There's the old saying "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." There's also a more recent addition: "Those who can't teach, teach gym." Leaving that last one aside, I don't know if the saying is meant to put down teachers — perhaps specifically those damned liberal university professors — but we, as enlightened individuals, of course know it to be a woefully inaccurate.
This saying was disproven the most clearly to me during my short time as a music major at Humboldt State University way back when. I eventually left HSU with a degree in Philosophy — which is probably why I began to hear this saying in greater frequency — and I won't spend the time defending this area of study nor the excellent professors I had as it doesn't seem the correct venue. I will, however, use my experience as a music student for two of my five college years to explain why doing and teaching are not mutually (or musically) exclusive.
As a rather unremarkable student of the bass at the time, I was receiving private lessons from a cellist/professor. There are enough similarities between the instruments that someone at my primitive stages could learn a lot from a cellist. Around this time, I would go and check out local jazz shows as that was where you could find the red hot double bass players (sorry, bluegrass and old-time bass players). One of those who stood out was Shao Way Wu. I can't exactly recall what groups he played in but I knew by his delicate yet intense style of playing that he was a skilled musician. Sometime after that, he was hired on by HSU — and probably, like most musicians and teachers, for a bargain-basement rate — to teach bass lessons. I was thrilled, as I knew this guy was the real deal. Unfortunately at my young age I wasn't thrilled enough to practice very much. However, I learned a lot during my brief studies with Shao Way and would eventually wander towards the electric bass guitar. But what I remember most about those weekly lessons was just getting to watch him play. He would do, and then he would teach. I'm glad to hear that he'll be back in town (more below), so go listen and go learn.
In the event you missed Cliff Dallas and The Death Valley Troubadours recently down at the Mateel, tonight you can "kick the shit off your boots and enjoy an evening of rowdy country music," as I am told. Seems an apt description. Joining these local musical outlaws at The Jam in Arcata are Rob Heiliger and the Beautiful Losers, in which the "legend himself" [Rob] is backed up by former members of former local bands The Cutters and The Hitch. I feel like I should know who this legend is, but I don't know that I do. For those of you a bit more in the know, head down around 9 p.m. for what I'm guessing is a $5 show. The Absynth Quartet is at Hum Brews around the same time, and Ryan tells me that the band is almost done mixing down its next album and, perhaps because of such, its members are "feeling pretty good about ourselves right now. Smug even." It's a good feeling when you can see the light at the end of the album-recording tunnel. For just $10 you can catch them, and some of their new songs at 9 p.m. Just a few streets over in Arcata, Fraktal Productions and Deep Groove Society are bringing Stanton Warriors in to town from the U.K. This DJ duo has been shakin' the butts for about 15 years now, so shake yours over to the Arcata Theatre Lounge to get your groove on. Deep Groove Society DJs Derek Watts, Dub Cowboy and Marjo Lak will be starting the party off around 9 p.m. and $25 will get you in the door for the music and awesome visuals by Marmalade Sky.
A powerful yet nimble jazz duo hits the Morris Graves Museum of Art tonight at 8 p.m. The Redwood Jazz Alliance starts off its 11th season of concerts with Tar Beach, comprised of two HSU alum and jazz masters. Pianist Randy Porter and Shao Way Wu met while students at the university and remained in touch after Randy moved to Portland. Shao Way, as many local jazz fans know, stuck around and became one of the more prolific players in our neck of the woods. A few years ago, Shao Way decamped to Portland, reconnecting with Randy. Fortunately for us, they're stopping by to share some of their music. A $15 cover charge for this concert, and get there early for a good seat. The Logger Bar in Blue Lake has their monthly show with local hardworking band Kingfoot and its redwood-soaked Americana. Joining this free 9 p.m. show will be Canary and the Vamps. Reminding me of Siddhartha's dear friend in Hermann Hesse's novel of the same name, Govinda hits Hum Brews tonight. A student of classical violin, he was eventually turned on to electronic music production. Marrying these two styles of music together — and I'm sure a few others as well — gave him his own sound, respecting styles and traditions of old while adding a modern setting and context couched in electricity. Also on tonight's $20 bill are special guests, DJ D'Vinity and Mr. 415, who start this show off around 10 p.m.
"Humboldt's Finest Rockabilly" will be on the menu at Redwood Curtain Brewery around 8 p.m. for free. You'll hear a beer-sippin' soundtrack provided by The Yokels. Now, just because they're playing for free doesn't mean you can't leave 'em a tip for their efforts. Later tonight, with no rockabilly in earshot, upsidedowncross hosts what I'll call "Humboldt's Finest Stoner Rock," courtesy of Rogues Gallery at The Alibi in Arcata. Rounding out this 11 p.m. bill is R.I.P., some "West Coast Street Doom" from Portland that will be taking the floor first, if I had to guess, all for only $5.
It's Monday, so that means the Friendship Circle Dance Club is underway at the Humboldt Grange in South Eureka around 7 p.m. Meet some new friends and dance in circles only for $4 with music provided by Kenny Ray and the Rovers. If you show up at 6:15 p.m., you'll receive a dance lesson, thanks to Ken and Jenny, for just $5 — and you can stick around to show off your new moves during the dance for free. As they say, "Blow up your TV and come out and dance!"
Guitarist of The Ty Segall Band, Charles Francis Moorhead will be at the Miniplex tonight with his band CFM, cranking out the crunchy and fuzzed-out garage rock. CFM is touring in support of their new LP they just put out, and they'll be receiving some local support from local punk duo Dosidicus around 9 p.m. $5 for this show.
Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. Do what thou wilt. Or don't.