The HUM: Movin’ and Groovin’ on Leap Day 2020

This is a Leap Year, which means there’s a knock-down-dragged-out Presidential Election later on in the year, but more immediately, there’s an extra “Leap Day” added to February for arcane reasons. 

My dear departed old friend, Gregg “Vinny” DeVaney would invariably explain on our dearly departed radio show Fogou, that it goes back to the time of Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced a revised “Gregorian” calendar in October 1582 to deal with the fact that the average year is 365.2425 days long, not 365. (I’m pretty sure he just liked the Gregg reference.) 

Anyway, that discrepancy messes with calendars, etc. even though time is basically relative, but let’s not go there, since the Theory of Relativity is beyond my pay grade. Let’s just thank Gregory XIII for this extra day.  

This year Leap Day, Feb. 29, falls on a Saturday. There may not be a connection, but that’s the day Melvin Seals and JGB play at Eureka Muni in the “first ever” benefit concert for Uplift Eureka “helping Humboldt’s Homeless” with a “night of movin’ and groovin’ to the sweet tunes of the artist who helped pioneer and define what has now become ‘Jam Band Music,’ with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to Uplift Eureka programs designed to support our houseless community members in accessing vital resources to obtain housing, employment, and to reclaim independence.”

Without getting into defining “jam band music,” I’ll agree Mr. Seals is a jam master on his Hammond B-3, and this week’s requisite Deadhead delight. All ages. Doors at 6:30 p.m., showtime 7:30 p.m. Food vendors, beer and wine for 21-plus and as they put it, “A Good Time For A Great Cause!”

Same day, at Blue Lake Casino’s Wave Lounge, we have another Deadhead delight as Miracle Show plays more songs from the Dead/Jerry canon from 9 p.m. on. It’s not a benefit, but at least there’s no admission. Yes, tie dye optional at either show.    

Also that Leap Day (Feb. 29), the newly minted NorthTown Art Collective is hosting an event at Fatböl (in Northtown where Kinko’s used to be) from 3 to 9 p.m. The collective promises to “gather together once a month to show Humboldt what they got,” specifically, “live” music (as opposed to Dead music) with “the Return of the Fatböl Cypher, hosted by Nac One and DJ Just One, plus special guests from Object Heavy,” including keysman Brian Swizlo (who owns Fatböl). They say masked man Quenten Wall of Sound “is gonna lead us into the night.” They also promise “live painting/printing” by Over There Designs (and friends) and “live FREE tattoos” done by Michael Joy of Nor Cal Tattoo (reservations in advance, limited to 15 “from provided flash sheet in store”). Fun all day to mark that Flying Leap.

Growing up in the Bay Area in the ’60s it seemed like I was part of a cultural revolution. Amid political chaos, music provided a trippy soundtrack and I witnessed the dawning of the jam band era with the Dead, the Airplane, Quicksilver, Big Brother (all San Francisco bands) playing with Jimi, Cream and others. Go ahead, say “Hey Boomer,” but I was there. 

Somehow a much more recent S.F. band, The Stone Foxes, fits right in with that, sonic/spiritual tradition. They say, “In the darkest of times, while the world faces political and environmental uncertainties of grand proportions, the responsibility of artists to reflect on the state of the world becomes undeniable.” Indeed. 

Head Fox and lead vocalist Shannon Koehler (or as he puts it, “full-time microphone boy,”) and his brother Spence have been playing together since 2005 and have been through these parts numerous times with various lineups (including opening for Zepparella 10 years ago, and playing with The Trouble in ’13). They’re currently on their “Golden Burger Tour” with a new EP, Gold, that’s officially released Friday, Feb. 28, the day they play at HumBrews. Their p.r. peeps sent me an advance and it’s quite good, in fact, golden, with an update on the classic S.F. sound, although with minimal jamming.

A few years ago they took their “responsibility” seriously and put together the Goodnight Moon Project, (with a tip of the hat to author/poet Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, who did the drawings for the kid’s classic). Like that JGB show, this is “an effort to raise awareness for homelessness through music. As we collect food at shows and share the voices of homeless and hungry musicians, we hope the music inspires you to help. Simply, we believe that everyone has a face...a name...and a voice.” 

Their project includes hooking up with local food banks and collecting non-perishable foodstuffs. I messaged them to be sure they were still doing it, they responded with an enthusiastic “Yes,” adding, “Get a free signed poster in exchange for your donation!” Right on… Showtime at HumBrews 9:30 p.m. Feb. 28.

Returning to Leap Day Saturday, at the Sanctuary, Sanctuary organizers Tayloranne Finch and Daniel Nickerson share A Trip to Cowtown, a “collage performance” combining song, story, and performance art featuring the Incredible Collapsible Magical Marionette Music Box. 

“It tells the story of Peggy Pilgrim and Toe-Tapping Tommy, two wandering spirits who become friends in a world where all travel and spontaneity has been banned by the Good Government.” Oh dear. 

