Ready for the French Reform?

French Reform

French Reform

Photo By Joey Moshiri

It’s all about me Something that has always sparked Arts DEVO’s flaming Chico love is being able to regularly hear new local bands. Over the course of his 20-plus years living here, the constantly churning waters of our little college town have consistently spit out young new sounds onto the shore of the local music scene, and while not every flopping fingerling is to my taste (most of them are not, in fact), I love that this little pond is always being restocked with fresh options. It’s not about my particular sonic fetishes; it’s about being turned on by something, anything, new.

Every once in a while though, something hits the stage that is new and strikes that specific unrestrained, kinda-noisy, uncomplicated, fun, universal chord that resonates with my natural frequency. (I call it J-major, the J chord, the Jason button, the happy-fuck-yeah-good-time-let’s-go! sound.) And last Saturday night at Café Coda, for the first time in a while, I heard a new local band that makes me want to start embarrassing myself with unrestrained hyperbole. I will keep it simple, for now, and just say that French Reform is some bouncy, rockin’, catchy-as-hell fun that you should check out. The sound is kind of spiky in a Fugazi-meets-The Jam kind of way, but not too heavy, with great dynamics and a happy energy from a fun-loving crew: new-dude guitarist/ vocalist Aric Jeffries, Kirt Lind from The Yule Logs on keys/vocals, Red Bluff Phil on guitar/keys/vocals, local artist/metal dude Nik Burman on drums, and bassist Elias Nipert.

Leon Gardea

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Also, the opening band, brand-new local duo Spiff & Bullet, sounded pretty great as well. These are good days, my friends.

Axe-wielders unite! Speaking of the local music scene. Josh Hegg, the busy-body keyboardist for Clouds on Strings and its jazzy offshoot Bogg, is inviting local musicians down to the 1078 Gallery (where Hegg is the new music chair) this Sunday, Jan. 20, 5 p.m., for a Chico Music Scene Think Tank. All music types are invited to “come have your voice heard and express your ideas for how we can cultivate and grow our art scene.” If you have something specific you wanna tell folks, send an email to Hegg at and sign up to speak.

RIP Leon On Monday, Jan. 14, local musician Leon Gardea died in a San Jose hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 60 years old. Gardea had been in Chico for a few years and alternated playing percussion and sometimes saxophone for a handful of local crews—Salsa Bella, Jeff Pershing Band, Los Papi Chulos, Los Caballitos de la Cancion, among others. I talked to a few of his friends and fellow musicians—Jo Chavez, Julio Santiago, Jeff Pershing—who all expressed their grief as well as their love and admiration for their friend.

“When I think of Leon, I think about his enthusiasm, passion, and love for playing music,” said Pershing via email. “He often told stories about past gigs that showed his deep love for playing music throughout his life. Leon was a great man and a great musician. He will be missed.”