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Conundrums 

Crunchy autumnal sounds

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November is a troublesome month. On one hand, you might be trying to recover from October indulgence and saving up for December holiday madness. On the other, local partying options aren't slowing down one whit.

Thursday: Dynamite drums

For example, percussive masters Steel Standing release Fine Line at the Arcata Playhouse tonight. The album features band member originals, the usual fine funky arrangements and a very big sound, and it's yours included with the $15 cover charge. Also included, dancing by Samba Quente. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8:30 p.m. All ages.

Friday: Dream factory

Do you like to sing along to the same songs you've been air-guitaring to since high school? Perfect! KWPT Classic Covers Contest and Birthday Party showcases the area's top three contest finalists at Humboldt Brews starting at 9 p.m. Cover for the covers is $5, show is 21-and-over.

In other keeping-the-past-alive events, the Environmental Protection Information Center celebrates the present and looks to the future of forest protection with the advocacy group's 37th annual Fall Celebration Dinner for the Wild featuring SF-based House of Floyd at the Mateel Community Center. If you want to do the whole shebang, replete with four-course dinner, tickets are $50 advance, $60 at the door, with a start time of 6:15 p.m. For music only, tickets are $20 and things get rolling after 9 p.m. In either case, advance purchase is strongly encouraged. See www.wildcalifornia.org for more info.

Saturday: Divine disco, delicious bits, blues

Arcata Ridge Trail fans age 21 and older are invited to the Arcata Community Center for Cirque Disco-leil, a disco-themed event focusing on "bridging the gap" — funding a bridge to allow the Ridge Trail to cross Janes Creek near its northern entrance on West End Road. And what says "connection" better than "sex"? Which is why attendees will get the fabulous Caravan of Glam drag performers, a super hot Good Relations fashion show with the Va Va Voom Burlesque Vixens modeling, fast action from Humboldt Roller Derby, plus Samba Quente, David Bingham and the Healthsport Disco Dancers. But wait! That's not all. You also get DJ Joe E from the Deep Groove Society spinning after-show tunes so you yourself can get your dance on. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available via Brown Paper Tickets and at Wildberries Marketplace, Peoples Records and Good Relations.

One of the good things about Alibi shows starting so late is that you can attend Cirque Disco-leil and still duck over to the 'bi to catch one-man show Fuzz SoLow, who also serves up a sexy vibe, albeit a darker, more dangerous one, the sort that manifests in shadowy corners, over whiskey — the kind of night your mother warned you about! "I'm built for comfort/I wasn't built for speed/I got all the good stuff/all the good stuff a good girl needs," Fuzz does justice to Howlin' Wolf's "Built for Comfort," a riffy track that gets right under your skin from the get-go. It's the kind of back porch blues that ends in the back seat if you want it to. Warm up at www.fuzzsolow.bandcamp.com. Nipplepotamus rounds out the bill with psych-surf goodness. Music starts at 10:30 p.m., cover is $5.

Monday: Darling
dark pop

The last time Mirah played Arcata (if I remember correctly) was when Placebo was still at the Manila Community Center. Which is not Arcata, but you get my point. To have her return to A-town speaks highly of the folks at the Sanctuary. Sticking a genre-label on her sound undermines the creativity and uniqueness of what she does, but for the sake of brevity, let's pull from ones used before and go with lo-fi, inventive indie pop. Also performing, Ruby Fray (dark psych folk from Austin) and Matt Summers. The Sanctuary is located at 1301 J St. All ages, doors at 7 p.m., music at 7:30 p.m., suggested donation is $4.

Wednesday: Delta-inspired blues, deft jazz

Santa Cruz-based folk-and-blues act Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra specialize in a trance-infused spin on the early Delta blues tradition. They sound cool, nautical and pensive, and will deliver "Americana storytelling with a soul" to the Siren's Song Tavern Wednesday night. All ages, show starts at 8 p.m. No cover indicated, but bring some cash for the band just in case.

Jazz saxophonist and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant winner Miguel Zenón returns to Arcata with his quartet to round out the fall portion of the current Redwood Jazz Alliance concert season on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón studied at the Escuela Libre de Musica, then honed his jazz skills at the Berklee and Manhattan Schools of Music. His earliest professional experience was with Boston's famed Either/Orchestra, and he has worked with many other large groups besides, including the Mingus Big Band, the Village Vanguard Orchestra and Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra. Zenón is also a founding member of the groundbreaking SFJazz Collective (he is now its most senior member) and was a resident artistic director for the first two seasons of the SFJazz Center, which opened in 2012.

The Miguel Zenón Quartet will also present a pre-concert workshop, free and open to the public, on Wednesday at noon in Music Building "A", Room 131 on the HSU campus. More information at RedwoodJazzAlliance.org. Advance tickets are $15 general, $10 students and seniors, available at Wildberries, Wildwood Music, People's Records and The Works.

Etc.

Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to music@northcoastjournal.com.

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Jennifer Savage

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