St. Paddy's Day, The Ides and After
Wednesday, March 15, is the Ides of March, but unfortunately you missed the HSU production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. (It only ran one weekend.) It’s also been declared the “Ides of Trump,” which is a scheme I’m told will somehow speed the downfall of the Donald — with postcards. “We will show the man, the media, and the politicians how vast our numbers are and we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing the President that he’s fired!” they promise. If you’re interested check www.theidesoftrump.com (or @theidesoftrump if you’re a tweeter).
Or, you could get yourself ready for the weekend at the Arcata Playhouse with some traditional music that’s sort of like Celtic music by the Quebecois quartet Le Vent du Nord. (The North Wind blows in from Canada).
Known as “Quebec’s folk heroes” the band playing Wednesday includes fiddle, accordion, bouzouki, mouth harp, the hurdy-gurdy and more. “We love to dig around the very old French roots of our traditions. That’s why we use the hurdy-gurdy,” said the hurdy-gurdy man Nicholas Boulerice. “It’s a French instrument, not Quebecois. But it adds something special. Through traditional songs we discover pieces of our history.” And it sounds cool.
Thursday at the Sanctuary, it’s MaMuse, an etherial "fem-folk" duo from Nevada City (via Chico) with Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker mixing a cappella singing with flutes, various strings, and gentle rhythms by drummer Mike Wofchuck. I’m sure they'll fit right in in Arcata: A few years ago they squeezed in at Renata's Crêperia, basically because Renata heard their set at Kate Wolf and convinced them to stop by on their Yes! Yes! Yes! Bicycles Northwest Tour. Yes, they came on bicycles. (BTW, this year’s Kate Wolf Festival is coming up June 22-25.)
St. Pat's Day Around Town
Humboldt is a green sort of place, what with the evergreens and other greenery, HSU’s school colors — green and gold — and so on. Like the rest of America, we follow various inexplicable traditions and wear green clothing along with silly leprechaun hats on St. Patrick’s Day, while we eat corned beef and cabbage and drink too much Irish whiskey and Guinness or perhaps beer dyed green with food color.
Got plans for Friday, the ultimate green day? We'll start with a show at Humboldt Brews that has little to do with the holiday featuring the illustrious Meat Puppets:
That was a vid from long ago. Forgive me if I let Wikipedia take over:
"Meat Puppets is an American rock band formed in January 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. The group's original lineup was Curt Kirkwood (guitar/vocals), his brother Cris Kirkwood (bass guitar), and Derrick Bostrom (drums). The Kirkwood brothers met Bostrom while [in high school] then moved to Tempe, (a Phoenix suburb and home to Arizona State University) where the Kirkwood brothers purchased two adjacent homes, one of which had a shed in the back where they regularly practiced. Meat Puppets started as a punk rock band, but like most of their labelmates on SST Records, they established their own unique style, blending punk with country and psychedelic rock, and featuring Curt's warbling vocals. Meat Puppets later gained significant exposure when the Kirkwood brothers served as guest musicians on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance in 1993. The band's 1994 album Too High to Die subsequently became their most successful release. The band broke up twice, in 1996 and 2002, but reunited again in 2006." The Kirkwood brothers are still out on the road rockin'. They're on tour with The Modern Era, four young punk rockers from Minneapolis, who counterbalance the now-aging Meat rockers.
You might want to celebrate St. Pat's at Siren's Song Tavern with traditional Celtic music by the members of Good Company and Fingal (a duo named for a county in Ireland) and Irish dancers of some sort from 7-10 p.m.
I’ve always liked the drunken art double entendre pun in the name Vanishing Pints. They rock Pogues covers and the like every St. Pat's Day, this year at the Jam. Drink a toast to the health of Shane MacGowan who recently lost his dear old mum. “So fill to me the parting glass and good night, joy be with you all.”
Mad River Brewing has “hoppy hour, all day” and music most of the day starting with trad Irish tunes by Seabury Gould (3:30-5:30 p.m.) followed (at 6) by what’s described as “some fun country rock” by Cadillac Ranch. Do they know any Irish tunes? “No, but we like to get drunk,” offered C-Ranch guitarist Rick Levin. “I did not even realize that our Friday date landed on Paddy's Day.” Whatever.
Also out Blue Lake way that night: The Trouble is making trouble of some sort in the Wave. At the Logger, it might or might not be Kindred Spirits who play bluegrass/acoustic roots music there the every third Friday of most months. (I did not get any listings from the bar for March, so I’m uncertain.)
Six Rivers Brewing always goes all out for St. Paddy’s and, as they’ve done in the past, their friends from the city, The Pine Box Boys will be here with special guests, Lester T. Raww's Graveside Quartet. It’s no coincidence that both bands specialize in murder ballads. As they explained, it’s the same players, only different. It seems there was this open mic night at a San Francisco bar and “Lester had a bunch of songs that didn't quite fit with the Pine Box Boys vibe and so decided to start a new band. That's what he always does.” BTW, the band is aka The Zag Men, The Astronaut Body Four and Dr. Prisoner: The Brain! depending on his mood.
