Music » The Setlist

Land of Living People



Well, here we are, a few blinks away from the halfway mark of 2022. At least that's how it seems to me, though I've been reckoning time very oddly this year. Things seem to be speeding up while staying in place. Nationally, there's a sense of acceleration in stagnation, as if the engine is overheating on a mudbound machine. Here in Humboldt, we are the locus for the ongoing problem of economic gentrification. The number of people in my age cohort who have shifted their lamentations from being unable to find an affordable starter home to being unable to afford the mortgage-sized rents is terrifying and doesn't bode well for the future of this county. I don't want Humboldt to become like the rest of the state but, unfortunately, the NIMBYs who are parked on the last of the land and wealth from the boom times have a lot more pull. I mention these concerns because a lot of the young people who share them with me are musicians. I speak to a lot of musicians. And let me tell you, when the musicians can't afford the rent, it messes with my beat, too. And things get lousy real quick-like. There's a reason why San Francisco, for instance, doesn't have the same vibrant and youthful music scene it once had, and it isn't because the kids aren't creative these days. We need affordable housing because beyond being a human right, it's also a tremendous boon to our art and music scene. The saddest place in the universe is the giant room where all the art that could have been but wasn't, due to economic strains and poverty, decays in permanent obscurity. Ours is a land of living people, rich in community in a way that is incalculable, but it can so easily become just a wayside stopping point for tourism, vacation homes and the idle rich. Let's all lend a hand to make a brighter future here, eh? Cheers.


It's the season of nice weather, which means that you can expect music on Thursdays in Pierson Park. Sturdy and reliable, nuts-and-bolts, surf-tinged rock act Band O Loko are your groove ambassadors this evening, beginning at 6 p.m. No entrance money needed at the public park.


Canary and the Vamp sure has been out and about a lot lately, poking its head out of the necessary slumber of the last two years. And with the addition of Aleister Paige on pedal steel, the sound has never been better. Come see for yourself tonight at the Siren's Song at 8 p.m. (free). Idle Spurs, that country and blues trio that we all love, is also on the bill.


Philly noise pop act Empath is playing at the Miniplex tonight, presumably touring in support of its latest release Visitor on Fat Possum Records, Visitor at 8:30 p.m. ($15, $12 advance). The album's tune "Born 100 Times" is a pretty good example of what kind of shenanigans the group is up to. If you like bands like Deerhoof and Modest Mouse, you'll probably dig these folks. Local synth wunderkind Hudson Glover provides support.


Humboldt Hot Air has teamed up with Richard's Goat to present a very special show tonight at the Arcata Playhouse at 8 p.m. ($30). W.I.T.C.H. (We Intend to Cause Havoc) was a very popular band in its home country of Zambia in the 1970s, blending the prevailing hard rock sounds of the era with more traditional Zambian music for a unique and popular sound. Now, decades later and thanks to a resurgence of interest based on a series of record reissues, frontman Jagari Chanda has resurrected the act with a new lineup. Also sharing the stage is Swiss sextet L'├ęclair, whose jammy grooves evoke the long-lost and beloved sounds of classic krautrock from yesteryear


As so happens during this time of the year, when school's out and many of the county's non-permanent population is elsewhere enjoying the fleeting promises of a youthful summer, there's not too much going on tonight. That's OK; enjoy your Monday some other way. Might I suggest a screening of Edgar Wright's excellent 2021 documentary The Sparks Brothers? It's about one of the greatest bands the state of California has ever produced. Nothing wrong with a little feel-good music.


It's another edition of Terrapin Tuesday at the Siren's Song Tavern. At 8 p.m., a group of like-minded musicians gather to flesh out a jam that's 100 percent dedicated to the music of The Grateful Dead. If that's of interest to you, you now know the where and the when, and as far as I know, the entrance is free.


New Zealander Dion Lunadon is known for majorly rocking out in a variety of bands, most famously The D4 in his native land as well as New York City's space-rock revivalists A Place to Bury Strangers. Tonight he brings his solo act to the Miniplex, where I expect he'll be performing a celebration of the high energy, far-out side of underground rock music at 8 p.m. ($12). Should be a great show.

Collin Yeo (he/him) was born too late to own a house and too early to work as an indentured servant on an asteroid mine, but just in time for the golden age of American decay. He lives in Arcata.

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