SOTA Productions brings “soul” in an intimate concert


(L to R) Chris Thorne and Aman Cowell performing during their set with Sounds Good. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Chico State’s School of the Arts Productions curated an intimate concert featuring artists from Chico to Southern California.

The show, “Chico Soul”, was hosted by Down Lo, a bar and grill located on Main Street in Downtown Chico.

The concert featured a spectrum of music, ranging from R&B and hip-hop to funk and jazz, which truly embodies the name of the show.

The first performer was Krista McMiller. The smooth R&B production of her songs, on top of her elegant yet vibrant voice, serenaded the room and set the mood for the rest of the evening.

Krista McMiller sings during her opening set at SOTA Production's Chico Soul. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Following McMiller were Cassandra Arechiga and Kaylena Santos. The duo performed a brief yet powerful acoustic set. Many of their songs, as said by the duo, were “sad” and dealt with tough, personal matters that many in the audience could relate to.

The melancholic tone of their set, however, did not dampen the atmosphere of the venue, but rather increased the overall mood of the audience.

Kaylena Santos sings as Cassandra Arechiga plays the guitar during their set at Chico Soul. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Anthony Amanoni was next to perform. By this point in the night, the audience had grown larger, and Amanoni was met with a large reception.

Accompanied by Addison Wilson, Amanoni performed a soulful, acoustic set that brought life to the crowd. Though much of the audience may not have known all the lyrics to Amanoni’s songs, a rapport clearly formed between him and the audience.

Anthony Amanoni sings during his set as his friend, Addison Wilson, playing accompanying percussion. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Oroville rapper, Natey Nate, followed and brought a fun, energetic set to “Chico Soul.”

The subject matters of a lot of his songs included drinking for fun, dreading your day job and dealing with relationships. Though these themes are no strangers to hip-hop, Natey Nate brought much enthusiasm to his set that complemented his musical and thematic aesthetics. Nate’s set was a nice change of pace for the evening and set the mood for what was to come.

Oroville rapper Natey Nate performing his set at Chico Soul. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

Sounds Good, a local collective, brought a set infused with funk and jazz. The group played with vigor and energy, engaging with the audience throughout their performance. The crowd cheered and sang so loud it almost felt that they overpowered the band at times.

Sounds Good was easily one of the liveliest groups to perform in the evening and were a definite favorite for the audience.

Mario Sako readjusts his microphone during his set with Sounds Good. Photo credit: Angel Ortega

The final group to perform was Apollo Bebop. Hailing from Santa Ana, California, Apollo Bebop’s sound can best be described as ska, fused with elements of funk and folk lyricism. A lot of their music was politically charged and carried themes reflective of the current social and political climate.

Shows like these embody the quality of talent that School of the Arts Productions can curate. “Chico Soul” was a definite night to remember.

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] and @AngelOrtegaNews on Twitter.