Can you feel it? No, not the rain in the air, although we'll be pleased if the forecast at this writing has manifested into a wet reality by the time you read this. I'm talking about the lethargy of the holidays giving way to a renewed sense of things happening, Humboldt. Live music options are less sparse than they were last week and promising to ramp back up to normal with the oncoming return of HSU's students. Let's take a look.
As mentioned last week, Full Moon Fever — Humboldt County's excellent Tom Petty tribute band — performs in the Blue Lake Casino's Wave Lounge. Full Moon Fever features Humboldt musicians nearly as beloved as Petty himself. Piet Dalmolen, Pete Ciotti, Pat Quinn and Jay Forbes join together to offer you a chance to sing along to "American Girl." It's cathartic and worth trekking through the casino to experience.
Making the night even better, the other most worthwhile show happening Friday night is also in Blue Lake. Joining locals The Trouble is The Desert Line, a dreamy, elegant, post-Americana duo out of San Francisco comprised of keyboardist/singer Patricia Pauchnick and guitarist/singer Jason Phillips. They ride the line between indie and folk. Expect the live action to be rocked up a bit due to the addition of multi-instrumentalist Samuel Kaplan-Good. Should be a sweet little show.
Both gigs are free, start at 9 p.m. and are open to those 21-and-over.
Here's one for those under 21 and everyone of any age who finds pleasure in a) new music; b) minimalist indie groove punk ethos; c) bands that are both talented and self-deprecating; d) all of the above. Talking about K Records artist Chain and the Gang (with The Shivas and The Wild Lungs). The psypop band promises "martial rhythms, minimal riffs with maximum fuzz, bass throbs, shrieks, shouts, mutters and confessions, as well as bewitching call and response tunes to make any indentured work force proud." In fact, they say, you can depend on it — a reference to the band's third album, Depend. The gig takes place at the Ink Annex at 8 p.m. and deserves your attendance. Not only because it's going to be good, but because Humboldt struggles to host these sort of indie rock bands — people will throw down for reggae, hip-hop, EDM and jammy jam bands, but the life force infusion that new, young, innovative touring musicians can provide is rarely properly appreciated. /lecture
Sure to be a crowd-pleaser, American Nomad is a new acoustic group out of the Bay Area music scene. Rooted in Americana and folk/swing styles with smart songwriting, catchy rhythms, opulent harmonies and tight musicianship, American Nomad's songs descend from the troubadour tradition of drawing from travel and life experience. The band plays at the Arcata Playhouse with trio Fire Sign, a Humboldt-based band drawing inspiration from folk, pop and contemporary country music, with occasional bluegrass in the mix. Cover is $12, show is all ages and things get rolling around 8 p.m.
Oh, sure, it's Monday night, but you're a good American so you will go see Whitey Morgan & the 78s at Humboldt Brews. "Who is Whitey Morgan?" you ask. Let me tell you! Whitey Morgan is a honky-tonk artist from Flint, Michigan, where the factories are closed, jobs are scarce and the people are bitter. (Flint was featured in Roger and Me, Michael Moore's 1989 documentary on the effects of the auto plant closures.) Country enough to write lyrics about a character in a bar who's just been cut off — "I told him I ain't drunk/Hell I've just been drinking/I started 5 in the afternoon/Lord about three days ago/Ever since my baby left me/This old heart of mine's been sinking/But I ain't drunk/I've just been drinking" — and cool enough to be featured on Seattle's new public radio music powerhouse KEXP, Whitey Morgan & the 78s are as real deal as real gets. Tickets are $10, music starts at 9 p.m. and the show's 21-and-over.
If Monday night music isn't enough for you, great news! You've got two, count 'em, two gigs to chose from on a Tuesday night. First, Wil Blades, San Francisco Bay Area's first call organist, debuts his new trio at the Jambalaya. Blades has been named in the Downbeat critics poll under "Rising Star" for organ every year since 2006, keeping the established sounds of Jimmy Smith, Larry Young and "Groove" Holmes alive, while adding his own spark to the fire. In his fast-rising career, Blades has performed and recorded with John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker, Karl Denson, Will Bernard, Herbie Lewis and so many others, it would take this entire page to list them all. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., cover is $10, age is 21-and-over.
Over at Arcata Playhouse, the American roots band Red Molly returns in support of the band's latest effort, Light in the Sky. This upbeat, energetic female trio delivers lush, distinctive three-part harmonies with vocals reminiscent of Natalie Merchant and Patty Griffin. Doors open at 7 p.m., music starts at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $18 general, $16 Playhouse and Humboldt Folklife Society members, and are available at Wildwood Music, Wildberries or 822-1575.
Reggae On The River 2014 takes place Friday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3. All tickets include camping and are priced at $190 for the three-day concert and camping pass or $250 for the four-day early arrival concert and camping pass. A limited number of hard tickets will also be held back for local outlets in Humboldt, Mendocino and Sonoma counties and these sales will begin on Feb. 1. Note that there will be no single day tickets offered this year.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Send your show info and high-res photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope it's raining.