Kylie Maxfield playing for Dream Honey on Halloween

Arcata’s Halloween Music Scene

Arcata’s music scene returns from the dead to honor the spooky season

This weekend a tangle of costumes and limbs could be found in Arcata’s music venues. Local bands played experimental indie, psychedelic cumbia, punkadelic gutter blues, disco jams, and some mosh-worthy crust punk sounds. The collective of sound kept show-goers dancing through the Halloweekend.

Since the pandemic, Arcata music venues have been quiet without the familiar sounds of local bands. As pandemic life becomes second nature, the music scene has adapted. Bouncers check for vaccine cards and IDs to keep showgoers safe. Halloweekend marked the occasion for a music scene revival. In the past few weeks shows have started happening again. This weekend brought the music scene back from the dead in true Halloween fashion.

On Friday at The Siren’s Song Tavern, the bands Over Yonder, Biomass, and Horse played the start of the Halloweekend. Over Yonder is a punkadelic gutter blues band local to Humboldt, Biomass is a psychedelic sound collective bringing riffs to the people, and Horse brought the mosh-worthy punk noise and got everyone moving.

On Saturday, Pablo Payaso fought the rain and played psychedelic cumbia for Dia de Los Muertos celebration. The event was planned with Centro Del Pueblo, a local community organization. Later in the night, Pablo Payaso played at Blondies. The band started playing together this past summer, and now they have the opportunity to get back into venues and play live shows. Connor West plays for Pablo Payaso and is glad to see the return of Arcata’s music scene.

“The music is back, it’s sad that it was ever gone,” West said. “Blondies has always been a hub for up-and-coming bands. God bless Blondies. They’re back in business, same as Richard’s Goat, and some house shows are going on too. It seems like everyone is coming back.”

Playing in both Pablo Payaso and in Over Yonder is Eduardo Gutierrez. Gutierrez plays a wide spectrum between two bands’ genres, bringing swampadelic sounds to Over Yonder and singing for Pablo Payaso’s cumbia sound.

“I’m stoked about [music] coming back,” Gutierrez said. “It had kinda displaced me for a bit when there was no music. I’m glad we are able to figure out a way to play where everyone is safe and comfortable. Keep supporting local artists. I love being able to uplift each other in this community in all forms of art.”

Horse played with Pablo Payaso and Over Yonder on Saturday and revived the nostalgic Blondies mosh. The fresh band is made up of Arcata locals and HSU alums, much like the other bands in the lineups. Brayden O’Brien donned their Halloween getup and messy eyeliner to lead the punk band.

“It’s a very welcoming and supportive community here, if you like to make noise there’s always a way to do it,” O’Brien said.

On Sunday, Medicine Baul, Biomass, and Dream Honey played a show to close the weekend. Dream Honey played experimental indie blues through the rain. Skye Freitas welcomed a familiar crowd that made the show feel especially nice.

“The music scene is super supportive here, which makes performing and creating comfortable and I love that,” Freitas said. “All around acceptance and hype for all different genres of bands on the scene. Another thing to love is the eclectic variety of bands in the area.”

Arcata welcomes its eclectic artist back again to fill venues with their collective sounds. Venues like Humbrews, Richard’s Goat, Blondies, and Arcata Theatre Lounge are hosting shows again. Support your local bands and listen to some good jams.

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