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March 3, 2005

The Hum


Photo and headline -- Madi SimmonsYOU MIGHT REMEMBER MADI SIMMONS [ photo at left] FROM HIS DAYS AS lead singer for the funky blues band Stone Crazy, or maybe you heard him sing his self-penned reggae tunes with one ad hoc combo or another. Madi left Humboldt a couple of years back, relocating in sunny Hawaii, where he dug into reggae roots more seriously. The result was a CD titled Get U Some, originally released on a Hawaiian label, but recently reissued on PCT Records.

Most of the songs, recorded while he was over in Hawaii, stick to a reggae groove like the title track, an homage to the roots masters, but occasionally he strays into calypso, and he definitely returns to his hometown Chicago roots with "Living Witness," a bluesy tune infused with Midwestern soul.

Madi returned to Humboldt last year to be close to his daughter (who is growing up fast). He's been sending me e-mail updates about the CD rerelease for weeks, noting with excitement that the record will soon be in Target stores across the United States.

His latest provides details on a show this Friday: "Hey Bob, yep, the CD release is March 4, at Rumours -- the sounds will be reggae and calypso, like what's on the CD. The players are Lenny from Bias on keyboards, Mike Meyers on drums, Bowen on bass, Zion on lead guitar, Albert Raymond on percussion; on sax will be Tina and hopefully Julie as well. On backing vocals is my daughter Lorenza and Bianka Mankai, who by the way are opening the show -- they are known as Vidagua. Just want you to know that this CD was very personal for me, a lot of feeling went into it, so, I am blessed that it is now distributed nationwide. And hey, now I'm working on the next one, which will be released in the U.K. this summer."

The never-ending stream of reggae flowing into Humboldt continues this week with a couple more Dub Cowboy "real reggae" events at Six Rivers Brewery: Mikey Dread playing this Thursday, March 3, then, on March 10, Mother Culture herself, Sister Carol, touring behind a new disc, Empressive, released on her Black Cinderella label. Incidentally, if you show up really early at Six Rivers this Thursday (say 6:30ish) you can also catch a set by one of my favorite local folkies, Eileen Hemphill Haley, performing with her folk-rockin' band (formerly known as the Oregon Dogs).

The hip-hop underground bubbles on, with Sunspot Jonz from Living Legends and Brother J from X Clan hitting Rumours Thursday, March 3.

A correction re: the 330 Club show mentioned here last week featuring Japanese noise/rock giants DMBQ. Sorry, but it's not on Thursday, it's on Friday, March 4th (the day that is also a command). A copy of the brand new DMBQ CD on Estrus, The Essential Sounds From the Far East, showed up in the mail yesterday and it's just as loud, chaotic and on fire as you might expect. And don't forget, two bands from S.F. are coming with DMBQ: Midnight Laserbeam and psyche rockers The Appreciation. One more thing, if you can't make it Thursday, you'll have a second chance to hear DMBQ before they return home. They like Arcata so much they're returning to play at The Alibi Tuesday, April 19, after crisscrossing the U.S. playing every night for weeks on end.

Also on March 4, there's "good ole country slewgrass" by Slewfoot String Band and cow-punk by The Rubberneckers at Muddy Waters, while the `Neckers buddies Que La Chinga play twang-punk up at Six Rivers. You might also want to catch `Neckers vocalist Clay when he sits in with Play Dead at Humboldt Brews Tuesday, March 8. (I'm just kidding, as you may have heard, Clay does not appreciate Dead cover bands, but Play Dead really is playing that night. I was thinking the other night at the DSO show that the `Neckers could easily add something like "Friend of the Devil" to their repertoire. BTW, if you left early, it was 6/4/77, The Forum, Inglewood.)

Out at the Bayside Grange Hall Friday night it's a taste of Mardi Gras (a bit late, but who cares) at the annual North Coast Rep Masquerade Ball. They'll have food from Jambalaya, a costume contest, a 50/50 raffle, bellydancing by Ya Habibi Dance Co. and Spinalotta Poi Dance Troupe (hula?) plus some fine Cajun tunes for your dancing pleasure supplied by the Bayou Swamis. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Then on Saturday, March 5, at the same Grange, it's Oui! Oui!, a benefit for Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy with an elegant French dinner with music by the NPPAA jazz ensemble, followed by dance lessons and dancing to the Delta Nationals, and yes, you can skip dinner and just dance.

There are a couple more music events that night benefiting musical youth: the ArMack Concert Band joins forces with the HSU Symphonic Band at Fulkerson Recital Hall, in advance of another ArMack trek to New York City.

Meanwhile at North Coast Repertory Theatre, Kathe Lyth leads the Redwood Coast Children's Choir, who are embarking on a journey of their own, singing for world harmony in the Czech Republic.

The Jazz at the Woodside series at the Westhaven Center for the Arts concludes Saturday, March 5, with a concert by guitarist Blake Brown and a combo including pianist Easton Stuard, Geoff Daugherty on bass and Mike LaBolle on drums featuring the music of John Coltrane and Bennie Golson. Brown notes, "Coltrane's earlier compositions as a band leader emphasized harmonic progressions based around thirds, rather than traditional fourths or fifths. Several [original] selections will be use the `Coltrane harmony.'" Sounds very cool indeed.

Saturday night at the Mateel the bad boys from Diamondback present Winter Rukus III, an evening of hard-hitting hip-hop and rock with rap veteran E-40, Paradime (Kid Rock's DJ), Moonshine Bandits, Potluck, RBL Posse, Hate or Relate, Cool Nutz, DJ Chill, South Clic, and Kenny Freestyle. Just 10 acts, is that all?

At Rumours Saturday, it's another CD release party, this one for the new Kulica album, Baker's Dozen, with 13 "grass-roots, groove-rockin'" songs. Their friend Joe Garceau opens the show.

At Six Rivers Brewery Saturday, it's Vinyl returning from Marin for more of that tasty funk/ska/jazz/salsa mix.

Jonesing for some Dixieland? The Hall St. Honkers are back at the Moose Lodge Sunday afternoon. Watch for their triumphant return to the Red Lion during Redwood Jazz Fest weekend (that's April 1, 2 & 3). And in case you haven't heard, the legendary Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks and the very cool trio Hot Club of Cowtown headline the Saturday night Muni Jazz Fest bash.

While we're on the subject of Redwood Music Festivals, the first acts confirmed for this year's Blues by the Bay include the amazing Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, hip-hop/blues sensation Chris Thomas King, Debra Coleman and the Paul Delay Band.

Blues? Coming up next Wednesday, March 9, at the Blue Lake Casino a new blues band called Mojo Daddy featuring local blues vets Andy Widman (wasn't he once guitarist for the above-mentioned Stone Crazy?), harpman/vocalist Doug Vanderpool, drummer Bill Moehnke, and Chris Matheos, who I'm guessing is the bass man.

Remember last summer when you picked up the program for the CenterArts season? If you acted fast, you grabbed a ticket to see Lily Tomlin at the Van Duzer next Thursday. If you did not, well, maybe a miracle ticket will come your way.


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