Those who work in entertainment media tend to fall into one of two camps. The first camp tells people about what they already know and enjoy, the idea being that the public likes the comfort of familiarity. The second camp figures that people prefer the thrill of discovery. I'm hoping you're adventurous types, so I'm not going to spend too much time telling you that Mickey Hart and Sara Bareilles are playing. If you have tickets to see Eureka's most — and deservedly — successful singer ever (that would be Bareilles), then good on you, 'cause that Van Duzer show sold out in a hot minute, and if you're going to see Mickey Hart at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, then you're way more into that scene than I am, and I wish you well.
Let's move on — specifically, to a show not for the faint of heart. Thursday night, the Mateel presents Immortal Technique and Brother Ali as they kick off their War and Peace tour. On Immortal Technique: He's Peruvian out of Harlem, he has intense political views that embrace revolutionary activism and my 17-year-old son has been a fan for years now. On Brother Ali: He's from Minnesota, he brought serious hook and soul when I saw him onstage with Atmosphere at Outside Lands in 2009 and he delivers messages on faith and love with equal parts earnestness and grit. He's also, to parrot the conventional summary, "Muslim, albino and legally blind." But you should check him out for his nerve, not his novelty. The gig is hosted by the "ghetto ambassador" and Brooklyn native Poison Pen, tickets are $27 and doors open at 7 p.m. All ages!
Changing course, Friday night at the Jambalaya, the 10-piece Arcata-based percussive wonder Steel Standing celebrates the release of the band's Kickstarter-funded debut CD. The very stoked band says that the first half of the night will be a "Trini"-dance party — all the best soca and calypso tunes from Trinidad. (Assuming that's the country and not one of California's smallest incorporated cities, population 367.) A truly Humboldt experience for those 21-and-over. Cover is $15, music starts around 10 p.m. Oh, and given the inevitable life changes, it's also one of Steel Standing's final shows.
Saturday night is one of those times where you might just want to drop your head in your hands and despair over the sheer number of choices you face on the amusement front. Over in Eureka, art comes alive with artists making awkward conversation with wine-drunk fans, buskers enticing you to throw your dollars into guitar cases, shopping opportunities galore and the opportunity to catch up with people you know on every corner. Later in the night, the appropriately named "Late Night with Sherae" marks the second time comedian, emcee, radio host and columnist Sherae O'Shaughnessy does the live talk show thing in the Eureka Inn's Palm Lounge with musical guests SambAmore. Note: Yours truly will also be her guest, and I have a minuscule role in the Humboldt Made premiere shindig earlier that night at the Eureka Theatre (see the calendar for details), so there's that.
On the music side of things, you've got Rhiannon at the Arcata Playhouse and Lord Ellis at the Alibi. Talk about your yin and yang. Fans of underground jazz know Rhiannon from her decade with Alive! and her tenure with Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra. Originally from the Midwest, she was, according to her bio, "lured to California by burgeoning lesbian passions." Her years of singing, touring and living manifested in her one-woman show, "Toward Home." More than a vocalist, Rhiannon is a storyteller. Tickets to share her experience are $15 advance, $20 at the door. Show starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
The members of Lord Ellis will return to that fabled Alibi corner and bring rawk so big you'll marvel it fits in such a small space. Founded in 2011, Lord Ellis brings together 20 years of Humboldt County kickass rock tradition. The latest in a line of local legends that include The Hitch, Dragged by Horses, Wasabi and Grimace, Lord Ellis promises to, and I quote, "Knock you off your feet, step on your head, then maybe give you a hand up — if you're not a total dick." Rounding out the bill, Seventh Rule Recordings artists Diesto, a sludge metal outfit out of Portland. A quick listen to High as the Sun, Diesto's sophomore effort, confirms the sludginess. Loud and assaultive, natch. Alibi usual — music starts around 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, show is $5, the guy at the door wants you to have an ID confirming you are at least 21 years old.
Sunday was supposed to bring us the Portuguese-Canadian multi-instrumentalist Awna Teixeira, best known from her band Po' Girl, at the Arcata Playhouse, but the show has been canceled. It's being rescheduled for springtime.
Yet another big weekday show takes place in the form of The Slackers, New York City's self-described "legendary masters of reggae, ska, soul and rock'n'roll" on Tuesday at Hum Brews. In the 22 years the Slackers have been together, they've released a lot of albums embodying that sound that seems to go over so well in Humboldt. Many people will like this show — fans of Sublime, Slightly Stoopid or the Dirty Heads, for example. Tickets are $15, show is 21-and-over, things start around 9:30 p.m.
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. •