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Into The Great Wide Open 

click to enlarge Conman Bolo plays Blondie's on Friday, July 9 at 7 p.m.

Photo by Ken Johnson, courtesy of the artists

Conman Bolo plays Blondie's on Friday, July 9 at 7 p.m.

As I write this, I am nursing a mild sunburn and what I increasingly suspect is carryover of inebriation from a day of patriotic drinking and grilling. Such is the nature of things but I have to say these are mild wounds compared to the pleasure I had of having people around and feeding them while listening to music and talking. I've come to realize that one of the greatest pleasures in life is good company and the cheer it brings. It echoes with such a resonance that we have centuries of song and dance about that very subject to entertain us still. We're social creatures who work best in cohesive groups. That's really the core of my political and artistic life, to be honest. A love of people, despite ourselves.

If you are a member of the Humboldt music community, then you are probably aware we lost one of our own in April, when Timmy Gray died. I didn't know the man closely so it isn't my place to eulogize him, but Tim was an inescapable figure either behind the soundboard or on the drum kit, and if you have experienced live music in this county in the last few decades, he was likely behind quite a lot of it. Some people leave a benign energy in their wake and I know enough about this fella and the people missing him to know that he was one of the good ones. So I'll pour one out to a fellow traveler and do my part to spread the word that there will be a celebration of his life at the Arcata Playhouse on Friday starting at 6 p.m.

Never forget that the people who wish you were still here are your best epitaph.

Have a beautiful week.


Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs is a Montana band that specializes in a rigorous and energetic style of acoustic music the group describes as "stomp-grass." Although this descriptor seems pretty straightforward to me, if you are having any doubts about its meaning, I suggest that you come to The Jam at 7 p.m. to figure it out for yourself. The second-fiddle support slot will be filled by Hill Honey & the Wildcats (so many animal names, RAWR!), which I haven't had the pleasure of hearing yet. Scanning the group's photos, I see some familiar faces in the lineup, so I can say with supreme confidence that this band has some serious talent in the roster ($15, $10 advance).


I wrote recently that I had broken my indoor live music fast by seeing Conman Bolo at the Siren's Song. Even if I hadn't been starved of live music and its intoxicating pleasures, I would have raved about the show because these dudes are great musicians. The music they're playing is a sincere brand of what the internet dubbed "yacht-rock" about a decade ago and which is best described as "jazz-related soft rock." Think Christopher Cross or any Michael McDonald song sampled by a '90s rapper and you get the idea. Anyway, it was fun for me and, as a grade A certified Steely Dan freak, I enjoyed the dulcet tones and soothing sax — even if saxophonist Jesse Garate lied to me about pulling out a cover or two from the Dan's discography. Oh, well. Tonight you will find this cadre of rhythm aces doing their very best at Blondie's. Also along for the ride are dope., about whom I know nothing — I'll soon be changing that. This 7 p.m. show is not to be missed ($5).


There's a new kid on the block and the best way to herald their arrival is ... what else? A block party. And Brainwash Thrift is doing us all one better by throwing a month of Saturday block parties to introduce itself to the community. If you want to be in on the action, come down to the Sunnybrae Center starting at 2 p.m. to check out the scene. There will be local vendors aplenty and performances by Icarus and Suns, Word Humboldt, DJ Anya Slayer, Luvcult and more. As Luthor Vandross and Janet Jackson once put it so succinctly, the best things in life are free. And this party is no exception.


Annie and Mary Days are back, my dears, after a year off because of you-know-what. So I would suggest getting your caboose down to Perigot Park in Blue Lake for a day full of good times with other people. Holy moly, we can actually see other people, many of them strangers, in a safe social setting actually encouraged by society. The mind reels. Lots of things are happening here today but my beat is music and today's lineup is pretty clutch. Expect excellent sets from Dead On, The Backseat Drivers, Cadillac Ranch and my favorite little honky tonkin' thunder group Barn Fire (free).

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

Collin Yeo (he/him) is just a man whose intentions are good. He lives in Arcata and implores you to please don't let him be misunderstood.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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