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Our Green Earth 

More Humboldt Green Week, other 4/20 action and Swedish folk masters


Another weekend and we're still green with Earth Day and 4/20 upon us -- and with them, comes more of Humboldt Green Week. 

The unstoppable force behind Humboldt Green Week is Juliet Ferri, who works most of the year for Northcoast Horticulture Supply. For three months leading up to Earth Day and 4/20, she switches jobs and devotes her time to Humboldt Green Week LLC, a business that emerged from NHS to coordinate the growing number of April events. As she put it simply, "We're giving people things that are fun to do, things for families, for everyone" -- green things -- "for gardeners and the environment, for the community."

And the community has signed on, everyone from the North Coast Storytellers, who offer "Bedtime Stories and Lullabies" for kids Friday night at the Sweet Spot in McKinleyville, to the river and beach cleanup folks whose Olde Time Earth Day Hoedown on Saturday afternoon (post-cleanup) is co-sponsored by Green Week. It sounds like a great party with Gunsafe rockin' some country and Striped Pig Stringband playing for square dancers with Nigella Mahal calling the moves. (Incidentally, Gunsafe plays at Five Eleven Friday with The Plumb Uglies).

Another Green Week centerpiece is Sunday's Silent Disco at Merryman's Beach House at Moonstone Beach. It works like this: Dancers are given headphones that come with a choice of channels so you can switch between EDM producers/DJs. There's no music in the air, just in your head. The Green Week version runs from 4-11 p.m. with pretty much every established EDM DJ/producer in Humboldt participating, among them PsyFi, Touch, J-Sun, Zanapod, Razzle Dazzle, Hypha, Grasshoppa, MaddHatta, Motion Potion, OnHell, Cacao, Tæo, JMorg and Rhizae. There's also an art gallery, beer and wine served by KMUD, and food from Moonstone Grill. Since parking is tight at the beach, you can't drive there -- there's a free shuttle running from Cher-Ae Heights Casino and NHS in McKinleyville.

As noted last week, HGW events are well underway. Thursday's happenings run the gamut. Six Rivers Brewing has a family-friendly early show (starting at 6:30 p.m.) with Silver Hammer laying down all the Beatles' tunes your kids know and love.

BrownChicken BrownCow StringBand has a Green Week show at Humboldt Brews that night. While the band has roots in the mountains of West Virginia, the players basically live on the road, traveling from town to town playing what you might call post-bluegrass, an original mix of old-time Appalachian country, gypsy-jazz, Celtic and folk. BCBCSB is joined by friends from The Bucky Walters, now playing as Buckskin Wallet. (Expect cross-over and collaboration.)

The green action at the Arcata Theatre Lounge that night is Midnite, the St. Croix-based reggae band led by brothers Vaughn and Ron Benjamin. You always hear about reggae being an international music. This week's shows at the ATL are a good demonstration of that. Friday's big ATL show features Alborosie, a reggae star from Italy backed by The Shengen Clan, plus opening sets from Humboldt's own Woven Roots and Rude Lion Sound. Tuesday the ATL has a People Productions show with Katchafire, a hot all-Maori reggae outfit from New Zealand. While it started as a Bob Marley tribute band, Katchafire is now it's own thing, touring worldwide with original material. Opening is the Hawaiian roots reggae groove band Maoli.

Returning to Green Week action, we have the funk/soul/R&B/hip-hop/electro collective Cherry Royale at the Red Fox Friday night. The five-piece group out of Atlanta plays nu-soul along the lines of Orgone and Soulive, with Ms. Alvetta Newby-Jones out front on vocals.

Also green: Circus of the Elements second annual "Fire Fusion 4/20" at the Mateel, which, as you might guess, is on Saturday (April 20). There's a fire arts theme overall, with a wildly eclectic array of other entertainment including the Jenifer Breeze Band, Asha Nan, Midnight Raid, Rooster McClintock and Absynth Quintet on the indoor stage (with Sherae O'Shaughnessy as emcee). Outdoors you have a circus full of elemental fire spinners and dancers plus belly dancing by Marjhani, Tribal Oasis, Megz and Chakeetz, Cosmic Goo with Mark Zachary, T-Hawk, Mad River Rounders, DJ Matt W and comedy by Ba-Dum-Chh (the funny folk also offer "An Evening of Liquor and Laughter" Thursday at the Palm Lounge).

