Taco tunes

1 a.m. Saturday, Tobias the fire eater, on stage at the Senator.

1 a.m. Saturday, Tobias the fire eater, on stage at the Senator.

Photo by Sara Sipes

Last Thursday at Aca Taco, Nowhere X Nowhere began with a bang. The space doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to live music—the sound isn’t that great, and the room is small. Still, the bands made the best of it.

First up was a new Chico band, Pop Secret, that sounded good—tight post-grunge guitar riffs and feedback and some dynamite drumming from percussionist Dan. Leader Mike has fashioned some decent tunes—one highlight was “Art Bell,” with its pointed refrain, “Yeah, I feel like an alien in your world!”

Next up was SF’s Everything’s Nothing. They played and sang well enough, but local musician John McKinley summed things up perfectly when he described their sound as “Duran Duran meets Spandau Ballet, with day-job haircuts.”

I traipsed over to the Senator to check out what changes DNA had wrought on the venerable old structure. I was delighted to see it well on the way back to its former glory. Even better, Barbara Manning was on stage, lightly strumming on a silver-sparkled electric guitar. Sure, the instrument was slightly out of tune, but Barbara’s voice wasn’t. Whenever I see her, I always gain the impression that she absolutely loves playing her songs. And that affection can be contagious. She presented only three, so it was soon back to the streets for me.

Back at Aca Taco, I but arrived in the nick to catch power pop punksters The Flipsides. Hailing from the Bay Area, this rowdy three-piece was led by dynamic singer/ guitarist Sabrina. She was more than ably backed by bassist Mark and drummer Ricky. Imagine that Betty from Archie comics had dropped out, joined a punk band and determined to write lethal revenge songs aimed at that dope who was continually ignoring her in favor of that rich bitch Veronica. That’s sort of what the band’s songs are like—somehow sweet but vengeful. Over dense, pulsating power chords and stop-start rhythms, Sabrina’s voice soared on great melodies. Toward the end of its set, the group segued about three separate tunes together into quite an impressive climax. The Flipsides has one self-produced CD out and can be reached at www.theflipsides.com.

Closing out the night was another great Bay Area band, Staci Twigg. This four piece consisted of drums, bass and two guitars, over which thundered the fantastic voice of lead singer/guitarist Julie Zielinski. The rest of the band was really good too and finally got a few people off their seats and dancing. This group has one self-titled CD out. Band website: www.stacitwigg.com. Hopefully, both Staci Twigg and The Flipsides will return to Chico soon; they’re both pretty darn good.

And, based on this single venue and these few acts alone, I’d say that Nowhere X Nowhere at least began with some incandescence.