You appreciate music? You challenging me!?
We are right in the middle of the season, and things are starting to get pretty intense. As a professional Music League player, sharp focus and decisive action is required: What is my “Road Trip” pick—the first song to play as the car hits the highway? “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers? Too obvious? Or obviously the best choice for inspiring adventure and “going faster miles an hour”?
You’ll have to excuse Arts DEVO if he isn’t very present. I’ve found the best kind of distraction in the Music League app, which has me picking songs to fit fun categories in a good-natured competition with fellow music nerds.
Why am I talking about this here in a local arts column? Because Music League is fun. Yeah, it’s another smartphone time suck, and you have to use Spotify to do it, but it’s a better choice than most of the virtual junk and I want you to have fun, to listen to curated playlists and chat with friends about the music you love.
Time out is over. Gotta get back in the game, back to this road trip song: An Andrew W.K. banger? Wanderlusting with The Boss? Maybe something with a ton of F-bombs to holler along with … N.W.A.?! No. Wait, Die Antwoord. Yes! “Jump motherfucker, jump motherfucker, jump!”
It seems impossible that 15 years have passed since legendary Chico-via Hamilton City-music legend Matt Hogan passed away. To honor the man and mark the anniversary (Jan. 13), another righteous local-music stud (and former CN&R stud), Charles Mohnike, has tracked down a bunch of dusty cassettes and CDs featuring the old-school rock/rockabilly recordings of Hogan and his band The Incredible Diamonds, cleaned up the sounds and posted an 18-song compilation, For the Tough and the Tender, for streaming and/or download at theincrediblediamonds.com. It’s a great tribute and an energetic shot of nostalgia.
Also now on the web: Over the past couple of years, local playwright Wade Gess has been trying to get his works onto local stages. COVID-19 and the usual challenges of breaking through as a young writer have made this a chore, but Gess has not simply left the production of his plays to fate. For the past year, he’s been uploading videos of performances to YouTube. So far, there’s the pandemic-era Stuff N’ Things filmed at an empty, locked-down Blue Room Theatre, as well as a garage performance of last year’s The Death Clock Paradox. Last month, Gess added Some Script, a scene from a movie he’s been writing. It’s a low-key affair, starring Gess, a couple of out-of-touch roommates and a silent boulder. Watch all of it at youtube.com/@wadegess5440 (and look for an in-person rendition of The Death Clock Paradox opening at the new Blue Room May 26).
• What is art? That’s the guiding question for the new weekly What is Art? open mic series debuting Feb. 2 at Idea Fab Labs (603 Orange St.). It’s happening every Thursday, at 6 p.m., and is open to music, poetry, dance, performance art and theater—any art you have to offer.
• Live at the Goose: The Winchester Goose is finally starting to put its beautiful big stage to use. It’s been a mostly local calendar thus far—with Surrogate and Lish Bills already playing shows. Next: two Chico bands—Solar Estates and Greyloom—plus Redding’s Belda Beast Feb. 25, at 8 p.m.