To everything there is a season, a purpose, and a time. It may be short, or it may be long, but undoubtedly time continually hurries on. I don't really know what that means, but I'm sure whomever I plagiarized understood. Let's just say it's about seasons and cycles and changes. A couple of changes present themselves to us. Firstly, you've got yourself a new Setlist writer. You never asked for one, I know. You quite liked the old one, I know. As you learned last week (or will be immediately discomforted to learn from me now) the wonderful Jennifer Savage has relinquished her artful grip of said Setlist. I hear a new job called her on. Others have whispered that she just got tired of music and gave up on it all. Either way, I find myself with the unenviable position of trying to follow her. I'll try my best. Most of the time. So long Jen, and thanks for all the parentheses.
There's another change among us here in Northern Humboldt. The college students are back! Local business owners salivate over money from San Diegan and Los Angeleno parents coming their way through the financial intermediaries known as "students." Locals appreciate the boost to the economy; all the while wondering what the hell happened to their quiet town. Local musicians wonder if — between changing the world and playing Ultimate — students will come to their shows?
It's a question I've long wondered myself. Summers are slow for local venues and bands. The common strategy is to pull back a bit as far as gigging goes, and wait until the students return. But is it worth it? Recently I asked Ryan Roberts of Absynth Quartet [playing Saturday] his thoughts on the matter. He mentioned not being sure if it was "completely the students that make the turnout better when HSU is in session or the fact that the town as a whole doubles in population and all the businesses are doing well from the influx of student money and the pot economy." Good points. He also has the insight that students early on in the semester might be more willing to check out local music shows when they're more "flush with cash" and ambitious than later on, when they've blown through their parents donations and realize they need to pull that D+ up to a C. So, local musicians, now may be the time to ensnare the college students with your "unique sound unlike any other in Western music" before they retreat back to the cheap comforts of beans, rice and Netflix. Play on.
Humboldt Brews (we call it "Hum Brews," students) welcomes back Melvin Seals & JGB for two nights. No stranger to the North Coast, Melvin & JGB bring an "intuitive, expressive style, soul, spontaneity and remarkable chops to the table... where the sky is the limit musically." Not sold yet? He jammed with Jerry Garcia. A lot. Enough said. Check these psychedelic jams at 9:30 p.m. and bring $25.
Should you want to save a bit of money and see fine local musicians, head up to Blue Lake. Grab a lungful of "Sea Air" and an earful of Lizzy and the Moonbeams. They'll make you sway, sing, and dance about, all for zero dollars starting at 9 p.m. in the Blue Lake Casino.
It's the first Saturday of the month, so that means it's time for Arts Alive in Eureka. I had the pleasure of chatting it up with David of the Rip It Ups at a wedding recently and he mentioned you can hear Buddy Reed and the Rip It Ups at the Morris Graves Museum of Art at 6 p.m. free of charge. So I mention it now to you.
If you'd rather stick to Arcata tonight and snub the Arts that are Alive, you'll find Liquid Kactus around 9 p.m. opening for the Absynth Quartet at the Jambalaya (we call it "The Jam," students). I hear there's food now at The Jam. Eat some. If you were smart enough to buy tickets in advance you'll have saved yourself $2, otherwise get ready to hand over $10 (we call them "Hamiltons," students.)
If you missed Melvin Seals & JGB last night at Hum Brews, you've got another chance tonight (see above for details).
A thing called the Wild Roots Tour is coming to the Logger Bar in Blue Lake. The tour consists of former local talent and now Los Angelite singer-songwriter Josephine Johnson joined by Pi Jacobs and Will Willis. It's a free show starting at 9 p.m. and for a good time while there ask around if anyone's dog has fleas.
For those that like gazing at their shoes while up late, head to the Alibi in Arcata to catch Osmia and Muncie (deceptively from Oakland). $5 for the bands, and music starts at 11 p.m.
The Sanctuary in Arcata hosts former runaway and hitchhiker Ashley Raines at 8 p.m. With a voice somewhat between Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen paired with a desire to tell you how old his guitar is and how many "boxcars" he's "hopped," you'll be in for a nice treat of some Americana and introspective country touches. Joining Mr. Raines tonight is Mike O'Herir from Maine, who may or may not have an old guitar too. Sliding scale tonight from $5-$20.
It's Labor Day so that means it's the I Block Party in Arcata. Free music from Noon to 6 p.m. at Los Bagels featuring Lyndsey Battle, Mad River Rose, SambAmore and The Hip Joint. For full disclosure points, guess which band my wife's in.
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 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.