Picture of a new scene

A vibrant community of young bands is blowin’ up at 1078 Gallery

Vocalist Ignacio Ysern leads his band Gigantes at 1078 Gallery show.

Vocalist Ignacio Ysern leads his band Gigantes at 1078 Gallery show.

Photo by Adrian Lopez

Upcoming 1078 Gallery shows:
April 13, 7:30 p.m.: Higuera, Citysick, Tionesta (acoustic) and Mad Tantra.
April 14, 7:30 p.m.: Underhouse Music Sound Breakdown No. 1.
April 15, 6 p.m.: 1078 Gallery Booking Collective CAMMIES Blowout Sale!

On live music nights, volunteers at the 1078 Gallery have to bring out the ropes. The busy Chico space welcomes all art forms, and when the artistic expression includes the enthusiastic interaction of an audience of several dozen teens and twentysomethings bouncing off one another, then the other artistic expressions—the ones that require you stand quietly and look at walls—need to be protected by ropes extending the length of the gallery.

And as the gallery has ramped up its live offerings over the past few years, an energetic and cohesive scene of local bands has been born and started to grow within the all-ages confines of those ropes. What that scene is called, however, is not so easily framed. There are punk and metal qualities throughout the seven core bands—Creekside, Tionesta, Citysick, Lightfinder, Gigantes, The Buried Heart, Sunny Acres—but for the most part, none falls into either of those well-established local camps. The bands’ self-chosen descriptors include a range of sub-genres—from pop-punk to emo and from alt-rock to melodic fill-in-the-blank (metal, hardcore, metalcore)—but musical style is not the scene’s foundation.

Tionesta (from left): Sean Moore, Corrie Clark and Skyler Metz.

Photo courtesy of Tionesta

“It’s a combination of Chico State and Christina,” said Corrie Clark when asked to define the 1078 scene. Clark is one of the members of the 1078 Gallery’s booking committee, as well as the singer for Tionesta. She came to Chico from Alturas for the university’s music industry program and said that one of the common threads for these bands is that many of the members went through the music program together. The other common thread is Christina Springer, the one-time 1078 board member and music committee chair, and the person who in 2013 started bringing a steady stream of energetic touring bands through the gallery and pairing them with locals.

“It was what Chico needed. An all-ages scene that felt alive and not exclusive to metal,” said Springer (who now lives in Louisville, Ky.) during a recent interview. “[The 1078] got a lot of kids who were normally only going to shows at the Senator out to shows on a local level. Eventually, more and more baby bands and up-and-coming bands started coming to me because they knew I’d give them a show. I’m stoked at what I helped start.”

Springer is quick to point out that Gigantes frontman Ignacio Ysern was a big part of helping bring in the out-of-town bands like In Urgency (Los Angeles), Eidola (Salt Lake City) and post-punks Stolas (Las Vegas), and teaming them up with locals. And it’s now Ysern and Clark—both on the booking committee—who are most responsible for booking the local bands from this particular scene at 1078. (For the record, this scene is just one aspect of the gallery’s eclectic programming.)

Chico “indie/emo/sad bastard” band Citysick.

Photo courtesy of Citysick

“[Christina] really took me under her wing,” Clark said.

Since the transition, the scene has continued to flourish. Of the many music shows the gallery puts on per month, a couple usually will feature one of the core seven bands. And no matter who is playing, the others come out in support.

“I don’t feel that this music scene is anywhere near as competitive as scenes which I have been a part of in the past,” said Kaleb Sievers, vocalist/guitarist for Citysick. “What you see is members of bands promoting each other’s shows and encouraging showgoers to come and support all of the bands playing on a particular night … . It’s the kind of mentality that helps everyone succeed.”

Getting back to the music, even though each of these bands tries to focus its sound with sub-genre tags, they all incorporate some combination of the intense sounds and movements of metal and/or hardcore punk. There is a signature feature common to all (except for punky psych-rockers Sunny Acres): full-throated, catchy-as-hell melodic vocals that are sometimes broken up with screaming as the dynamics dictate.

Of course, there are other local crews that dip into this scene—math-rockers Team Skins and mathy post-punkers Surrounded by Giants, to name two—but they’re perhaps not as exclusive to 1078 as the rest.

Plus, Clark stresses that just because this mix of bands plays a lot of shows together doesn’t mean that these are the only ones she works with. Anyone who sends her their music is considered, regardless of genre or experience. “Maybe [another] venue wouldn’t give them a chance, but 1078 would,” she said, adding, “What I like about this scene is it’s a good mix of everything. No one really sticks their nose up at anything. That’s my dream.”