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Something’s happening on Fulton Street

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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.

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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.

Responses to "Something’s happening on Fulton Street"

John English says:

RockHop would be awesome. I pitched a concert series in the Met courtyard a few times during my later Met days – the outdoor setting would have been awesome (as evidenced by the various sets at the 11/08 reopening bash) but never got the logistics in order. Obviously it ain’t possible now.

RockHop just needs someone to grab the reins and go…keep bringing that up Mike, someone with the ability to make it happen just might read it and run with it.

tomas says:

bring some music into the mall will get people to bring the downtown LIVE!!

Chris says:

Honestly this is great news for all the local bands here in Fresno. I myself am in one and it’s been tuff sledding at times the past few years. Venues have come and go. A lot of them smaller and only doing local rock and/or metal shows on Thursday nights. Opting for DJ’s on Fridays and Saturdays. It would be great to have some more medium and large sized venues with Friday and Saturday night shows. No more begging and pleading with your friends to come out on a Thursday just so you have a decent crowd to play for lol. Also great to hear that, that area of downtown is getting so life back to it. Those would be some fun venues to play and a RockHop would be a blast for bands and people alike. Definitely hope this all pans out.

Famous says:

From the sound, this looks like a winner.
The key is having and consistent venue AND a good promoter. The two have to work together. If they do, people will show I have no doubt.

This is another component in connecting downtown (or the cultural arts district anyway), with the rest of Fresno and I’m giddy at the idea.

Bianca says:

I fully support RockHop!!!! I have friends in local bands that get irritated cause the local music scene isn’t that popular here. Like Chris said..its hard to get people out for local music…especially with the economy the way it is…less and less people are going out and more venues are closing their doors or changing ownership, as well as many owners opting for Dj’s on the weekends to bring the crowd in. I think this idea of RockHop is a wonderful idea to help bring life back into downtown Fresno. Especially those old venues. They just don’t make theaters like they used to and Warners has always been a favorite of mine. There’s so much culture in the decor of that building. Plus, its a great way to see local bands, more people will be willing to come out since they won’t have to pay a cover, along with the local bands getting some extra exposure. It sounds like a win/win to me!

RockHop/Fulton Street Project FTW!!!

I went to a show at the Star Palace years ago and it was a fantastic venue. Totally the type of place you just enjoying being in. I would love to have the opportunity to go more often.

This is fantastic news! I am really excited about the potential of the downtown music scene. How is the air-conditioning at the Star Palace? Last time I went, it was really stuffy (think: Revue status). If we want to get some great bands to play in venues like this, especially during Fresno summers, this is something to seriously consider.

peter robertson says:

I ventured out Sunday afternoon to see WHEN IN ROME at Frank’s Place. There were only 27 people in the audience! No, not a mis-print! TWENTY-SEVEN PEOPLE!(Yes, this includes the bartenders, too!). Alas, FreZno didn’t arise to the occasion today. But, it was worth the wait as they did do their hit “The Promise.”