Early last week after my deadline had passed, I heard the sad news that Gregg DeVaney had succumbed to the aggressive brain cancer with which he was recently diagnosed. From the outside, it was shocking how quickly it came. I have known Gregg for three decades, since I was a child, and I would like to take a moment to remember him. Known by his alter-ego "Vinny" to the faithful fans of his Wednesday KHSU show — its most recent iteration was called Fogou — Gregg was an odd duck in the most treasured way. I won't try to describe such a perfect character here but I will say that anyone who listened to his program had the privilege of hearing the thoughts, lessons and curated musical tastes of a wonderful mind. And in person he was a delight. Funnily enough, from the ages of 10 to 36 I don't recall the tone, pitch or content of our conversations changing all that much, though I know my own life certainly did. He was someone who could tap into the eternal playfulness of the inquisitive human mind and I count my blessings for every conversation we ever had, no matter how brief. His loss is incalculable to his many fans and loved ones, just as our communal memories of him are an invaluable gift. His presence in our little sliver of the musical world was gentle but impossibly immense. Mr. DeVaney —Gregg or Vinny or by any other name — I will always cherish your style. Until we meet again my friend, may you rest in peace.
And for the rest of you out there, have a wonderful week.
Legends of the Mind is a blues/folk duo comprised of a guitar player and harmonica blower who both sing and play tasteful covers and simple originals from the roots menu of American music. Last week I had the pleasure of seeing the pair at the Clam Beach Tavern during their usual Thursday night residency and found the group very enjoyable. You can do the same for free tonight at 6 p.m.
A couple of exits up U.S. Highway 101, the Westhaven Center for the Arts is presenting a tribute to Leonard Cohen at 7:30 p.m., featuring Laura Hennings, Kira Weiss, Jerry Lynn Rubin and Randy Carrico. May the sun pour down like honey on our Lady of the Harbor while even Damnation is poisoned by rainbows. All for a sliding-scale cover of $5-$25.
It's First Fridays on the Arcata Plaza today, an ongoing concert series for you summer babies. Today at 2 p.m. you can catch Object Heavy for free near the shade of the contentious statue.
Another free show is going down at Wrangletown Cider as The Handshakers play a fermented gig at 5:30 p.m. with the dulcet scents of wood-fired pizza wafting in the air. Will the cheese-coated goodies be available for sale? Come find out.
The kick-off festivities for the Humboldt Folklife Society's Folklife Festival happen today at 2 p.m. at the Mad River Brewery with music by That Buckin' String Band and La Patinas, as well as Psychedelvis and The Rounders, who will also be playing another free gig at the Logger Bar at 9 p.m. tonight. So now you have a cool spot to soothe that sunburn or nurse that day-drinking head.
Also at 9 p.m. at Humbrews, you can watch the ribald antics of burlesque troupe Ragdoll Revue as it presents its Anything Goes show, hosted by Jamie Bondage. Come enjoy the scintillating works of artists with stage names like Jessica Pow!, Mama T and Andy Rogynous ($13, $10 advance).
It's Annie and Mary Day in Blue Lake so come on out to Perigot Park for fun and games, courtesy of the Humboldt Folklife Society. Celtic-tinged string band The Gatehouse Well plays a set for the happy crowd at 3 p.m., so don't miss out.
Deep Groove Society presents Sundaze at The Jam tonight with featured artist Max Gardner from Oakland's remix collective Down to Earth at 9 p.m. (price TBA).
Isle of Klezbos is a neotraditional folk sextet specializing in Jewish drinking songs from the days of the Soviet Iron Curtain, among many other influences. Celebrating 20 years in the world-touring biz, the Klezbians come to Eureka this evening at 7 p.m. to play for the lucky fans at Temple Beth El ($20/$15 advance).
Local found-sound, plural instrumental act Medicine Baul plays its first show tonight at The Outer Space without fallen founding member Gregg DeVaney at 7 p.m. ($5). I expect some cross-plane aural hosannas to our dearly departed will be in order. Joining the Baul are two interesting experimental noise acts from Portland, Oregon, The Social Stomach and Sea Moss. This should be a very good show.
I am digging the solid punk praxis of throwing all-ages shows at the indoor skatepark. It feels truly right and just, like wearing off-brand shoes without socks until they disintegrate or running against and beating an incumbent neoliberal politician as a young-left populist in a previously safe primary. Anyway, Rampart Skatepark is hosting another cool one tonight at 7 p.m., when the East Bay doom outfit Catapult the Dead meets up with Washington state's power-violence outfit Family Vacation for a night of plywood-shrouded excellence. Providing local support are pv band Waste Site and local radical noise-a-rinos Arugula ($5). Nice.
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 agrees with the lady who noted that "grief is the price we pay for love." He lives in Arcata.