“Former Sanctuary artist/resident Hazel Rickard and friends provide an opening set of music as Hazel Ra, a dream-folk band featuring soaring female melodies and delicate instrumentation,” with arrangements by Kyle Butz. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m. 

At the Westhaven Center for the Arts, Leapin’ Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., the Alphabet Baroque Club is “On The Road to Hell, with music beginning in heavenly spheres, descending gradually to more infernal regions to the Gates of Hades itself. The ABC is a fun and dynamic group whose programs are known for their cheerful and historically informed presentations of seriously beautiful music with Maria Caswell (violin), Judiyaba (treble viol), Gwyneth Davis (bass viol), and Phebe Craig (harpsichord). Composers include Monteverdi, Gesualdo, Falconieri, Juana de la Cruz, Ignatio Donati, and everyone’s favorite, Anonymous.”

Also Leap Saturday (Feb. 29) it’s another Soul Party at HumBrews #33 1/3 rpm with “resident hepcats Funky T-Rex, DJ Red and #Jaymorg spinnin’ all the fatter platters that matter” with “special guest” from the Storytime Crew, Rufkraft and a “super fantastic opening set by thee King Maxwell.” 

Wait there’s more for Leap Day. The Mr. Humboldt Pageant VII (2020) once again pits “prefers he/him pronoun” types against each other for a coveted title through a swimwear and formal wear contests, a talent show, “and more.” As usual it’s at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, and benefits assorted good causes. Doors at 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.  

Sometimes the minimal nature of the Basement’s posts seem like a test, one that I don’t often pass. “Indie Wednesday” on Feb. 26, (8 to 11 p.m.) just says, “Big Lagoon is back with friends Dream Honey.” So two bands? First seems to be a “Dream Folk/Indie band,” fitting for an indie night. Is Dream Honey related? Dunno. I could explore further, but I have neither time nor space right now. 

Thursday evening, Feb. 27, from 4 to 9 p.m. the Eagle House Psychic Fair & Community Market brings together “international Spiritual Mediums, Tarot Card and Palm Readers, Massage Therapists and Spiritual Healers as well as Local Artisans and Vendors of all types,” for an “uplifting” event leading into a weekend workshop, “Angels, Ancestors & Animal Allies: Discovering Your Spiritual Support Network,” also at the Historic Eagle House. I think I’d like to have an eagle as my totem animal/ally, if that’s possible.

At Redwood Curtain Brewing Thursday (Feb. 27, 8 to 11 p.m.) it’s the return of Holus Bolus,  aka Tom Boylan, a multi-instrumentalist “one-man-psychedelic-acoustiloop” artist from Crescent City. A small drum-kit, and an acoustic guitar augmented by foot pedals is all it takes. (Holus Bolus means “all at once.”)

Friday evening, Feb. 28, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sanctuary, join the Six River Montessori Model United Nations Delegates from the 5th and 6th grade representing Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) as they welcome Cote d’Ivoire native and professional West African dancer Atito Gohi, and try out the speeches they will deliver at the Model U.N. in New York City. 

When I was a wee lad, I attended a Model U.N. conference representing Trinidad and Tobago. It wasn’t in NYC, but I remember it as big fun, although all I really remember is that Angostura bitters comes from that island. I imagine the kids will learn much more. 

Atito grew up in Africa, son of a dancer/mask maker and a singer. He leads the Vozolo Dance Company, now based in Las Vegas, and received a Living Traditions Grant from the Nevada Arts Council to spread the word about drums, dance and mask-making. Sounds fascinating. 

Down in the Basement that Friday (Feb. 28, 8 to 10 p.m.) “The boys are back!” specifically PD3, with Paul “The Other Twin,” Fred (ex-Starliners) and Junior (of Fred and Jr. fame). Tres cool. Saturday in the same Basement 8:30-ish, jazzy music by Peter Leo Ciotti IV Group. (It’s complicated.)

Remember last week’s Ryan McGaughey Final Fantasy VII piano concert at HSU? He’s doing it one more time at the Morris Graves Museum, Friday (Feb. 28) at 7 p.m. Music composed by Nobuo Uematsu, arrangements by Shiro Hamaguchi.

Briefly: Monday, March 2, at the Miniplex, 8:30 p.m. alt. something by Habibi (from Brooklyn) and Rudy De Anda (from Long Beach).

Tuesday, March 3, JVD, 8 p.m. awesomely funky bassist Thundercat aka Stephen Bruner (from South Los Angeles and outer space).  At the Sanctuary Tuesday, March 3, folksters Palmer T. Lee (from Olympia) and Humbird aka Siri Undlin (from Minneapolis). Doors 7:30, show 8 p.m.

At HumBrews again Tuesday, March 3, Andy Frasco and The U.N. play “party blues with a touch of barefoot boogie.”

Remember we were talking about time and space? I’m out — again. Seeya.

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