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Chola's rap-funk-rock is awesome

So Chola is another up-and-coming Utah band that we think deserves a lot of attention. We first saw them opening for Fat Paw at the Holy Cow. They stole the show, a common pastime for these guys.

J: I hate Fat Paw. I think they pretty much stink. I mean, I guess they're good if you like the Dead and Phish and bands that jam in the same key for 20 minutes. I just don't like that.L: Give them some credit. They're really tight and the crowd loves them.

J: OK, OK. Let's not fight. Let's get back to the topic at hand: Chola. My point is that I didn't really trust my initial opinion of Chola because of how much I didn't like Fat Paw.

L: Our interest was piqued, however, so we decided to give another listen to this band.

Our opportunity came one night at Liquid Joe's.

Let's digress. We LOVE Liquid Joe's. Our job is local music, right? I mean, what we do is talk to local bands. The management of Liquid Joe's is the most supportive of local music that we've met.

J: They are also really nice to us. They chat with us, and answer questions and help us get in touch with band members, and we have a crush on them because of it.

The members of Chola are a bunch of modest guys. They refuse to talk about themselves. It was like pulling teeth to get them to answer any questions. So Cami, one of the wonderful members of Liquid Joe's management, stepped up to bat and told us what we needed to know.

According to Cami, Chola is going to be big on the local music scene. She gave them a break by signing them up to open for Modern English when they were in town and the audience loved them. In fact, Liquid Joe's heard from more than one patron that Chola kicked Modern English's butt.

We think Chola is great because they are a new genre as far as local bands are concerned. There is nothing quite like them here in good old Salt Lake City and they are therefore, ground-breaking.

L: I like them because the singer is the drummer and I can't move my mouth and hands at the same time like that.

J: I like them because they all look like they would sound like Fat Paw, but they don't. They look like a bunch of really young guys with pony tails. Um, actually, I guess that's what they are . . . guys with pony tails. And when we interviewed them, they were all smoking and I felt really left out because I didn't have either a pony tail or a cigarette. So I told them I felt left out and they gave me a rubber band and a cigarette.

L: Jess is a bit of a conformist. She doesn't smoke, so she put her hair in this really stupid pony tail and put the cigarette behind her ear to be cool. It kept falling out and distracting her, so I had to be responsible and complete the interview.

Oh yeah. We haven't really talked about their music yet. It's a really cool cross between rap and funk and rock. The band consists of Justin Johnson on guitar; John Maxwell on bass; David Alexander, drums; and Kevin Blanchard, percussion. They sound kind of like 311 without all of those guitars. And even though the vocals aren't nearly as strong as they could be, the fact that David raps while playing the drums makes up for it.

Another awesome bonus as far as Chola is concerned is the fact that they improvise a good portion of their work. They have the ability to jam like a great jazz band, and David raps "whatever is going on in

hisT head" over their jams. Needless to say, it's pretty cool.

Chola is playing at Liquid Joe's tonight. They put on a great show, and hey, we'll be there, stellar nightlife stars that we are, so go check it out!