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Musical Underground 

Tunes born in the tubes, streets and garages

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Courtesy of the artist

How about that Arts Alive!? They tend to be well-attended, those events, but October's was off the charts, partly due, no doubt, to the Santa Barbara-like weather, but also to the high number of particularly beckoning shows. One of the best parts, as always, was the constant musical accompaniment along the streets. Buskers mostly always make me happy, the exception being some dude playing an electric guitar badly on the corner of Ninth and H in Arcata years ago. I realize not everyone enjoys the random influx of sound into their brain, but something about people having the verve to take their music to the streets pleases me — and I'm not the only one to recognize that from such beginnings genius sometimes leaps.

Saturday: Bringin' it

This week, for example, Moon Hooch comes to us after getting started on New York City subway platforms. Legend has it that the two-sax-players-plus-drummer combo whipped crowds into such a frenzy that they were banned from playing the Bedford Avenue station. Eventually Moon Hooch went off to tour with They Might Be Giants, Lotus and Galactic, among others, and are currently opening for fellow Brooklyners Pimps of Joytime on Saturday at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. Doors open at 9 p.m., tickets are $15 in advance through the theater, $20 advance at Wildberries, People's Records, The Works and at the door. Show is 21-and-over.

Friday: Eureka in Eureka, reggae in SoHum

Remember last time Eureka, California played the Lil' Red Lion Cocktail Lounge? No, you most likely do not. I know this because I was there and, given how few other people were, odds are you weren't among the non-crowd. (Journal Calendar Editor Dev Richards, however, was also in attendance, yeah!) Fortunately, Friday night offers you a chance for a do-over when the Athens, Georgia, band returns, along with local darlings The Lost Luvs, Nashville's Cris Crofton and the Alcohol Stunt Band (with local Nick Davis) and Oakland's Bam! Bam! Expect an evening of good-time, poppy-punk irreverence. Four bands for only $5! Things start promptly at 9 p.m., we're told, and this show is 21-and-over.

Down in SoHum, a triple bill of island reggae fills the Mateel Community Center as part of J Boog's Run Em Hard Tour, which features Samoan reggae superstar J Boog along with Hot Rain and Inna Vision. Tickets are on sale at the usual local outlets and online at for $25 in advance. Tickets at the door are $30. Doors open at 8 p.m. with a DJ, Hawaiian-style dinner available for purchase and a bar for those 21-and-over. Live music begins at 9 p.m.

Saturday: Piano pop passion, reggae times three

I thought I'd heard all the various descriptions a band could come up with to describe itself, but "a jazz-oriented tragic piano pop band with ironic tendencies" is not only a new addition to my wacky genre catalogue, but also a spot-on description of Scuber Mountain, a project involving electric jazzers Aber Miller and Drew Mohr joined by John Daren Thomas and Kym Scafe. Miller tells the story of Scuber Mountain's creation in a charming Facebook post that begins, "Normally I keep my posts facetious or despondently angry, but I'm going to write one in earnest." He goes on to reminiscence about a band he founded in high school, an ironic piano-pop band, and how the experience would later influence his Humboldt State University studies. "We had a good dramatic high-school-band breakup and I moved to Arcata, California to study biology," Miller writes. "Within two weeks of starting classes, I changed my major to music because that silly trio was the most fun I had ever had." He long dreamed of recreating that band and after a false start, managed to do it after Scafe — part of the original trio — announced she was moving out to California. It's a very sweet story culminating in a release party for the band's debut Return to Scuber Mountain. The third member of that life-changing high school band, Braden Young, will make a special appearance on guitar — Miller really is putting the band back together. Doors at the Arcata Playhouse at 7 p.m. and the $15 cover gets you a copy of the CD.

On the reunion tip, note that over at the Alibi, Ellis Wallace and Gregg Dix return as "graujrawk"-ers Shores Galore, along with psych-surf four-piece The Mother Vines. Usual Alibi details: $5, 11 p.m., 21-and-over. Should be loud and pleasure-inducing.

Monday: The new Saturday?

It's not unusual for Humboldt to host Big Artists during the week given that we exist as a stop-between-stops on the tour routes. This Monday, however, is a bit ridiculous with opportunity.

You've got the brilliant and one-of-a-kind sextet OU delivering a Mediterranean joyride to the Arcata Playhouse with folk jazz, fiercely funky rhythms and lush vocals sung in Sardinian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and English. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m., tickets are $15 general, $13 members and are available at Wildberries or the Playhouse.

And, Pittsburgh-based alternative pop group The Van Allen Belt offers a spacy mix of '60s-influenced psych-pop at the Palm Lounge, along with the ever-entertaining John Ludington. Cover is $5, show starts at 8 p.m., be 21-or-over.

Tuesday: Pick of the night

One more show to entice you: Humboldt Brews brings you Grant Farm, led by National Flatpicking Champion Tyler Grant. Fans of American roots music, you'll want to plan your Wednesday morning around this Tuesday night. Doors at 9 p.m., cover is $10, show is 21-and-over.


Full show listings in the Journal's Music and More grid, the Eight Days a Week calendar and online. Bands and promoters, send your gig info, preferably with a high-res photo or two, to

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Jennifer Savage

Jennifer Savage

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