The Hum: Bob’s back, once every month in the Union

I’m back. Yes, it’s true. The Hum is back. Back in print anyway. It never totally disappeared online (at, but I needed a break. I had more pressing things to do — like lay my friend to rest, then my mom. The print Hum will be different. Watch for it monthly. (No more weekly deadlines.) 

I explained all this when I ran into a couple of friends the other day on Bar Row. One of them was in the Raging Grannies with my dear old mother. After sincere condolences and some talk about what a fine lady she was, I mentioned that I was bringing The Hum back. 

Her friend is a local musician, so of course he was glad to hear about the return. ‘What should I mention?’ I wondered. “Well, definitely the Nels Cline show,” said the local musician, Gary Davidson, who has been playing bass in various local combos for decades. 

Needless to say, that show Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Arcata Playhouse is hopelessly sold out. (Miracle tickets required. Ask around.) Nels Cline 4 is led by the awesome Wilco guitarist, and also features the 20-something Julian Lage, who played here with his band recently, and, memorably, with David Grisman a few years ago. In a JazzTimes interview, Lage says he’d “found his people” playing with Cline. “At last I found a scenario where you could be free and adventurous, you could utilize sound and be extremely melodic and evocative.” I’m ready for an adventure.

Gary also figured he had to mention a benefit at the Bayside Community Hall (formerly known as the Grange) since he plays in both bands on the two-fer bill: Home Cookin’ and The Handshakers. It gives away my age, but I can’t help but think of Home Cookin’ as the latest incarnation of Freddy and the Starliners, a band with Jambalaya founders Fred Neighbor and Joyce Hough from before Gary moved here. 

The Handshakers were once known as Rogue’s Gallery. A pair of Georgia-born guitarist/songwriters, Mike Bynum and luthier Michael Walker, are out front, with Aleister Paige on pedal steel. They changed names when Gary joined with rhythm partner Paul DeMark on drums. BTW, Paul officially announced the end of the venerable Delta Nationals after 18 years. Just to keep busy, he’s started another band, a jazz trio PD 3, with Fred on guitar. 

This “Double the Money Hallabaloo” promises an “evening of dinner and music” with an early start, beginning with a home-cooked meal at 5:30 p.m. Handshakers at 7, with Home Cookin’ closing. All money raised for BC Hall renovation will be matched by an anonymous donor. “This will be a fun evening for a good cause,” says Joyce. “I have many, many fond memories of playing in this building!! You probably do too.” Indeed I do. 

Before we parted on Bar Row, Gary had another gig to mention. Yet another outfit he plays with, Rosewater: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead, is at the Clam Beach Tavern (in McKinleyville) on Friday, Feb. 15. Along the same lines, The Miracle Show offers “top shelf Grateful Dead,” at the Jam on the same night (2/15) declaring, “The music plays the band.” There’s also a “Grateful Dead Dance Party” at Humbrews this Saturday (2/2) with Dead vids augmented by a light show by Marmalade Sky. You just missed Dead On, a trio “exploring the acoustic side of The Grateful Dead.” Gary had a simple explanation about the plethora of Dead cover bands locally. “There’s all these great songs and we love playing them, and the people keep coming out to hear them.” 

Speaking of tribute bands, Piet Dalmolen and the Pink Floyd cover band Money play that song and others from that catalog at Humbrews Friday, Feb. 1. They promise “lights and projections by Shawn Lei and a few new tricks up our sleeve.” (Remember the old days when light shows were listed along with the bands?)

More covers etc. coming up at The Jam, with a month of Sunday kid-friendly afternoon shows labeled “Fam Jam,” all from 1-4 p.m. Youngins get in free (with adults). First up, Silver Hammer: A Beatles Tribute, then the following Sunday, Feb. 17, reggae tunes by Irie Rockers, and, rounding things out Feb. 24, All Things Must Pass—a Birthday Tribute to George Harrison. (His b-day is actually the next day, but it’s close enough.)    

Absynth Quartet plays at Eureka’s Arts Alive! on Saturday, Feb. 2 (9 p.m.), describing it as “Our first gig of 2019 is also our first gig at the Siren's Song Tavern,” which is partly true. I heard most of the Q play at North of Fourth at the end of January’s Arts Alive, but since Tofu (the drummer) was elsewhere, the remaining Absynths were billed as Sansfü. (The talented 

Britt Smith joined in on fiddle and they sounded great.) Anyway, AQ urges you, “Come celebrate art and beer and music and Groundhog’s Day!”  

Also on Saturday, the Arcata Playhouse opens its 13th annual season Family Fun Series with Scotland’s Puppet State Theatre Company performing, “The Man Who Planted Trees” with two shows, 2 & 7 p.m. Expect a semi-ecogroovy vibe in this story of a shepherd and dog who reforest a war-torn land. 

Also at the Playhouse, Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m.: the return of Front Country, an urban backwoods outfit now based in Nashville. With former local Melody Walker out front on lead vocals, the band says they’ve “forged a sound that lies somewhere between indie folk and Americana genre some might call Roots Pop,” or you might call it post-modern country, although they steer clear of that word. Either way, “The past is discernible with a wink and a nod, and the future is here…”

As always, Humbrews has a mess of good music coming including (but not limited to) the Animal Liberation Orchestra, aka ALO, coming Thursday, Feb. 7, at the start of their Tour d’Amour XIII, their 13th annual jaunt as they approach Valentine’s Day, celebrating “LOVE” and including a fundraising component for the victims of California’s recent wildfires. What is ALO? It’s all about “being in that unknown,” i.e. improvising, and the jam. The tour also features “special guests” Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, an alt. bluegrass band (they have a banjo) from Wisconsin.

Before we go, a big shout out to the Breakfast All Day Collective, whose safer space, Outer Space, is celebrating turning two Friday, Feb. 1. The birthday party features Arcata High hip hop collective 4 The Masses, local garage punks Wet Spot, indigenous activist/singer/songwriter Sarah Torres with cousin Adam, and the spoken word artists of Word Humboldt, who typically hold down the word fort Tuesdays at Northtown Coffee.

Wednesday, Feb. 6. look for folky fare with Buck Meek from Texas, Twain from Virginia and locals Hollan and Emelia Grace. If you’ve been reading this section for awhile, you know that Outer Space’s space was once home to Copeland Lumber, which was replaced by Nilsen Feed’s short-lived store hiding ‘round the corner. Now that Nilsen’s is throwing in the towel (for whatever reason), the BAD kids are not totally sure what will happen next, but they’ve been good tenants, so they hope they’ll get to stay. We’ll see. If it looks like they need more help, say yes. 

As February stumbles to an end Wednesday, Feb. 27, Outer Space hosts the appropriately named, awakebutstillinbed (San Jose screamo), plus Sundressed (AZ folk punk), Sunsleeper (SLC sad rock) and Alien Boy, who is a punker from PDX, not from outer space. Remember, all Outer Space shows start and end early (7-ish-10 p.m.) so the kids can get to bed early. Also, remember when you were younger and needed a safe place to play. That’s all they ask. Later...

More of The Hum next week.




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