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Animal Instincts 

I am writing this in my living room on my couch with a large Italian mastiff snoring like a Sardinian sow pig behind me. She doesn't mean any offense and, in fact, Grinza is a sweet dog, stinkiness notwithstanding. She's better company than most people, if I am being honest. I mention her because she is a simple animal, invested in simple joys and pure in expression. I would like to be more like her and reaching her state of unencumbered enjoyment is something that has crossed my mind more than a few times recently. How can I shed my overly aware — and overrated — humanity in favor of a state of naked liminal purity? How can I shelve the grief and erotic sentiment of a boring biped in favor of purely animal galloping?

The short answer is: I can't. I am sewn into this serious skin tighter than Naugahyde on a Volvo seat. It's the mortal coil we have been talking about for centuries now. However, like the shadow of the fourth dimensional shape that Carl Sagan teased us with in Cosmos, I can see a glimmer of hope out there for those of us stuck in the human ditch.

Music. Music is a better spiritually elevating agent than any other human-engineered device. And live music is just that much better.

Use it and have a sweet week.

Thursday

War Möth, Lord Ellis, and Blackplate open up a night of pure homegrown rock and roll tonight at The Jam at 9 p.m. ($5). Join in the heavy thumping fun, enjoy the $3 pint night, and revel in pre-record release glory of Blackplate's finery.

Friday

The Eureka Symphony presents The Trumpet Shall Sound, a symphonic and choral performance of Handel's "Messiah," with a crew of fantastic singers, including Humboldt native tenor David Powell. This is a proper celebration of the advent and Christmas season, appreciable by all. 8 p.m. ($19-$49).

Over at The Alibi at 11 p.m., local wiggly spaghetti western noodlers Opossum Sun Trail meet up with some of Sonoma County's finest psychedelic live masters Samvega, who have already impressed this writer at the same venue in shows past. Just $5 gets you in the door and that's a steal for the ability to come and go and see these two rad bands.

Saturday

There's a Toys for Tots benefit metal concert at the Manila Community Center at 7 p.m. this evening. ($10). This "Mosh for Tots" event will feature cash and prize raffles, as well as sets by the Yreka Castlevania-influenced Chains of Belmont and at least two other bands whose names I can't properly read because their logos look like gravel-fractured windshield damage on the promo flyers. C'mon guys, advertise your shit better.

Later at 8 p.m. at Fulkerson Hall, you will find a recital by the HSU Calypso Band, Percussion Ensemble and World Percussion Group, which I understand (in addition to the expected Caribbean fare) will feature music from Ghana ($10, $5 students, seniors, children).

Sunday

Local players Smooth Weirdos and Wet Spot link up tonight at Blondies at 8 p.m. to jam out and support a band I have written about here before in deference to their solid musicianship and truly gross name. Shake the Baby Til the Love Comes Out is a New York duo that plays a tight and impressive post-noise sort of sound under an unfortunate moniker. Ugh. Anyway, a suggested $5 donation will allow you to form a new and better opinion of the group's sound, despite its name.

Monday

Oklahoma-born, Tacoma, Washington-settled Skating Polly is a post-grunge trio that has forged a dedicated path borne of '90s DIY DNA cred in spite of all surrounding cultural climate changes and that is something to admire. Tonight you can find them at 8 p.m. at the Siren's Song with another trio, Los Angeles' rock mavens Potty Mouth, as well as local classic ghoulies The Monster Women. This show will likely be a proper whiz-banger for those of you who like fuzzy stringed music ($10).

Tuesday

The Marías are a jazz fusion psychedelia act from Los Angeles who in its two years of existence has managed to develop a dreamy soundtrack that kisses the back of your ears reverently at a sunset beachhead mass. This is beautiful music for all of you beautiful people around here. Tonight they are playing a show at The Depot, which is free to Humboldt State University students and $10 for the rest of us dreamers. Don't miss this if you can help it.

Wednesday

Come on down to the Bayside Grange tonight at 8 p.m. for an evening of flamenco dancing and music. Pasajera is the baby of Seattle-based dancer Sarah Fuentes, who, along with guitarist Pedro Cortes and percussionist/dancer Jose Moreno, presents a contemporary take on the wonderful world of classical Spanish dance and song. General admittance is $20, with VIP seats going for $34, while children and students can enjoy the show for $8 and $15 respectively.

Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to music@northcoastjournal.com.

 Collin Yeo works outdoors often enough but is still grateful for the rain. It is truly right and just. He lives in Arcata.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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