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Feb. 10, 2005

The Hum


Photo and headline -- Little Feat

SUNDAY, FEB. 13, CELEBRATE VALENTINE'S Eve at Blue Lake Casino's new Sapphire Palace where Little Feat [photo above] rocks the night away. Founded in 1969 by a couple of ex-Mothers (of Invention), from the start the band created an uncompromising rock amalgam drawing on the basic strains of American music: blues, jazz and country.

Keyboardist Bill Payne, who joined forces with ex-Mother Lowell George and a couple of his friends to form the band, described the initial Feat sound as "weird and diverse a combination of show tunes, Mothers, Fugs, Holy Modal Rounders kind of stuff [with] influence from The Band, Leon Russell, Bob Dylan (of course). We were trying to figure out what we were doing. We're still trying to figure it out."

The critics loved them and they converted an army of dedicated fans, but they didn't exactly sell millions of records. Sidetracked temporarily by the death of George in 1979, the Feat rose again in the '80s and they've been sailing along ever since, picking up converts along the way, lately using the Net ( to pull in the jamband crowd. This is the first big show in the Sapphire (not counting the New Year's opening or the Aussie hunks), and I've heard the place is a jewel. Should be a great night.

Monday is Valentine's Day, a day for lovers, for chocolates -- and for music -- whatever sort your Valentine enjoys. For some, jazz is the choice, and with that in mind, Legacy: The Landscape Connection presents "A Love Connection," an evening of jazz, food and sweets at the Big Blue Café on the Arcata Plaza with trumpeter Michel Navedo, pianist Matthew Dowd and bassist Shao Way Wu providing the soundtrack. In case you were wondering, Legacy: TLC is an Arcata-based nonprofit showing love for Mother Earth by promoting biodiversity through eco-mapping.

Meanwhile at Muddy Waters, it's "A Love Supreme" with an ad hoc jazz combo performing Coltrane's classic plus a few other lovely tunes.

Or if you're feeling less than romantic, and not in the mood for jazz, you might opt for the "Black Heart Anti-Valentine's Party" at Six Rivers Brewery where the karaoke machine will be stocked with breakup songs.

The Humboldt Folklife Society celebrates V-Day with a house concert in Blue Lake Monday featuring old time banjo master Frank Lee, formerly of The Freight Hoppers, and fiddler Adam Tanner, a reformed indie rocker (from a band called Grotus) who rediscovered old timey.

The show follows "Roses and Shamrocks," a Saturday, Feb. 12, Folklife event at Arcata Yoga Center (above the plaza) with Matt and Shannon Heaton (who seem to be very much in love) playing Irish music with roots in Americana.

And there's more folkish music Friday, Feb. 11, at the Red Radish: Jim Malcolm, the fine Scottish singer/songwriter from Old Blind Dogs, plus Celtic music from locals Scatter the Mud led by Seabury Gould.

The Eureka Chamber Music Series at Calvary Lutheran Church has two big concerts coming up: first on Friday, Feb. 11, the Avalon String Quartet, a young ensemble from New York City with members from France, Belgium, Japan and Canada, perform lovely music by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mendelssohn. Then on Tuesday, Feb. 22, it's the return of the award-winning Pacifica Quartet.

There's another Arts! Arcata this Friday and along with a few splashes of art here and there, you can hear a lot of music. Among those around the plaza: David Isley plays various stringed things at Rookery Books; guitarist Bob Billstrom and Margaret Branch are at Spiral of Life Wellness behind Philip's Camera; postmodern bluesman Catfish Kuhn is at Grandma B's Fudge; Glenn Smith plays guitar at Simply Macintosh; Maigen Weckerly sings at North Soles Footwear; Mike McLaren brings Darkrain to Moonrise Herbs; and last but by far from least, it's the official KHUM Blend CD release party at the Metro with Kulica in the groove. While it's not exactly related to Arts! Arcata, Old Man Clemins plays that funky music down the way at Muddy Waters that night.

And about the time the art lovers head home, the music kicks in at Mazzotti's with The Ziggens and Sound of Urchin rocking into the wee hours. The Ziggens got their start in the early '90s down in O.C. playing a twangy mix of punk and surf rock they call "cowpunksurfabilly," always injecting a note of humor into the proceedings. S. of U. is another from the comedic school of rock, but with a harder edge, drawing on rap and metal.

The blues just keep rolling at the Riverwood with the Earl Thomas Band stopping off Friday night on their way to a prestigious gig in S.F. at the Boom Boom Room, the late John Lee Hooker's club. Coming up: Maria Muldaur and the Red Hot Bluesiana Band on Feb. 19 (advance tickets on sale) and John Lee Hooker Jr. Feb. 26, then watch for Norton Buffalo returning in March and Little Charlie in April.

It's benefit time again with more Boxing Day tsunami relief events, first, "Localpalooza," Thursday Feb. 10, at College of the Redwoods, with hard-rockers Top Dead Center (winners of last summer's big Battle of the Bands), plus alien surf-zombie rockers Los Bandidos Muertos and Arcata's primate flingers Ape Launcher. Then next weekend it's "From Humboldt with Love," a tsunami benefit, at Bayside Grange Feb. 18, with half-a dozen bands plus an art auction and food (more on that one next week). BTW, if your band has missed the relief wave, HSU's Associated Students are looking for musicians to play a tsunami show in March. Interested? Contact Nicole at

More benefit news: the hardworking Clint Warner Band and special guest Karen Dumont blues it up at the Bayside Grange Friday, Feb. 11, helping to raise funds for the Youth Service Bureau. Then on Saturday, Clint, Karen, "Jimi" Jeff Robinson, and their respective bands, join forces for "Musicians Supporting Future Musicians," a concert at Eureka High in support of the school's music program. Clint and his band also play the blues later that night at the Blue Lake Casino (the EHS show starts early), and as you may recall, they lead the Blue Collar Jam Wednesdays at the 535 Nightclub; Jimi and friends lead another jam Thursdays at Sal's Off-Broadway.

Humboldt's veteran bluegrass outfit, the Compost Mountain Boys, now in their 13th year, play that old time music at the Fortuna Monday Club, Saturday, Feb. 12. "It's a fun gig, a great room to play," says CMB mando-man Sean Bohannon, adding, "We're happy they were nice enough to invite us back." You can also catch the Boys Thursday, Feb. 10, at Humboldt Brews where they've been regulars for quite some time.

Saturday at Humboldt Brews, it's a different twist on mandolin, with Que La Chinga, who do not play bluegrass. Joining them are kindred spirits The Rubberneckers, whose singer, Clay, claims he is "not a journalist," although his scintillating insights have been appearing in print on a semi-regular basis in that other paper.

The local boys in Slewfoot String Band don't use a mandolin in "slewgrass," their take on old timey music, but it has that mountain feel. Catch them Saturday night at Six Rivers or Sunday, Feb. 13, when they play the Alibi with the excellent Portland-based country-punk-blues duo Hillstomp.

Mark your calendar: Actor Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong and Operation Pipe Dreams fame, comes to the Eureka Theater Saturday, April 16, to perform The Marijuana-Logues, a play in the style of The Vagina Monologues about that substance that made Chong (and Humboldt) infamous.Tickets on sale now.


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