The HUM: Joni time again, plus Robert Cray & a Firestorm

It’s that time again. Not that time between Halloween and Thanksgiving where the full pre-Xmas rush hits you like a bitter wind on a crisp pre-winter morning. “But it don’t snow here. It stays pretty green,” Joni Mitchell laments, “Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on.” It’s actually time for another birthday tribute show in her honor. 


TRIBUTE Jan Bramlett and friends sing songs by Joni Mitchell in a birthday tribute at the Arcata Playhouse Saturday, Nov. 9 and Sunday, Nov. 10. Bob Doran | Union

Joni’s actual b-day is Nov. 7, and a quick look at shows many shows marking the day around the world, both before and after. Locally, the 8th annual Joni Mitchell Tribute Show has two shows: Saturday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m., and a Sunday matinee, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. once again at the Arcata Playhouse. The usual suspects will be on hand: Jan Bramlett, J. Morgan Corviday, Leslie Quinn, Marcia Mendels, Andrea Zvaleko, Violet Dinning, Laura Krueger, Julie Froblom, Tina Garsen, Marla Joy, Peggy Martinez, Chris Manspeaker and Mike LaBolle. 

“It’s the 50th anniversary of Clouds and the 45th anniversary of Court and Spark, and we will be doing a number of songs from those albums, as well as others,” noted Ms. Bramlett. Tickets available at

Over the course of four decades, Robert Cray and his band have recorded 20 studio albums, scored multiple Grammy wins, revitalizing the blues along the way by merging it with soul and R&B. The guitarist once known as “Young Bob” went from playing the West Coast bar circuit (including frequent stops at the Jambalaya and the Old Town Bar and Grill) to move up from barhopping to headlining festivals worldwide (including our own Blues by the Bay) and playing in high tone concert halls. Sunday, Nov. 10, he and his band are at our local high tone concert hall, the Arkley Center of Performing Arts, with his old friends and running partners Richard Cousins on bass and Dover Weinberg on keyboards, with Memphis-born drummer Terence Clark. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the Miniplex, catch Crack Cloud, a mixed-media collective based out of Vancouver, B.C. modeled on harm reduction philosophy, operating as rehab for a revolving cast of recovering addicts, folks who work with mental health patients and those with addictions. They’ve been compared with early Talking Heads and Gang of Four, but with “a groove that rivals Fela Kuti.” Sounds good to me. Obligatory local openers are the “sci-fi themed post-punk supergroup” CV.

Blue Lake Casino’s Bluegrass and Brews on the first Wednesday (Nov. 6) brings trad bluegrass hosted by Humboldt Bluegrass, but featuring an out-of-town outfit, Riley Hill and Brand New Still. “Brand New Still is my band,” Riley explains, “The lineup changes from one gig to the next, but the players are always top notch and the music consists of originals that I have written and plenty of bluegrass standards.”

The Arcata Chamber’s First Thursday Mixer is at HealthSPORT, which means time to “Mix & Mingle” beginning at 5:30 p.m. We usually eat good food and drink local beer and wine. This time we’ll also hear about getting healthy. There’s also a raffle. Buy tix. 

At the Arcata Theatre Lounge Thursday, Nov. 7, it’s the Northern California premiere  of Ye Olde Destruction, a skateboarding film by Thomas Campbell with a live musical score by local skater-types Imperial Destructo. It’s a benefit for Humboldt Skatepark Collective, so again, buy some raffle tix. Doors open at 6, film at 7 p.m. 

Same Thursday (Nov. 7) down at the Mateel, Italian reggae star Alborosie offers a different type of “ital” with his band Shengen Clan from Kingston. Designated selector is Rude Lion. 

FIRESTORM Jon Humboldt Gates reads from and signs his latest, very timely book, Firestorm: A Personal Narrative, at Northtown Books Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. Bob Doran | Union

Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m., Northtown Books welcomes author Jon Humboldt Gates, author of Night Crossings and Falk’s Claim, two books based on Humboldt County history, to talk about and sign his very timely new book, Firestorm: A Personal Narrative. The book is “a personal narrative written in verse, detailing the author’s escape with his family from the 2017 Sonoma County Tubbs Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in California history.” The vignettes “capture the terror, confusion, anger, loss, impotence and disconnection wrought by the North Bay fires… and their resolve and hope.” Let’s hope for the best.

Same Friday (Nov. 8) RampArt Skatepark and DisBeatCrasher present Good Riddance, a veteran hardcore punk band from Santa Cruz,

on the road with MDC (Millions Of Dead Cops) out of Portland (via SF and Austin) and Cigar (originally from Eugene, now PDX). Local support from KLOD. All ages, doors at 7, music 8 p.m.

