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Magic Theater fills void left by one of Chico's most loved rock bands

As if a huge suction cup were pulled up from Chico, there was a huge void created in the local music scene when one of our town's most beloved rock bands. Electric Circus/ decided to call it quits. Electric Circus is one of an evergrowing all-time list of local favorite rock bands. The Mother Hips, Spark N Cinder and The Incredible Diamonds (and other various Matt Hogan incarnations) are some on this list, among many others. But who will be next to lead the popularity pack? Will it be the current Doug Stein project Swamp Zen? Or what about the rootsy rock of Buffalo Creek? If you follow the local scene, another band that has been garnering a noticeable following is the four-piece "world rock" outfit Magic Theater. Many local band aficionados are starting to say that Magic Theater's promotion of such aesthetics as peace, love and all-around positivity gives them a sentimental edge. And, they say. Magic Theater rocks, too. But all irrelevant competition aside, listening totheir second full-length CD "Smoke And Mirrors" gives you ample reason to take notice. Much like the bands self-titled debut, "Smoke And Mirrors" is laden with positive lyrics and supported by grooving, vintage rock sounds. Longing for the time when rock 'n' roll music held the promises of genuine virtues. Magic Theater is attempting to go back to where rock lost its way. And, like Electric Circus, Magic Theater is the epitome of the "do-it-yourself" philosophy. "We just finished mixing our next CD," said 29-year-old bassist Jason Tate. "Well, we think we're done. Joe and I were just going over the final mix. Are you ever really satisfied?" The computer savvy Tate has been able to use his skills in many areas to further the band's endeavors. From recording live with a new Midi disc recorder to mixing, mastering and producing its music right from a home computer, the band has total control over the final product. Word is spread by fans that understand the average band's plight and appreciate Magic Theater's struggle in an industry corrupted by greed, egos and corporate interference. "We have about 500 of our first CDs in circulation," surmised 25-year-old guitarist Joe Chamberlain with a positive slant. "Well, we've given most of them away," he said with a sheepish grin. "But it seems that people are taking a liking to us." And they should like "Smoke And Mirrors" as well. Feel-good tracks such as "Hale Bop (Don't Ya Stop)," "Freedom" and "Travelers" work to lift listeners' spirits and tune them into the descriptive song-writing of Chamberlain. "Travelers" is a good example. "The song is in two parts," Chamberlain explained. "The first part is where I set up the background concerning how gypsies move from town to town without-being accepted in any. It's kind of a metaphor for being a musi^ cian on the road. Then the second part is the emotion: the guitar solo." Magic Theater performs at 7 p.m. Saturday at Tower Used, next to Tower Records, and March 8 at Stormy's Off Broadway. Chico band Magic Theater, whose popularity among local audiences is on the rise, plays Saturday at Tower Used.

By Brett Lueder
The Buzz
February 4 2002
 

 

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