We're lucky here in Humboldt. Not only do we have a wealth of talented local musicians, but we also find ourselves roughly smack dab between San Francisco and Portland. We've got much more going for ourselves than some podunk town outside of Los Banos on the I-5, so we can forgive touring bands for seeing Humboldt as a convenient stop-off between larger shows. Making the 12-hour drive to S.F. from PDX? Might as well pull over and earn some change here in Humboldt.
Fortunately for us, during their trek up to Seattle from the Bay Area, Portlandinistas Blitzen Trapper will be stopping off for the night in Arcata on Tuesday (more below) in support of their new album All Across This Land. With insightful touches of Americana and '70s rock mixed in, the album sounds a bit like local band the Trouble backing up Neil Young in some dive bar along the I-10. When I asked BT songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Eric Earley if he could recall how often the band plays Humboldt, he could only guess "quite a few times as it's not too far from where we live and whenever we do the West Coast we generally hit Northern CA." He goes on to mention that it's "always a very good time!"
Although many of the songs from All Across This Land sounds as if they could have been written while meandering through the U.S. on a tour bus, Eric mentions that he doesn't "write on the road at all, really, there's just no time and I'm usually too tired. All of these songs were written at home during some downtime here in Portland." The band will have one day of downtime after playing Arcata, so feel free to shower them with some small town love.
Tonight finds the return of one of Humboldt's success stories: The Scott Amendola Band will be at the Arcata Playhouse at 8 p.m. You've got the very talented (and above-mentioned) percussionist Scott, who has wowed crowds. Along for the jam is avant-vibrationist Nels Cline, who has similarly impressed locals. But perhaps the star of the show will be Petrolia-bred violinist par excellence Jenny Scheinman. I'm embarrassed to say that I've heard her name many times but never known too much about her. If you are like me, here are the takeaways: She is from Petrolia (+), she is an amazing violinist (+), she has played with Lou Reed and Aretha Franklin (++), and her music is quite often used by NPR (-). Bring $20 to see her and the band.
Speaking of getting to play with amazing talents, did you know that The Young Dubliners once opened for Jethro Tull? Did you also know that they'll be at Humboldt Brews at 9:30 p.m.? Only one of those facts needs remembering. Playing Celtic-rock of sorts with some deviance thrown in there, singer Keith Roberts mentions that the band members "all come from different backgrounds. Even though two of us are from Ireland, a lot of the music we listened to growing up wasn't Irish at all." $20 for this show.
It's Friday the 13th, but someone recently told me it's bad luck to be superstitious. While I wrap my head around that, you can check out the HSU Guitar Ensemble focus on 20th Century French Composers, such as Debussy and Ravel, along with an original composition by student Kenneth Bozanich. 8 p.m. at Fulkerson Recital Hall and $8 (free for HSU students).
The Arcata Theatre Lounge knows that joy is no crime, and thereby welcomes The Pimps of Joytime. You'll dance, smile and groove to some '70s-influenced funk at 8:30 p.m., and if you pick up your ticket in advance, you'll only pay $17.
Kingfoot returns to please your ears at the Logger Bar at 9 p.m. for a free show.
You may be familiar with Poor Man's Whiskey's Dark Side of the Moonshine, a 2009 bluegrass interpretation of Floyd's DSOTM. I don't even like bluegrass but it's good. Now the band is performing all of Paul Simon's album Graceland at Humboldt Brews, which is impressive. I wonder how they'll pull off "Homeless." $15 for this 9:30 p.m. show and let's hope they don't ever try and cover one of Art Garfunkel's albums.
Burnt Ranch sibling violin virtuosos Tristan and Tashina return to Humboldt with The Bee Eaters at the Arcata Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. You can also hear them Sunday night (same time and place) for $23.
There's a free show at Redwood Curtain Brewery in Arcata. The multi-monikered Blase with The 215s will start at 8 p.m., feel free to tip 'em or buy them a beer.
Don't ever let anyone tell you there isn't an "authentic British-style brass band in Northern California, featuring 25 brass instruments plus percussion." There is! They are called the Humboldt Bay Brass Band and they'll be at Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU at 8 p.m. for only $8.
Haven't seen the No Good Redwood Ramblers since their album release? Catch 'em tonight at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake at 10 p.m. for a rare free show.
Headlining the Hemp Fest at the Mateel is Angelo Moore & the Brand New Step. Angelo's well known as the lead singer and sax man for Fishbone, so get funky and get down tonight. $20 for entrance to Hemp Fest and all of the music it provides.
The weekend's not done. If you missed The Bee Eaters Saturday, see above for details about tonight's show.
For those in the Dead community, head over to the Arcata Theatre Lounge tonight for Terrapin Flyer. Humboldt favorite Melvin Seals will be behind the B-3 and "Other One" Mark Karan will be on the six-string. Joining them will be Alice Drinks the Kool-Aid. While there, drink Lagunitas beer to please guitar player (and founder of Lagunitas Brewing Co.) Tony Magee. Door's at 9 p.m., $25.
As mentioned above, Portland rockers Blitzen Trapper will be at Humboldt Brews tonight supporting their new album All Across This Land. Welcome them back to Humboldt at 9 p.m. $15 cover charge for their blend of Americana and '70s riff-rock. Phoebe Bridgers open the show.
It's not too often that we get a member of the Rolling Stones' Touring Band in Humboldt County (did Bobby Keys ever make it through town?). Tonight catch rolling stone Karl Denson and his Tiny Universe at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. It'll be a good time indeed, with some soul, R&B and funk. A little less funky, but good nonetheless, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers will start the show off around 8 p.m. $20 advance tickets.
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. He doesn't feel bad for not mentioning your show that you never told him about.