Hello, Humboldt! I'm writing to you from San Francisco's Outer Sunset district, the final leg of a coastal trip that included seeing SF's very fine Western swing band The Vivants at Smiley's Saloon in Bolinas — Smiley's is the oldest tavern west of the Mississippi, how about that?! — and shooting pool for hours in Point Arena at Sign of the Whale, where I had possibly the best Old Fashioned of my life. Travel tips delivered, let's get back to life behind the Redwood Curtain, shall we?
EDM In a bit of a departure from the usual offerings, Humboldt Brews hosts an EDM show featuring underground pioneer of West Coast EDM MiMosa, plus DJ Dirtbag and DJ D'Vinity. I kicked on MiMosa's track, "Sunshine" and asked myself the same question I always ask myself when evaluating a band: "Would I need to be in an altered state of consciousness to get lost in this?" In this case, the answer is, "Kinda!" Or maybe the music itself can spin your mind elsewhere. Your call, friends. Less subjectively, Spin named MiMosa one of the "Top 10 Acts at Bonnaroo" in 2012. He's grown increasingly big on the festival scene, has a new album, House of Broken Mirrors, and is known for big bass lines, sultry melodies and an experimental vibe. Tickets are $15, show starts at 9:30 p.m. and is 21-and-over.
Folking and dancing If you haven't been to a Humboldt Folklife Society Barn Dance, you've missed out on an intrinsic piece of local culture. Fix that at the Arcata Veterans' Hall, where Lyndsey Battle will call the dances with tunes from Striped Pig Stringband. Now, the standard line is, "All dances will be taught with no partner or experience needed," but if you're new to this scene, I strongly advise arriving early, so you can get your footwork down before all the hard core regulars show up. Also, dance first, drink later. Admission is $7 general, $6 Humboldt Folklife Society members, students and seniors, free for kids under 12. The dance is from 7:30 to 11 p.m.
Whole Lotta Love You know about the glory that is Zepparella. The ladies will be liquefying countenances at Hum Brews. Doors at 9:30 p.m. tickets are $20, show is 21-and-over.
Arts Alive! and beyond Arts Alive! is always a fine and worthwhile time, and if you've polished off too many plastic cups of cheap cabernet (bring your own cup, people!) or just enjoy talented musicians playing classic American music, ride the momentum over to the Palm Lounge where LaPatina plays such things from 8 p.m. to midnight. The band features Bruce Johnson from the Compost Mountain Boys, both the DeMark brothers, former Rooster McClintock guitarist Jake Wiegandt and Neil McLaughlin. Free! Also 21-and-over.
Jammy jam jam Call it "spaced out intergalactic madness experimenting with elements of bluegrass, jazz and funk" if you want, but we all know you're a jam band, Blue Lotus. And plenty of people like that! Also many members of our fine Humboldt community enjoy the jammy sounds of Liquid Kactus. You can do this at the Jambalaya, doors at 9:30 p.m., cover is $7, participation in the trippiness is limited to those of legal drinking age.
Stoner thrash For those of us with less esoteric taste — and I have long-believed that I would appreciate long, intricate instrumentals if I actually played any instruments, so the fault is truly mine — the Alibi offers up a more visceral option in the form of Idyllwild's Throw the Goat. Let your inner adolescent rejoice that the desert rock tradition continues! Six seconds into "Blood, Sweat and Beers," I was hooked. If you have the sort of brain that won't ever shut up no matter how much you try to meditate, then planting yourself in front of a band that is loud, frenetic and heavy like a double overhead wave smashing you down is an excellent way to just stop thinking for a bit while heavy, heavy riffs send your blood screaming through your body. The night also features the "flood plain dirge punk" of Blackplate. Music at 11 p.m., cover is $5, 21-and-over.
Classy, sexy guitar The HSU Guitar Ensemble continues its year-long exploration of Latin American music in Fulkerson Recital Hall with a program that includes a wide range of pieces from folk to modern, representing Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Paraguay and Peru. Sensual music in a strict setting? Sounds like foreplay to me. Date night? Find-a-date night? Tickets are $8 general, $5 seniors and children, free to HSU students with ID. Music starts at 8 p.m.
Time and space travel Venerable jockier of discs DJ Red hosts an exploration of his own at Richard's Goat Tavern and Tea Room. Utilizing the unique properties of the ancient material known as "vinyl," he will swoop you away to exotic places and faraway lands, all of which will be soundtracked by a vintage "liquordelic" lounge groove that makes you feel "like a hep cat in a swanky 1950s penthouse apartment." The evoking begins at 8 p.m., lasts until 2 a.m. — on a Sunday night, crazies! — no cover, 21-and-over.
Live music in a record store! Hey, this should be a really fun time – Oakland's irresistible garage-psych act Mall Walk plays at The Works with local stoner-psych rockers Spliff Moth (who also win "Band Name of the Week"). Show starts at 7:30 p.m., all ages, no mention of a cover charge in the limited information we were able to find about this gig.
Butts and funk Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band is exactly what the name implies: Ripping funk and an emphasis on curvaceous asses. Do not be surprised when the keytar comes out. Do be prepared to dance for hours. Know that just when you think Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band has displayed all the tricks, more will come out. Everyone who attends this show is extremely likely to get laid. (Note: Sex responsibly! Consent and condoms, people!) Tickets are $10, doors at 9 p.m., 21-and-over, and this sexy beast of a show takes place at Humboldt Brews.
Lovin' on underground country It's a short trip from butts to hips, but a long way from the funkiness above to the thrashy Americana of The Calamity Cubes!, exemplified in the band's "Skateboard Hips" video. Travel yonder to the Palm Lounge, where the Cubes join the excellent Billy Cook Band, your Pacific Northwest, strumming, storytelling outlaws. Music starts at 8 p.m., 21-and-over, no cover.
EDM Thus we come full circle. This is a big show — and at press time, sold out — Seattle's electronic, sunscreen-sponsored sensation Odesza at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Score some tickets via the usual nontraditional means if you can. That door opens at 9:30 p.m., show is 21-and-over.
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 email@example.com.