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You review: F.U.S.E. Fest 2013

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Overheard at F.U.S.E. “I don’t know why Collecto would want to cover that up in a robot suit?” Apparently, he is handsome.

Each year the Fresno Urban Sound Experience packs 30-plus local bands into a few close blocks of downtown, then lets fans meander from venue to venue to venue like its some kind of audio buffet. You may hear a blues band, followed by some hard-core punk or a couple hip-hop MCs. You might hear folk music, or EDM or some shoegaze.

The sixth installment of the annual music festival (often referred to as F.U.S.E.) took place Friday and Saturday, despite competition from a sold-out college football game and a freak wind storm. Attendance felt low, but those who came out were enthusiastic about connecting with the local music scene. It was a nice opportunity for uber fans to sort of geek out. For many, it was also their first time inside the Warnors Theatre, which was worth the ticket price.

My thoughts: Friday had a particularly solid line-up, with Visalia band Richfield being the sleeper hit.

 

While I didn’t catch anyone’s full set on Saturday, I saw parts of a dozen or so bands and made it to most of the venues. Highlights included:

  • Le Wolves and Greener by Color on the Warnors Theater stage. Actually being on the stage with the band, with the theater as background almost, was magical.
  • The “fishbowl” stage. The first time the festival put bands under the Warnors Theatre marquee, it was because they needed space for an extra stage. It was a throw-away idea almost, but it has worked out really well. It’s beautiful under there, and the acoustics make everyone sound great.
  • Isosceles Trio at Tokyo Garden, specifically its theremin/harp covers of “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid.” It’s the kind of quirkiness that defines the festival and was a great end to the night.

I put together a quick compilation video, which you can see below, but I’m wondering what you thought?
Who were standout acts?
What venues worked best?
Where would you like to see band play next year?
If you didn’t make it out, why the heck not?

Responses to "You review: F.U.S.E. Fest 2013"

Matt P. says:

Actress.

Jeffresno says:

My favorite discoveries this year: Le Wolves and Macondo. Super talented musicians, tight performances, up and coming names. The Le Wolves EP has been stuck in my player all day today.

Stephen says:

Obviously I have skin in this festival, but my biggest criticism was ‘who the heck picked these dates?!?

I had to miss volunteering and attending the FUSE fest because it ran up against Fresno Reel Pride and two other events.
:-(

blake says:

@ Stephen….yeah, I agree. And being part of the committee that runs this fest, I gotta tell ya, it *is* tricky picking dates.
As they’ve said for years:….”there’s always too much to do in Fresno…”(smiles)
–dodging the Fair, the heat, the football games (ok, we didn’t do that one)—
Next year we’ll definitely dodge Reel Pride–we gotta get your ever-faithful and ever-powerful volunteer spirit back in the FUSE fold.

blake says:

It’s impossible for one person to see everything at the FUSE–part of it’s appeal, but every year I add another name or two to my “favorite local band ” list.
Besides seeing a few that I already *have* in my bag o’ faves,
this year I added Le Wolves and Actress. Two terrific bands that I wish to see again soon.
–+1 on the fantastic feeling one got from being inside of the Warnor’s Theater…it really felt like the kids were in charge of the candy store—it made seeing some of these terrific bands even that much more terrific.

hilary says:

I liked hearing Boxcar Figaro cover “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis. I was downstairs at Fulton 55 working the sponsorship/band packet table and thought that was an interesting choice. It just proved the versatility of that pop/R&B song. Very cool.

Le Wolves really impressed me. I heard them for the first time at Catacomb Party and liked them even more Saturday night.

It was good to see Actress with a full band. Kaleb was my favorite new find last year and I had a hand in booking them this year, so that was cool.

Richfield was another standout. Steel guitar will get me every. time.

Steve Ono says:

I like Sleepover Disaster very much.

Borat says:

It is good thing seeing America’s Got Talent holding auditions in Fresno! Happy Time! Jae Qui~

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