One of the many things in life that make me feel overwhelming guilt is the fact that I don't make it out to many shows these days. (I won't spend the time here blaming our children for robbing me of almost every free moment of life and making my body shut down at 8:30 p.m. — wait, I just did.) What makes me feel even guiltier is the fact that I write about a 1,000 words a week trying to get you to go out to live shows. Does that make me a hypocrite? Of course. I, however, choose to view it more as if I was a rich man during the Civil War and convinced you — sans the $300 — to take my place on the front lines. It's not so much that I'm not fulfilling my patriotic duty but rather finding someone else more equipped to do it for me.
However, I did make it out to two shows this weekend and not only did I have a good time but there were plenty of others living it up around me. A mix of college students, those still paying off student debt and some who could have been their parents, all together in one venue grooving out to some live and local rock music was a sight for these sore eyes. So thanks to all those of you who keep the flame alive and don't mind being substitutes for some of us with weaker wills from time to time. If we think about it in terms of time instead of money, perhaps we can argue that seeing live music is a sort of rich man's war and poor man's battle. Either way, I'm thankful that there are so many here locally who are more than willing to be on the front lines.
"One-man-psychedelic-acoustiloop" powerhouse Holus Bolus returns to the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. to lay down his loopy grooves to support your loopy moves. It's a free show and kiddos are welcome. Making its California debut tonight at Six Rivers Brewery is Cascade Crescendo, playing in the jam-grass vein. As it's Thursday night, the band is smart to have locals Thursday Night Bluegrass opening up this free show at 9 p.m. I didn't know that there were any Irish pub bands in Del Norte Country but I'm getting word that the hardest working among them — the Darlingtonias — is stopping by Humboldt Brews around 9:30 p.m. for a rare free show. It's a 10-piece band with 27 instruments, so that should be enough to pique your curiosity.
Organic and local, Home Cookin' is on the menu tonight at Mad River Brewery's Tap Room at 6 p.m. with Joyce, Fred, Tim and Gary. They've got a built-in crowd, so join 'em all tonight. In Arcata, Cafe Mokka welcomes back The Last-Minute Men who bring the "international" tunes to your ears at 8 p.m. It's free and all ages. Bay Area-based R&B/New Orleans second-liners The California Honeydrops are back at Humboldt Brews at 9:30 p.m. I haven't had the chance to hear these fellas live, but I've been hearing a lot about that for the past 10 years or so. With grooves in their hearts and a sound as if Herbie Hancock came from the Big Easy, it's no wonder these guys have supported Dr. John, Buddy Guy, B.B. King and recently departed Allen Toussaint. With spoonfuls of soul and blues thrown in for good measure, expect — or request — "Junker's Blues," which pays tribute to Humboldt's most famous (medicinal) export. A $20 bill will get you into this hot show tonight and welcome the fellas on their way from Oregon down to St. Helena. Local bluegrass heavyweights The No Good Redwood Ramblers are at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake for a 10 p.m. show. Although on a Friday, Thursday Night Bluegrass opens the show. If you don't already have a copy of TNGRR's recent release of Shoot from the Hip Straight to the Heart, pick it up tonight.
The artists formerly known as The Honky Tonk Detours are at the Mad River Brewery Tap Room at 6 p.m. and for free. Feel free to call them The Detours — one of the original names of The Who, for what it's worth — and welcome somewhat new member Marc Jeffares. Doctor of musical arts, and Humboldt State University professor Annika Bäckström stops by the Fortuna Monday Club at 7:30 p.m. for tonight's performance of "Songs of the Winds of the North," which is a selection of Scandinavian solo vocal music. A $10 ticket price for this presentation of the Fortuna Concert Series. It's hard not to get excited about the fact that the one-and-only Sir Mix-a-Lot will be in our fair neck of the redwoods this evening headlining KMUD's Animal Party at the Portuguese Hall in Arcata. Showtime is around 8 p.m. with many local DJs taking the stages for a party that goes until 4 a.m., I hear. So rest up so you can pace yourself and bring $30 for a ticket. Kudos to those who dress up animal style and/or stuff their backsides. At 9 p.m. for free at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake, you'll find Rob Heiliger and the Beautiful Losers who played the Logger a few months back. The Alibi in Arcata hosts Country Lips, who bring the honky-tonk from up Seattle way. They're joined by local "country crooner" Gabe Rozzell. It's $5 for this 11 p.m. show.
Head down to The Jam on Sunday for a bass heavy show around 9:30 p.m. A trio of bands brings the bass tonight with Shades along with North Londoners Ivy Lab and Onhell. This has a 9:30 p.m. start time and I'm guessing a ticket price in the range of $5-10.
Admitting that he's constantly getting excited about the shows he's got at the Arcata Playhouse, David Ferney tells me that he's really glad to have Quebec Ensemble Le Vent du Nord — blowin' down from the North — who have racked up a pair of Juno Awards, two Canadian Folk Music Awards and numerous other accolades. Paying tribute to the traditional folk repertoire and throwing in their own originals for good measure, they're occasionally called progressive folk and you'll hear hints of R&B and soul sprinkled throughout. This $18 show starts around 8 p.m.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Powell is a congenital music lover and hosts The Album of the Week Show on KWPT 100.3 FM Tuesdays at 6 p.m. He needs a time-rich doppelganger.