your fuzzier-also-psych The Mother Vines, your dirgerrific Blackplate and the heavy stoner jams of Lord Ellis. Doors are at 1 p.m., music starts at 2 p.m., cover is $5 and yes, the Jambalaya's bar will be open. Love it.


Fine folk and tater tots

Finally, we bring you to Mad River Brewing Company for the Wild Roots Tour, a collaborative show featuring singer-songwriters Josephine Johnson and Pi Jacobs on banjo, ukelele, acoustic guitars and a percussion box.  The show starts at 6 p.m., is all ages and free.


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

Savage, out.

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