Strands #100

Fight the Power with
In a landmark for Chico bands, the Orion gave new band the Snores a bad review weeks before its debut. Apparently a last-minute gig cancellation of the band and a speedy replacement by Dan Cohen’s Near Death Experience caused the confusion. The Orion never got the news and proceeded to rile on Cohen, referring to him as the Snores. Meanwhile, this past week was the actual triumphant awakening of the band. Led by Brut Max front man and Bustolini owner John McKinley, the Snores showcased many of John’s songs that haven’t seen the light of day for over a decade. With Repeat Offender and owner of Shirts Required Steve Bragg on skins and perpetual beach boy Brian Wilson on bass, the Snores were a fitful throwback to another time in Chico music.

Dressed in black with large Z’s on their shirts, the Snores looked like a cross between the bad guys in a Carl Barks cartoon and something from the early years of MTV. There’s a certain panache that the older musicians in town seem to be able to invoke that the younger folks can’t quite grasp. Perhaps it’s a greater knowledge of the roots of music, both local and international, or maybe it’s just that most bands have a hard time breaking out of their own circle of friends. Whatever the case, look for The Snores, Pop Secret, Dirty Pillows and a host of unnamed bands arising as the old-school contingent of the Chico music scene comes storming out of the woodshed this summer.

Speaking of woodshed, they are many “jam bands” whose names eluded me last week in my column. The most notable absentee was Magic Theatre. Led by Joe Chamberlin, these guys have chosen the path of any true band and gone on the road touring, working their way into the festival circuit, putting together a great press kit and generally showing up to be a part of the scene, rather than apart from the scene as most bands are. Focusing on original material, Magic Theatre (you got to love bands whose names are literary references) most reminds me of ‘60s beasts Steppenwolf, which they say is quite unintentional and I think quite a coinky-dink.

This seems to be a recurring theme here, but you all are drinking way too much. When I see my peers totally fazed out in public, dropping their beer glasses, I can only think that we’re all wasting our time in this town. We have so much talent and strength in numbers amidst the music/artist/theater contingency, but ain’t nothing going to come of it all if we can’t even walk a straight line at closing time.