Nightcrawlers—they’re not just for breakfast anymore.

Nightcrawlers—they’re not just for breakfast anymore.

Here Comes the Night
Van Morrison once lamented, “Here comes the night,” as a thing to be dreaded. And you could apply this axiom to downtown Chico.

That ingratiating dork from the ER’s BUZZ tries to trump “The Farmers’ Market,” the Brick Works, or a square dance in Paradise, but these TV spots smack of desperation, of the lowest common denominator.

Ten years ago you could see alternative bands like Vomit Launch in Duffy’s and have a Manhattan with a fur-clad chanteuse from Chicago, waxing ribald with a tri-racial transvestite in a size 6. (Last time I was there a yayhoo from Corning hit on my date.) Five years ago you could hear jazz or “outsider” Pop from New York at Juanita’s or Harrington’s (courtesy of Syb Blythe and DNA). There was the fetid and atmospheric Blue Room, with bands like Slow Car Crash, or the loft-like Epicenter with smoke and day-glo ambience. There were Raves (banned by the Butte County D.A.), and the now defunct Senator Theatre once proffered indie cult legends.

Now we’ve got “roots” cover bands, punk (dated by 25 years), “country” parody (replacing “disco” parody), insipid white blues (long a Chico staple), expensive has-beens at the casinos, and PBS-friendly “mediosos” (mediocre virtuosos) at the breweries and auditoriums (PAC and Laxson).

You could always find a “port of cool” at the Towne Lounge, with its noir lighting, elk heads and fringe characters (out of Thompson or Ellroy).

Not anymore!

They gave it a post-modern-meets-Garth Brooks makeover, complete with geometric designer wall tubing (askew at the proper angle), pastel walls, and chrome hoods above the bar.

Is nothing sacred?

Is it the “white-flight families"? The Republicans? The high rents?

The “scene” is obscene on Chico’s clean streets.

Like Bill Maher, my opinion probably jives with only 14 percent of the populace (which is why he’s on cable). There’s been a trickle-down of dumbing-down, from the cities where Chico’s musical innovators fled.

I’m leaving the country!

GROW FINS Captain Beefheart bootleg box set



JOHNNY DEPP’S KEITH RICHARDS from Pirates of the Caribbean