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Jan. 27, 2005


The Hum


Photo and headline -- LateefRAPPER LATEEF THE TRUTH SPEAKER AND PRODUCER/BEATMEISTER Chief Xcel, collectively know as Maroons, have a new disc, Ambush, full of passionate political rants including one titled "If," that ends with a question posed by a radio journalist: "How can we better use hip h-p as a tool?"

A tool for what? "A tool for change," said Lateef [photo at left] when I called him at this pad in Oakland. "I think to better use it as a tool, people have to be prepared to speak their minds, and speak the truth. They have to be true to themselves in doing that and not be so concerned about record sales or radio that they forget the fact that when hip-hop star-ed one of the main functions was to be a ghetto CNN not ruled by money or censorship laws."

Lateef brings his version of the truth to The Depot at HSU Tuesday, Feb. 1 as part of Quannum Project Vol. 3 also featuring stars from the East and West Coast underground, Mr. Lif, The Perceptionists, DJ Thanksgiving Brown and Chocwon.

Thursday, Jan. 27, at the Placebo, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, a dangerous country punk trio from Pensacola, Fla., along with anti-authoritarian punks Winston Smith, who, as you may recall, ironically endorsed G.W.'s successful campaign for prez.

That night at Six Rivers Brewery The Sweatshop Band from Moscow, Idaho, jams together funk, rock, reggae and bluegrass creating some sort of tribal discograss. And remember, it's also day two of Ozomatli's double dose of funky Latin hip-hop at Mazzotti's.

Über-multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, aka Mr. Polyester, returns to Humboldt County Friday, Jan. 28, for an intimate solo gig at the Garberville Theater, with SoHum eco-activist/singer-songwriter Francine Allen opening the show. Dave is also part of the stellar lineup announced for the 10th annual Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival, coming up June 24-26 down at Black Oak Ranch. Among the others on the bill at Kate Wolf: Donovan, Richard Thompson, the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, the Campbell Brothers with Eric Bibb, Greg Brown and his wife Iris Dement, Rosalie Sorrels and of course, Kate's old friend, Nina Gerber.

Formerly local bluesman/songwriter Thad Beckman breezes in on a cold wind from Oregon for a Friday evening "Winter Beach Party" with old friends at Merryman's Beach House. Among the friends, drummer Danny Montgomery qui est toujours en France of late. Danny called me a couple of days ago with sad news: bassman Matt the Cat, a key player on the local blues scene for many years, died last week. There's a memorial jam for Matt Friday night at Rumours with the door going to a fund for his kids. Still more blues that night: the ever-soulful Karen Dumont Electric Blues Band at the Blue Lake Casino.

Friday night at the Metro, The Crooks celebrate City of Rats, their new 5-song 7-inch on Noma Records, described by the label as "kick ass punk rock with some skate rock/metal thrown in for good measure."

At Muddy Waters, catch drummer Pete Ciotti and friends, including Michel Navedo, Bowen Commings and Pete's Nucleus bandmate, Piet Dalemolen. Pete tells me, "The first set will be an indie rock kind of experiment with covers from The Pixie's, Radiohead and Wilco, with me on guitar, Bowen on drums and Michel on bass, all instruments we don't usually play. The second set we will return to our regular instruments and experiment with dub, trance, and funk."

Somewhere out in Blue Lake Friday night there's a house concert by Scatter the Mud, featuring multi-instrumentalist Seabury Gould playing traditional music of Ireland with fiddler/piper Michael Pearce, accordionista Erica Carlson, Alan Morden on mandolin, guitar and bodhran and Suzanne Friend on whistle.

At Humboldt Brews, Spudgun plays "interesting" kinetic music in a rock vein. The band's guitarist/mixer-master Duane Flatmo has been enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. In the wake of doing his thing chez Leno, Flatmo was offered another shot at TV fame, this time a slot on Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge with a $10,000 prize in the balance. "Steve Harvey was one of the Kings of Comedy," Flatmo explained. "The show is kind of a cross between Ed Sullivan and The Gong Show," with six "interesting" guests doing various tricks. Flatmo was first up, as "Mixer Guitar Player" followed by Nick, the Frisbee Dog, and later, a Christian bodybuilder who broke a flaming 2x4 with his head. Little Richard was among the judges. Catch the action on the WB Network (Channel 31 on Cox Cable) this Sunday night at 9 p.m.

Flatmo is also extending his graphic grip on Humboldt County: Watch for new additions to his vast mural collection including one on the new Co-op in Eureka, another wall on Pierson's, and his biggest yet, coming soon right on 101. You'll also find one of his cartoon-cubist musicians on the cover of the soon-to-be released KHUM Blend: Live From the KHUM Studio Vol. 1, a collection of 16 tunes benefiting the annual "Stop the Violence" campaign.

By chance Blend Vol. 1, includes tracks by four artists appearing this week (and one by Dave Alvin who was just here). One-man-jam-band Keller Williams, who plays at the Van Duzer Saturday, Jan. 29, offers his "Skitzo" (which is also on his latest live double-disc, Stage) segueing into the fast-moving travel tale, "Moving Sidewalk." Kulica's Blend cut is the lazy "Sleep All Day," which they may do after sharing a Saturday night gig at the Red Radish with fellow Blue Lakers The Rubberneckers, especially if they hit The Logger with the bad boys. Blend also includes a fiddle jig by Natalie MacMaster (playing Thursday, Jan, 27 at the Van Duzer) and a bluesy cover of the T-Rex classic "Bang a Gong" by Earl Thomas, who sings with Kin People on Sunday at Muddy Waters and, according to Pollstar, will be joining Jimi Jeff and company at Sal's Off Broadway on Thursday, Jan. 27.

Ponche plays AfroCuban salsa for dancers at Six Rivers Brewery Saturday, Jan. 29. At Rumours it's hip-hop "Soap B-x Sessions" with Opti-pop, Megabusive and The Dirty Rats. The folk/blues duo known as Dukes of Ted play a benefit for the Sustainable Arts and Music Fest at Muddy Waters. And at Humboldt Brews, the Hardin Thomas Band plays bluesy Americana with Chocolate Soup opening.

A busy weekend at HSU also includes a Van Duzer show Sunday Jan. 30, by Leo Kottke, a groundbreaking acoustic guitar virtuoso who started melding folk, jazz and classical back in the '60s foreshadowing the Windham Hill guitar sound.

535 Nightclub becomes Zion on Tuesday, Feb. 1, with a blast of tribal/electro/industrial/techno music including a set by Attrition featuring British dark electronica pioneer Martin Bowes, and a set by Kush Arora, up from Berkeley with a driving mix of Punjabi bhangra and Jamaican dancehall processed through an industrial dub blender. Check his latest: Underwater Jihad. DJ Bat keeps the dance floor burning before and in-between.

Tuesday at Six Rivers Brewery, or Wednesday at Muddy Waters you can spend an evening with Victor Barnes, a band from Colorado that does not include anyone by the name of Victor. Like the early Que La Chinga they call their music "insurgent bluegrass," although here it's a bit more accurate since they have fiddle and banjo along with mandolin -- in this case the insurgent is a drummer.

Blue Lake Casino, where they typically have DJ Hal spinning Wednesdays, has Something Different this coming Feb. 2, as in the noodle-riffic local jammers. That same night Six Rivers Brewery features Jamaican dancehall legend Everton Blender backed by the Reggae Angels.

The following night, Thursday, Feb. 3, again at Six Rivers Brewery, it's the young blues/folk/rock phenom Jackie Green. More on that show next time, I'm out of space and outta here.


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