May 5, 2005
by BOB DORAN
WHEN I TRACKED DOWN MARC BROWNSTEIN, BASSIST, vocalist, and songwriter for the electronica/jamband Disco Biscuits, he was in a New Jersey studio working on dub plates for the first tour by a Biscuits spin-off called Conspirator [photo at left]. The conspiracy began when Brownstein and D.B. keyboardist Aron Magner joined forces with Omen, the beatmeister from NYC Phaze crew. The result is something new, essentially a recording project assembled on computers for an album to be released this summer.
"Conspirator is an answer to a lot of misgivings that come with being in a jamband," said Brownstein. "When you're in a jamband, everything is improvised, especially with the Disco Biscuits. Anything goes. And that makes for a lot of magical moments and a lot of duds. It's the nature of the beast when you're really going for it, going out on a limb.
"While Disco Biscuits is influenced by electronic music, along with classical music and rock, Conspirator is an electronic act straight-up. We have two synthesizers, a computer with a keyboard, CD turntables and regular turntables and live bass. We play down tempo music, a little bit of trance, drum and bass and a bit of dub, every style of electronic music, and authentic electronic, not improvised live."
The only place the band has played so far is on the Jam Cruise earlier this year. Their show at Six Rivers Brewing Saturday, May 7, is one of just four on a short West Coast tour. Be there.
Catch a blast of indie rock Thursday, May 5, at the Eureka VFW Lounge with noir wave, goth/experimental trio Kill Me Tomorrow returning to town touring behind their latest disc, The Garbageman and The Prostitute from Gold Standard Laboratories (home of Mars Volta). Also on the bill, three fine local combos: Eureka Garbage Co., The Buffy Swayze and Pubic Zirconium.
As you may recall from last week's column, jazzy folkies ThaMuseMeant are at the Sapphire Palace that night with Taarka, but first, on Thursday afternoon (at 4 p.m.) ThaMuseMeant plays a free (all ages) instore at The Metro.
As we go to press there are still a few tickets available for the annual CenterArts appearance by the David Grisman Quartet at the Van Duzer. Mandolinist Grisman and company play "Dawg music," a blend of swing, bluegrass, Latin and jazz styles. Grisman invented it, and he's the undisputed master.
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley returns to the Mateel Friday with a new band, The Empire, playing a mix of dancehall, roots and new school reggae. Be advised, the show is completely sold out.
Also on Friday night, the Eureka Chamber Music Series concludes with a return performance by the San Francisco Opera Singers at Calvary Lutheran with soloists and ensembles singing classic arias and Broadway tunes.
Friday's show at Rumours with local Dead tribute band The Ripple Effect, was probably booked without knowing that Guilty Pleasures would be playing Dead tunes that same night at Six Rivers Brewery. The Rumours show is billed as a benefit for the family of Scott Larner from Dark Star Orchestra, who died recently.
Friday night at the 330 Club it's the duo Mojow aka The Vibration Army, playing loopy political rock. Saturday the 330 rocks with Warp, Eleven and The Shine.
Saturday, May 7, at that rival hipster hangout the Eureka VFW Lounge, it's the triumphant return of Walking Bicycles, who sent me a teaser of their new album with three cool '80s-esque tunes that reminded me of that semi-local '80s band Romeo Void. The Bikes share the bill with Monster Women and the promise of the proverbial "special guests." (I've always thought that would be a good name for a band.)
Down at the Riverwood Inn, the first Humboldt appearance by the female-fronted Bay Area-based blues band Kathleen Cairns and Tattoo Blue.
Blue Ox is calling it the May Day Living History and Artisans Faire, but it's on Saturday, May 7, which is not really May Day. A press release notes that "after 31 years, Blue Ox celebrates the exciting move to its next home!" and that the event is "the last public celebration at its current location," so it is likely your last chance to check out their X Street digs. Funds raised benefit Blue Ox Youth Radio for Humboldt Bay, a low-power station that plans to be on the air sometime soon. In addition to a wide range of traditional crafts in action there's music, most of it on the bluegrass and/or old timey side, including The Compost Mountain Boys, Huckleberry Flint, 2nd Hand Band, Wrangletown and a free-for-all old time jam at the end with players from all those bands and more. And once again you'll find the barbershop quartet Mirth First!, who will be warming up for the annual Humboldt Harmonaires barbershop-apalooza later that night at Eureka High.
Wild Iris and The Weeds play folk music old and new at the Morris Graves Museum Saturday night for Arts Alive! That would be fiddler Judy Hageman and guitarist/vocalist (and trusty lawyer) Cat Koshkin and their "ever-evolving back-up band" currently anchored by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Cleary, whose day job is running local radio mega-corp Lost Coast Communications, Inc.
Saturday in Ferndale it's the annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta (although it's really Siete de Mayo). The event includes a flashy parade down Main Street (starting at 11 a.m.) led by Mariachi Mexicanisimo with costumed dancers from Ferndale Elementary plus Ballet Folklorico de HSU and more.
Some very different choices for Sunday, May 8, Mother's Day: Blue Lake Casino's Sapphire Palace has stellar funk/jazz-jam band The Frequinox including drummer Stanton Moore and bassman Robert Mercurio (Galactic's rhythm section), organist Robert Walter (leader of The 20th Congress), guitarist Will Bernard (leader of Motherbug) and on sax, jazz giant Donald Harrison from The Headhunters. If that not enough enticement they have reggae/New Orleans funk band Papa Mali and the Instagators opening the show.
At Rumours it's underground hip-hop at its best with the Project Blowed 10th Anniversary Tour featuring Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Busdriver, DJ Drez and many more.
On the classical side you have the Humboldt Bay Brass Band at Fulkerson Recital Hall with the 24-piece British-style band celebrating the release of their first CD. Meanwhile over at the Van Duzer it's master pianist Garrick Ohlsson, an American who won the Chopin International Piano Competition back in 1970.
Or if mom's in the mood for something on the alt. side, there's post folk from Italy by Franklin Delano at the Alibi with Colin opening.
Six Rivers Brewery cooks next week beginning Monday, May 9, with the Mike Keneally Band led by the guitarist who was part of the musical madness in Frank Zappa's last band.
Then on Wednesday at Six Rivers it's String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth, who is touring behind his new solo album, Never Odd or Even, an eclectic collection of tunes showing his jazz roots, ranging from fusion to Meters-esque funk with side trips to gospel on "The Bridge" and one track, "The Preacher" that could be an out-take from the Eno/Byrne classic My Life In the Bush of Ghosts. Dave Watts from The Motet provides dead-on rhythms throughout, and yes, he's part of the touring band.
The CenterArts season concludes
at the Van Duzer that same night with Native Voices featuring
an unusual pairing of masters: ethereal Southwestern wooden flute
player R. Carlos Nakai and Hawaiian slack key guitarist
Keola Beamer, whose guitar playing seems to be influenced
by the rolling waves of the Pacific. The combination could go
either way: somnambulant or sublime.
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