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Suggestions, Absurd & Otherwise 

Where to go, who to see and ridiculous advice on staying sane

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We are entering the holiday season. I know this because I have seen the jingle bells and singing Santas at the stores and my student friends are ricocheting between freaking out about finals and freaking out about visiting family. Fortunately, not only do we have the panacea of live music to help us through this trying time, but accompanying sources of stress release.

(Note: I am not a doctor.)

Thursday: Comes around, goes around

Round and round we go into another Songwriter Circle of Death, No. X to be precise, this time with TheBoredAgain, Keil la Chinga, The Weavetone and Cliff Dallas at the always-excellent Shanty. Music starts at 10 p.m., cover is zero dollars and it's a bar, no pretense otherwise, so the gig is 21-and-over. Prescription: Alcohol and exercise don't really mix, but the Shanty has that great parking lot and plenty of room on the sidewalk, so before imbibing in your favorite whiskey straight, do a round of shuttle sprints, mountain climbers and push-ups outside. Then drink a pint of water. Nobody will think you're weird — it's Old Town. And so what if you get sweaty? The Shanty is nice and dark. Also, pheromones!

Friday: Musical alchemy

The impressive Gregg Moore — who plays multiple instruments in four bands, teaches, organizes house concerts and street happenings, and rescues orphaned kittens from burning buildings in his downtime — is featured doing jazz versions of Portuguese folk songs at the Westhaven Center for the Arts as part of a jazz series hosted by the RLA Trio (Tim Randles, Mike LaBolle and Mr. Humboldt contestant Bobby Amirkhanian). The show starts at 7 p.m. Cover is $5 to $10 sliding scale. Prescription: Vinho Verde, a delightful, light, low-alcohol Portuguese wine, inexpensively available at Wildberries and the Co-op, not sure where else, and why not go to Trinidad early and watch the sunset in one of the world's prettiest places?

Friday: Americana gets otherworldly

Birds of Chicago centers around JT Nero (JT and the Clouds) and Allison Russell (Po' Girl). JT weaves his scratchy and worn voice around Allison's rich and exultant one, resulting in something arresting and altogether original. Doors at the Arcata Playhouse open at 7:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 general, $13 HFS members and $10 students with ID, and are available at Wildberries, Wildwood or by calling 822-1575. Prescription: Bring two wonderful things together in an unexpected way, say, for example, avocado and coffee! Take half a large avocado, mix it with 1/3 cup espresso (or 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled), add 1/2 cup sweetened condensed (not evaporated!) milk, 2 cups ice cubes and 2 teaspoons vanilla, toss it all in the blender (um, just the avocado flesh, not the skin), and ... mind blown! Too complicated? OK, fine. Just go to Scoop and order the most unusual flavor on the menu.

Saturday: Wrap yourself around this

Experience the wonder of Be Forest, Italian post-punk shoegaze, plus Tennis System, L.A. noise rock, at the Alibi. This is Be Forest's first trip to America, guys! And they really are lovely — your heart will melt as the dreaminess surrounds you. Music starts at 11 p.m., cover is $5, show is 21-and-over. Prescription: None needed — this music alone is enough to rescue you from your black mood, baby.

Sunday: Community-supported awesomeness

Fun times at The Farmhouse (1387 Janes Road, Arcata ) with the Feels, a four-piece rock 'n' roll band with psychedelic, punk, post-punk and grunge influences based in Echo Park, and Eureka excellence from The Monster Women, whose spaced-out, '60s-meets-'80s, sci-fi, harmony-driven tunage is always pleasing. Music starts at 8 p.m., all ages, donations for the band will likely be requested. Prescription: a round of It's Alive kombucha. Love the stuff. Locally made, fizzy fermented fabulousness! If you live in Arcata, ride your bike to the gig — good exercise and you'll get to relish in the post-show high of pedaling home in the fresh Humboldt nighttime air.

Sunday: So dark!

Siren's Song plays host to Lost Tribe, a band out of Richmond, Virginia, that offers penetrating bass lines, ripping drums, a vibe that rides the line between our world and the under-, like a musical drift on the River Styx. The darkness continues with local purveyors Ghoulhand, The Disaffectionate, Bella Rex and more. All ages, cover is $3, music starts at 9 p.m. Prescription: the Six Rivers Raspberry Lambic. Dudes, it's intense. And the sweet-tart battle for your mouth is a fitting accompaniment to this musical experience. Send me an email later telling me about it.

Tuesday: Because your heart is heavy with discontent

The enchanting disenchantment continues with Disaffected Romantics' Night, also at Siren's Song, featuring traditional goth, deathrock and post punk with Signals, Wrye, Decoffinated and DJ Necromos ,a guest DJ from San Jose's Club Apparition. Free, all ages, starts at 8 p.m. Those 21-and-over can order beer, etc. at the bar, which will boast $2 IPAs and other flavors from 21st Amendment Brewery. Prescription: Write for 20 minutes in your journal before the show. Write for 20 minutes in your journal after. Cut the pages into pieces and rearrange the words at random, gluing them to fresh pieces of paper. Frame them. Score an art show. Congratulations.


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


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Jennifer Savage

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