Aug. 4, 2005
by BOB DORAN
IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE AN INVITATION TO A JAMBAND FESTIVAL, but it's not. "Welcome to Jamrock" could be a description of the rocky beach camping area at Reggae on the River, but that's not it either. It's the title of a red hot single by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley [photo below], a hard-hitting dancehall number about guns and political violence with a hook, "Out in the streets, they call it murder!" from a track by Ina Kamoze. The song emerged from a No. 1 position on the worldwide dancehall reggae charts to become the club hit of the summer, a staple on mixtapes that's filling dancefloors from coast to coast. And yes, Jr. Gong and his brother Stephen are back at Reggae this year closing Saturday night's dancehall heavy lineup.
For Reggae booker Carol Bruno, "The other big one Saturday is I-Wayne playing roots music. [He has his own hit on the Jamaican charts right now] And there's Rupee from Barbados playing great soca, his song was in the latest James Bond movie."
Bruno continued, "Friday night we have Emeline Michel from Haiti -- she's absolutely fabulous -- don't miss her. And there's Tre [Hardson] from the Pharcyde and Lyrics Born, both with conscious hip hop -- and of course Michael Franti." Later Friday things turn to reggae with Junior Reid (from Black Uhuru) and Maxi Priest, and, said Bruno, "Transglobal Underground from Europe is worth staying up for." (Their set doesn't start until 1:15 a.m.)
Sunday's Reggae includes several returns: Ozomatli, who tore it up last year, Bobo Shanti Rasta Anthony B, and the king of African reggae, Alpha Blondy, whose last appearance at Reggae ran into the wee wee hours and did not end until the exhausted stage crew pulled the plug.
Speaking of the stage crew, send some good vibes to long-time Reggae/Mateel soundman Jimmy Dangler whose medical problems will keep him off the Reggae stage for the first time in many years.
I'm hoping this will not become a regular feature here, but we should also send out a get-well-soon to Delta Nationals guitarist Steve Irwin who had one of those scary heart episodes while the band was playing "This Magic Moment" at the Farmers' Market on Saturday. D. N. bassman Ross reports that Steve's feeling much better.
Suppose you don't care for reggae and are wondering what else you might do this weekend. Friday, August 5, at The Alibi catch Trash and Roll, playing their last show with bassist Danny Mac (good luck in Portland), plus The Buffy Swayze with "Eno-Devo karaoke rock for the sexually ambiguous," and a reunion of Guided by Voices coverband, Tigerbomb led by former Humboldt Film Commissioner Jensen Rufe, who sent a self-deprecating e-mail about his band, followed the next day by a note saying, "Disregard yesterday's poo-pooing of Tigerbomb. Ryan Cook has been organizing practices with the band, and he says they've been sounding sharp -- so, full speed ahead!"
Earlier that evening at the Eureka Teen Center, it's a Placebo/Boys and Girls Club co-promo rock/hip hop show, a freestyle rap MC battle with guest hosts Caveman (winner of a similar contest) and DJ Spencer Doran (my favorite DJ) plus teen rockers The Dean.
Saturday night at Sal's Myrtlewood Lounge it's the Karen Dumont Electric Blues Band who are only playing a few more shows before Karen leaves the blues behind to return to her gospel roots with a new group she's putting together called Echoes of Glory.
Elsewhere Saturday, Absynth Quintet becomes the Absynth Trio for a Chill Zone show at the Jambalaya.
Placebo follows last weekend's successful benefit with another Saturday night show at the D St. Neighborhood Center, this one featuring the strange sounds of Old Time Relijun, a trio from some decaying church deep in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula led by jaw harpist/throat singer Arrington de Dionyso, who admits in a manifesto posted on the K-Records website, "I don't know how to play a musical instrument, except by wild instinct."
Dionyso goes on to explain, "To release the mystery language requires a lot of digging! Beneath the mud of the great riverbanks of the world, every song that will ever be sung is buried, broken into shards without number, pieces of music intermingling with the peat, sand, and clay. I'm the archeologist digging for pieces of broken music in the mud, the riverbed, the reeds, her bed and her body. I am digging deep tunnels to unleash the release; this is the excavation of the bed, the archaeology of the orgasm, taking photographs of the Dream, I hear her whispering deep love in every shadow of a ditch" Joining OTR at D St., locals The Signal and Starving Weirdos.
The 3rd Annual Summer Music and Art Series on the Arcata Plaza begins Sunday, August 7, with flute and guitar music by Marla Joy and Dave Wilson and folk rock by the Eileen Hemphill-Haley Band. The series continues Sundays through September with a whole bunch of good local bands set to play.
Sunday night at The Alibi, Sciflyer is on what they describe as "another pointless tour" promoting their new disc, the age of lovely, intimate things, playing shoegaze rock a la Ride and Slowdive, and sharing a bill with Butch vs. Femme, a lesbian pop/punk synth/drums duo from Dixon.
Coming Monday, August 8 to Muddy Waters, Red Brown and the Tune Stranglers, a Western swing outfit from Seattle that includes members from the fine Gypsy jazz band Hot Club Sandwich.
Winston Smith makes an Arcata stop on their West Coast tour promoting their brand new South G St. Records disc, the culmination of the evolution of destruction, with a show at Redwood Peace and Justice Center Monday night. They sent me a very clever parody of a press release, which I'm tempted to quote, but I'm guessing you'll be able to read it in full in the Eye, so we'll skip it here. Let's just say, W. Smith plays kick-ass, take-no-prisoners punk rock with serious political messages that are hard to understand for all the shouting unless you read the liner notes. Joining them for the show Monday: Do Not Resuscitate, Ape Launcher and Radial Devil. Be there.
For those who do not get enough reggae over the weekend, or who miss the bash at French's Camp, Washingtonian Rasta Shimshai and the Natural Mystiquensemble bring the irie vibe to Six Rivers Brewery Wednesday, August 10.
There's blues that same night in Loleta: The Clint Warner Band plays for the grand opening of the Bear River Casino.
Clint and co. are also on the bill for the Buddy Brown Blues Festival in Blue Lake next weekend along with several other great local blues bands. (More on that next week.)
And while we're talking about upcoming festivals, I should mention that David "Mr. Polyester" Lindley is headlining the first ever Organic Planet Festival at Halvorsen Park in Eureka on August 27, an event that also promises, "the world's largest organic salad." Sounds good to me.
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