May 27, 2004
FOR MONTHS NOW I'VE BEEN MEANING TO LET YOU know about something called HumCity, a very cool Web site, located, as you might guess, at www.humcity.com. First I must correct a misconception: Because of the name, some people seem to assume the site is directly related to this column. It is not -- except for the fact that HumCity's editor, Carroll Jones, supplies a link to "The Hum" on his page, and I pass along information about shows that I've heard about and he hasn't.
For the most part HumCity is a list of upcoming local shows, kind of like the Journal's "Clubs and Cafes" page, but with a very handy difference: links. Jones marks each show with little icons he creates -- click on one and it opens up the band's Web page. So, for example, you can get a better understanding of the "tribal reggae" of Satya Yuga, a band I'd never heard of, playing at Six Rivers McKinleyville Thursday, May 27. Now I know that the band is stopping here on its way back to Eugene, and after listening to a couple of MP3s, I can even recommend them, if you think you'd enjoy a mix of hip hop, jazz, funk and, yes, reggae.
The name? "Satya Yuga, a Sanskrit term, means `The Age of Truth,'" the site informed me. "Corresponding with the Golden Age and the Age of Aquarius, it foretells of a time on earth when all beings will live in harmony. Although received as the name for their project, the members of the ensemble see themselves as just one part of a movement towards a new paradigm based on the principles of love."
(I seem to recall the dawning of the Age of Aquarius was supposed to be in the '60s, at least according to Hair, but now seems as good a time as any, and we could all use a little more love, couldn't we?)
Returning to HumCity -- Jones told me he got into web design as a hobby after creating a page for his son, Jake Jones, a hotshot pro skateboarder. Definitely check it out (www.humdog.com) if you're into skating and/or skate parks.
HumCity also includes links to pages related to local music venues and events, plus a set of links to pretty much every local band or musician who has a Web site, everyone from Alton Pacific (are they still around?) to Vintage Soul (who BTW are playing at the Riverwood June 5, next weekend).
To top it all off Jones posts a rotating collection of video clips he shoots with his camcorder at local clubs. I just downloaded a clip of Karen Dumont singing Billie's "Good Morning Heartache" with Randy Strom offering his own amazing jazz fantasias behind her. Simply wonderful. There are also clips from out-of-town bands, for example, Deerhoof, in case you want to relive the experience or get a taste of something you missed.
Incidentally, Jones created some of the band pages and club pages listed on his site, and did it for nothing but the love of music. (If your band needs a Web page, click on the contact link and ask him; if he has time, he'll probably make one for you.)
A fair number of the other local band pages on HumCity are part of Humboldtmusic.com, a site where bands can create their own pages, and quite easily. It's another labor of love project, with the love and labor supplied by Eldin Green, of Dr. Squid, and Mike Craghead, who has been playing with Sari Baker for some time (and, no, Sari is not moving to L.A. to make it big or become an American Idol).
I've mentioned their local net radio feed before; Eldin changes it about once a month, so you might want to give a listen to the May edition before it's replaced by June.
I keep Humboldtmusic.com bookmarked for reference when I'm working on the calendar. The section I find most useful is their day-by-day calendar where bands and/or venues post listings, and often listings that are not sent to the Journal.
We try to make the Journal's listings as comprehensive as possible, but the truth is, it ain't easy. You'd think any club owner would routinely take the minute or two required to send an e-mail or a fax to our office to let us know who's playing at their place -- and many do -- but some don't. I send out e-mails and call some places where I know there's music on a regular basis, and sometimes that works, but sometimes it doesn't.
Just this afternoon I called a local night spot and asked for the owner (who shall remain anonymous). "He's not here -- don't know when he'll be back -- try tomorrow morning," I was told.
"Any chance you know who's playing this weekend?" I asked, and laughed when the guy told me, "I don't know, why don't you check in the Journal?"
When I explained exactly why I was calling, he said, "Bob?" -- seems I'd met him a few times since he's a member of a local band, working his day-job. That led into a conversation about why his band hasn't been playing lately in the nightclub where he works. He explained that the band has sort of a black-ball policy: Any bandmember can reject playing at any venue. In this case it was the fact that the club owner had insisted on charging someone in the band $2 for a cup of coffee when asked for one before playing a show. Feeling offended, he black-balled the club.
OK, you've read the cover story and you're wondering what the Placebo has planned this weekend. Well, Friday, May 28, they have indie rockers Detachment Kit from Brooklyn via Chicago, plus Seattle's Hint Hint, who have a new disc out on Suicide Squeeze Records, plus Ezee-Tiger, a rockin' solo looper from SF, formerly one of the Gay Barbarians, and High Tower (touring w/Ezee-tiger). A new local hardcore outfit called Hakim-a-Barber opens.
Then on Saturday, May 29, after the kinetic madness has come and gone from the Manila Dunes Community Center, Placebo presents Hijack the Disco, a driving indie rock band, who will drive here from Oakland, and the hardcore duo Mach Tiver, featuring a pair of Canadian siblings.
Thursday, May 27, at the Alibi, Humboldt Free Radio presents, from Mendocino, the Blue Dot, with ex-members of Seattle grunge bands Seaweed and Gardener, plus, from Vancouver, BC, a glam-rock/power-pop outfit known as Chinatown.
One week later, June 3, same place, catch the whisky-soaked country-tinged sounds of Blue Lake's favorite sons, the Rubberneckers, and the cross-dressed madness of the Cover Girls offering covers (of course) of your favorite glam-punk classics. (Incidentally, I found out about the Rubberneckers/Cover Girls show online at www.humcity.com.)
May 31 is the entry deadline for the upcoming KFMI, Power 96 Battle of the Bands. All it takes to enter is an original song, one you're willing to give them for a compilation CD benefiting some as-yet-unnamed charity. Go to www.Power963.com for details.
One more item: Wednesday, June 2, somewhere in Arcata, the truly fine, bluesy songwriter Caroline Aiken is performing for a house concert with Casey Connor opening. Wanna go? Call 839-7063 and make a reservation. Maybe I'll see you there.
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