Arcata Theatre Cantina: ¡El Raco Taco! on Saturday boasts five bands for five bucks Q&A with Strix Vega bassist Andy Powell

Five bands for five bucks. Wait, is this the 1950s? Is this a trick? Will this be one of those house parties where the musicians outnumber the listening audience? Nope, no way and definitely not.

On Saturday night at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, the prices on the menu boast no gimmicks and the flavor is muy caliente. Five forces to be reckoned with in the local rock scene will make the crowd toss and totter for taco time.

The 21-and-up crowd will get to check out melodic alt-rockers Strix Vega, vintage-esque garage-rockers Drifter Killer, the newly formed Indianola, southern-rock trio Side Iron and Eureka punk-rockers' Splinter Cell. Strix Vega bassist and motorcycle-riding rock guru Andy Powell has the rundown on the gig.

Q: Andy, how does an event like "El Raco Taco" earn such a glorious title?

A: That's all from Terrence McNally who's helping to organize the event. We had originally agreed on something like "Kirt Dundee Presents: El Cinco de Rocko," and then when it came time to print the posters Terrence just decided to incorporate "Taco" into it without asking anyone else. No, that's not true. He sent me a rough draft of the poster and I told him to change the title of the event. He said: "Sure thing." He obviously lied to me because he didn't change a damn thing about it.

Q: No turning back now. Who came up with the idea for the show? It's brilliant -- five bands for five bucks beginning at a decent hour...

A: The idea came from Kirt Dundee, a pretty brilliant guy and we've been lucky enough to work with him on this event. He brought the idea up about putting on a big local rock show and he, Terrence and I had a few meetings to see if we could pull it off and the excitement in that first meeting made it clear this would happen and it would be big. Terrence and I aren't rich guys and we talked about the amount of great shows that happen up here, but ones that we can't always afford to go to, so we didn't want this to be another show that people wanted to go to but couldn't afford.

Q: Will tacos be available for purchase?

A: That's all in Terrence's court as he's apparently the one who felt tacos had to be a part of this event. Maybe the Arcata Theatre Lounge will let him prepare all the tacos for the night.

Q: To you, what's the most exciting aspect of Saturday's show?

A: What I'm really excited about is that five local bands are getting together to kick ass and put on a hell of a rock show. The bands have been really great to work with and the sense of "rock community" or whatever one calls it has been great. I was a bit surprised as everyone's been really cool about the money aspect. As we're only charging five bucks, the bands won't make much money, but none of them seem to care about that which is great. Don't get me wrong, musicians deserve to make good money for all their hard work and these bands all work their asses off, but it's nice to give back to the audience who support us local bands show after show after show. We're not out for their money.

Q: Which band will most resemble a mariachi band?

A: In a very loose sense, you could say we're all going to be rock 'n' roll mariachi bands for the night. Mariachi bands could do rock way better than we can do mariachi, but it's worth a shot.

Q: What other sorts of Cinco de Mayo-ish things will folks be able to see at the show?

A: Well, as any good American who doesn't understand much about Mexican history, I will be partaking in a safe, yet healthy amount of 100 percent agave tequila. Other than that, I look forward to this rock 'n' roll show's unlikely victory, reminiscent of the Mexican Army's success in face of the French at the Battle of Puebla.

Q: Just by knowing that you probably know more than most Americans about Mexican history. Andy, I heard (or made up) a rumor that you're going to wear a sombrero and poncho and bring the mustache back for ¡El Raco Taco! Is that true?

A: I heard that rumor as well, it's been floating around a bit. I think Andrew Goff's behind it, that bastard. My face does miss the mustache, now that winter's over the beard may have to yield to its more attractive counterpart.

Q: Speaking of rumors, I also heard something about fog machines and Mexican wrestling at El Raco Taco...

A: I can't at this time confirm nor deny anything regarding fog machines or wrestling at the moment, but I can say those are damn fine ideas.

Q: When will you and Strix Vega take the stage?

A: We'll actually be second to last. We wanted our friends Side Iron to have the headlining spot as they do have a new album coming out soon -- sooner than ours!

Q: Speaking of new albums -- what's the el story on the follow-up to (Strix Vega's sophomore record) "Estranged Meadow"?

A: Ah yes, we've been a bit quiet about the new album as it's taken us quite a long time to finish it. We were down in S.F. at Hyde Street Studios laying down the basic tracks and some overdubs last summer. We quickly ran out of money after that, so we're planning to do the rest of the overdubs up here in Humboldt County with some local string and horn players and a couple of guest musicians. We're getting close to having the orchestrations all written out and then we'll see how they actually sound with real string and horn players. We don't have a working title yet for the album, but it's a bit of a sci-fi concept album.

Q: Do you have any shows lined up after ¡El Raco Taco!?

A: At the moment it looks like we'll be back at The Wave Lounge at the Blue Lake Casino a couple weeks after this show, but nothing else local on the books at the moment. We'll be on the road briefly in June with our friends The Trouble so that'll be a great time and we'll be spreading the Humboldt sound to the outside world there.

Q: Right on! Well, what else?

A: That's great! Thanks for helping keep the local rock scene alive Myles, you're a good man in a tight corner! Thanks!

If you go

What: ¡El Raco Taco! Five Bands for Five Bucks

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Arcata Theatre Lounge, 1036 G St.

Admission: $5, 21+

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