Music » The Setlist

The Slough Man's Song



This time of year, I like to savor the sun as much as possible, even if it's perpetually hanging too low in the sky and blinding me as I zip around the landscape in its brief presence. I have a spot I go to, a favorite slough, where I watch the birds in the slow, inscrutable and murky water that seems to move in a way that defies the basic laws of nature, curling and crossing its own currents with an intelligence and independent will. Zoning out at the water helps me relax from the problems in my life, largely seated in the house of my head. It also allows me the opportunity to think about a life measured in a speed that isn't calculated in miles per hour, romantic thrills or the balance of my bank account. Once I get home and sit down to write, I usually have a breezier disposition, all thanks to the slough, with some credit reserved for the sun, if it happens to be out that day. I'll put on some music, either without vocals or in a foreign language so my wires don't get crossed at the keyboard, and fire something out. Today I listened to a bunch of Bollywood soundtracks from the last century, an itch I like to scratch when I want melodies to sing along to without linguistic meaning (at least for me). Speaking of soundtracks, pour one out for Angelo Badalamenti, the humble, genius composer who brought us the greatest addition to the work of David Lynch that isn't Kyle MacLachlan. He passed on Sunday at the age of 85. The bass-driven, Fender Rhodes sound that he developed for the music of Twin Peaks lives in my heart forever. RIP. Have a nice week.


Oryan Peterson-Jones is playing a solo set of primitive Americana guitar music at the Humboldt Bay Social Club this evening at 6 p.m. This free show ushers in a new era of live music at the club, where such events have been sparse for the last couple of years because of you know why. An hour later at the Van Duzer Theatre, you can enjoy the holiday wonder of Tomáseen Foley's "A Celtic Christmas," a program that features dance, music and storytelling in the rural Irish tradition ($40 general, $20 children, $15 CPH students).


The local yacht-rock/smooth jazz/hip funster band Conman Bolo has been entertaining the 707 since the kids were all still music majors at what is now called Cal Poly Humboldt. But much like the name of that institution, the only constant in life is change, and all good things must come to an end. It seems that most of the members are shipping off from our charming backwater to try their odds at the industry in the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles. If you'd like a last chance to hear the band do its thing, come over to the Miniplex tonight at 8 p.m. to catch a whiff. Palm Springs' Javie Bahama opens ($5-$10 sliding scale). If you want more of an EDM experience tonight, the Jam has you covered, with Arcane Artists' second annual Wicked Winter night. The bill includes GMNIITE, DVINITY, Vagabond Dancers and more. 9:30 p.m. ($15-$18, $10 early bird). There's also a sexy Santa contest, so think about that when digging through your wardrobe.


The Logger Bar has a free show at 8 p.m. for anyone who enjoys garage and surf rock and wants to see local talent do it right. Guitar and drum duo Big Mahoff will be joined by Former Chimps and The Flying Hellfish. Come break off a piece.

Two Arcata gigs at the same time within crawling distance from each other sounds about right for Saturday night. The Griffin is sadly getting shuttered soon but you have one last chance to dance to the music of DJ Knutz and associates at 9 p.m. (free). I always enjoyed this bar, and have seen friends and family perform in its intimate space. RIP. Meanwhile, over at Humbrews at the same hour, all you Zappa-heads can check out the Stinkfoot Orchestra featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock. Who are they? Why a group of mostly Bay Area musicians dedicated to playing the sounds of the late master. Mr. Brock was the sax, flute and singer for some of Zappa's best '70s records, including "Zoot Allures," with a tune called "Wonderful Wino" that has always tickled my rotten guts ($25).


Here are a couple of matinee shows to round out your Sunday. At 2 p.m. at the Arcata Playhouse, it's your last chance to catch the production of (take a big breath) The Ballad of Flint Westward and the Five Who Made Their Way. This play has it all: dancing, musical numbers, the Blue Lake choir, a rickety old-time feel with bygone local flavor. However, due to the recent uptick of COVID cases that caused the cancellation of earlier showings, masks are mandatory to get inside the playhouse ($12).

Elseways down the road and an hour later at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, you can catch some afternoon jazz brought to you by Nice 'n Easy, a group with deep roots in the area. A suggested donation of $5 will be much obliged.


Not a lot is happening in this specific time and place, however, today is the 179th anniversary of the publication of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, possibly the most famous literary representation of the English fascination with telling ghost stories around the Yuletide. Perhaps now is a perfect evening to reacquaint yourself with this gem.


In the interest of filling in some space on the dead end of the week, while also showcasing a venue that doesn't get much sunshine in this column, I'm going to recommend checking out the Drinking and Thinking Trivia Night with Davey G over at Gyppo Ale Mill down south county way. It's an hour long, begins at 6:30 p.m., and it is probably about as amusing as any other bar trivia night, but in a more rural setting.


Last chance to check out the local makers pop-ups that have been happening at Richards' Goat on Wednesdays starting at 5 p.m. This week's featured artist is Aromageddon, a Black and queer-owned consortium that specializes in aromatherapy themed around the apocalypse, to make the stink of a dying planet more tolerable. Seems like a bull market for that concept.

Collin Yeo (he/him) has a mild case of the Humboldt crud, so his voice sounds like a Las Vegas croupier on the back nine of his career. He lives in Arcata.

Add a comment