It takes an armada
Chico party-rock outfit the Gorgeous Armada is leading the charge in the battle for beauty
The Handsome Gorgeous legacy began on the bizarre Internet site www.hotornot.com, which hosts photos of contributors to be rated by viewers on a 1-10 scale of “hotness.” Gorgeous’ valiant attempt to redefine what is hot consisted of squeezing his meandering physique into a skin-tight sleeveless shirt and tan-line-revealing shorts. Modeling his long unruly locks and Easy Rider Fu Manchu moustache, he enigmatically poised himself next to a gargoyle and a picture of Jesus. The masses responded with ambivalence, unprepared for this 21st-century Adonis.
Hardly discouraged, Handsome, whose mother knows him as Anthony Dipasqua, decided to assemble several of Chico’s most attractive young musicians and artists into his glamorous band the Gorgeous Armada. Musically capable, the mostly acoustic band maintains a loose rhythm that is driven by the tap dancing of member Salsa Delicious, née Sarah Oliver.
Over bass, several guitars and an occasional horn Handsome articulates his stories of love and the struggle to fit in a world filled with bullfrogs and tsunamis. Original songs and popular covers of bands as diverse as Outkast and C. W. McCall are punctuated by one-of-a-kind stage theatrics that have included the smashing of a guitar filled with candy, fruit cocktail wrestling, baton twirling and a life-sized cardboard cutout of a missing band member.
Recently, I attended a backyard “Armad-a-que” in attempt to grasp what may be next for the group. A carwash to buy Armada headbands, a sign language interpreter, a full horn section, a tap-dancer-versus-DJ battle and performing Aqua’s hit “Barbie Girl” in Spanish were some of the possibilities being discussed by the lowbrow, high-concept collective.
I left inspired by their enthusiasm and began preparing for the band’s inevitable coup de théâtre to shake up the ever-elusive Chico fun scene.