Gather 'round, children and transplants, and let us tell you of the dark days of yesteryear, 2001 to 2003 to be precise, when the fair city of Arcata was under siege by a police chief who dreamed of creating his very own Bomont — a town where dancing was outlawed and live music was a thing wrought from demon hands. The citizens of Arcata despaired of ever knowing the catharsis of being in a dark bar delivering themselves to the gods of rock 'n' roll.
And then, lo! The heavy-handed police chief resigned and Alibi owner Justin Ladd hied to City Hall to acquire a live music permit — and it was good. Thus, Ian Hiler began booking bands — and it was also good.
'Twas Thursday, June 12, 2003, that the Alibi hosted its first night of live music, with mountain-metal masters The Hitch and garage kings The Letdown.
Exactly one year later, Dragged by Horses opened for the Japanese psych-blues band DMBQ. Now Roshawn Beere and Steve Bohner, former members of The Hitch, and Pablo Midence, former front-man for Dragged by Horses, comprise three-quarters of Lord Ellis (with Andy Sorter filling out the band on electric piano).
And it is this very Lord Ellis that opens the 12-year anniversary celebration at the Alibi on Saturday at 11 p.m., $5, 21-and-over.
But these aristocrats of heavy sound are not the only historical artifacts, nay! The past continues to spin into the present. It was on March 18, 2004, that MooM — featuring Colin Begell on guitar and vocals, Andy "Boom Boom" Powell on bass, Ryan Brodie on lap steel and Brian Godwin on drums — debuted at The Alibi. And MooM begat Rasper begat Strix Vega, who descended into the Alibi on June 25, 2005, and it was most wonderfully good. In 2007, Jay Forbes, he of the perpetual smile, replaced Godwin and the band continues to bless the faithful and uninitiated alike with spacy instrumentals and heartwrenching alt-folk. And it is this very Strix Vega that will shepherd the anniversary celebration into the wee hours, the magic hours, the hours at which we can only imagine that bitter old police chief tossing in his bed, nightmares of people having fun undoing him. And thus we give thanks unto Hiler for serving as the tireless conduit to so much fantastic, heavy, wild, beautiful, rockin' bands all these years.