Arts Devo

Big ups to Uncle Dad’s

Small Town Big Sound compilation.

Small Town Big Sound compilation.

Your cool uncle Arts DEVO is still buzzing from one of the most kick-ass musical events he’s ever had the privilege of being a part of. My band, Viking Skate Country, was one of 13 local acts invited to play a song with the Uncle Dad’s Orchestra at Sierra Nevada Big Room as part of the two-night run of the Small Town Big Sound show (Sept. 18-19). It was my first time performing on that legendary stage, and it was as amazing as you might imagine.

But it wasn’t just the hallowed ground that made it so awesome. It was that stage, plus that impressive orchestra put together by the Uncle Dad’s Art Collective, plus that standing-room-only crowd enthusiastically devouring a medley of original tunes by local songwriters. I hadn’t seen anything quite so complete in Chico before, and I must take my hat off to Uncle Dad’s for bringing it all together and thank them for making us songwriters feel so damn special.

One final thought: As I watched the show, I wondered if the audience’s introduction to the wide variety of featured artists would translate into more fans for the various local acts? Will they come out to see the musicians in more humble environs? With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list below with upcoming shows over the next month or so featuring the musicians who were in the show. Get pumped by listening to the Small Town Big Sound compilation album at, then get out there and hear your new favorites:

• Sept. 29, 6 p.m.: Shigemi Minetaka and Ethan Swett play Afro-Cuban jazz (with Niobel Cascaret and Zach Cowan) for the latest installment in the Ebony & Ivory series at Chico Women’s Club (tickets: $15).

• Oct. 5: Pat Hull at Argus Bar + Patio.

Claudia Steel

• Oct. 7, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.: Bogg and Loki Miller Band, as well as many other local acts, play Chico Palooza at Chico High School Amphitheatre.

• Oct. 7, 9 p.m.: Loki Miller Band at the Studio Inn.

• Oct. 10, 7 p.m.: Ryan Heimlich (Uncle Dad’s clarinetist) hosts the Marine Corps Jazz Orchestra and conducts Pleasant Valley High’s band at the Center for the Arts. Tickets are free but required (available at PVHS office).

• Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m.: Uncle Dad’s hosts Third Monday Jazz Jam at Naked Lounge.

• Oct. 12-21: Bogg performs as house band for Heathers: The Musical at Blue Room Theatre.

• Nov. 1, 8 p.m.: SCOUT performs with Cave Clove and Sisterhoods at the Maltese.

RIP Claudia I am way late getting to this, but I can’t let it just pass. One of Chico’s truly great local artists, Claudia Steel, died on Aug. 29. She was 99.

Steel had been creating art locally in a variety of media—mostly paintings—longer than many people lived. Her works have appeared in galleries and museums all over the West, from the Seattle Museum and the de Young in San Francisco to every art space of note in Chico. She won many local arts awards, including an Annie’s Visual Arts Award (1998), the Chico High School Foundation Award (2007), the Turner Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010), Chico Mayor’s Award (2010), Legacy Artist of the North State from Monca (2014), and was one of the featured artists in Chico Masters: Past and Present, at Chico Art Center in 2015. Monca has a permanent display of Steel’s works in the Dr. Lowell and Claudia Steel Gallery, and the museum has produced a fine mini-documentary of her life that you can watch online at