Elvis Costello at Laxson

He’s in the building

He’s in the building

Everyone, just breatheElvis Costello is coming to Chico.” Every person I’ve said that to has responded with either, “What?” or “No, he isn’t.” I agree that it doesn’t sound quite right, especially in light of the fact that, for me, you couldn’t pick a bigger star to bring to our little town that would make me more excited. It’s like Bruce Springsteen would be for some people. When I was in junior high, my uncle gave me free rein with his albums and headphones, and rising above The Tubes, Pink Floyd and Queen was the nerdy, sneering guy with the cool lyrics. From that point on, I was an Elvis Costello guy. The roots run so deep that last week it nearly killed me to sell my old fading EC cassettes at a yard sale, even though I still own all the albums on vinyl (and many on CD) and haven’t listened to tapes in like a decade.

But it’s true, producer Dan DeWayne and the very fine folks at Chico Performances are bringing my very first musical hero to Laxson Auditorium for a solo show on Sept. 25.

And this year’s CP roster is more than just Costello. It’s actually one of the most interesting in years (which is saying a lot), with the schedule for the first semester being especially ridiculous. Names like Costello, The Avett Brothers, Steve Martin, Ziggy Marley, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Little Feat, B.B. King, Shirin Ebadi and Angelique Kidjo don’t even make up half of the 20 headliners appearing before the Thanksgiving break!

Make-a-series tix go on sale July 2 and single-show tix on Aug. 1. Visit for info. Here are a few of AD’s personal highlights for the 2012-2013 season:

• The Avett Brothers (Aug. 22): Killing the boring in alt-country with pop sense and punk spirit since 2000, the brothers have just finished recording another (soon-to-be-released) album with Rick Rubin and will undoubtedly be blowing the doors off Laxson with the new jams.

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers (Aug. 28): The funnyman’s banjo chops are no joke.

Dino petting zoo

• Elvis Costello (Sept. 25): Warm fuzzies.

• In the Footsteps of Django (Oct. 12): A collection of gypsy jazz masters—France’s Les Doigts de l’Homme, French singer Noirg Gadjii and Django’s nephew, guitarist Lulo Reinhardt—bust out some hot Latin-flavored gypsy jazz.

• B.B. King (Nov. 7): The King of the Blues returns.

• Angélique Kidjo (Nov. 15): The Queen of Afro-pop returns as well.

• Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo (Jan. 30): Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a petting zoo where the animals were all dinosaurs? Yes! It is really, really cool.

• Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (March 20): It’s just Wynton Marsalis and the best jazz band on the entire planet. No big deal.

• Ukulele Orchestra (April 11): I have no idea if this will be good or not, but I love the idea of a whole lot of ukuleles in one place.

And the Emmy, again, goes to … Christopher Allan Smith and Ryan Neisz. The local video production/editing team that won a 2011 Northern California regional Emmy for Best Informational/Instructional Program/ Special for their “Every 15 Minutes” drunk-driving awareness video shot for Castro Valley High just took home a trophy at the 2012 awards as well. This time it was in the non-news editing category for another “Every 15 Minutes” special, this one for San Leandro High. Raise a glass of champagne for the homies and visit to see their work.

March to the beat of Jordan Join Chico rock gods Surrogate this Friday, June 15, at LaSalles as they kick out jams new and old in a proper last-show send-off for drummer Jordan Mallory. S.F.’s Big Mittens and best buds The Shimmies open.