I suppose the best way to start this off is by introducing myself. My name is Collin Yeo, I am 35 years old, unmarried, no kids, a native son of Humboldt and I love live music. I spent my 20s in New Orleans, where I worked as (among a whole lotta other things) a musician. I have been going to shows since I can remember (which, as a non-teetotaling former New Orleanian, probably isn't saying much) and when I replanted myself back in Humboldt five years ago, I was absolutely thrilled to see how much the local music scene had grown since my teenage years. New venues had sprouted up like daisies, and older establishments had rethought their contributions to the nightlife under new owners. The Logger Bar became cool. Youth-run house shows were a big thing and the diversity of artists from minority and LGBTQ backgrounds had started to crack mostly white monolith of the Humboldt of my youth. In short, things have been in bloom around here for a good while and I couldn't be happier about it.
It is my sincerest hope that this column will help curate your week, maximizing your fun, minimizing your effort hunting that near-mythical rare beast: A Good Time. I want to see people at packed shows, dear reader. I want to see dancing, I want to hear laughter and weeping (when thematically appropriate, hopefully), and I want this area to continue its music scene renaissance.
So I need your help and feedback. Did I miss a good show? Is there a better one coming up? Is my dumb humor going to get me banned from bars? Venue owners and casual readers alike, please let me know what you think.
Finally, I would like to thank my predecessor Andy Powell for doing such a great job on his run here. Kudos, man. I hope I can fill your shoes — or ear plugs, I guess. Actually, no. Shoes.
Portland's greatest Talking Heads cover band Life During Wartime brings the full David Byrne cosplay to Humbrews at 9:30 p.m. with the next best thing to being in Hollywood's Pantanges Theater in December of '83 when Jonathan Demme was filming Stop Making Sense ($15).
If you are looking for something more contemporary (with another 1980s reference point), at 9 p.m. the Miniplex is hosting Chicago's heavy math-rock duo Imelda Marcos. Local keyboard, guitar and big beat prog project Neighbors sit in the middle of the bill and D3D, led by multi-instrumentalist J. Valdez, formerly of White Manna and CV fame, opens ($5).
If you are in the mood for blues music and you enjoy the OG repertoire from the Delta to Chicago, I recommend a trip to the Westhaven Center for the Arts at 7 p.m., where talented local musicians Jim Lahman, Bill Moehnke and Ron Perry will be playing blues numbers from the acoustic to the electric era. Bassist Dale Cash will be there keeping the rhythm section honest, and I can tell you that he is among the finest musicians I have ever heard in my life. Dancing is recommended ($5-$20 sliding scale).
If your tastes trend heavier, the Siren's Song in Eureka has a pretty solid line up. Gravewitch from Bend, Oregon, plays blackened thrash metal while Red Bluff's Novus Orsa serves up technical death riffs. Locals Death Mode Trippers open. This is an all-ages show so it's early at 7 p.m. ($7).
The Arcata Vet's Hall Bar (on the corner of 14th and J streets, downstairs) has been undergoing something of a renaissance lately. Thanks to the efforts of a younger crop of local veterans, there is a brand new beautiful redwood bar in the basement and shows have started to crop up there semi-regularly. Similarly, what started as a wild idea at the Alibi has blossomed into a local institution: The Songwriter Circle of Death is celebrating its 15th gathering at the Vet's Hall Bar at 9 p.m. The format is simple: The artists show up with their chosen acoustic instruments and each play songs ranging from punk to country to blues and bluegrass. Tonight will feature TheBoredAgain (aka a guy named Dave from Eureka who plays punk tunes on his upright bass), Portland transplant Gabe Rozzell and Blue Lake bluegrasser Turtle Goodwater ($3).
The Outer Space in Arcata is putting on a good one tonight for all of you garage and art-punk fans. Oakland's Everyone Is Dirty pull a beautiful and, dare I say, grungy sound from vocals, electric violin, guitar, bass and drums. Meanwhile, openers The Monster Women are garage rock done right and SLOP translates sparkly femme-punk into three languages starting at 7 p.m. ($8).
The Alibi is hosting a benefit show for the Breast Health Awareness Project, a support group for women facing breast or gynecological cancers. Three DJs will be spinning dance music from 11 p.m.: DJ Anya, DJ King Maxwell and DJ Crazy Leggs ($5).
Are you feeling a desire to jam out? Do you enjoy a Phish-y mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation? Vermont-based Twiddle is the show for you tonight at Humbrews at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Monday
Oh boy, he's back. Puppeteer, singer, storyteller, "alien abductee" and Adult Swim channel gadfly David Liebe Hart will be at the Miniplex for a night of multimedia music, comedy and A.I.-uncanny-valley-type weird behavior to support his new album Space Ranger. Years ago I saw his show in New Orleans and had a blast talking to him afterward, during which time he asked me to buy him two root beers (I did) and drew what I can only describe as the least lifelike/most puppet-like drawing of my girlfriend while telling me about space aliens in Hollywood. Backing musician Th' Mole provides sounds to David's visions and local wizardcore master-blaster comedian Dr. Foxmeat opens with a stand-up set at 9 p.m. ($10 in advance, $15 at the door).
Across town and steeper in price, the Van Duzer Theater is hosting internationally acclaimed songwriter, violinist, whistler and all-around fantastic performer Andrew Bird at 7 p.m. ($46, $22 students). This one will likely sell out, for Mr. Bird's broad appeal might be the only thing about him that can outsize his considerable talent.
This is a good evening for free live jazz (not to be confused with "live free-jazz") in a barroom or beer garden. For the latter, head to Blue Lake and the Mad River Brewery taproom at 6 p.m. for the guitar and vocal stylings of Blue Lotus Jazz, a mellow duo that picks out standards and seven-string serenades (free).
For a more fiery jazz trio, go check out the Opera Alley Cats at the Speakeasy in Eureka from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. (free).
Identical twins and multi-instrumentalists Katelyn and Laurie Shook front Portland's indie pop band The Shook Twins. Banjo, electric guitar, and hushed telephonic vocals collide with gentle ambient pops and subtle harmonies to create a very lovely sound. This is roots music with modern songwriting and an emphasis on textures and harmonic innovation. Catch them at Humbrews at 9 p.m. ($15).
Or perhaps you prefer your music to drop the instruments and turn up the bass. The Jam has you covered with their ongoing weekly showcase of all things deep and electronic, Whomp Wednesdays. This week, get whomped by artists Mike iLL, SuDs and Snuffy from 9:30 p.m. to closing time ($TK).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.