This week is not exactly overflowing with myriad musical opportunities, but the ones that are out there sound pretty fine.
This'll be a fun show, for example: Austin's Black Irish Texas plays The Logger Bar on Thursday as part of a West Coast tour promoting the band's latest effort, An Ode to Saint Cecilia. Prior stagemates include Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Scott H. Biram and Social Distortion, all appropriate given the blend of Celtic punk-twangy Americana served up at a high rate of speed. The Logger Bar is the perfect place to watch mohawked Mark Maughmer II set his fiddle ablaze. Other band members include James "Fitzy" Fitzsimmons on guitar and vocal duties, James Sheeron on drums, Shannon Morino on upright bass — upright bass! — and Chad Fitzsimmons on banjo. Local fave Rooster McClintock opens and the music, promises promoter Ian Hiler, "starts at 8 p.m. sharp." Pull up blackirishtexas.com to hear some tunes — and learn the words so you can throw back some Jameson and sing along.
Keeping the singing-along theme going, Arcata Theatre Lounge presents Chris Clay's Karaoke on Friday. Doors opens at 8 p.m., cost is free with a minimum $5 beverage or food purchase and the evening is all ages — although parental guidance is strongly suggested as some of the more-than 100,000 songs to choose from contain "inappropriate" content. Rock 'n' roll, folks! It's devil music!
Some tips for karaoke novices, courtesy of my karaoke-obsessed friends: Pick a song everyone knows because the crowd will be too busy instinctively singing it with you to notice how far away from the original tune you actually are; make up for your lack of singing talent by freeing those inner rock star moves previously only performed in the privacy of your kitchen; do not pick a ballad or a song over three minutes long or one with repeated instrumental gaps; do not attempt Zeppelin, Queen or Frank Zappa — and if you choose a Pink Floyd song then please warn your audience so they can use this time to visit the restroom, order another drink or go pick that thing out of their teeth.
Also on Friday, and also a perfect opportunity to sing along — or at least lip sync — to your favorite songs, are two versions of 1980s dance parties. In Arcata, at the Jambalaya, you'll get DJ Red spinning all vinyl, just like in the olden days. Segues will be smooth and back-to-back tracks will make sense, just like when listening to the radio saved your teenage life. Easily the most authentic option, plus Friday is Arts! Arcata night, so you can drift through town and into the night without driving. Should you be in Eureka, you'll get an also-fun if more mish-mash of '80s dance hits at the Palm Lounge, courtesy of the Pressure Anya DJs, who are celebrating the birthdays of The Lost Luvs' Becky and Rondi. Dressing up encouraged. Hopefully both bars will have specials on wine coolers, too.
What would a summer Saturday in Humboldt be without a festival? This round it's the Blue Lake Music Festival and Picnic out in Perigot Park. On offer, the usual food, beverages, children's area, beer and wine, art, wares and dancers, plus music by Motherlode, The Foggy Bottom Boys, Silver Hammer, Blue Rhythm Revue, Doug Fir and the 2x4s, The Movers and the Shakers, Abstract and Seed. Also, barbecue. Bring a couple of blankets, some reuseable picnicware and soak it all in.
Later that night, get dark and different at the Alibi, where one-man band Shake it Like a Caveman promises a trance-inducing experience via the electro blues combo of kick drum, hi hat, slide guitar, harmonica and vocals. Shake it's Blake Burris hails originally from Tennessee, but has toured often and extensively, racking up rave reviews from Austin to England. Listening to songs over at, what else, shakeitlikeacaveman.com reminded me of early ZZ Top, early Black Keys, a little Tom Petty on the sexy "Bad Girls" track, and some Scott H. Biram but with a more sultry stomp. I'm intrigued. I think you should go. Music's at 11:30 p.m. and the cover is a whole $2. Dig it.
If you've been wanting to test the theory that anyone can play guitar (or brass, percussion or woodwind), College of the Redwoods offers the opportunity to buy two CR music classes and get one free through new Community Education classes. Each class is $149 –— but being able to pull out the guitar around the campfire and pick out an acoustic version of Soundgarden's "My Wave" is a lifetime of entertainment gold. For schedules and more information, go to redwoods.edu and click on Community Education or call 269-4000.
While we here at the Journal strive to provide the most accurate information, every so often unforeseen circumstances mean a show will be canceled or changed. It's never a bad idea to double check on websites, Facebook or with a phone call. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.