Category Reviews

The Adventures of Prince Achmed – Morricone Youth

By: Ryan TubbsR-9051579-1473927497-3111.jpeg

Rocking out of New York, New York, Morricone Youth stand out as the epitome of a timeless and limitless band that is bound by no musical standards or lack of talent. Ever since their forming in 1999, Morricone Youth has been dedicated to writing, performing and recording music specifically written for the big screen, a.k.a. film and television.

Currently composed of six artists—whom vary from past members of Fruit Bats to past members of Wilco—this band has an incredible amount of talent, which can you hear throughout their entire new EP, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (2016). This band is like no other in that they are constantly evolving and mixing and matching members, as they currently have 13 past members.

What separates this band from the rest and allows them to stand out like a rose among thorns is that they specialize and focus solely on composing and performing original music for projected films; some from as long ago as 1922. Their latest EP—released in September of 2016—is named The Adventures of Prince Achmed, after Lottie Reiniger’s film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1925). Reiniger’s German animated silent film is actually the oldest known surviving animated film and Morricone Youth did it justice with their production for it.

Throughout the entire EP, you are constantly being whipped around from a surf rock vibe to a bossa nova feel due to their garage-rock guitar riffs and abundant use of saxophones, trumpets, clarinets and flutes. One moment you feel as though you’re cruising down Venice Beach and then the next as though you’re in a small café deep in Brazil.

This is a great EP for anyone whose music taste doesn’t lie inside the box or anywhere near it. For anyone who feels like tripping, on music, this is a go-to album. It’s psychedelic feel and foreign sound combines for something you’d only hear in a 1925 German animated silent film; so it’s safe to Morricone Youth nailed the EP.

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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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Loud Hailer – Jeff Beck

By: Lauren McGowanLoud Hailer

Jeff Beck breaks his six-year silence with a loudspeaker, or as the Brits call it, Loud Hailer. While maintaining his classic guitar rock, Beck reaches further out to Rosie Bones and

Carmen Vandenberg, members of a hip UK-based rock band, to bring life to his old sounds. The 72-year-old Hall-of-Famer explores the world’s crises through honest ebbs and flows.

“This shit is real, baby.”

One of the first lyrics from the album sets the tone as he dives into dark subject matter real-quick. The powerful drums, bass, female vocals, and guitar solos make for an epic intro. The next two songs, “Live in the Dark” and “Pull It” follow this hard rock pattern; “Pull It” takes a more electronic turn with heavy bass and dirty guitar riffs reminiscent of something the Brooklyn pop duo, Sleigh Bells, might produce.

With the hard, loud, rock comes the gentle slow jams. “Scared For the Children” breaks the direction for a moment and takes the listeners back to the harsh reality of the world. The song describes what the world has come to through the lives of kids who are in broken homes and can’t live the same innocent life they once could back in the day, “this is the end of the age of the innocent,” vocalist Rosie Bones repeats.

Do not be fooled by his age, Jeff Beck proves that old guys really do rock. While his guitar skills are incredible, the music he has produced is more than that. A combination of old soul and modern techniques is an equation for success.

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