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Musical twists 

New takes on old sounds

click to enlarge setlist1_magnum.jpg

photo courtesy of the artist

According to the calendar, this weekend is technically summer's last hurrah. But according to sunny days and balmy breezes, we've got a proper Humboldt summer for some time yet. Whenever you decide to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, the equinox itself will arrive on Monday, meaning longer nights and more things to do after dark. Here we go.

Thursday: Stimulation, satisfaction

Let's get this out of the way right now: The Hip Joint is a sexy beast of a band. Mia Casasanta, Cory Goldman, Mike Tofu Schwartz, Chuck Johnson and Justin Schwartzman will make your night delicious with ear candy. Inhibitions will be shed, propriety will vanish and all that weighty responsibility you normally bear will evaporate as your body shimmies to the funky jazz beats. As Tofu would say, "Boom shaka laka, baby!" Feel them at the Palm Lounge, 8 p.m., 21-and-over, free.

Elsewhere, the indie-folk husband and wife duo You Knew Me When (mentioned in last week's "Setlist") wraps up a Humboldt run at Redwood Curtain Brewing Company, 8 p.m., 21-and-over, free. 

Friday: American past meets future

Oakland's Dirtwire does this dirty-blues-meets-beats kind of sound that I'm finding surprisingly irresistible, as well as some more esoteric Middle Eastern vibe-filled tracks — Americana reinterpreted through a "world music" filter. Which makes sense, given that Dirtwire's two halves are multi-instrumentalist David Satori of Beats Antique and Evan Fraser of Hamsa Lila and Stallamara. See the duo at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, doors at 9:30 p.m., 21-and-over. Tickets are available in advance for $15 online at or $20 advance at Wildberries, People's Records and The Works.

From the other direction comes Portland's Hillstomp, which will electrify Humboldt Brews with a brand of hill country blues stomp and North Mississippi trance blues that'll tap right into the little slice of Appalachia in your soul, whether or not you even knew it was there. Cathartic, rambunctious and totally excellent. Tickets are $12 advance, $15 at the door, show is 21-and-over and starts at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday: Stupid with options

North Country Fair! See the Journal calendar (page 28) for a full rundown of Arcata's annual two-day event extraordinaire.

Piñata Party! Seriously. Not only do you get live music by Nectarine Season, El Flaco and Diggin' Dirt, the always-creative folks at Blondie's invite you to create your finest, most creative piñata; winner gathers a $200 cash prize. "Don't forget to fill it with something awesome," they say. "Must be legal," they say. Arrive at 3 p.m. to enter your piñata. The bashing begins at 4 p.m.

Catherine Feeny and Chris Johnedis! Acclaimed songwriter Feeny met jazz drummer Johnedis after recording her rebellious fourth solo album, America. She had just come back from the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, and he was returning from two years of working and studying in Thailand. Two years later, working with impressively credentialed producers, the two recorded an eponymous collaborative album that captures their intriguing ability to create dreamy, hook-filled melodies upon which serious social commentary hangs, delicately. The duo performs at Humboldt Machine Works, tickets are $12, doors at 7 p.m., music at 8 p.m.

Hot Buttered Rum! The popular Americana-based bluegrass fusion quintet invites you to join them for a happy, sing-along mix of hoedown, high art and roadhouse rock at Humboldt Brews. They love when you sing along. Doors at 9 p.m., music at 9:30 p.m., tickets are $15 and the show is 21-and-over.

Wepeel! Because a tribute to Weezer makes us happy! Especially when accompanied by Long Beach's B-Wreck, who come to us labeled "prog rock," but as someone who skitters away at that term, I must say, they are extremely listenable. ("Extremely listenable," a description most bands dream of, yes?) You, like me, might not gravitate toward instrumental, experimental rock, but these guys have a sound you can get lost in, like when you're riding in a car, long road trip, sun making you dizzy and you keep slipping into hazy daydreams, jerking back to consciousness as semis thunder by. Back to Weepel: This is your only chance to see Humboldt's own Weezer tribute band in 2014. (Say it ain't so!) This year marks Wepeel's 13th in existence and the 20th anniversary of Weezer's eponymous debut, which Wepeel will perform (almost) in its entirety. Sing along. Ready? "My name is Jonas..." Cover is $5, music starts at 11 p.m., show is 21-and-over.

Into the week

The ATL hosts a couple more gigs for your weeknight pleasure. Tuesday, it's a hip-hop-bass-trap party with Keys N Krates, Gladiator and ThugLi. Doors open at 9:30 p.m., tickets are available in advance for $15 online or $20 at retail outlets, and this show is 21-and-over.

Then, on Wednesday, the genre-defying Rising Appalachia takes the stage. Led by sisters Leah and Chloe, the band offers "poetic harmonies, soul singing, spoken word rallies, banjos, fiddles, organic bass and groove rhythms." Doors open at 8 p.m. Music starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at the door. This show is 21-and-over.


Look, I realize for day job-working non-students, seeing a weekday show on HSU's Quad is a real pain in the ass, but make the effort — El Ten Eleven is genius and the show is free and the children are the future and, in addition to all sorts of interesting things, the band did the soundtrack for a documentary about the font Helvetica (called, appropriately, Helvetica). They are the coolest, raddest combination of two guys mixing guitar/bass doubleneck, looping and drums ever in the history of music. Wednesday, Sept. 24, noon, HSU Quad, free — don't miss it.


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


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Jennifer Savage

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