Category Local Music

Sofar Sounds Chico

In this dawn of a public age, I think we all take the gift of intimacy for granted. Whenever something cool is happening right in front of us our instinctual reaction is to grab our phones and document it. This was never how life was experienced in the past, but it is our current status quo. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, and I’m definitely not one to pass judgment on the cultural implications of mass social media (especially since I’m an actively participant.) But, I do know that when people come together to create a special intimate moment together it is like a breath of fresh air I didn’t even know I needed.

Sounds From A Room, or as conveniently abbreviated as SOFAR, has been putting together beautiful intimate shows all around the world. The secret to their success may just be that, a secret. They never reveal the location of the show until shortly before it begins. Attendees also don’t know who they came out to see until they are literally playing. It sounds strange considering we’re used to huge international marketing campaigns for massive music festivals. Even the smallest bands do the most they can to promote. SOFAR has captured something special that no PR firm can pay for, word of mouth.

I was told about this event from one of my fellow interns at KCSC. As I arrived at the address I was given about an hour prior, I was a little confused but definitely excited. I walked into the backyard of a beautiful home in Chico. The yard was decorated with twinkling lights all around. Soft music and excited chatter filled the air of the space. Blankets were thrown out across the yard along with various stools and chairs for people to snuggle up on this cool March night. It was announced right before the first act came on that this was supposed to be an intimate and quite show. Little to no phone use and no talking to the people around you. Everyone who was there was to take a break from all that, sit back and just enjoy the music.

Each act that came out was an absolute pleasure. MAWD started the show with her eccentric and bubbly energy and beautiful voice. Her poppy folk music set the tone for the rest of the artists we were to shear that night. Next up was Kyle Williams and his tiny guitar. He began every song with a touching story and followed with an even more touching display of his amazing acoustic talents. Last, but definitely not least, was the hilariously charming John Craigie. His dry, simplistic humor was complimented by his simplistic approach to the guitar and harmonica. His relatable jokes made the whole crowd laugh and his folky tunes kept everyone’s ears occupied.

All in all, it was such a special moment between music and the people there to appreciate it. SOFAR captured the lost art of intimate moments and served it right to everyone in that room. I think the best aspect of the whole event was that people were there just too genuinely enjoy music. There were no headliners and no special effects. Just a small intimate crowd and some songs from a room.

Written and reviewed by: Taylor Kurupas

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Such A Mess – Stay Right Where You Are

Based out of Los Angeles, Such a Mess started creating punk/emo jams in 2010. Since then, they have perfected the pop punk sound with their latest album “Stay Right Where You Are”.  The 5-track masterpiece starts with “Noah’s Arcade”, a personal favorite, which is composed of a catchy guitar riff, fast drumbeats, and lastly, a passionate vocalist. “25 and barely alive” is a feeling that most of us can say we have related to at some point of our young adolescence. For me, that is what makes “Stay Right Where You Are” appealing; it’s relatable and says the things you think but never say.

Such A Mess gives the listener honest, blunt lyrics tackling issues such as self-doubt/self hate and longing for a lover’s attention. Musically, Such a Mess balances the beauty of higher pitched vocals with the hard, chaotic rock vibes of the instruments. I was fortunate enough to see them preform live here in town at the 1078 Gallery. The passion (and sweat) portrayed by each member shows both live and recorded. For lack of a better word, they were badass. Self-reflection is a journey that the listener experiences from start to finish within the 2000’s punk style collection.

In addition, multiple lyric references to “ringing ears” throughout the album display the constant presence of a missed ex lover and also show track interconnection and an overarching theme of permanence. The album concludes with “20/20”, which I can best describe as the bread and butter of pop punk. This is an acoustic song (the only one on this particular album) that is composed of an emotional soft melody that makes every girl swoon. As a past lover for scene groups such as All Time Low and A Day To Remember, I can say this song takes you back for a pleasant stop to that time in your musical taste.  The song focuses on the desire for a past lover and acceptance that “it’s ok, I’ll get you next time”. If you vibe to bands like Neck Deep or Real Friends, Such A Mess is for you. Lets face it life sucks sometimes and you want to get all up in your feels; this album is for those moments.

By: Elizabeth Face

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Abbey Road from the Uncle Dads Art Collective

The Beatles are a goliath in the music industry. Having released 13 studio albums and being the seminal band of the 1960’s their legend status is well earned. Covering any of their songs is seen as the musical equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. Yet Uncle Dads art collective took it upon themselves to not only cover an entire album, but also capture the essence of the Beatles. At first glance it seems like the collective has bit off more than it can chew, but in the end was pulled off masterfully.

Uncle Dad’s is a fairly new entity in the Chico art community, having been founded in 2013, but have already done a lot to foster and grow the arts. Having done similar performances for Michael Jackson, Prince, and Queen Uncle Dads had set a bar for themselves a bar that they aimed to surpass. Abbey Road is another performance in their series of paying homage to iconic performers of the past. But instead of paying homage and playing covers they want to also highlight the art community within Chico. It is not just musicians covering songs, but instead a melding of many different types of art. From dance, acrobatics, aerialists, costumers, visual artists, and play writes Uncle Dads aimed to highlight all of these as well as the music.

The performance played a majority of the tracks off of Abbey Road ,and other Beatles corner stones such as “Black Bird” and “Strawberry Fields”, but also featured a Alice in Wonderland-esque narrative. The story began with “The Dreamer” (Played by Courtney Osteen) waking up in a world that mirrored the art style of  “Yellow Submarine” and began with the whole cast playing “Come Together”. Osteen was mesmerizing with her movements and embodied the emotions of not only the song but also the narrative. Osteen was a key piece to the performance and without her the performance would have just felt like a standard concert affair. The set was perfect. It captured the psychedelic aesthetic that the 60’s were known for, but still had a vividness that resembled a dream. The costuming varied in style as well. Rooted in some realism with the hippie fashion but also in the psychedelic with those of the dancers dressed as monsters, the Sun King, and other fantasy archetypes. It had a simplistic style, but works in the grander scheme of things due to the nature of the dream. The visual effects also extremely enhanced the entire performance. From psychedelic light shows, a universal trip, and an under sea garden the visuals made the performance feel alive.

The music and the acrobats were the massive highlights of the performance. Madeline Mathews had a fantastic performance of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” the modernization of “Getting Better” by Mad Tantra, and the R&B/Soul rendition of “Hey Jude” by KLEZ the spectrum was wide. The first act as a whole was narrative driven. With the songs serving as a narrative device for Yang to tell a story through her movements, but the second act was driven more by the music. Kyle Williams performed a fantastic and sweet rendition of “Strawberry Fields” that floored the crowd. Pat Hull was the standout. His cover of “Blackbird” was phenomenal, by keeping to the original song, but allowing his voice to change the song for him. By the end of the performance the entire crowd was floored and would have asked for an encore if they could. By the end of the performance the crowd was won over and Uncle Dads had given a fantastic performance. The crowd gave the cast a standing ovation and the excitement of the crowd carried over into the night.

Uncle Dads is an extremely positive force for the Chico art community. Not only have they proved they have the capacity to put on extravagant performances such as Abbey Road but they can also put on more intimate performances. There Listen Up series at the Naked Lounge helps local artist hone their live performance skills in front of a crowd in a no cell phone environment. Uncle Dads will most likely continue to be a mainstay in Chico and I hope it is. Chico needs an art collective like Uncle Dads that can help foster young talent and put on giant performance because local artists need that support. Look out for their future projects and any artist associated with them.

By: Carlos Rodriguez

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