A quick note for those picking up the Journal on Wednesday – did you make it out to the Blitzen Trapper gig last week? Humboldt Brews offers another chance to hear a band perform similarly evocative, melodic sounds on Wednesday (tonight, so hope you picked up the paper early). Athens' Futurebirds has played with Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic and Alabama Shakes, and are now touring in support of their new album, "Baba Yaga." You can immerse yourself in Futurebirds' distinctive sonic textures at futurebirdsmusic.com/music/ — any band with a song called "Johnny Utah" gets props from the start, and the band's press release promises a "primal, sweat-soaked" live show. The music's lovely as is, and it should be interesting to see how the wistfulness of the songs transforms into a more primitive performance. Show starts at 9:30 p.m., cost is $10.
This week may well be Humboldt County's summer zenith. The Crabs are still in full swing, the sun appears determined to shine, gardens burst with berries and zucchinis (oh, so many zucchinis!) and the Humboldt Folklife Festival continues its merry Blue Lake existence. Thursday night is the ever-popular Bluegrass and Beyond Night. Sometimes called "country music for Democrats," bluegrass has long been a Humboldt County staple, which is why we have musicians who are so darn good at it. The line-up features Cory Goldman and Colin Vance, Raisin' Grain, No Good Redwood Ramblers and Compost Mountain Boys. Cost is $10/$8 for Humboldt Folklife Society members. Advance tickets recommended.
Friday night is another extremely popular event, the Humboldt Folklife Festival Barn Dance – people love these hoedowns and the fabulous Striped Pig Stringed Band. This one's at the Arcata Veterans Hall and starts at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $7/$6 HFS members.
Saturday brings one of my favorite celebrations of the year — the all-day Humboldt Folklife Festival Free Fest, full of music on various stages, workshops, kid activities and, because it's Blue Lake, quite likely sunshine.
Complete info on the festival at humboldtfolklife.org.
In Humboldt, we're never short of ways to combine good beer and good causes. This week's highlight takes place Friday when the Mad River Alliance hosts a party at, appropriately, the Mad River Tap Room from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The nonprofit is celebrating the completion of the summer's steelhead survey, which included over 20 divers examining 75 miles of the Mad River. Attendees can get a sense of what that's like watching noted local underwater videog Thomas Dunklin's subsurface video. Musically speaking, Spindrift and Kingfoot provide the tunes.
Saturday night requires a decision, but in either case, the theme is guilty pleasures. If you feel like a Eureka dance party, wow, is there ever a dance party! DJs Mantea$e, JAYMORG, King Maxwell, mattsansadam and La Dolce Video's DJ Danny Glover promise Nelly, Major Lazer, Beyoncé, Peaches and maybe some Mariah Carey, if you're lucky. The pleasure of dancing at Eureka's Palm Lounge will outweigh any guilt — promise. Cost is $3, the grooving heats up around 9 p.m. and tickets are available at Missing Link Records.
The other option is over in Arcata, and here's what you don't have to feel guilty about: supporting a venue that repeatedly brings in live music. And listen, you also don't have to feel guilty about enjoying the hell out of some good-time power-pop that sounds circa 2001. I clicked on The Ten Thousand's track, "Fight Inertia," (the10k.org) and found myself bopping around the living room singing along on the first listen — that's a sell in my book. Hear it and other catchy punky tracks live when the L.A.-based band hits the Alibi. Late night show with music starting around 11:15 p.m. Show's 21-and-over and will set you back a mere $5.
This sounds promising. Have you been to the Siren's Song yet? The only drawback is if you're not a beer drinker, then beverage options are limited — but the ship-themed décor feels right at home in our Victorian seaport and the couches are comfy, all which leads to why you might want to consider Dirty Cello's free show there Sunday evening. Led by cellist Rebecca Roudman, who has shared the stage with everyone from Elvis Costello to Carlos Santana and Ry Cooder to Joan Baez, Dirty Cello mixes, in the band's own words, "virtuosic classical playing with the soul of blues, and the fire of gypsy music. Think B.B. King meets Yo-Yo Ma."
Performance poet Chris Chandler has joined forces with world-class roots and Americana guitar guru Paul Benoit. Remember when Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco did an album together? This is cool like that and then some — in fact, Utah Phillips calls Chris Chandler, "The best performance poet I have ever seen." If you're not familiar, imagine a self-aware bad man brimming with passion and nimble with words speaking about such diverse topics as the banality of evil and the ramifications of leopard print pillbox hats, with irresistible riffs and short films in the background. The Chris Chandler and Paul Benoit Show lands at the Arcata Playhouse on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Looking into next week, Thursday, June 25 is Roaring for Choice, a Six Rivers Planned Parenthood Advocates for Choice party happening at the Speakeasy and the night of a benefit for the Journal's Bob Doran (see below) and Arcata business phenom Jessica McGuinty at Humboldt Brews. Saturday, July 27 brings Brothers Comatose to Humboldt Brews — the place is on a perpetual roll. More on all these upcoming good times in next week's The Hum. Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online.
Wondering how your gig can get a mention in The Hum? Send details and high-res photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. No promises, but that's a fine first step.
Yours truly is but temporary curator of this music column and is pleased to hear Bob Doran is home and doing well. Keep up with the man — and marvel at his endlessly fine photos – at facebook.com/bob.doran.