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Blackened Brightness 

click to enlarge Ami Dang plays the Miniplex on Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m.

Photo by Missy Malouff, courtesy of the artist

Ami Dang plays the Miniplex on Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m.

This week is a bit of a somber one for me, as Nov. 25/26 marks the 20th anniversary of my mother's death from cancer at the far too young age of 52. I give those dates because she passed away late at night after Thanksgiving of 1999, likely with the cold front that curls over the land before the coming dawn and which is somewhat infamous for delivering the terminally ill from their troubles. My mother was an unusually beautiful person in her bearing and kindness, and I will leave it at that. I've never written about her publicly before and I am not ready to yet. I made some peace with the whole thing around the time I forgot exactly what her voice sounded like, but I am celebrating the notion of thinking about her by listening to some great records and enjoying my evening. I thankfully have the luxury to do so but not everyone does, so here it comes: Black Friday isn't just the crappy shopaholocaust after Thanksgiving, for me it was the first morning I woke up without my mom. And for some people there is a terrible grief haunting them every day. So the radical thing that I believe in is to spend this build-up to and the aftermath of Thanksgiving trying to help some of those people out. A little bit here, a little bit there, kindness and good deeds are superconductors and can carry a signal 1,000 times the distance of shitty rudeness. The days are getting darker and colder and wetter, and we all must, in return, get brighter and finer and evermore loving. And why not? It beats grieving over the same losses forever.

Take care out there.

Thursday

Savage Henry Comedy Club is presenting Comedy Sing Song Roulette, an expo and contest of sorts where five comedians perform their set and then an interpretation of a popular song picked at random. It sounds uncomplicated and much less boring than casino roulette, and significantly less horrifying than Russian roulette. Audience participation is encouraged insofar as anyone who shows up is welcome to take a chance on the song performance roulette wheel. Hosted by Jessica Grant and featuring comedians Joshua Barnes, Evan Vest, Calista LaBolle, Patrick Redmond and Eric Fitzgerald, this shindig is free.

Friday

This night is packed, so let's not waste any time. The Jam has a rare metal show going on at 8:30 p.m. ($7). Sacramento death metal act Nihil Futurum is joined by local metalcore act Cross Oceans and similarly geographically-placed death metal band Downcy.pher.

Ami Dang is at the Miniplex half an hour later. Ms. Dang creates music with loops, electronic accoutrements, and her ubiquitous sitar. The resulting soundscapes are exciting and rich, with rugose earthly textures giving way into spiral heavenly snapshots of eternity. Drip Torch and LV are also on the bill ($10).

Finally, tonight over at Humbrews you can find the jammed-out stylings of Humboldt County's preeminent interpreters of the Pink Floyd songbook, Money. The music is slated to start at jam-thirty, which is roughly between 9:30 and 10 p.m. ($10, $7 advance).

Saturday

There are a couple of good ol' fashioned rock shows hitting the boards tonight that are all guaranteed to be killer with, sources have informed me, little to no actual filler. First up we have the local supergroup Former Chimps — featuring members of former champs the Buffy Swayze and the Hitch — playing its last show of the year at Siren's Song at 8 p.m. ($5). Also on the bill is Clean Girl and the Dirty Dishes — aka half of Monster Women — and Shively's noise farmers Blackplate.

An hour later over in Blue Lake, Mojave Green is playing its first show in a while at the Logger Bar. If you like your rock to be twangier and more country fried, then this free show is the gig for you.

Sunday

It's never too late to try new things and I suppose I can apply that annoying truism to my own life. A good place to start might be for me to get over my volcanic antipathy towards Muppetless musicals, 1950s American culture and silver screen romance by heading over to the Arcata Theatre Lounge at 5 p.m. to finally watch Grease for the first time.

The incredible powerhouse dual-charisma of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John is sure to convert me to the free-wheeling ways of these dancing greasers, right? A short trip to YouTube has suggested otherwise but, if you're into it, a $5 bill at the door is all that it costs to win your spot.

Monday

DR9 (pronounced "doctor nine") is a side project by members of Los Angeles' very talented band PRESENT. The tunes are very tight and jazzy with a smattering of Krautrock stylings which are very welcome to this writer's ears. Ojai, California, saxophonist Rob Magill plays free jazz with a less spastic, more ambient focus than is usually associated with the genre. It's good, folks. Finally, IDYL is the solo guitar and sound project of the talented Mr. Dan K., the dankest soundmonger this writer has the good luck to know. It's an 8 p.m. off-night show at the Miniplex but it's going to be a good one and well worth your time and the mere $5 you need to pony up for the touring bands.

Tuesday

All quiet today. Maybe go for a walk or perhaps go and meet OG Star Wars design artist Colin Cantwell at the Scruffy Nerf Herder in Eureka at 4 p.m. if you are into that sort of thing. It's free.

Wednesday

It's the eve of Thanksgiving, which means that most venues are pretty quiet. So I'm going to suggest a non-musical happening. The Arcata Theatre Lounge is continuing its Sci-Fi Night with a real corker of a terrible flick, 1966's Manos: The Hands of Fate at 5:30 p.m. This film was immortalized by its inclusion on Mystery Science Theater and the only person I ever met who had heard of this truly terrible cult movie about a cult was a total weirdo so I would consider this a vital piece of the MST3K canon and I would encourage all of you to be your own wise-ass front row robots. Admission is a minimum of $5 spent on concessions.

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 is lucky to have three jobs in three different creative fields. He lives in Arcata (another piece of luck) and prefers he/him.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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