Elsewhere Friday (Nov. 8) The Collective Rising presents Wandous, at Forever Found Humboldt, an alcohol-free dance party “to celebrate the cycles of the natural world,” with Drumspyder (aka Scott Sterling) an “organic, tribal folktronica” percussionist. 

The Collective explains, “The nights have become long and the days have become moist with the richness of our temperate rain forest. It is the season to celebrate our harvest, confront the coming darkness, and acknowledge death. For many it can be a time to honor those who have passed.” So, it’s like an extended Day of the Death? I can dig it. Starts at 7 p.m. “Closing circle” at 11 p.m.  

At Blue Lake Casino same Friday, it’s Money: A Pink Floyd Tribute. “Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today. But if you ask for a raise, it’s no surprise that they’re giving none away, away, away…” The show, however, is free, free, free. Showtime is  9 p.m.

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Friday, the Eureka Theater screens the “final cut” of the original Blade Runner, Doors at 7 p.m. Ridley Scott’s iconic 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel about rogue androids set in acid rain-soaked Los Angeles, was set in November 2019. Was Ridley prescient? 

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off shoulder of Orion,” said replicant Roy facing death. “I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain…”

Saturday, Nov. 9, from 7 to 10 p.m. another multi-band show at Outer Space, with No Face (from Tallahassee), the “media collage” everybody’s broke everything’s free, Perdido (lost, but from here?) and slowcore band, t.o.b.c.t. which stands for “thousands of burning christmas trees.” Yes, it’s an all ages thing in a “safer/sober space.”

At Humbrews Saturday, it’s The Ghost Of Paul Revere, from Portland (and not PDX, in Maine), yet another alt. stringband. “Everyone assumed we were a bluegrass band because we were playing these traditional instruments,” said guitarist/singer Griffin Sherry, “but we weren’t writing traditional music. We were just writing songs with the instruments we had.” 

Sunday, Nov. 10, “HUMBREWS IS TURNING 10 YEARS OLD!” And they’re having a free all-day festival/birthday party from 2 to 10 p.m. with Back Sage Runners, Three Legged Dog, Fickle Hill Band, The Miracle Show (fulfilling out weekly Dead ration) “and more,” and much more still to come. “Here’s to another 10 years!”

We get a double double shot of PDX neo-Americana with songster John Craigie and special guests Shook Twins playing Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, then taking their “Keep It Warm” Tour to Ferndale, where their sold out show will be filmed for the KEET Live from the Old Steeple series. Craigie has always been on the road telling laid back stories and singing songs, but lately he’s moved up a couple of notches on the festival circuit, especially since a breakthrough opening for Jack Johnson on one of his 2017 tours. Identical twins Katelyn and Laurie Shook seem like a perfect match for John. 

The second annual Against the Wind Festival returns to the Arcata Playhouse, beginning Monday, Veteran’s Day, with a week of events to promote peace, support the voyage of The Golden Rule and to “draw attention to the nuclear threat to life on earth and the nexus between global warming, environmental degradation, defense spending and nuclear power has led to addressing broader issues threatening our world.” 

The fest starts Monday, Nov. 11, with An Evening of Reflection, Stories, and Hope, honoring Veterans and the personal sacrifices made by soldiers and their families, along with the mission of the world’s first nuclear protest vessel, the Golden Rule, and the world situation regarding nuclear weapons, and possibility of peace in our time. 

Radioman Eric Hollenbeck is among those speaking about war and peace. 

Then Tuesday, Nov. 12, they have Voices for a New Future: Students, and Young Adults Speak Out, with high school and college-aged Humboldt youth offer their take via slam poetry, short dramatic sketches, and music on war, peace, violence, climate change, and social justice. 

Eureka Poet Laureate David Holper will be the emcee. Both programs begin at 7 p.m. and are free. 

Wednesday, Nov. 13, the subject is Climate Disruption and Local Solutions, with Peter Alstone of HSU’s Schatz Energy Resource Center moderating a panel on climate science and global warming and hot button issues including offshore and onshore wind, solar energy, and transportation. Again, start time at 7 p.m. Tix $15, just $8 for students, with “no one turned away at the door.” 

Still to come, Thursday, Nov. 14, Nuclear Jeopardy: The Game of Your Life (yes, an atomic game show), Friday, Nov.15, Songs of Freedom: Part 1 with James Harris  and The Nu Heavenly Tone Singers, Chris Parreira and the Paula Jones Band, and Saturday, Nov.1, Songs of Freedom Part 2, with Jan Bramlett, FireSign and Asha Nan. Sunday, Nov. 17, they present the “Practicing Peace Award,” honoring Edie and Bryan Jessup. More on this next week, for full details check


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