Monstros rock show features raw, powerful performances

The Sorority and its vocalist Cliff Greenwood stole the show with their energetic, intense performance Friday at Monstros Pizza. Photo credit: John Domogma

Instrument cables and sneakers raked across the sawdust covered floor of Monstros Pizza Friday night as local bands West by Swan and Metronaut were accompanied by Oakland’s The Sorority.

The scent of pizza filled the air as drums and amplifiers were positioned before the increasingly energetic crowd. Sound checks were swift as the bands wasted no time getting up and running for their sets.

“Okay, we are going to do something kind of stupid,” said Cliff Greenwood, The Sorority’s vocalist. “We are going to play you a song we have never practiced.”

This “anything goes” attitude is just one of the features of the Chico underground scene.

Metronaut opened the show with its retro, modern rock spin. Vocalist and guitarist Greg Hopkins’ unconventional riffs set the mood with a well-received beginning to a night of raw and powerful music.

Instant shifts in song structures were interesting and attention-grabbing. Rhythms from the bass and drums were often dramatic and complemented the heavily driven tone of the guitar.

Local retro-rock band Metronaut kicked off the show Friday with vocalist and guitarist Greg Hopkins' unconventional riffs and the band's dramatic rhythms at Monstros Pizza. Photo credit: John Domogma

The Oakland rockers The Sorority took the stage next and in no time filled the room with their uncompromising energy and eardrum-blasting sound. Greenwood kept the crowd pumped with stories of his days in Chico, this being the second stop on the band’s tour across California.

Bassist Bobby Wilcox and guitarist Matt McKenzie supplied further animation to an intense performance with constant movement and stamina, as drummer Jake Krohn continuously pounded away without signs of weariness.

Chico’s West by Swan neatly wrapped up the show with a hybrid of heavy experimental rock sounds. The band has been playing for over a decade and has released three albums.

Vocal duties were split three ways between guitarists Dan and Dave Greenfield and Hopkins. Their distinctive voices transitioned smoothly from song to song and added individuality along the way.

Complex songs were fun to watch as the audience focused on the musicians’ swiftly shifting hands up and down guitar necks.

Friday’s show proved that Chico’s rich underground scene is as strong as ever and has no intention of disappearing. Fans and friends rocked out, and once again Monstro’s Pizza held its ground as a favorite local concert venue.

Students can follow Chico Area Punks and Monstros Pizza for more information on upcoming shows.

Jake Hutchison can be reached at [email protected] or @poserpunk on Twitter.