Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Josh Duke: Bonus Tracks – May 20, 2008

The joys of graduation are many a splendorous thing. You wear a funny hat, you walk down an aisle with other people in funny hats and then some other guy in an even funnier hat hands you an empty folder before booting you into the real world, kicking and screaming.

By the end of the week, the reality of the situation will settle in that there are no more financial aid checks coming, and you begin to wonder if the wad of cash Dad slipped into your wallet after his fifth Scotch at your graduation party is enough to cover rent. After the joke of full-time work in Humboldt County delivers its somber punch line at around the same time you have to start paying back all those student loans, grad school starts to sound like a tempting, yet temporary, solution to the lifetime problem of actually being a grown-up. But what do I know? I just review music that costs you money. Here Dad, have another Scotch.

For one of the most celebratory of weekends this town sees, the live music scene was quiet but for one place. Moonalice played their psychadelic blues rock set led by the famed G.E. Smith. For those not in the know, G.E. Smith was that guy that led the Saturday Night Live Band for about 10 years in the ’80s and ’90s, giving us some of the best filler music that I’ll at least kinda remember.

After realizing that I was one of the youngest people there, I felt like I wandered into the parents’ area of a theme park, as though Hum Brews was the hangout spot for Mom and Dad while Junior does a keg stand with his friends that are still “taking a couple classes” at CR for the fifth year. But as the unadvertised $15 door cover hit the pocket book in more ways than one, I knew this was a show for the likes of out-of-towners who are used to being bilked without noticing. Well, them… and people like me, since I paid as well.

As for the music, Moonalice was actually pretty decent, in a “Tom Petty Discount Night” way. It was standard and enjoyable, and had all the nice blues guitar solos that made me feel I was only owed five dollars back, and not the whole $15. At times it was light and jazzy, while others were raucous and bluesy.

Others still felt like I had just listened to “The Sultan of Swing,” for 25 minutes straight and somehow my foot kept tapping.

I actually saw another show this weekend – Strix Vega at the Wave lounge. Since you’ve all repeatedly read my feelings on the SV boys and their anti-rockstar personages, I didn’t feel that writing about their overly pretentious cover off The Virgin Suicides soundtrack would be neither pertinent nor amusing. What I did find amusing is that I think those bands should’ve switched venues. Strix Vega would’ve made a much better graduation night show. They’re kid- tested and mother-approved. Everyone would come to see them.

Conversely, Moonalice would’ve been perfect at the Wave Lounge, pandering to those lined up at the buffet.

Have them up with any other has-been like Three Dog Night that rides the casino circuit, and that place will be raging like a British soccer riot. I would say I should give up this gig and become a booking agent, but given the thankless rigors of handling egos and placating anyone and everyone, that is that sort of job I would rarely wish on anyone, especially myself.

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