Caliente. In a word, that describes the B-Side Players. Chico welcomed back its favorite San Diego band at 319 last Thursday, nearly packing the house despite a big-city cover charge.
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Local space-funk gurus, Sci-Fly, warmed things up with their homegrown blend of eclectic, electric boogaloo. While the Fly are a relatively new band with a limited repertoire, they are promising musicians guaranteed to get you up and then get down. Used to headlining gigs since their formation last fall, they gladly took a backseat to the mestres from down south. With smoking beats and undeniably infectious grooves, the B-Side Players eight-piece (keys, trumpet, guitar, bass, drums, timbales, congas and percussion) had everybody in the house vibrating in their lower chakras and getting busy on the dance floor. Rarely in Chico has a band attracted such a diverse crowd and inspired the feeling of unity that the B-Side Players conjured. The crisp congas kept popping like musical machine guns over the steady shimmers from the percussionist's large gourd, tightly bound together by the subtly mixed bass lines. Cliff-hanging guitar solos wove throughout the mostly upbeat foundation; only once did the Players slow things down, getting briefly into some dub style after a set break ("�Cause I know y�all were smoking that shit outside," said Karlos, their frontman). The p-funk came to visit on a couple of numbers, pleasing those of us whose feet and hips are unaccustomed to the rhythmic demands of the Latin sound. Their mostly Spanish lyrics wandered topically from describing various kinds of tacos to advocating violent revolution. I balked when the B-Sides� singer began to propagandize his politics (saying, for instance, as he introduced the band members� hometowns, that Chula Vista and San Francisco are in "California, Mexico"), and had to laugh when he exhorted the mostly drunken college crowd to start a revolution in Chico. While he may not have reached their minds, all but the most inhibited bodies in the audience were salsa-ing madly, clearly delighted at the sounds.
Good vibrations abounded among the sweaty showgoers as they spilled onto the sidewalk as the evening drew to a close, proving, as occasionally does Pato Banton, that one need not agree with a band�s political point of view to dig their soul.
If you are one of those few people in Chico who erroneously believe that the weekend starts on Friday, or if you just couldn�t make it out, rest assured that the B-Side Players will be back. They seemed very pleased with the audience, and vice-versa. In the meantime, keep practicing that hip motion and keep your eyes peeled for the next return of this awesome octet from the other end of the state.
Article Written by Matt Meyer February, 11 1999
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