The new youngish vets crew at the Arcata Veterans Hall suggest a S.P.D. greeting they probably found on the web, ‘Lá fhéile Pádraig Sona Dhuit,’ explaining, “That's Gaelic for Happy Saint Patrick's Day!” They promise green beer for their “epic extravaganza” on St. Patty's Day in the hall’s refurbished bar. (Epic indeed since it runs from 2 p.m. until midnight.) They’re also starting the day off with a pancake breakfast (7-11 a.m.) something that call “Romeo's Bountiful Breakfast.” Wherefore art thou?
Also on Friday, but not really related to the “holiday,” the “Hella Gay Pants-off, Dance-off” at Synapsis Nova, a “hella gay, body-positive 18+ funderwear party, where consent is sexy and pants are optional,” featuring “glamdrogynous go-go dancers” vogueing to “booty jams” by DJ Anya, DJ Joe-E, Mr. 415 and Esch. Light show by Marmalade Sky. (No pussy grabbers please.)
That evening (starting at 7 p.m.) it’s the second in the Westhaven Center for the Arts’ Jazz Series 2017 hosted by the Randles/LaBolle/Lawrence Trio, featuring cool trumpeter Nicholas Dominic Talvola (aka Johnny Freelance of The Johnny Freelance Experience). Nick is local, born and raised in Arcata, where he played in various bands before reset sail for Barcelona with his horn, an analogue camera and a bag of tricks. He’s been traveling the world since with tours all over Europe, to Central America and Japan, reappearing stateside intermittently, always with new ideas he’s working on, usually blending jazz (on the acid side), funk, soul and danceable electronica improvisation. The Experience trio includes a vocalist, Afrika and a drummer, Didi, but they won’t be part of this show. Every time I see him, he says he’s returning to Spain soon, so this may be you last time to hear him for awhile.
The Eureka Chamber Music Series presents a concert by Raphael Piano Trio on Friday. The works are by Beethoven, Schubert and a 20th century female composer, Dina Koston (none of them Irish). Doors at 7 p.m. at the Calvary Lutheran Church.
Shake. Rattle. Roll.
Wild Otis gets to the point. They’re unapologetic. “We play rock & roll. You dig?” they tell us. You say you don’t like rock, then don’t come to Redwood Curtain Brewery where they’re throwing a CD Release Party Saturday night. The quartet has Norman Bradford and Rick DeVol on guitars and vocals, Dan Davis on bass and Jimmy Moore on drums. They rock. I can dig it. What else do you need? Maybe the LoCo Fish Company food truck out back with some fish and chips and fish tacos? Sure. Yum.
Same Saturday at the Jam, Latin Peppers play hot jazz styled after music from somewhere on the other side of that imaginary (great) wall that is not being built on our border. The No/SoHum band is part of the resistance.
Meanwhile over at Humboldt Brews, Deadheads will gather for a virtual Grateful Dead Dance Party thrown by Marmalade Sky. (No band, just historic vids.)
A Clown, a Wounded Healer and a Busload of Ukrainians walked into a bar…
Ferdinand the Magnificent returns to the Playhouse Sunday afternoon. Remember him? Think pink Spandex body suit. A green bowtie. A rather absurd nose. A diaper. A trip through the universe. Nick Trotter is the clown who’s going on this strange journey. Take a trip.
Diane Cluck rolls into the Miniplex Monday night on her “Wounded Healers Tour.”
Ms. Cluck has a different idea for financing her singer/songwriter lifestyle. She’s offering subscriptions to her “Song-of-the-Week.” Pledge some dough and they arrive via email. She explains, “I look forward to spending time focusing deeply on songcraft, and getting down with my drums, pipes, strings, keys and notebooks,” one song at a time. Yes, she takes requests. She’s “open to suggestions for songs around particular ideas, events or topics, and to collaborating with other musicians.”
My suggestion: Conspire with The Comix Trip aka Violet Crabtree, who opens this show at the Goat.
That same night the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine plays the Van Duzer, a concert sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (aka OLLI). If you’ve been following the news lately, you know Ukraine as more than a country found on the Risk board. (Ask Andrew.) I’ll leave explaining the nexus of Trump, Putin, ex-Exxon prez Tillerson and our tangled State Dept. to Rachael Maddow and friends. Monday night, I imagine Ukrainian pianist Alexei Grynyuk will be thinking of something else when he plays Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.” Will the orchestra discuss the role of Stalin in Shostakovich’s decision to abandon his fourth symphony and instead offer the heroic “Symphony No. 5?” Probably not. They’ve come here to play music. That’s what musicians do. And we’re glad they do.