With apologies to author Thomas Wolfe, you can go home again, but sometimes it’s for not very long.
Three of the four members of Liquid Kactus grew up at Lake Tahoe and now live in Arcata. The band plays Friday at Heavenly Village but it won’t be here long. The Tahoe appearance is sandwiched between Thursday and Saturday shows in Humboldt County.
The Heavenly Village Concert Series features free shows from 5:30-9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer. (Please see the Tahoe Onstage Events Calendar.) Liquid Kactus has a new look since its 2014 show at Heavenly Village, and it does not involve haircuts from its dreadlocked guitarist or fuzzy-headed bass player. The band is trimmed from six members to four, losing two horn players.
“Without the horns, there is a lot more improvisation kind of stuff happening,” bassist Josh Foster said. “It’s more explorative and we’re more flexible. If there’s somebody who plays horns and they want to play, they can hop up for one or two, that’s cool.”
The band now is more jam and less funk.
“I like Phish and the Dead and some of the newer jam bans like Umphrey’s (McGee), so we’re trying to do a little more jams but keep it funky as well,” said Foster, who came around to the music his parents played after he became a serious musician.
Like many Arcata residents, Foster moved there to attend Humboldt State and then decided to stay.
“The music community here is really good for the size of the city,” said Foster, a regular participant at Monday night jams at the Jambalaya, an iconic spot at the Arcata Plaza.
Liquid Kactus is not a name derived from a combination of Humboldt’s wet climate and Tahoe’s dryness. It is the name of one of the band’s songs. Jonny Yocum, the aforementioned guitarist, called the tune “punchy and spiky.”
“The day he moved up here is the day the band started,” Foster said. “We were trying to start a band … and one night when we were having a party at my house and we were jamming and he walked up. Somebody gave him the guitar and it was like, that was our lineup.”
Liquid Kactus plans to work on a second album this summer and to play shows to support it in the fall. It also will return to High Sierra Music Festival, where a year ago it played free shows in the Shady Grove camping area and near the food court. Foster said the band was inspired by Sound Tribe Sector 9, which in 2013 played at the festival largest venue, the Grandstand.
“They are the only band to play in both the parking lot and the main stage,” Foster said.