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Passions and April Fools 

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Photo by Dave Weiland

I want to have fun and just play this week, but I have massive contrasts on my mind. Blame the first night of Passover, a venerable celebration of the safety for the first-born sons guaranteed during widespread destruction by painting the blood of the Paschal lamb on the doorframe in a ritual which likely has its sacrificial origins before the Book of Exodus. Blame Easter, aka New Testament Passover, in which the blood belongs to the first-born son and death conquers, then retreats in defeat like a third act villain in a superhero flick. Blame the excellent Jack Spicer poem I have been obsessing over, "Dialogue Between Intellect and Passion," in which passion comes as "hot black doves" to rend privacy from love and disabuse the reader of all the warm, fuzzy, and peaceful notions of romantic experience, replacing them with darkness and stark claws and thorns. Contrasts galore!

Troubled though I may be, it is satisfying to end such a perfect March with these kinds of thoughts. We have had a month of corybantic weather — freezing rain and snow, then blue skies with early sunburns — to match the far-out triumphs and failures in our local and national political stage. For every step of righteous progress, be it a push to remove a pointless and offensive town relic (spearheaded by students and minorities in our community) or an unprecedented march for sane gun laws nationwide (spearheaded again by students and minorities), we also seem to find ourselves slouching back further into immoral crapulence. Locally we have community pillars, elected or otherwise, publicly acting more like children than most of the children and nationally we have the human personification of our dumbest and darkest collective shadow appoint a genuine psychopath as national security advisor. Yuck.

Here's hoping that April washes us all real good with the hard showers that bring the right sort of May flowers. Have a swell week.

Thursday

It's a real wild brain-flash rock show tonight at 9 p.m. when Denver's psych-pop warriors Eldrin meet the ocean-end of the western wagon trail at the Siren's Song. Local sky-tripping noise barons Strix Vega share the support duties with the aptly named Leone ($5).

Friday (First night of Passover)

The Arcata Playhouse hosts bluegrass trio The Bee Eaters tonight at 7:30 p.m. Comprised of hammer dulcimer player Simon Chrisman and award-winning fiddle playing siblings Tashina and Tristan Claridge, this group is well-known beyond the bluegrass world for its playful and genre-bending virtuosity. This show is suited for the younger student budget crowd with tickets only $10 for all kids 25 and under and $20 for the rest of us 'dults. Meanwhile over at the Miniplex, Sage Francis and B. Dolan — two of Rhode Island's finest underground rappers — bring their road-trip rap act duo The Epic Beard Men to the stage for an evening of furry lyrics spitting at 9 p.m. Dr. Oop opens with other unnamed-on-the-flyer guests ($15 advance, door TBA).

Will the ghost of Syd Barrett bring a spectral Day-Glo picnic from the ether tonight to See Emily Play with the Vegetable Man when local tribute act Money dips into his portion of the Pink Floyd songbook for part of the set? There is only one way to answer this admittedly absurdly worded question: Come on down to Humbrews at 9:30 p.m. and get in line behind the piper at the gates of dawn ($10, $7 advance).

Saturday

Can you split yourself into three independent sub-beings who report back to your master consciousness without overheating its mainframe system? If so, one neat trick you could try tonight is attending three different shows that all begin at 8 p.m. Bonus points awarded if you write the Journal a coherent letter about the experience afterward. In no particular order, your evening's entertainment is the following: Joanne Rand brings her quartet — featuring Tim Randles, Piet Dalmolen and Rob Diggins — to the Arcata Playhouse for a benefit concert for the Siskiyou Land Conservancy. It's a $10-$20 sliding scale entrance fee to hear good music for a good cause. Oh goodie.

The Siren's Song hosts San Francisco's prog-rock masters of atmosphere The Living (price TBA). Arcata's indie-alt darlings Without A Sound — who I'm going to assume got its name from the Dinosaur Jr. record until I hear otherwise — and Eureka's '90s-flavored metal act Lashing Out share that most holy of duties, local opener.

Finally, there's a senior recital at Fulkerson Hall. Join local treasures Carol Jacobson on cello and pianist John Chernoff as they help showcase the talents of Humboldt State University senior cellist Kira Weiss in her recital. Admission is free unless something goes terribly wrong in my above-mentioned mind-splitting experiment. Viva.

Sunday

OK, so not only is it Easter Sunday but it's also April Fool's Day. If this somehow dovetails with Ash Wednesday happening on Valentine's Day this year to form some larger significance, it will take a finer mind than mine to discover that meaning. Suffice it to say, religious holiday + prank holiday + Sunday = not many live shows. There's a profound equation for you, hippies.

Anyhoo, Ferndale has come through with a couple of treats for the serious or lighthearted among us. At 2 p.m. the Ferndale Repertory Theatre is putting on its final performance of the G-rated gallows-humor sprinkled musical Nunsense ($18). It's a tale of an accidental poisoning turned into an ad hoc charity talent show made up entirely of — cue the Jeopardy theme — "What are nuns?"

At 7:30 p.m., the Ferndale Community Choir presents its first spring concert with selections ranging from Appalachian folk tunes to popular old standards to excerpts from Handel's Messiah (price TBA). The performance will be held at the beautiful Church of the Assumption and if you get there a little early and sneak around back, you might be able to see one of my favorite sights in town: The church comes with its own flock — the woolly kind. At least they were out there grazing when I checked last summer.

Monday

Long Beach rockers Freemans Dead play Blondies tonight at 7 p.m. with Arcata's certified awesome quartet Ms. God. (price TBA).

One of the many offshoot spores of Japan's venerable psych-meets-space-meets Kraut rock super-mushroom Acid Mothers Temple — in this case Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Parasio UFO — has predictably sold out the Miniplex tonight but I will likely be heading over to Richards' Goat after 9 p.m. to try and catch some of the vibrations through the walls. Cheap thrills, my friends.

Tuesday

Vancouver's 5 Alarm Funk is one of those groups whose members likely sat down one day and just landed on the most obvious name to describe their sound and never looked back. If you fancy that name, come see if my theory is correct at 9:30 p.m. at Humbrews ($15, $12 advance).

Wednesday

The Jam's electronic dance showcase Whomp Whomp Wednesday keeps on rolling with this week curated by Psy Fi, Brittany From Earlier and GIR. The show starts at 10 p.m. and it is $5 until 11 p.m., $10 after.

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 music@northcoastjournal.com.

Collin Yeo has no idea what he's doing but he is doing it with passion. He lives in Arcata.

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Collin Yeo

Collin Yeo

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