The Gospel of Ape

Ape Machine, The Vesuvians, Bandmaster Ruckus

Saturday March 14, Cafe Coda

When initially introduced to the glorious throwback rock of Portland’s Ape Machine in 2010, my jaw dropped and my head nodded instinctively. Their crunchy riffs and crazy time signatures took me back to the golden age of classic rock… cracking a cold Schlitz, dropping Dad’s cans over my ears, and cranking the eight tracks of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Thin Lizzy. As the smoke dissipates, it all becomes clear… once the band explains that the name Ape Machine is a “nod to the days of reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recording; a fitting moniker for the heavy-hitting quartet as the band plays through vintage tube amplifiers and lays down its songs using exclusively throwback quality studio equipment.” Consisting of equal parts progressive, psychedelic, early metal, stoner-rock, and a generous helping of blues, they really… wait, did I mention stoner rock? Okay, now what was I saying…

Five years later, Ape Machine has released three critically acclaimed full-length albums, with plans to record their fourth this summer. Their last two releases, Mangled by the Machine and War to Head, were produced by Ikey Owens (Jack White, Mars Volta, Mastodon) who also graced these albums with his keyboard skills. Owens was set to produce the next, before his untimely passing last October, while touring with Jack White. A great loss to the music community and Ape Machine is “obviously, very saddened by the loss.”

After touring the U.S. and Europe in support of their latest effort, the boys are currently back on the road promoting a live LP/DVD combo release titled Live at Freak Valley, filmed and recorded at a single live show, the Freak Valley Festival in Germany… where they probably didn’t drink any beer at all. With their captivating stage presence and enchanting knack for live improvisation, this fierce hour-long performance is sure to intoxicate you, as it did the sold-out festival crowd. Through constant writing, recording and touring, Ian, Caleb, Brian and Damon continue to faithfully “spread the gospel of Ape.”

Getting the party flowing will be the newest local super group, The Vesuvians, who are “bursting from the Earth’s crust as Chico’s resident volcanic-space-rock and gothic-Americana band.” Featuring Mad Bob Howard and Scott Pressman on guitars and vocals, Alex Kokkinakis on bass, and Steve Bragg on drums, the band “combines elements of rock, country, goth and space to create their own sound and style.” They’ve taken members of Chico legends Vomit Launch, Brutilicus Maximus and The Asskickers, and thrust them to infinity and beyond! “Rumbling in unison since 2013,” their debut album, Meet the Vesuvians!, is set to drop this spring.

Closing the show is Bandmaster Ruckus, a three-piece alternative blues rock band from Red Bluff, featuring Brad Dufour, Seth Burns and Tyler Hansen. One thing that sets this band apart is that the two front-men swap roles on bass and guitar during a show, starting with the blues/funk grooves of Burns, and wrapping up with the grungy/alternative vibe of Dufour. Another is that this trio of [almost] 22-year-olds possesses an old soul feel, sublimely delivered with youthful exuberance. Simply put, this band is in the hot seat locally, and with their consistent gigging and full length debut album out now, Bandmaster Ruckus is in the power position, perfectly poised to take over the planet.

Catch Ape Machine with The Vesuvians and Bandmaster Ruckus at Cafe Coda, Saturday March 14, 8pm. ALL AGES, Food offered by the Wander Food Truck