Over a quick cup of coffee at Ramone's recently, I had a chance to sit down and chat music with Humboldt County 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass. I was curious about her experience with the local music scene and shows she had seen while growing up in Eureka. Although she shyly admitted that she didn't make it to too many shows when she was in high school, what became clear was how music served as a contextual soundtrack to which other life events danced. Whether it was heading to the store to purchase her first Carpenters or Bread album, or hitting the road to see The Eagles or The Moody Blues, the venue and place were mentioned, but more often than not, the details of what else was happening in her life took center stage.
Virginia mentioned traveling to see Journey in concert, and I naturally assumed she probably saw them on their home turf in San Francisco. She corrected me, and her eyes lit up as she told me the concert was actually in Los Angeles, where she was meeting up with the fellow who later became her husband (Journey has that power). She reminisced about a mix tape said suitor made for her with music that she otherwise probably wouldn't have discovered (Hoobastank, 3 Doors Down, etc.); she saw concerts with Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins and Collin Raye. Virginia clarified that she isn't the biggest country music fan in the world, but hearing Lee Greenwood perform "God Bless the U.S.A." in concert just days before her son shipped out overseas was a moment she'll never forget.
Even in this brief conversation, she reminded me that music is the most powerful when it weaves itself into our lives and serves as a sort of touchstone for us to view ourselves, and to revisit ourselves. We'll forever have memories of our first concert — Barry Manilow for Virginia, by the way — and who we were with and what was important in our lives at that moment. Those songs, no matter how brilliant they are on their own, will take on something from us and gain a power they didn't have before. Music fuses itself into our ever-evolving timeline of life and experience until it becomes part of us. That's a damn fine thing to be reminded of.
You can start the memories off this weekend early up in sunny Blue Lake with some tasty local beers and bluegrass courtesy of Humboldt's own Compost Mountain Boys who'll be playing for you for free at 6 p.m. at the Mad River Brewing Co. Tasting Room. They'll be on until about 9 p.m. so you bluegrass fans will still have time to head down to Hum Brews and catch West Coast hip-hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien. Releasing his first album in 1991, Del has constantly fought to keep his own voice and sound, even if that means taking years between albums. Starting off this 10 p.m. show will be Richie Cunning with DJ BAD DJ, Poe and Gabe Pressure all for just $25.
At 6 p.m. tonight you can head to Gallagher's in Old Town Eureka for some booze and food while hearing from good sport — and Styx superfan — Chuck Mayville. It's a free show, but share the love and leave Chuck a tip. A bit south in Loleta, you'll find semi-local blues rockers Cold Blue Water at the Bear River Casino & Hotel starting at 9 p.m. I've caught this band once before and it has got some serious chops. If you're lucky, it'll rip into some medleys sprinkled with Floyd, Beatles, Doors, Zappa, and Rush tunes, to name a few. Guitarist and singer Andy B. tells me that the band is on a West Coast tour with fellow local Brian Swislow on the keys and pros Duane Betts (of the Allman family), Pedro Avevalo (of the same extended family) and Ty Dennis (of the extended Doors family). They've got a few more shows around here this weekend before they head south, but catch 'em for free tonight. Starting around the same time in the Palm Lounge in the Eureka Inn will be Jimi Jeff & The Gypsy Band laying down the funky-bluesy rock sounds for your earholes. This one is a free show, too, so head on over. Also at 9 p.m. at The Jam in Arcata is a jam-packed lineup with Rocker-T, Berel Alexander, Irie Rockers Band and DJ Nobal Toble. This show will be $10.
An early — and historical — show for us daywalkers starts at high noon at the Fort Humboldt Visitor Center, where Fort Humboldt Brass, an 11-piece Humboldt State University Brass Ensemble in full uniform, will be blasting out tunes from the '60s through the '80s. Skip the flowers in your hair, as we're talking about the 1860s here. This show will be free, and I'm told parking is at the entrance to Fort Humboldt. Put the flowers back in your hair tonight as the world-famous comedy/musician duo of Cheech and Chong will be at the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel for a special outdoor show. (Why outdoor? Your guess is as good as mine.) The gates open up around 2 p.m. with a showtime closer to 3 p.m., with the headliners taking the stage around 8 p.m. The show also features special guest Shelby Chong (no relation to Cheech). Also on the bill are locals Object Heavy, Miracle Show, Hiway, The Undercovers and Scuber Mountain. Priced at $65 (advance), it'll be worth it to see these two in their "spiritual home" of Humboldt. Your Arts & Music Syndicate (YAMS) is putting on a show at The Miniplex around 9 p.m. tonight. For $5 you can hear the "local pop punk shenanigans" of Cool Garbage, the "soda pop trash can stomp" of Cigarette Bums, along with Wreckage. Hum Brews hosts local bands Blacksage Runners and Peach Purple at 9:30 p.m. for $5, and if you missed Cold Blue Water last night, you've got another chance at Stone Junction in Garberville around 10 p.m.
Missed Cold Blue Water again? Or maybe two nights in a row? Today's your final chance to catch them on their West Coast Tour while they play the Casual Crop eXchange at Trim Scene Solutions in Redway along with Berel Alexander and DJ Copperton3. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with music perhaps in the afternoon. Back in NoHum, you'll find Tony Roach playing for free at 5 p.m. at the Lighthouse Grill in Trinidad. The Mad Professor will be on the big stage at the Arcata Theatre Lounge around 9:30 p.m., showing off the mad producing and spinning skills he's been perfecting since the '80s. And you might be mad not to catch this set tonight. A $20 bill will get you in the door.
Deadheads will recognize the name of John Kadlecik as a founding member of Further, along with Phil and Bobby, and also a founder of The Dark Star Orchestra. So you know this guy's good and can jam away. Well, he'll be at Hum Brews tonight at 9 p.m. with his band, The John Kadlecik Band and only $15 will get you up front and swaying along.
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 email@example.com.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Night Show on KWPT 100.3 FM weeknights at 6 p.m. He wasn't aware that Karen Carpenter was a killer drummer.