Spark the fire

The Yule Logs end their Christmas season on a hot note

SLEIGHING THE AUDIENCE<br> Yule Logs singer Marty Parker breaks out the sleigh bells as bassist K.C. Ellis and drummer Jake Sprecher hold the foundation.

Yule Logs singer Marty Parker breaks out the sleigh bells as bassist K.C. Ellis and drummer Jake Sprecher hold the foundation.

Photo By Mark Lore

Review: The Ugly Stick, Dr. Becky Sagers Ph.D. and the Yule Logs at Off Limits, Dec. 17.

If one didn’t know any better, the concept behind the Yule Logs could be seen as a brilliant marketing scheme. Come on: A high-energy rock ‘n’ roll Christmas band that comes around only once a year, plays an unrelenting schedule of shows around town and disappears before Kris Kringle even makes it out for his all-night milk-and-cookies bender?

In the band’s second season, the Yule Logs have perhaps already become as recognizable as the old Christmas tree in the City Plaza. Led by Marty Parker—the charismatic frontman with a broad smile and blond locks that fall around his trademark black-rimmed glasses—and his counterparts, Rickenbacker-wielding bassist K.C. Ellis, guitar-strumming Josh Kerr and the mustachioed Jake Sprecher on drums, the band has performed at every sort of function imaginable, from house parties to elementary schools to 21-and-over venues.

At the very least, the Yule Logs have once again put visions of sugar plums back into the heads of those who have grown weary of a holiday that’s been bastardized by corporate America. It certainly was the case last weekend, when the band performed its final show of the season.

But the Logs were not alone, as local hip-hop crew Dr. Becky Sagers Ph.D., singing funnyman The Ugly Stick and a $2.50 brandy-and-egg-nog special also helped loosen up the large crowd at Off Limits for what turned out to be a hell of a Christmas party.

Armed with only a shiny acoustic guitar, David Brown, aka The Ugly Stick, sidled up to the stage for a short set of songs that touched on some of the most crucial cornerstones of comedy—sex, venereal diseases, co-workers—all set to some rollicking, country-tinged punk riffs. The Stick even brought in a very lovely flute player for a tune that had only two, albeit poignant, words. I’m going to guess that the song was titled “Shit Fuck.” That song in particular and The Ugly Stick’s entire set actually made for some good wholesome fun … but the evening was just beginning.

It appears the Becky Sagers are moving up in the world. Now the Dr. Becky Sagers Ph.D., after the real-life Becky Sager earned her doctorate, the hip-hop trio even appeared a little smarter that night. OK, maybe not, but they certainly put on a hell of an energetic performance that caused the floor to disappear beneath a stampede of dancing feet. Per usual, MC Shecklove prowled the stage and provided more unhinged rhymes that were a perfect complement to MC Heathakilla’s resolute delivery, while DJ Goodburger hammered out an impressive mix of beats and samples between sips of Bud Light.

By the time the Yule Logs hit the stage, the crowd appeared properly sauced—I’m telling you, brandy and egg nog warms the heart.

And the Logs were on fire. Parker, sporting a homemade shirt covered in sequined snowflakes (yes, Parker confesses to owning a Bedazzler), pranced around the stage as he and the rest of the Logs slapped their tinge of ‘60s Brit-pop on classics like “Winter Wonderland” (the call-and-reponse harmonies here are beautiful) and “Sleigh Ride.” It’s obvious the band has put some work in. In fact, Parker said after the show that the Logs begin practicing as early as July in order to pull off those stunning harmonies.

By the time the band hit their zenith, the club literally felt like one of those blistering mid-summer days in Chico. And the band’s rendition of The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas” and the Yule Logs’ original “Christmas in Berlin” fit easily among the old classics.

As of now, the Yule Logs are Chico’s own. But give it another year and the word might get out, and that “scheme” may suddenly appear even more brilliant than it does now.