We're happy to report that the sometimes-slow chunk of time following the HSU graduation is not, in fact, happening this year. Instead, a full slate of options awaits your joyful presence.
Loss and reconciliation
Alejandro Rose-Garcia goes by the name of Shakey Graves when delivering the blues-country-rock that's brought him national acclaim and keeps his debut album, Roll the Bones, near the top of Bandcamp's digital bestseller chart. "The first album was me wanting to burn down my life, cut my hair off and run screaming into the woods," he says, introducing his latest release, And the War Came. "This album is the trials and tribulations of becoming domesticated, letting people into your world and letting go of selfishness — the story of becoming a pair, losing that, and reconciling with the loss and gain of love." Shakey Graves performs at Humboldt Brews, 9:30 p.m., $15, 21-and-over.
The folks at Six Rivers Brewery have a lot to celebrate — the opening of a new heated patio, for one, and a special gig by The Pine Box Boys, for another. It's also the release party for Prester John's Six Feet Under Scotch Ale and it starts at 6 p.m., both good things. If you're unsure if this is right for you, maybe refer to fan Scotty Appleford's comment on the event page: "Most events in Humboldt are either feel good fundraisers or hippie BS. This right here is for those of us who need a break from DJ so and so and white dudes with Jamaican accents." Personally, I enjoy a good DJ so-and-so, but totally agree on the Ja-fake-an front. Be warned, the Pine Box Boys, as the name implies, are practitioners — skilled ones — of the traditional murder ballad genre.
(This is not to be confused with "murder music," a term referring to the homophobic and violence-advocating lyrics found in the songs of certain Jamaican musicians, notably Buju Banton, Beenie Man and Capleton, all of whom were the subject of much controversy during their respective Humboldt appearances.) For those unfamiliar with the "murder ballad" genre, the story-songs have been around at least since the Renaissance, according to music historians, emerging in Europe and traditionally relating true stories — longtime UK music journalist Paul Slade describes them as "tabloid newspapers set to music, carrying news of all the latest 'orrible murders to an insatiable public." From the London "gallows ballads" of the 1700s to "Stagger Lee" — the first lyrics for which were written in 1903, the tune's been performed by Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, The Clash, Bob Dylan and Nick Cave (and probably others!) — to modern day tracks such as The Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl," Gillian Welch's "Caleb Meyer" and, well, we could go on and even start to examine how hip-hop potentially revolutionized murder ballads — but look, just go to the show, then share your thoughts, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover is $5, show is 21-and-over.
Property destruction (and that's okay)
If sexy sells, then The Hip Joint should be among the 1 percent by now. The band is unleashing its epic boogieness at the Jambalaya along with the Bay Area's hard-swinging soulsters Royal Jelly Jive at the Jambalaya. Hip Jointster Tofu Schwartz suggests to attendees, "Let's tear up the floors!" and means it literally. "Seriously," he continues, "this is the last night before they put in new floors at the Jam." You heard the man. Cover is $5, show is 21-and-over.
Here's a practice problem: If x = rhythmically complex and y = guitar-based and a = experimental rock, then x/y*a = ? Answer: Macktown's math metal Super Demon! At the Alibi, along with the more psychedelic-flavored sounds of The Mother Vines. Cover is $3, music at 11 p.m., 21-and-over.
Calling all 'sweaty freaks'
From our friends at The Shanty: "Those who've seen for themselves will agree there's no describing the pure batshit crazyness that happens at a live Quintron and Miss Pussycat show. Expect to see at least some of the following: Cars welded to organs. Light-powered percussion inventions. Puppets. Candles. Sweaty freaks." In addition to Quinton and Miss Pussycat, the excellent Nots — think vintage all-girl punk — is playing, along with Humboldt's own ever-endearing Lost Luvs. Cover is $5, show's at 9 p.m. Get there early!
Wrapped in goodness
Reviews of Eilen Jewell's music often contain words such as "honest" and "confident," which, while true, fail to convey the singer/songwriter's versatility, the way in which she invokes imagery and enraptures audiences with her storytelling. She's got a hell of a voice, too. Immerse yourself at the Palm Lounge, 8 p.m. (no opening act), $15, 21-and-over.
Long live Big Pete's!
Northtown fixture Big Pete's Pizzeria closes doors at the end of the month so owner (and musician) Pete Ciotti can focus on his other venture, the Jambalaya — but he's throwing one last party for the pizza people on Thursday, May 28. The fun starts at 11 a.m. with jazz (and mimosas), then climbs to the rooftop at 12:15 p.m. with Silver Hammer, Object Heavy, Moo-Got-2, Liquid Kactus, Full Moon Fever, heads back inside at 5:45 p.m. with the Humboldt Jam Collective and a silent disco wraps it all up. No cover, just great deals on pizza — bring the kids.
Summer Arts & Music Fest
A reminder that Summer Arts is coming up Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31 with more than 100 performers including headliners JJ Grey & Mofro and Blackalicious. Gates at the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area open at 9:30 a.m. and the fest runs till 10 p.m. both days. Admission is $20 per day or $30 for a weekend pass, kids 12 and under free.
Tingle with anticipation
Don't miss this! The Brisa Roché Trio appears at the Arcata Playhouse on Saturday, June 13. Brisa is the daughter of Wildberries co-founder Phil Ricord and got her start entertaining patrons in the grocery store's dining patio before moving to France, where she's become an international star. Family life brought her back to Humboldt, which means A Special Evening of Music for You and Me. Her passionate take on unexpected jazz standards features plenty of soaring, laughing and an element of story-telling not always associated with jazz. Get tickets early, friends — $15 general, $13 students. Show is at 8 p.m. See www.arcataplayhouse.org.
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.