Arts DEVO finally checks into the Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel

Neutral Milk Hotel

The Coachella effect As much as we all wish that we could go get high with Hollywood hipsters in the middle of a desert and lose our minds for three days filled with an eclectic soundtrack by some of the best bands of the last three decades, most of us don’t have the time nor money to make a spring vacation out of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This year’s lineup is especially attractive to me, and I would kill (seriously, what Chico band do you want me to sacrifice?!) to be able to see Arcade Fire, Sleigh Bells, OutKast, Beck, Motörhead, Mogwai, Grouplove, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and reunion sets by Neutral Milk Hotel and The Replacements (The Replacements!!!) over the course of one three-day weekend. Since it wouldn’t be in the spirit of the Chico Area Music Awards (the finale of which takes place during the first weekend of Coachella) to literally cut one of the CAMMIES acts, I guess I’ll check my bloodlust and settle for what’s on the local schedule.

And as it turns out, thanks to the fact that all touring routes are leading to Indio this April, there are some really rad bands making side trips to Nor Cal stages around that time: Mogwai is coming to Sac and S.F. (April 17 and 18); the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion will be at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley (April 13); Neutral Milk Hotel is hitting Oakland for three nights (April 9-11); and Fishbone is coming to Chico, April 5, at Lost on Main.

Wynton Marsalis

Thankfully, I am going to be able to cut away from CAMMIES duties one night and catch Neutral Milk Hotel, one of my all-time favorite bands, for one of their Fox Theater performances. It will be a makeup show of sorts for me that has been nearly 20 years in the making. Back in 1995, during another life, my indie-minded friends and I put on a music festival of our own in Chico—the Superwinner Summer Rock Academy—and Neutral Milk Hotel was scheduled to play. Due to a death in the family of one of the band members, they had to cancel at the last minute, but they promised to return to Chico on their next tour. Which they did, on the Fourth of July, in 1996. Also on the bill that night at the infamous Juanita’s club/taco bar downtown were Massachusetts noisemakers Supreme Dicks, and locals The Imps and Kick ’em. That last band included a young Arts DEVO on guitar, yet for some reason that escapes me, that last band wasn’t able to play the show. Even worse, for another reason that I’ve also wiped from my memory, I didn’t even go to the show!!! For all these years, every time I’ve looked at that flier with my band’s name below “Neutral Milk Hotel,” I’ve been destroyed all over again.

It is now time to heal.

Concow correction In the Feb. 20 edition of this column I was incorrect in saying that the Wild Mountain Faire, the longstanding annual music festival up in Concow, was changing its name. It is true that there will be another summer festival—the new Sacred Movement healing and arts festival—taking place at the Lake Concow Campground this year (June 27-28), but it turns out that the WMF is not going away. According to organizers, the WMF is taking this summer off in preparation for relocating next year to a new yet-to-be-announced location nearby. Go like “Concow Wild Mountain Faire” on Facebook to receive updates.

World class On Wednesday, March 12, Chico Performances is bringing arguably the best jazz ensemble going to the Laxson Auditorium stage—New York’s swingin’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by the man himself, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis.