Sounds like Chico
This school year, break the DJ cycle and find a fresh local soundtrack
Welcome back, students. Thank you for bringing your vibrant selves back and goosing Chico with a dose of youthful energy. To coincide with your arrival, our clubs and concert halls have been busy packing their calendars with several months of live music, and I am excited to preview this season’s selection.
But before I start, I should say for the record that I know there are nightspots in Chico which feature DJs spinning other people’s dope jams. And for those who might be stuck grinding and/or twerking in the flashing lights of that party train, consider this a friendly nudge off the tracks (you can always jump back aboard when it loops back, again and again).
And for those already primed for a new semester of live music, this will be your preview of the soundtrack for the months ahead.
Note: As is always the case in Chico, there are a ton of promising shows and there are way more opportunities for live-music fun (North State Symphony, all-ages fun at DEX, 21-and-over fun at The Maltese, Friday Night Concerts at the City Plaza, happy hour on the LaSalles patio, JMax concerts at the El Rey and Senator theaters, Chico State School of the Arts concerts, regular live jazz at several local venues) than I’ve listed here. These are just a few of the highlights:
Tonight, Aug. 22, 8 p.m.: No Age, Café Coda: An energetic blast of noisy experimental goodness to kick off the school year properly.
Sept. 5: Peter Rowan’s Big Twang Theory, Laxson Auditorium: “I have always wanted a band that was rooted in bluegrass, but could add the twang of Hank Williams, Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly,” says Rowan about his Big Twang Theory. The musical chameleon (who has played with Bill Monroe and formed Old and in the Way with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia) and his four-piece is one of the most promising-looking acts on the Chico Performances fall calendar.
Sept. 7: Surrogate, The Americas, Ghostnote, Café Coda: Local legends show. Stock up on yer cred points.
Sept. 9: Brokedown in Bakersfield, Sierra Nevada Big Room: The Mother Hips’ Tim Bluhm and his wife, Gramblers frontwoman Nicki Bluhm, pay homage to the Bakersfield sound.
Sept. 21: Aubrey Debauchery CD-release party, 1078 Gallery: The Chico songstress has put together a powerhouse band—the Broken Bones—made up of all the musical savants from Bogg and The Pageant Dads (as well as old pal, drummer Tino Marrufo) to deliver the goods on Death of a Dream, her first album in five years. It’s bound to be the social event of the season, so lay out your best shirt now.
Sept. 27: Juicy Karkass at Monstros Pizza: “Rap songs for punk kids.”
Sept. 30: Mamiffer, Café Coda: Piano-driven soundscapes by a duo made up of experimental artist Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner of L.A. post-metal crew Isis.
Oct. 2: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Laxson Auditorium: A powerful country singer-songwriter collaboration fresh off an impressive album (Old Yellow Moon) released last spring. This pairing could be the show of the year.
Oct. 4 & 5: Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest: Two days of partying in the brewery’s hop field, featuring live music by polka-punks Polkacide, New Orleans brass-funksters Bonerama, and Colorado jammers Leftover Salmon.
Oct. 12: Too Short, Lost on Main: West Coast O.G. in Chico!
Oct. 16: Thee Hobo Gobbelins, Monstros Pizza: Meet up under a bridge for a “wickedly catchy mixture of ancient pirate curses, orcish vaudeville, and eldritch hobo semaphore.”
Nov. 14 & 15: Thriller: A Chico Tribute to Michael Jackson’s Classic Album, 1078 Gallery: A varied cast of local musicians cover the King of Pop’s masterpiece.
Nov. 19: Andrew Bird, Laxson Auditorium: Anticipation is high for this local performance by the inventive, eclectic, multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter.