I’ve been hearing a lot about this new local band Chango, which often plays at The Underground. But I was leery since Chango plays solely cover songs. Usually when this is the case, my immediate reaction is to think the band will be boring and wonder why its members don’t just write their own damn songs. I mean, it’s not that hard.
Fortunately, I admit when I’m wrong, and my preconceived notions about Chango were wildly off base. Brought together six months ago via a Craigslist ad, singer and guitarist Scott Morrissey, guitarist Greg Lopez, bassist Kirk Barrows and drummer Joe Allgood have quickly and quietly made a name for themselves.
“When you go see a band play, the one thing that everyone in the crowd goes nuts over is the covers,” Morrissey tells SFR.
I felt bad for the dudes in Chango, because the audience at the beginning of the night was me and two girls. But if the lack of audience bothered the members of Chango, they didn’t let on. They opened with mid-’90s one-hit-wonder Fastball and said one hit “The Way”—a totally pleasant blast from the past. Morrissey is a solid singer and belted the tune out passionately, relishing the chance to play live, regardless of crowd size.
Shuffling through a few more ’80s and ’90s hits, including Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” (YouTube the video, dudes, and enjoy your boners), “New Sensation” by INXS, “Just What I Needed” by The Cars and even a cover of 311’s cover of The Cure’s “Love Song.” This was the low point, seeing as I hate both 311 and The Cure.
All the same, the band was tight. Drummer Allgood and bassist Barrows seemed to fade into the background, but that was for the better as it allowed guitarist Lopez to shred so hard I couldn’t believe it. The technical proficiency Lopez displayed was nothing short of epic, and I found myself laughing out loud at how impressed I was.
Sometimes Morrissey’s vocals were contrived and forced, sung from the throat instead of the diaphragm. Fortunately, this wasn’t an issue that popped up often enough to bother me and, for the most part, he brought the soul to the rock ’n’ roll. Allgood had a tendency to ramble on the mic, but he used to be a DJ at Cheeks, so…y’know…he can do whatever he wants.
Ultimately, Chango isn’t going to change the face of music, but that’s not what the band wants.
“Our criteria for choosing songs is to get chicks out of their seats and shaking their asses,” Lopez says. “We just want to have fun and make sure the audience has fun.”
I catch myself acting like bands that aren’t mind-blowing are a waste of time. But then I’ll see a band like Chango that isn’t anything groundbreaking, but is so much fun that I remember what it’s all about: enjoyment!
As the night went on, more and more people trickled into The Underground, and it wasn’t long before everyone was dancing.
I’ve got to do a better job of basing my musical enjoyment on whether or not I had a good time and stop being such a snob. I thought Chango would be lame because all it plays is covers, but I didn’t consider it would play those covers so well. I suppose it just goes to show that you can only go to shows and stand with your arms crossed, frowning and judging, for so long before you let go and learn to love music all over again.
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