They say “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb,” although whether the weather will do so, well, that still remains to be seen.
For me, late February meant a missive from my old drummer pal, Danny Montgomery who wrote, “Back in California, two shows on the horizon—Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Arcata Playhouse with Jerry Martien and the Band of Angels featuring Thad Beckman and Fred Neighbor, with Gary Davidson and me… debuting some new stuff from Jerry.”
Mr. Martien (the acclaimed Humboldt poet) describes the “new stuff” as, “Country blues accompanying story and lyric of the Dust Bowl and the Okies, our present disrupted systems, natural and political, humans and birds caught up in a crisis of migration and refuge.” Expect thoughtful rumination on current events.
Danny’s second show is the next night, Friday, March 1, “the homecoming” of Thad Beckman and Band. “Gary and I will be accompanying the Thadster,” he explained. “You can expect a new CD from Thad and some special guests.”
Among the special guests, Barney Doyle, who I met recently at the Co-op’s Clear-Out-The-Ten-Pin-Building fire sale, where he was helping out since he recently relocated to Arcata to take a job as controller for the Co-op. We got to talking about music. It seemed he’d sat in the night before with The Handshakers, taking guitarist Michael Walker’s chair (a story for another day). Turns out Barney and Danny have known each other for ages. (BTW, Danny and Gary have been playing together for 50 years.)
As Danny explained later, “I’ve been playing with Barney for over 45 years. We began in the summer of ’73 in a band called Hog Wild, playing Walt’s Friendly Tavern and the Mad River Rose… [Those were the days…] He’ll be sitting in with us on that Friday with Thad. You know Barney was a member of Mickey Hart’s band…” There’s more to the story, but as Trevor Noah says on The Daily Show, “Ain’t nobody got time for that…”
Remember our discussion on Dead tribute bands? Saturday, March 2, at Humbrews (home to many such bands), they have a touring version, Deadgrass, a “string band adventure through Jerry Garcia’s musical world,” with a mid-level pickers from back east “exploring the life works of Jerry on the instruments that first inspired him,” i.e. bluegrass takes on the Dead songbook. (Not unlike our local Dead On.)
Also at Humbrews, Monday, March 4 (the day that is also a command), it’s Portland’s Shook Twins featuring identical twin sisters Katelyn and Laurie Shook on guitar and banjo, respectively, on a tour behind their new album of #freshfolk tunes titled, Some Good Lives.
Opening is Cyber Camel, a electro-one-man-band using effect pedals, drum machines and loopers combined with strings, percussion and keys. That’s the nom de band of Niko Daoussis, who some will remember from his days with The Bucky Walters (or if you have a good memory, The HSU Jammers League before that). Niko is not the only one swept up by the Shook Twins after relocating to PDX. Ace keyboard player Aber Miller, who played in too many local bands to count, joined the band full time recently. Welcome him home, at least for a minute, before their tour continues.
Monday also marks the beginning of the second annual Zero to Fierce Fest, a woman-centric thing with events all week long at the Arcata Playhouse. (Details on page B3.)
On Friday, they have WILPF’s International Women’s Day Celebration with The Raging Grannies, Jan Bramlett and Leslie Quinn (and many more).
Meanwhile, also on Friday, March 8, the 0-2-F Fest moves a few blocks over to Outer Space for music etc. by indigenous activist/singer/songwriter Sarah Torres, FIG (short for “feeling is good”) with “hopeful heartbroken lullabies,” Jackalope Jill (aka j. jill) offering “interpretations of songs by great lady songwriters,” and spoken word and poetry from Word Humboldt.
On Saturday, March 9, 0-2-F has “The Broad Side,” with what’s described as “a groovy collection of local women musicians, four different musical styles.” There’s Julie Fulkerson & Gwen Post (I assume classical), Lorenza Simmons & Jenny Mao Villaseñor (soul?), The Monster Women (groovy rock), and Lyndsey Battle (funky folk). All are good examples of fierce women. (Fierce and nice.)
War Möth and more metalllllll
Same Saturday, March 9, catch “a night of local Humboldt heavy music” at Humbrews. First up, FHOG (an acronym for Finger Hash Of the Gods) with “heavy blues stoner rock or something.” Next is Arcata’s Ultramafic an “instrumental stoner metal power trio.” Final facemelters: War Möth, “heavily inspired by 1970s and early ‘80s hard rock and heavy metal.” Heavy. Metal. Stoner. Do we see a pattern here? They suggest, “Come out. Bang your head. Have a beer.”
Your lucky day?
For some unknown reason, Wednesday, March 13 is a good day showing the eclectic nature of the music scene. Let’s start with an evening with Lou Barlow at Siren’s Song. The indie rock icon offers this message: “In 2019, I continue my small space 7:30 showtime tour. I did this throughout 2018 and it was really good. The general set-length seems to be about 2 1/2 hours, which is what it takes to play the requests I get and the corners of my catalogue (Sebadoh, Folk Implosion, Dinosaur Jr, solo, etc.) [that] I like to touch on every night. I also tend talk about the songs, my kids and whatever else happened that day. I’m most comfortable in this setting, please join me if you can.” Don’t hesitate, only 50 tickets available. (It may be sold out already.)
Meanwhile 3/13 in Ferndale, at the Old Steeple, iconic singer/songwriter Greg Brown sings a few and tends to “talk about the songs.” (Same, but different.) Again, it may be sold out.
At the Arcata Theatre Lounge that night (3/13) it’s Big Wild (aka producer Jackson Stell) who “crafts lush soundscapes and sweeping melodies that challenge the status quo of electronic music,” on his “Superdream Tour.” Originally a hip-hop beat maker known as J Beatz, Mr. Big shifted gears after leaving Massachusetts on a “life-altering trip to Big Sur,” where he succumbed to Cali’s “natural glory and open spaces to create the atmospheric and wide-spanning Big Wild sound, traversing electronic, indie, pop and beyond.” Openers TBA.
Over at the Miniplex 3/13, it’s Japanese psyche from Loolowningen & The Far East Idiots. (Loolowningen translates as “wandering people.”) The Tokyo-based “poly/cross/multi/liquid-rhythm/math/prog/alternative rock trio crafts “ink wash painting-like sounds and unicursal rhythms, for all wanderers.” Like-minded local support supplied by Blackplate and Idyll.
And last but not least, at Humbrews 3/13, there’s the Grateful Bluegrass Boys with “classic rock through a bluegrass lens,” of course with Dead covers (see above) this time out of Santa Cruz.
Is that eclecticism or what?