It sounds strange to even say this, but by the time some of you read this column, this piece of shit election season might already be over. So, my future reader, I hope that America is either already great again or that we have woken up and realized that we are, in fact, not descended from fearful men and women and can get about preparing for the 2020 presidential election which should begin irritating us shortly. If you're like me, it's almost hard to remember what life was like before Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton began polluting our mental lives and the media horserace infected our daily being with this impending apocalypse. I know many of us are beside ourselves with grief with the possibility that "they" might win. I'm not here to convince you that everything will be fine should the other team win, however, every shitty cloud has a less shitty silver lining. When times are tough and the country is going "down the tubes," we tend to get some pretty good music out of said tubes — artists and musicians helping us understand ourselves when it's most needed. If the Blue Team wins on Nov. 8, expect some raw and real country music to authentically lament the death of freedom and personal liberty. On the flip side, should the Red/Trump Team eke out a victory, know that the indie rockers will barely be able to contain their artistic rage and we'll have an endless flood of concept albums about the rise of fascism in Amerikkka. Great art often comes from less great times. So let's raise our Coors Light, or our glass of GMO-free pinot grigio, and toast to four more years.
Start this weekend off over a beer at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room around 6 p.m. and catch the fiddle tunes of Blake Ritter and Friends. The music won't cost you anything extra and if the weather's cold and rainy, the tent is up and the heaters are turned on. If you prefer to generate your own heat, Humboldt Brews is the place to be for Elevate, which brings you some electronic music and some top local DJs at 9 p.m. Locals Mr. 415, Marjo Lak and D'Vinity will be starting the night off before Worthy takes the stage. It's $20 to get in but wear clothing you don't mind sweating in.
The Environmental Protection Information Center (aka/dba EPIC) returns to the Mateel in Redway to celebrate the environmental advocacy work of Greg King. There's a catered dinner around 6 p.m. and King's favorite songwriter Joanne Rand will be performing around then. Then, at 8:30 p.m., fellow locals Woven Roots and Object Heavy take the stage to keep the party going. Pay $60 for the full dinner and music package; just $20 for strictly the music at 8:30 p.m. Up in NoHum, you'll find some free jazz by No Covers at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room around 6 p.m. In Arcata, Kingfoot is celebrating its newest album — likely recorded by a certain Jimmy Foot at Bongo Boy Studios — at Redwood Curtain Brewery around 8 p.m. It's a free show but drop some cash to grab the album and support a hardworking local band. If you're looking for a local band (like mine) that takes the easy route and just profits off of far-better songwriters, then Blue Lake is the place to be tonight. Local Pink Floyd tribute band Money will be playing Floyd's hits and deeper cuts from '67-'83 as a four-piece at the Logger Bar at 9 p.m. They won't ask for any of your money, so spend it at the bar, eh? My Bay Area-based cousin tried turning me on to the The Mother Hips almost a decade ago. When I saw them up close at an Oyster Fest, I was impressed by their obvious love of playing. They'll jam, they'll wander, they'll tighten things down so they are sonically water-right and water-tight. If you can't catch their two sets tonight at Humboldt Brews at 9 p.m., you've got another chance tomorrow. All for only $20. Although not technically local, The Shook Twins from Portland are returning to our fair neck of the woods. I can't quite recall how long the Twins have been coming through Humboldt but I first saw them in Arcata probably eight years ago. They played — and toured? — frequently with The Bucky Walters, and at some point ended up snatching up Humboldter Niko, who is now the ace up their twinly sleeves. Become enchanted at the Arcata Theatre Lounge tonight at 9 p.m. where Seattle stringbanders Rabbit Wilde open up the show. Ticket price for this one: $20.
Up at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room, you'll find folk tunes — and manager Gini's favorite band name — from For Folk's Sake around 6 p.m. for free. Missed The Mother Hips last night? Just want to see them again? They're on for another two sets at Humboldt Brews at 9 p.m. for $20. Electronic music is on the ticket tonight at the Arcata Theatre Lounge starting around 9:30 p.m. with Goldroom followed by Autograf. I bumped into Ian of the Alibi recently — at another bar which shall remain nameless — and there's an "early" show for the Alibi tonight starting around 10 p.m. You'll find some punk "rockabilly" from The Rocketz out of Los Angeles, joined by the Chicano hardcore sounds of It's Casual from a nearby town called "El Lay." Drawing in the crowds will be heavy-hitters Lord Ellis, not from El A. A few blocks away, and around the same time, a DJ set from Soul Night's Jaymorg will groove you into the early hours, so wear good shoes.
The Redwood Jazz Alliance closes its fall season with a performance by the Helen Sung Quartet, out supporting its 2014 Anthem For a New Day. A classically trained pianist who got turned on to less restrictive and rigid forms of playing by seeing Harry Connick Jr. in concert, Ms. Sung will be at Humboldt State University's Fulkerson Recital Hall at 8 p.m. For something slightly more stupid — if I may — you can head to the Mateel tonight around the same time for Slightly Stoopid, blending rock/reggae/hip hop/funk/blues while supporting its album Meanwhile Back at the Lab! With Stoopid are rootsy-reggae rockers Fortunate Youth and a three-piece reggae band from the LBC called Perro Bravo at 7:30 p.m. I believe all for $35.
Those willing to rock on a Monday night will be treated to The Wild Reeds at Humboldt Brews at 9 p.m. along with Valley Queen, who I'm told combine sounds from Fleetwood Mac — Peter Green/Bob Welch/Lindsey Buckingham era? — with more contemporary Florence and the Machine. It's $10 for this show the night before the world ends.
If life hasn't come to a screeching halt this first day after the election, go see some live music to cheer yourself up. If you missed Money at the Logger, you can catch David Gilmour devotee Piet Dalmolen at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. tonight for free. Feel free to ask him to play the "Comfortably Numb" solo or deeper cuts like "Childhood's End," — I promise he knows them. Back at Humboldt Brews you'll find double sax and drums band Moon Hooch groovin' around 9 p.m. The members were discovered on a N(ew) Y(ork) C(ity) subway (underground) busking (playing for free) a while back, and since then have been touring the country delighting audiences. They're joined by Honeycomb tonight, all for only $15.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. Maybe America doesn't think we're all that great either.