It is you, oh yeah. It is you, you, oh yeah. I said pressure drop, oh pressure, oh yeah pressure's going to drop on you.
"Pressure Drop" by Toots and The Maytals
Thursday night at some as-yet-undisclosed location in northern Humboldt dubbed "Club More Fyah," a fiery Jamaican dancehall shouter known as Capleton is slated to perform with his Prophesy Band and a couple of other Jamaicans, Chezidek and Kulcha Knox. If you've been reading this paper and/or following our blog since the show was announced, you know it has generated a firestorm of controversy and pressure. Simply put, Capleton is among the dancehall performers on a blacklist created by British gay activist Peter Tatchell some time ago due to their history of what Tatchell deemed "murder music" -- songs attacking gays with hateful, violent imagery. Local gay activists responded with a resistance movement and a threat of boycott that successfully scuttled plans to present the show at the Red Fox Tavern. Then promoter Beau "Bonusman" DeVito changed his posters to "location TBA." Hyperbolic nastiness ensued online, much of it anonymous. DeVito is determined and, pressure or not, it looks like the show will go on. Let's hope peace returns to Humboldt when the fyah burns out.
Not long before The Red Fox show was cancelled, I got an email from DJ Gabe Pressure who works regularly with DJ Anya under the moniker Pressure Anya. The duo had a show planned for a Friday night at the Red Fox to celebrate Anya being named "Best Club DJ" in the Journal reader's poll, and to debut a regular weeknight gig at the Fox they call "Rump Shaker Wednesdays." Another email followed saying they'd cancelled their gig, then another saying it was back on.
"We'd basically backed out because we were not comfortable with Capleton playing at the venue," explained Gabe. "We wanted to stand with the gay community and show our support."
As Red Fox owner Brian Swizlo noted, he pulled the plug on the Capleton show due to pressure from the gay community and from artists who perform at his venue -- to be specific, from Pressure Anya. "I can't lose 80 percent of the people that frequent my club over one show," Swizlo told the Journal. "All I can hope is that the gay community steps up and supports our club." They did that Friday night, despite calls from some to boycott the club forever for even considering renting to Bonusman.
Pressure Anya's next step: a special "Anti-Capleton Conscious Reggae and Dancehall Night" edition of the ongoing P/A "Dirty Thursdays" this week at the Alibi. Says Gabe, "In honor of National Coming Out Day and in lieu of the Capleton show, we will provide an alternative to hate music by spinning all conscious roots, reggae and dancehall." You can be sure that classic Maytals song will be in the mix.
Also on Thursday, singer/songwriter Joanne Rand plays at Westhaven Center for the Arts along with Mare Wakefield, a like-minded songwriter from Nashville. When Rand called Monday, she'd just returned from a practice session with guitarist Robert Franklin, who's moved back to Humboldt town after a sojourn in Seattle (which means Shinbone will be back in action too).
Rand says she's writing "a whole lot of new songs -- I'm in the process of recording my 13th album, Nashville Sessions," heavily influenced by time spent in Music City working with picker/songsmith Steve Young. Proving that she's willing to suffer for her art, Rand tore a rotator cuff practicing a technique Young taught her to speed up her thumb-picking. "A luthier gave me this beautiful parlor guitar [smaller and easier on the hands] so I could continue playing," she noted. "That influenced the new songs -- they have an old-time sound, but with a modern edge."
Rand is also playing Sunday with keyboard wizard Tim Randles at Coastal Grove's Festival of Courage -- nothing medieval, but knowing Joanne, sure to be courageous.
San Francisco psych rockers Sic Alps stop by the Shanty Thursday. The band is on the road behind a new eponymous disc out on Drag City. Main man Mike Donovan is in fine form here, refining the Alps sound with shades of Revolver/Rubber Soul-era Beatles and a touch of Brian Jonestown Massacre -- a really good record. Also on the bill, a pair of local alt. whatever bands, People and Super Brown (whose Facebook page says "robo psych" in the genre box).
Hip hop meets EDM Friday at Humboldt Brews as the hip hop duo Zion I (MC Zumbi and beat maker Amp Live) hit town with a new disc, Shadowboxing, and tour mate Minnesota, a Santa Cruz dubstep/glitch hop DJ who recently toured with Big Gigantic. "Shadowboxing is an album about metaphorical kicks and throws at oneself," says Zumbi via email, "about looking inward at the shadow self, and seeking awareness in the darkness of one's own psyche." Opening the show: local EDM luminary DJ Touch and Professor Funk.
Friday at the Red Fox, Bad Kitty presents Detroit punkabilly trio Koffin Kats, on the road with The Silver Shine, a psychobilly trio from Budapest, Hungary, with the lovely Krista Kat on upright bass. Arcata punks Aleister Christ open.
Jonesing for some blues? The soulful True Gospel Singers serve as hosts for another Humboldt Talent Showcase Friday at Westhaven Center for the Arts. Or you could catch the Jim Lahman Band that Friday at Six Rivers. Then on Wednesday, brassy vocalist Kaye Bohler belts out some R&B at Humboldt Brews.
Funk? You've got it Saturday at the Jambalaya as The Speakeasy Saints meet The Bump Foundation.
SoHum jazz guitarist Jim Wilde celebrates his 65th birthday Friday at Persimmons in Redway by jamming with saxophonist Francis Vanek, bassist Damien Roomets, drummer Michael Curran and assorted guests. You're invited to the party. (Yes, there will be cake.)
The whirling vinyl onslaught continues Saturday at HumBrews with Red and Zephyr's "Garage Rock A' Go Goo No. 2" with special guests Matt n' Adam spinning garage, psych, surf, soul, etc. to create what DJ Red calls "a sock hop with an attitude."
The above-mentioned disc duo Pressure Anya joins forces with King Maxwell for an ‘80s Halloween Dance Party Friday at the Jambalaya (yes, costumes already). Pressure Anya is also spinning for the Shanty's Roller Derby After Party Saturday night following the final matches of the year by our local lady rollers.
One more: King Maxwell and the relentless DJ Anya spin appropriate tunes for amateur roller skaters Sunday night at the Blue Lake Roller Rink (in Perigot Park).
You'll find details in the calendar about Absynth Quintet's Fourth Annual String Thing at the Arcata Theatre Lounge Friday night with far flung variations on bluegrass, old time, etc. For more or less traditional bluegrass (with a Humboldt twist) you have the Compost Mountain Boys playing a Saturday evening show at the Fortuna Monday Club as part of the Fortuna Concert Series. And at the same time Saturday, fiddlers Blake Ritter and Sam McNeill play for a Humboldt Folklife Barn Dance at the Arcata Veterans Memorial Building with Sue Moon calling the dances.
Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and young cellist Natalie Haas play neo-traditional Celtic string music Saturday at at the Van Duzer. On the same night Maldon Meehan and Brian O'Hairt play traditional Irish sean-nós music for dancing at a house concert in Bayside. (Call 707-502-1678 to reserve a ticket and they'll tell you where.)
Then there's Monday's show at the Arcata Playhouse, a return visit by Argentina-born guitarist Gonzalo Bergara and his quartet offering a modern take on Django Reinhardt's Hot Club jazz. AQ guitarist Ryan Roberts says, "Gonzalo's the man -- the best gypsy jazz player in America." High praise.