Let me share with you a heartwarming tale of the season. A couple Mondays ago, three bands were scheduled to play at the Jambalaya. All the bands were there, ready and waiting. A sizeable crowd had turned up. The only problem (as the story was relayed to me) was that something was wrong with the P.A. system. No one could figure out how to make it work. Tension among band members rose. People in the crowd wondered when things would start — "c'mon," they said, "it's a Monday night!"
And then, the door opened and in came Tofu Mike and his bicycle. The crowd parted. He strode through, leaned his bike on the bar, took off his helmet and popped on his headlamp. Walked over to the soundboard, pushed two buttons, or maybe it was three (as described to yours truly), announced, "You should be good," gave a thumbs up, wheeled his bike out and went on his merry, Soundgod way. Praise be.
Now, let's play a game. Can you match the publicity quote with the show?
1. "In an era where hip-hop devolves into half-baked facsimile with alarming regularity, [this album] serves as a reminder that the true school will always triumph over the bullshit."
2. "... a name known fondly around Humboldt County."
3. "And yes, as always, there will be cookies!"
4. "No live music Dec. 20 to Jan. 16."
5. "Many believe that the ENTERTAINMENT has died but no it has not because WE ARE HERE what ALL OF YOU ARE ABOUT TO WITNESS IS GONNA BLOW YOU RIGHT OUT OF THE WATER."
6. "When the men of __________ are all gathered in Humboldt at the same time, we must make music for any folks we can gather in one spot."
7. "The show will be full band electric — so we can finally unleash what we do best."
8. "'Twas five nights before Christmas and all through the county,
the people were sweaty from the joyful Soul bounty.
9. "Come party before Christmas with three great local bands."
a. Spirit Vibrations' fourth annual Holiday Party and Showcase
This one takes place Thursday night at the Jambalaya. Performers include Scotch Wiggly, Jeff Kelley and Leslie Quinn, Vidi Zion and Lorenza Faye Simmons, Jan Bramlett, Daniel Seidel and Norm Crawford, Josephine Johnson and more. Doors at 8 p.m., cover is $3, show is 21-and-over.
b. The Underground Disturbing Society's all-ages show
This one is brought to you by the MARZ project (they're fans of all caps, see?), happens Friday at Jefferson Elementary School and features 2Tone, JonnyB, YungT, Eternal Thought, Young Thrasher and DJ-WhichDoctor. Cover is $5, show is 7 to 10 p.m.
c. High Crimes, Wrecks Goliath and Comfortable
Expect a variety of music varying on the indie theme Friday at the Jambalaya. Tickets are $5, show is 21-and-over, doors open at 9:30 p.m.
In 1993, hip-hop poets Blackalicious released a cassette — do we need to define what a cassette is? — titled Melodica that would announce the group's brilliance to the world. Blackalicious has finally released a digital version, with a bonus track, natch, and the result is a sharp look back at what was slightly more carefree, just as funky, with lo-fi overtones that make the album sound completely modern. This show explodes Friday at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, show is 21-and-over.
e. Christmas Soul Night
You could put the sweat in holiday sweater, but why do that when it's an excuse to wear your fancy clothes? As Adam says, "Get advanced tickets from Hum Brews quite early, ('cuz to wait till the day of would be oh-so-squirrely), and we'll see you on Friday, 19th of December, for a holiday soul night you're sure to remember."
Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $5, party is 21-and-over.
f. Songwriter Circle of Death
The acclaimed series returns to the Alibi with part XI — in a rare Friday night show — featuring TheBoredAgain, DiZee-C and Nola Victrola. Show starts at 11 p.m., cover is $2 and the show is 21-and-over.
g. Manila Groove Machine
MGM promises to incorporate approximately 64 percent of musical genres into the quartet's set Friday at the Palm Lounge, including indie rock, blues rock, funk rock, groove rock and soul. Rock on. No cover, 21-and-over.
h. Rolling Bob
Vintage rockers Rolling Bob perform Saturday at Scotia's Winema Theater with The John David Young Conspiracy. Bring your own snacks and nonalcoholic beverages to the show, which kicks off at 7 p.m. (Doors at 6:30 p.m.) No cover, but donations are requested.
i. Fourth Annual Winter Concert with Hzuckleberry Flint
I'm including this Arcata Playhouse show, but don't be surprised if Sunday's Huckleberry Flint performance is sold out, considering tickets for the Friday one sold out faster than it took you to read this sentence. Please also note that this is an early show, with doors at 6 p.m. and music at 7 p.m. Do you need to know anything about Huck Flint? Then know this: They're ridiculously talented and we love them anyway because they stay true to many things including the folk song convention of rearranging traditional ballads and spirituals in an original way, blending old-timey lyrics and melodies with electric instruments and five-part harmonies. The resulting sound is as rich and full-bodied as the artisan chocolate bars crafted by bandmembers Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick. Kevin Porter, Ray Robinson and husband and wife duo Brian and Lauren Pilger complete the band. $15 gets you in.
(Answers: 1d, 2i, 3a, 4f, 5b, 6h, 7g, 8e, 9c)