Open mics rock downtown


Alex and Ryan getting down and putting on a show for the somewhat lax audience. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

Music lovers make the pilgrimage toward the corner of West Fifth Street and Main Street, navigating through the City Plaza to the café on the corner. They walk through the door of Has Beans Coffee and Tea and are instantly welcomed by the smell of coffee and the voice of host Dan Casamajor announcing the next act.

Tito, guitarist of the band Conscious Dove chillin’ before he plays inside the venue. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

With more and more downtown businesses hosting live music events featuring local artists, music in Chico is more alive than ever.

Has Beans

“I go to Has Beans to gain experience and confidence. The family atmosphere makes performing not at all intimidating,” said guitarist Allen Hadidian. “Everyone is here to support one another.”

Has Beans Coffee and Tea was voted No.1 by Chico News and Review for having the best open mic events. Artists are invited to perform different genres of music, spoken word and poetry.

Allen Hadidian performing some light rock n roll on his guitar. He started performing the Has Beans events because the audience is welcoming, and it’s a family atmosphere. It’s giving him confidence to start playing again, which was non existent a couple months ago. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

“Writing is my passion. Performing my poetry helps me get my thoughts out. I love the freedom I feel when performing, especially when the audience oooh’s and aah’s,” Matthew of the Hill People said. “That’s how I know I’ve connected with those people through my art.”

On Campus

Even the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center on the Chico State campus hosts its own open mic nights where students can come to play their music or perform their poetry.

The Floral Tattoo, Ryan Keyes and Alex Anderson, playing their first Has Beans Open Mic. The first time performers are greeted by a round of applause from the audience. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

Bidwell Perk

The music continues just outside of the downtown area on the corner of East First Avenue at Bidwell Perk.

“On a personal level I love live music; I love to go to shows in town and out of town,” said café Owner Michelle Power. “After we got our beer and wine license a year ago, we created a patio which makes for a perfect venue for live music.”

Bidwell Perk hosts other after-hours events such as painting, wine tasting and Bingo in addition to their live music events once a month.

Matthew of the Hill People Stratton, does a word of mouth performance for the Has Beans audience. Using slick words to send subliminal messages to his audience.
“I do have a signature in all of my poetry, screenplays, creative writing… performance writing is what I would call it; to put a little subliminal message that has to do with weed.” Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

“We’ve had local singer-songwriters like Kyle Williams and Max Minardi play. We also have Hugh Hammond play for us on Sunday mornings,” said Power. “It’s great to have breakfast and a mimosa and listen to live music.”

The organizer of the event, Dan, opens the show with a song he wrote about his wife. Photo credit: Jordan Rodrigues

“We want to support the Chico community as many ways as we can in the cafe. Allowing local artists a chance to be heard is one of the ways we do that.”

Thanks to businesses and organizations like Bidwell Perk and the CCLC, there’s an open mic night or live music event held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday in the downtown Chico area.

Photo credit: Anna Porretta

Anna Porretta can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.