While the music, arts and greater Humboldt community wait for the return of Bob Doran, the Hum's true host, the NCJ has asked for a bit of help. To that end, here are some of the week's shows most worth your effort and hard-earned cash.
First off, let's talk Fever Charm and 51 Cards playing Humboldt Brews on Sunday night. This might be the most important show you attend all year! Why, you ask? The youth! The youth have been suffering! They have so few places to see shows and even fewer opportunities to experience legit rock and roll by folks under the age of 30 — and the Fever Charm boys haven't even broken 20 yet.
Concerns are not unfounded that the musical tastes of adolescents today have been preemptively neutered by too much exposure to Death Cab for Cutie, the Shins and the Decemberists — makers of pretty music, sure, but lacking any semblance to the raw sexy youthfulness that defines rock and roll. Sure, they've also had the Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant, but those bands were increasingly anomalies in a world favoring introverts with laptops. Not that there's anything wrong with introverts and laptops — but there's something wrong when the under-21 crowd is denied the catharsis that poppy, ripping, garage rock so urgently provides. Who wants to listen to their parents' rock and roll?
That's why this show is so important. Not only will Fever Charm guys be there in all their teenage glory, but local youngster charm-rockers The 51 Cards (Jr. Perez, Rich Macey and John Grossheim) bring the party as the opening act — check out our website for a link to Bob's profile of the boys in the July 12, 2012, Hum. The show is, necessarily, all-ages. Hopefully the under-21 crowd will come out for the music and also — because all-ages rock shows are so rare — to show that providing live music beyond the bar crowd can be worth a venue's while. Oldtimers will remember the Placebo's long and valiant struggle to bring consistent all-ages shows to Arcata, Manila and Eureka. Eventually the founding members grew up and into day jobs, and while the nonprofit (sheltered under the Ink People's umbrella) continues on (it has a Facebook page), the battle appears ever more uphill.
Props to Humboldt Brews for booking the show. Cover is $10, and things get started at 7 p.m. Give Fever Dream's West Coast Rock and Roll a listen via Bandcamp, then pop over to ReverbNation for a sampling of The 51 Cards.
On the over-21 end of the spectrum, Bison Bison describes its sound as "Brain crushing, sludge trudging, diesel driven rock and roll." The opening notes of "She Says," the first track of its eponymous album, confirms the description is apt. The band is playing at the Alibi on Saturday night, also confirming that longtime booker Ian Hiler has lost neither his appreciation for stoner rock nor his ability to pick out the finer up-and-coming versions of that genre's practitioners. Bison Bison's drummer, Eric Johnson, served time in a Jesus Lizard cover band — that may be enough for some people to cancel their Sunday morning plans because they know it'll be a late, late night at the 'bi, but for those who need more details, imagine this: ... You've had a few beers, maybe a whiskey or three, and are leaning on the wall next to one of the Alibi's famed dog paintings. It's been a long week. It's late, sometime around midnight. You've just witnessed the rad rock of locals Indianola. The bar is dark, but your spirit is lifting. The Bison Bison trio takes over the corner of the Alibi that serves in place of a stage. They break into a riff so heavy your internal organs shudder. An onslaught of guitar fuzz wraps itself around you. Before you realize it, you're hypnotized, lost in a groove that ranges between Kyuss and ancient Sabbath. Does this thought make you happy? Then you should go. It's the Alibi, so 21 and over, and nothing music-wise gets going till after 11 p.m. Cover's $5. Tip your bartenders.
If all this rock madness sounds traumatic to your gentle soul, fear not! The sweet cocoon that is Humboldt Brews' music room transforms back into a safe place for more traditionally Humboldt fare next Wednesday, June 12, night with Jellybread. The Reno-based band plans to butter you up with some "full frontal funk" mixed with tasty Americana jams that result in a blend of "in-the-pocket drum and bass grooves, swampy lap steel guitar, dirt under the fingernails guitar licks and take-'em-to-church organ that's downright appetizing — bright colors and sweet, funky flavors." Also, these men are sharp dressers! This one'll be fun. And isn't Wednesday date night?
Heads up — it's the umpteenth Soul Night happening at Humboldt Brews on Friday, June 14. This gig sells out. Advance tickets are the only way to go. ... Oyster Fest brings bivalves and more to the Plaza. Those complaining about the new $10 gate charge have some legitimate objections, but as pointed out last week, if you're a fan of Lyrics Born — and you should be — this is a chance to see the man for a lot less than the $30 or so you'd usually have to shell out. ... Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online.