Feb. 24, 2005
by BOB DORAN
THE REUNION TOUR IS A BASIC STAPLE of classic rock on a par with the farewell tour, or for local bands, the last-show-ever-before-we-break-up and/or leave town, honest. The long-awaited resurrection of the Myers Flat-based neo-southern (Humboldt) rock `n' roll marching band Avenue of the Giants, [photo at right] on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Alibi, may qualify as both. However, Giants' guitarist Mr. Mike notes that the band could have as much as a "30-day shelf life." According to AOTG vocalist Mr. T, the band dissolved "following the 1987 death of leader Shane McCrackle from a tragic backwoods agriculture accident." Former members subsequently moved to Arcata to take up "unsuccessful musical careers" with the Cutters, Grout, the Hitch, Grimace, Sad Wings of Destiny and EPQ. For this weekend's tear-stained McCrackle memorial concert the band is relearning old tunes, drawing inspiration (and sometimes actual lyrics) from Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Ted Nugent and Ennio Morricone, telling, as Mr. T. put it, "tales of heartache, lust, substance abuse, redemption, industrial mishaps and tree stumps." Joining the Giants for an evening of rockin' revelry: Manila's legendary stoner metal masters, Dragged by Horses.
The latest in the seemingly endless string of underground hip-hop shows hosted by Thanksgiving Brown takes place Wednesday, March 2, at Rumours featuring 2Mex from the group Of Mexican Decent and the amazing Busdriver from Project Blowed.
Busdriver's poetic, rapid-fire raps are delivered in a cadence that owes something to vocalese as practiced by pre-rap jazz artists like Eddie Jefferson. "I'm a big fan of Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure, Jon Hendricks, Lambert Hendrix and Ross, even Manhattan Transfer. I'm definitely a student of vocalese; it's at the forefront of the influences on my approach," noted Busdriver when we spoke via cell as he was about to board a flight from Austin back to his home in Los Angeles.
Busdriver came into his own as part of L.A.'s fabled Project Blowed open mike scene. "It was more than a place to rap, there was an identifiable [Project Blowed ] approach that has influenced a lot of different groups," he pointed out. The characteristics of that approach? "The jazz influence, the virtuosity centered around jazz, playful rhymes in coherent actualized individual styles. I'm a torch bearer for that whole sound [along with] Aceyalone, Abstract Rude and many others. There's a common thread between us that you can hear when you listen to our stuff."
Also on the bill at Rumours: Tray Loc from C.V.E., Tommy V., Optimystic Populists and once again, T.G. Brown on the turntables.
The ever-eclectic Placebo has an unusual show Friday, Feb. 26, featuring an outfit called Adelaide out of Portland, Ore., along with IRB (about whom I know nothing). The very cool Adelaide consists of guitarist Adam Porterfield, Ethan Rose on Fender Rhodes, synthesizer, guitar and Macintosh computer, David Casey on drums and xylophone, and for a new spin, Ryan Jeffery on 16-millimeter projectors.
"The idea driving the project has always been making some sort of new collaboration of audio and visual elements using film loops and creating instrumental music with an interplay between the two," said Porterfield, explaining that the concept evolved from collaborations between Rose and Jeffery at Lewis and Clark College, where Ryan was an art student and Ethan was a music student.
The loops are "half found footage and half things Ryan has shot. He's a filmmaker who does entirely experimental films. We do some programming for an electronic twist and use the computer live as well. All the guitars are pretty intensely effected sometimes, then there's fingerpicking rhythmic things."
The music has a soothing, Eno-esque ambient feel with folk and jazz elements in the washes of sound, which Porterfield explained are "designed to be easy on the ears and pretty to listen to. It creates this nonlinear abstract narrative between the film and the music. It feels almost like reminiscing in a natural way."
The prog-rock jamband RAQ is here from Vermont for a free show Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Blue Lake Casino, with the fabled magic bus taking riders there and back.
The San Francisco-based rock quartet Miggs is in town promoting their InsOmnia album with two shows this weekend, first on Saturday at Humboldt Brews (where they share a bill with reunited jammers Ground Control) then on Sunday at Six Rivers. While they call what they do "alternative rock," it's more along the lines of semi-alt. classic rock, a style not heard much locally with a big guitar sound and slick vocal harmonies.
Friday, Feb. 25, at Cecil's, a Cajun restaurant in Garberville, you can catch last week's Journal cover boy Darryl Cherney with the Chernobles, which this time out may include harmonies by the lovely (and very pregnant) Francine Allen.
Friday night at Humboldt Brews, The Great Salvation engages in some neo-psychedelic madness followed by The Rubberneckers with one of their loud, electric country punk sets.
The weekly instore at the Metro earlier that evening features politi-punk metal band Cycle of Violence, who have recently completed a demo, plus a new band, Light from Darkness.
Bluesman Doug MacLeod, a master on the slide guitar and a fine songwriter, is in town for the weekend playing old school country-style blues instore at the Metro at 1 p.m. then heading out to Blue Lake for a show at the Red Radish with Don Haupt, who, like MacLeod, plays the National steel. MacLeod is a blues lovers bluesman, one may be better known in Europe than here. He has been a writing a column, "Doug's Back Porch" for Blues Revue Magazine since 1998 and also hosts the radio show "Nothin' But The Blues" on Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. on KKJZ-FM out of Los Angeles (streamed online at www.kkjz.org). One more thing: He teaches blues guitar and will offer a workshop Sunday morning at the Metro. Check with the store for details.
More blues? John Lee Hooker Jr. gets down at the Riverwood Saturday night, while the Clint Warner Band plays Sal's Myrtlewood Lounge and the Karen Dumont Electric Blues Band is at Sal's Off Broadway. (Karen and company also play the Blue Lake Casino Friday.)
Elsewhere Saturday: Ponche serves up AfroCuban salsa at Six Rivers Brewery. At Rumours it's Ala Zingara from Idaho playing what they call "roots rock gypsy funk fusion," although I'd say their electric rock with bouzouki has more of a southern rock gone international feel.
It's another great week for reggae in Humboldt with the legendary Jimmy Cliff at Mazzotti's Thursday, Feb. 24, a Passion Presents show with up-and-coming local jammers Mobile Chiefing Unit opening. Friday night catch British reggae masters Steel Pulse plus Jamaican veterans Israel Vibration at the Mateel, but don't drive down if you don't already have tickets -- this one is absolutely sold out. Coming next Thursday, March 3, to Six Rivers Brewery, Mikey Dread, whose resumé includes a stint as the first full-on reggae radio deejay on the Jamaican national station, and work as a producer in England for The Clash, among others.
Also next Thursday: the inimitable Japanese noise/metal outfit DMBQ returns to the 330 Club with S.F. psyche-rockers The Appreciation and dark ambient alt. rockers Midnight Laserbeam sharing the bill. Michelle from Panache will be there; so should you.
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