SSRI-ay Cap'n

Depression is all around us, but here's some upcoming shows that won't bring you down

Of the small handful of people whom I consider personal friends in this town, I know three who are on antidepressants (as am I) and a fourth who takes this thing called SAMe, which is an herbal antidepressant that apparently outsells Prozac in Europe. As reported by the Washington Post, in the last decade the number of adult Americans taking such drugs has tripled. Why are we so sad? What can be done about this? Is the ever-widening gap between rich and poor to blame? Does this have something to do with global socioeconomic strata or Friedrich Nietzsche's notion of the Übermensch?

Fuck if I know.

Look, if you want to read about changing the world and fixing our collective complex, pick up Usand study the articles about Brad and Ben and Jen and Jen. I'm merely some monkey that goes to shows. The good news for like-minded monkeys, though, is that some cool shit is coming up this weekend, a selection of outdoor hoo-has that could put a spring in any manic-depressive bipolar Mennonite's step

For starters, there's this hoedown going on in Big Sur on Friday and Saturday called the Folk Yeah! Mini Folk Festival Weekend. It's taking place at the Fernwood Resort (www.fernwoodbigsur.com), which from the looks of its Web site is basically a village nestled in a forest wonderland. Friday night finds Sean Smith (guitar acrobatics) and the Blithe Sons (acoustic noise acrobatics) opening for Six Organs of Admittance, Ben Chasney's this-is-your-brain-on-drugs mind-fry guitar theater. Drag City publicist and Ben Chasney bodyguard Zach Cowie tells me that after all Six Organs have Admitted themselves, the subsequent "dance party is going to be off the charts ... the Ewok celebration song [mixed] into Ludacris." May the Force be with you, Zach.

On Saturday things may be a wee bit more sedate, though no less enthralling. Recent Matador Records signees and purveyors of narcotic love jams Brightblack headline, supported by Santa Cruz's one-man melody machine Little Wings and banjo belle Peggy Honeywell. I'd recommend bringing your 'shrooms, grass, and acid, but I've a sneaking suspicion that all that stuff is why I'm on the Paxil today, so maybe you should consider getting high on life.

If chillin' isn't your thing and you'd rather be illin', then pack up the station wagon and take the kids to the Operation Restore Maximum Freedom all-day music festival up in Davis, taking place Saturday from noon to midnight (http://asucd.ucdavis.edu/radio/maxfreedom.html). The festival is sponsored by KDVS, UC Davis' campus radio station, which, according to its Web site, "has chosen to support the new, creative music of the most sincere artistic scruples, thereby offering a true, outstanding alternative choice to music fans who refuse to settle for less." And mind you, when these programmers say "alternative," they mean it: Sightings, No Doctors, Burmese, Death Sentence: Panda! -- and the list goes on. These acts are not for the squeamish. I was listening to Sightings just now, and after about three minutes the squall of pound made my brain feel like the engine of the oldest Ferris wheel in the oldest traveling fair freezing up and then exploding in a burst of steam and sparks. I don't know what 12 hours of such stuff will do to a person, but don't be surprised if some clever university profs put a few anthropology grad students on the case to find out.

Finally, for those of you not so much interested in getting high as kites and climbing redwoods or having your intestines ruptured by bass blasts, a more civilized celebration awaits at KFOG's annual "KaBoom!" thingamajig (www.kfog.com). This event is free and starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, featuring the musical stylings of the Wallflowers (blech), the John Butler Trio (boo), Kathleen Edwards (who?), Mr. Horsefeathers (yay!), and Boswick the Clown (sweet!). There are also some fireworks or something.

Now I'm depressed again.

 
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