Judging from the escalated aggravation level that driving through Arcata elicits, we've hit that point in the year when Humboldt State University is about to swing back into session. Some of these students will fall in love with the area, and some will fall in love with people who live here. Those students in love will remain after graduation, scrambling to find work and pay rent. Some of them will land jobs that will enable bills to be paid and vacations to warmer climates to be had, but many others will sling coffee or cocktails instead, perhaps trimming on the side and otherwise patching income sources together until they've finally had enough and are faced with what has become known as The Humboldt Choice: Should I stay or should I go? Is the natural beauty and great community fair compensation for the lack of career options, or should I move to a place that is less amazing but more lucrative? Some people just keep making it work. Some leave. Very soon, the list of Those Who Left will include the beloved artist/DJ/barista/person Brian "Mantease" Woida, who is off to the Bay Area to pursue a career in barbering. You may know him as the guitarist from local rockers The Ravens. You may know him as the guy who does that cool art inspired by his massive vinyl collection (brianwoida.blogspot.com). You may know him as DJ Mantease, responsible for laying down grooves that make you shake and shimmy like you've found religion in them. You may have found religion in them. You may know him as the sweet, artsy barista who makes your Brio cappuccinos beautiful. In any case, if you've left your house in the past 10 years, you probably know Woida. And if you do, then you will undoubtedly miss him.
What better send-off than a Soul Night dedicated to the magic that is Mantease? Tickets for the monthly dance bash are on sale at Humboldt Brews and remain a mere $5. The action starts at 10 p.m. on Saturday. Dress to impress — and to sweat. This is not a stand-around-and-listen party.
For those who can't make Soul Night — and those who need to say goodbye twice — a second chance to twerk, bounce and bang happens Thursday, Aug. 22, also at Hum Brews. "Brian's Gotta Bounce" launches at 9:30 p.m. The man himself launches shortly thereafter.
Hey, I love shouting "Oy! Oy! Oy!" while rocking out to AC/DC's "TNT" as much as anyone — probably more than most — but the art of stringing words together to evoke certain emotions is a beautiful thing when done well. On Friday, poet-singer-songwriter Brian Laidlaw will demonstrate excellence at just that when he performs at Siren's Song. Currently touring in support of his latest solo project, Wolf Wolf Wolf, Laidlaw combines a poet's sensibility with a songwriter's storytelling skills layered over music that tantalizes listeners into wanting more. Show starts at 9 p.m. and is free.
Friday also provides a chance to pretend you're in the roadhouse of your dreams when Humboldt's sexy Side Iron joins Santa Cruz's Miss Lonely Hearts at the Alibi. The five-piece Miss Lonely Hearts get massive legit points with praise from Devil Makes Three's Cooper McBean and a history of opening for such Humboldt faves/excellent acts as The Devil Makes Three, Eileen Jewel, Deke Dickerson, Jolie Holland, Sally Ford and The Pine Box Boys. The band credits upright bassist Mischa Gasch with the ability to have "every man in the crowd dancing and every girl in the crowd swooning." If you're drawn to whiskey, heartache and/or catharsis, this is a don't-miss show.
Saturday brings three festivals representing extraordinarily diverse musical, food and entertainment options. Welcome to Humboldt, kids! Look for more on the Yurok Tribe's Klamath Salmon Festival, the Bridgefest UFO Festival and Frolic in the Glen elsewhere in the Journal's calendar.
Country music fans can delight in Deborah Allen and Mike Loudermilk's "Intimate Evening" at the Eureka Theater on Saturday. These two are the real deal – the list of accomplishments, honors and awards they've garnered would fill a book. If this is your kind of show, you probably already know you want to go. Tickets are $27.50 in advance or $35 at the door, available online and at The Works and the Eureka Theater.
While we here at the Journal strive to provide the most accurate information, every so often unforeseen circumstances mean a show will be canceled or changed. It's never a bad idea to double-check on websites, Facebook or with a phone call. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.