Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Fresno goes SXSW: Day 3


From the previous updates dispatched by our SXSW correspondents James Collier and Ryan Jones, it sounded like Austin is a crazy place to be right now. But I think Ryan’s picture above shows that better than any words can. Wow.

Anyhow, here’s another update about some of our local bands crawling around the mammoth music festival. Words by James, photos by Ryan. It’s a bit of an extension from the discussion in the comments of Thursday’s post.

We’ve been following the Fresno-area bands around to small venues all over town. Yesterday that took us to a strip-mall coffee shop several miles out of downtown — far from any official SXSW showcases. It was one of Rademacher’s first shows.

Let’s be clear: these aren’t glamourous gigs. There’s hope of selling a few items (CDs, t-shirts), or of connecting to someone that can point to another gig, but the audience is sparse — especially during the day. Nick from Old Tire Swingers told us they’re making more money, and getting better exposure, by busking.

But it’s these small gigs that make this such an incredible experience. Sure, watching Andrew Bird play the big stage at Stubb’s was awesome. So was Patrick Watson’s performance last night inside a church sanctuary. But the smaller, unofficial venues give you direct access to the artists, and there’s a tangible sense of camaraderie.

Anyway, it was at that coffee shop last that we met Danny Garcia from Foe Destroyer, a long-time friend of Mike from Rademacher. After hearing that we were there following local bands around town, he smiled and said, “I love Fresno. That’s where I was born.”

Today, we’re checking out a few more acts that have Fresno connections. We’ll probably check out a few official acts, too–it’s our last night here, after all.






PHOTOS (from top): Rademacher’s Malcolm Sosa and RC Essig, Rademacher crowd view, Rademacher’s Jon Hadden, ex-Fresnan Danny Garcia of Foe Destroyer and Fresno band Strange Vine.

[all photos: Ryan C. Jones / Special to The Bee]

Responses to "Fresno goes SXSW: Day 3"

blake says:

+1 to ‘some of the gigs being non-glamourous yet useful’.
It’s the same thing anywhere if a band is travelling in territory that’s new to them, meaning a gig to where you cannot invite your friends, girlfriend, mom, whatever. We played a house party in Sacramento a couple of months ago, and next month we’re going up there to play a club…it’s kind of a slow-build, natural way to do it. Unless you’re in the 1% (to use recent terminology and connect it to independent music), you are in the D.I.Y. 99%: are you then going to do-it-yourself and get on down to it?– or wait for someone to do it for you (cuz that just doesn’t happen very often). Hats off to these Fresbergers (and esp. to Malcom Sosa, from whom I learned a few lessons by paying attention—see you can even teach this old dog a new trick or two.)

I’m convinced it’s the DIY attidude and efforts along with the unconventional venues that make the underground buzz REAL for festivals. Much like Rogue and Fuse in Fresno, you generate interest and genuine excitement when things are a little off the beaten path in terms of set up and experience. As audience members and even participants, this all makes it feel cool.

Tom says:

REALLY?? A Fresnan plays SXSW with Jimmy Cliff, and we hear about the same ol Fresno darlings? Does anybody here really like music?

james says:

Tom, your point is noted. I’ll try to address this more in depth in some sort of wrap-up, but it boils down to time, and the chaos that is SXSW.

We didn’t learn about Scott’s performance with Jimmy until Thursday, and as I noted in the first update, it’s hard to really schedule things here, especially without knowing beforehand. We had info on the “darlings” and their performances before we left Fresno, and in following them around, we’ve found many more Fresno connections. There are a LOT of those here.

Deborah says:

I loved living in the tower district in the 80′s. Miss all the madness!

Malcolm Sosa says:

I saw Scott play with Jimmy Cliff on Thursday night and it blew my mind. One of the best performances ever.