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Boom Times



This week's headline might be a little sarcastic and only half-referencing what will undoubtedly be a spectacular fireworks display on Monday evening. Many people are really hurting and upset right now. It's hard to look at the disorder in our world and find much hope. As someone who could be referred to as a "geriatric millennial," (although I prefer "Oregon Trail millennial"), I am perhaps a little more used to the bad times than some of my fellow citizens, having known mostly bad times since the first election I could vote in was obviated by a partisan Supreme Court. My adult life has been set against a series of crises and calamities, and if you don't believe me, perhaps I'll tell you the story about seeing my home on the news during Hurricane Katrina sometime. Things increasingly breaking down and not working for us is my generation's normal, and the cold comfort from that is a kind of resilience that is a little deeper than the static blur of ironic detachment we wall ourselves behind. While I do enjoy pissing some people off for what I believe are the right reasons, I also believe in community — perhaps the only thing that has ever and will ever save us. I'll be thinking about that on this long Independence weekend, and, rather than celebrating freedom in the abstract, I'll be thinking of the freedoms of expression, solidarity, community and that great ultimate one: Peace.

Look after each other.


Seattle's Hell Baby has a punk adjacent, post-Riot Grrl sound that will doubtless appeal to many in our local alternative and punk community. Other applicable nouns to consider would be "garage," and "pop rock." Tonight, the group brings itself down the coast a wee bit to land at the Siren's Song Tavern at 8:30 p.m., where it will be sharing the stage with local heroes Clean Girl and the Dirty Dishes and Think Tank ($5). This should be a good one and a nice pre-game set for the long weekend.


Canary and the Vamp is sure getting out there a lot these days. Which is good, for as I have mentioned in this space before, Humboldt's finest Tin Pan Alley troubadours have never sounded better than with the current lineup, thanks in part to the expanded instrument array of front lady Beverly Twist (who among other accouterments has been playing a mean trumpet), as well as the addition of pedal steel dynamo Aleister Paige. If you want to see the band play in a setting most befitting of its charming, golden torch song-era style, then tonight's 8 p.m. show is the one. North Coast Repertory Theatre is the perfect venue for this act, with its intimate, mini-amphitheater seating and nice acoustics ($15).


The long, patriotic weekend is upon us and no matter how you feel about the notion of celebrating America's current iteration, a long summer weekend is still a welcome thing. I'm going to pad today's events out a bit, as there are some empty spots later in the holiday that will doubtless be filled with some mixture of explosions, fun in the water and the sun, and some form of epicurean excess. Let's start in Sohum, shall we? If your daytripping has taken you out to beautiful Briceland Road and beyond, consider a stop at the Gyppo Ale Mill, where Oryan Peterson-Jones will be peddling his solo folk-Americana act for free starting at 5 p.m.

Up north, there are some goodies, too. During Arts Alive starting at 6 p.m., you can find the return of Radio Clash, that post punk and gothic dance party helmed by DJs Anya, Ratrace and Zero One over at 215 C St. in Old Town. This used to be a regular institution at the Alibi and was usually a banger.

Over at the Arcata Veterans Hall, there's a noisy one happening at 7:30 p.m. ($10). Bellingham, Washington's The Sheen are a trio of polyrhythmic tone weirdos who play some genuinely unsettling grooves. Joining these fellas is local power trio par excellence The Sturgeons, whose last show at the Vet's Hall was nothing short of a triumph. This one should be packed.

Finally, if you still have it in you to look for more aural stimulation, Humbrews is hosting a show with two of Arcata's more accomplished smooth soundmakers. Conman Bolo is teaming up with The California Poppies at 9 p.m. for the kind of line-up that will make you think you are driving a custom shaggin' wagon through Ventura in the mid 1970s with the FM radio turned all the way up ($15, $10 advance). Mids scooped and bass and treble blaring right as the saxophone hits. Bliss.


Honestly? Go to the river. Get some water time in before the algae blooms.

Monday, Independence Day

Well it's the big barbecue, explosions-in-the-sky-day. I'd suggest enjoying the fireworks over the bay and keeping an eye out on your neighborhood fur friends. This can often be their own little private D-Day. I know I'll be keeping an eye on my kitties and grabbing the hose if I see the unsanctioned mortars getting too close to the roofline.


Word Humboldt continues its excellent open mic at Northtown Coffee, where many of the featured poets of late have been of an unusually good quality. The whole thing is free, all ages, friendly to all and starts at 6 p.m.


The Jam has a newish dance night that it's been pushing pretty hard to fill the void left by a certain EDM-celebrating, "whomp" night of yesteryear. The Wednesday Ting is curated by DJ Pressure and DJ D'Vinity, and built to pump out sounds from the world of reggae, dancehall and Afrobeat. The music starts at 9:30 p.m. and I believe that there is no cover to get in the door.

Collin Yeo (he/him) would like to ask the same question that Ray Davies of The Kinks did in 1965: "Where have all the good times gone?" He lives in Arcata.

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