“This is ourselves … under pressure”
Concert in the park Lately, as Arts DEVO has kicked off his four-minute summer-evening commute home, he’s occasionally been greeted by the warm strains of a tunnel troubadour serenading those passing through the underpass between Annie’s Glen and Lower Bidwell Park. The young fuzzy-headed street musician’s name is Avery Pound, and when I interrupted him during a spirited Animal Collective cover, he said that he wasn’t there busking, but rather just to enjoy the acoustics and play extremely short concerts for passersby.
Though he deserves a longer listen, he gives enough during those few seconds for me to be able to carry a sweet melody all the way home.
Gas, electricity and heavy metal Have you seen that new, huge PG&E transformer box out in front of the Chico Municipal Center? No, you haven’t! Because local metalworking badass Jeff Lindsay wrapped the green metal box in a 7-foot-tall fence made up of much more-decorative metal. The city of Chico’s press release calls it an “aesthetic treatment,” and the aesthetic with which Lindsay treated the untreated steel panels includes a series of cutouts of tiny houses and big trees (with the latter tying into the design on the nearby “Our Hands” sculpture). PG&E footed the bill for the four walls of art, so show your gratitude by flicking on a light switch or firing up some Jiffy Pop on the stove top or something.
Just call me Grambler Chico faves Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers (featuring—in addition to the band’s leader/namesake—Mother Hips singer/guitarist and former Chico dude Tim Bluhm and local singer/songwriter Dave Mulligan, among others) have been gettin’ a ton of ink in my column these days, and mostly because they keep doing badass shit. The latest feat of badassery comes on the heels of the exceedingly popular “Van Sessions” series of YouTube videos, featuring recordings of the band touring in the van and simultaneously covering everything from Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” to Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That” (the latter closing in on 1.5 million views).
Turns out someone at the sports behemoth ESPN saw the videos and hired the band to record a song to be used exclusively during the network’s recent ESPYS sports-awards show. Specifically, the band was tasked with recreating the Queen/David Bowie classic, “Under Pressure,” and sure enough, during the July 11 presentation, Nicki and the guys could indeed be heard providing the spirited soundtrack for the montage of the “Best Moment” of the year nominees. (If you’re wondering, the winner—by fan vote—was Tim Tebow’s 80-yard touchdown bomb to lift the Broncos over the Steelers in the NFL playoffs.)
And if that isn’t enough NB&TG good news, last year’s digital-only album, Driftwood, was just re-released this week on CD and vinyl, and is available at www.nickibluhm.com right now.
•Didgeridooin’: Hot off recording a few songs for the recent Sean Penn movie, This Must Be The Place, multi-instrumentalist one-man band Trevor Green stops by Bustolini’s on Friday, July 20, 7:30 p.m., with his didgeridoo in hand.
•Zac attack: Tattooist and tattoo-machine maker Zac Black is holding a grand opening for his new 12 Volt Tattoo shop (194 E. Eighth St.) Saturday, July 21, 5-8 p.m., with live music by Ryan Davidson.
•Palio in the park: Chico Palio, the art-horse race/arts fest kick-off for Artoberfest, is going to take place by the pool at One-Mile in Bidwell Park this year (Sept. 9), and you still have time to sign-up to make a horse or host a booth. Visit chicopalio.org for info.