I’ve always looked at the Warnors Theatre and its adjoining venues — Star Palace and Frank’s Place — as under-utilized, both for live music and for downtown. But the Fulton Street Project is looking to change that.
The project is trying to bring new life to each venue, including a good list of shows that have been booked between now and November. Swing big-band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and popular Christian trio Point of Grace have been booked for November dates at Warnors, while Star Palace is starting a summer concert series that will have young rock bands and singer/songwriters playing on Friday nights Artists such as Seventh Day Slumber, JJ Heller and Lybecker are due for that.
Also exciting is that dynamo local promoters Love the Captive — who have brought Little Dragon and others to town — have signed on to book shows at Frank’s Place and Star Palace. In fact, I’m told that LTC is moving its June 26 date with Head Like a Kite from Starline to Frank’s Place.
What’s promising about all this is that Star Palace and Frank’s Place are bigger than both Starline and Audie’s Olympic, and adding a couple venues that can hold 300-500 people is huge for the live music landscape in Fresno. Both venues are right next to Warnors, with Star Palace on the second floor, and Frank’s Place right below it.
Should Star Palace and/or Frank’s Place grow into what Visalia has with The Cellar Door, that would be a big win for Fresno. I’m not saying that’s just going to happen tomorrow, that all those rad shows are going to just show up now, but the potential is certainly there.
Speaking of potential: I think getting these two places off the ground as music venues would be a perfect fit for starting a “RockHop” downtown.
I’ve talked about this in the past, how local bands and venues would adopt a model similar to ArtHop. I’m envisioning one night a month where there’s free live, local music at Frank’s Place, Star Palace, Tokyo Garden, Iron Bird Cafe, heck maybe the KYNO/KJWL studios. People would be free to mill around and check out local tunes downtown. Sounds great, right?
I know I’m getting way too far ahead of everything. But the point is: This could mean good things for live music in Fresno and for downtown.