Also in SoHum, but unrelated to Green Week, Petunia and The Vipers return to their favorite local roadhouse, the Riverwood Inn, for one more honky tonk Saturday night.

Meanwhile in Arcata, Full Moon Fever returns to the Jambalaya for a green collection of Petty tunes. The ATL has a green thing with keyboard jammer Melvin Seals and JGB (as in Jerry Garcia Band). After jamming with Jerry for years, after the guitarist died, Melvin basically inherited his band to keep the flame burning.

The Red Fox has DJs and barbecue all day Saturday including some rappers, a bunch of the EDM artists named above and later on, The Show Devils: Enigma (the puzzle-piece tattoo guy) and Serana Rose, doing freaky sideshow tricks alongside locals like Shea Freelove

Humboldt Hospitality has a massive 420 party at the Eureka Inn with a couple of dozen DJs, rappers and EDM producers spread around three stages, one in the Palm Lounge, another in the ballroom and a third poolside. The party even stretches to Sunday with an 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. mimosa brunch bass bash with Tariq, Touch and DJ Trey laying down beats.

The Ocean Grove has what has to be the most seriously 420-ish event, The Humboldt Mecca Cup. This one's a judged bud/hash/dabs competition a la the Cannabis Cup, for smokers. As noted on the Mecca website, "Cup patrons must be at least 18 years of age and must present their 215 script at the door for access." There's also a music component (without the same cup entry requirements) featuring Jamaican dancehall reggae star Lutan Fya and those ambassadors of the Humboldt brand, Potluck.

Ok, let's leave Green Week behind and move on to something completely different: a Wednesday night show at the Arcata Playhouse by Väsen, one of the top folk bands in Sweden. After hearing about the show and the band from friends, I got a call from fiddler/cellist Tristan Clarridge, who first learned about Väsen from his friend/mentor Daryl Anger. "He sent us an email and insisted we go see them; since then, we've seen them every time we could."

What does he like about he band and its members? To start with they're virtuosos: Olov Johansson on the Swedish nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle), Mikael Marin on viola and Roger Tallroth on guitar. "And," says Tristan, "there's something about musicians who have played together for decades -- it's like the three of them are of one mind. They put out this high-energy wall of sound, but it's grounded in traditional folk music. In Sweden that's much more mainstream than it is here." He continued, "They're only in the states for a week; they had a free night, and they're like the best band in the world, so we had to make sure they played Arcata." Opening the show (of course), The Bee Eaters, with Tristan on cello, his sister Tashina on fiddle and Simon Chrisman on hammer dulcimer. More magic music. Don't miss it.

Also on Wednesday, indie rock legends Built to Spill, led by ex-Treepeople guitarist/vocalist Doug Martsch. Originally formed in 1992, BtS has been laying down deep, serious guitar rock for ages and they're not done yet. Catch them at Humboldt Brews.

What else? Bassist Drew Mohr's latest band, Balls Deep, debuts Thursday at the Jambalaya. Perhaps the opposite: Chastity Belt, The Lost Luvs and Cliterate play Friday at the Palm Lounge. And Saturday is Missing Link Soul Night No. 18 at Humboldt Brews, "18K Gold Soulstravagnza!"

We'll end with one final Green Week happening: Friday night at the Logger Bar, after the Dell'Arte students present an evening of tragedy, the bar goes disco, and not silent, no EDM, more like old school '80s disco ball music, to dance the sadness away. What else can you do? Bonus: $1 from each drink goes to Dell'Arte. Groovy.

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About The Author

Bob Doran

Bob Doran

Freelance photographer and writer, Arts and Entertainment editor from 1997 to 2013.

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