It's the first official weekend with most of HSU's students out of town. Many of us (underemployed alumni ourselves) get to breathe a sigh of snobbish relief. Arcata returns to normal — whatever the hell that means — and we are spared the constant reminder of how innocent and carefree our lives used to be before getting crushed by the cynical weight of the adult world in which our optimism vanished along with our financial aid checks.
Businesses feel the pinch around town as there are fewer consumers to frequent their establishments, and I doubt us working stiffs pick up the slack.
Then there are the music venues and bands. As mentioned in one of my first columns, I don't doubt that the exodus of students has an effect on venues and bands up here, but I'm also not entirely convinced it's as large as some think. It definitely can't help to have thousands of potential showgoers leave town, but how much of local venues' clientele are HSU students?
I seemed to notice — or convince myself — that a lot of students packed the music shows I went to when I was an HSU student. That's to say, if you're a student and in a band, there's a good chance you're telling and pulling other students to your shows.
Keep playing around town for years after graduation and you'll probably start pulling less of the student crowd. Maybe it's because you have less in common with the youth, maybe their music tastes are pretty different, maybe it's because many students are under 21 and can't hit the bar scene, or maybe your band just sucks and there are only so many Class of '94 alum around to drink to your band's caterwauling. Either way, expect some bands to hang back to do some recording and writing during the summer "dry months," but also head out to support those that keep gigging just for us world-weary music lovers.
Recently onstage with The Chieftains in Arcata, locals A Company of Voices will be performing twice this weekend for you. Ranging from classical, jazz, and spiritual, you'll hear these voices at the Morris Graves Museum of Art at 7 p.m., bring $10 to get in the door.
Not exactly a live performance, but it seems worth mentioning after last week's column: The Arcata Theatre Lounge will be screening Prince's Purple Rain at 8 p.m. I don't see how that won't be a great time. $5 cover to pay your purple respects.
Local four-piece Money will be recreating the Pink Floyd sound before the back-up singers, additional musicians and lasers (mainly because they can't afford them) at Cher-Ae-Heights Casino for free at 9 p.m.
If the Floyd sound is a bit too contemporary for you, Humboldt Brews is the spot to be. At 9:30 p.m. hear S.F.'s Royal Jelly Jive bring the "old-school throwback sounds of the 1940s" with a twist of rock, funk and soul jive. $15 for these pre and postwar sounds.
Missed A Company of Voices at the Morris Graves last night? You can catch 'em at 2 p.m. Same deal as yesterday.
John Prine's right-hand man, Jason Wilber, will be at The Old Steeple in Ferndale at 7:30 p.m. The press release states that he plays guitar and sings for John Prine which is indubitably a pretty high honor. It then goes on and on about John Prine — somewhat understandably — before mentioning that he [Jason] is more than just John Prine's guy, to which I say, "then don't mention John Prine so much." Anyway, you know Jason can play guitar like a pro, but he's also a very accomplished songwriter, so go to the show, it's only $25. If you're still on the fence, did I mention he plays with John Prine?
Power-rock trio GrooveSession hits up Humboldt Brews at 9:30 p.m. With a sound influenced by soul, jam-rock and old-school funk, you know it'll be a sweaty good time. $10 cover charge, and save some money for beer.
For the late-night good times, head to the Alibi at 11 p.m. If memory serves, Ian of the Alibi will even travel himself to hear Jenny Don't & the Spurs' "lonely, Western, desert-type music" or "Texas two-step, or something" (description h/t to Dieter). Lucky for him — and us — no significant traveling will be necessary as the band will be joined at the Alibi by local high-altitude-desert rockers Opossum Sun Trail. Only $5 for this sonic-cinematic quest to Morricone's peyote-desert plateau.
Get your groove on every Sunday at The Jam in Arcata with the Deep Groove Society, which spins your ears and shakes your ass at 9 p.m.
You'll find Buddy Reed doing his thing over at Libation off the Arcata Plaza at 7 p.m. As usual, he's not asking for your money (but feel free to give him some).
Richard's Goat Tavern and Tea Room hosts Pony Time from Seattle. The band has apparently released a new album entitled Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True in the style of "Fleetwood Mac's classic album, replacing the copious amounts of cocaine with Gatorade and tumultuous love affairs with trips to Arby's." So there's that, for what it's worth. The same release states that the band brings the garage rock sound but leaves behind the "bonehead bro attitude." Got it? No word on the time or cover charge, but rumor has it that it'll be in the evening and not too expensive.
Out-of-town band Edge of the West is celebrating the release of a new album at Humboldt Brews at 9 p.m. A blend of country roots, rock 'n' roll and jam-band sounds, expect to move around and have a good time. $10 to get in, and check out their new release.
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 email@example.com.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. HSU still hits him up for money.