Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

QnA with guitarist Yonatan Gat

Avante-garde seems the easy description for Yonatan Gat.

The Israel-born guitarist was part of the punk trio Monotonix, which was infamous for live performances that were a sweaty mess of noise and bodies, thrown thrash and fire. The band played 1,000 shows in its five-year run.

As a solo artist, Gat tempers the punk angst with free-jazz freakouts and world-music sounds — from Chicano rock to Afro-Brazilian soul and Middle Eastern surf-rock. Still, his current project — with bassist Sergio Sayeg and drummer Gal Lazer — pushes the boundaries of the band-audience relationship, eschewing the stage and setting up amongst the crowd. Earlier this month the band released “Director,” an 11-track improv-psych-punk epic of an album and awed music critics at South by South West. I emailed Gat in advance of tonight’s show at Visalia’s Cellar Door.

People seem to freak out that you shy away from playing on stage and prefer to get right there in the crowd. Why do you think that is?

Sometimes, when we play smaller shows in smaller towns – people are not sure what to do with themselves in the beginning – it’s true. I usually just tell them they can come closer. Stand right on us. It’s just unusual for a band to set up this way. Although it’s pretty dumb that bands don’t. The stage is only needed for elevation when the place is too big and people can’t see you. And if you’re in front of the PA – well, that’s your monitors. When we play bigger venues, we use our own tiny stage and set it in the middle of the room and people can stand around us. The idea is that people can get close, stand in every position around us in an attempt to create a more direct communication with the audience. At the moment, I’m not interested in being an avant-garde band playing to themselves and other musicians. We are on the floor with the people because what we get from the audience goes into the show, into the songs we choose to play, into our musical decisions while improvising, into the length of the set, into the dynamic of the playing.

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BANDGEEK!: Napalm Death, Fauxgazi and Kuppajoe’s farwell show

OK, so the Oscars are on TV. That’s Sunday night. That leaves the rest of the week for one of these awesome live shows, which I’ve collected in you weekly BANDGEEEK roundup.


  • Put Your Heart Into It.
    Benefit fundraiser, featuring Journey Revisited. At Fulton 55. $15-$25. (Flier link)

  • Tim Burton Tribute Art Show.
    Werebear and Spaklejet. At Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden. 5 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

  • Kuppajoe Final Show.
    W/Lakes (San Luis Obispo, Ca), The Soma Holidays (reunion set), Sleepover Disaster and Brother Luke and the Comrades and Swimming In Paint. At Kuppajoe. 7:30 p.m. $6-$8. All ages. (Flier link)

  • The Suppressors.
    W/The Easy In. At Peeve’s Public House. 8:30 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Stay Wild.
    W/Common War, Sleeve, Chokeslam at Make Way. At C.A.F.E. Infoshop. 8 p.m. $5 donation. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Acrylics.
    Matinee show at Tower District Records. 2 p.m. Free.

  • Leaving Austin.
    W/The Crossing. At Audies’ Olympic. 9 p.m. $7. (Flier link)

  • Kings of Blackstone.
    Music at Gazebo Gardens. 6 p.m. Free.

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    BANDGEEK!: Patrick (Contreras), (Tijuana) Panthers and the Parlor Mob

    From the sound of things, a lot of you are planning on watching “Fifty Shades of Grey.” That’s cool. When you’re done, there is plenty of music to be had. We’ve collected this week’s concerts in another installment of BANDGEEEEEK!


  • Tijuana Panthers.
    W/Massenger, Dirty Limbs. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $10. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Tecumseh Release Party.
    W/DJ AESOP, Bitter Buffalo and Sleeve. At Tioga-Sequoia Beer Garden. 5 p.m. Free.

  • EZ Mark’s Honky Tonk.
    Sing and play. At Full Circle Brewing Co. 5:30 p.m. Free.

  • Tyler Edwards.
    At Full Circle Brewing Co. 8 p.m. Price TBD.

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    BANDGEEK: Tribal Seeds, Riders in the Sky and the Fresno Holiday Jam

    Lest you think a little storm should keep you trapped indoors, we have once again collection a week’s worth of musical happenings and present it here as your BANDGEEEEK round up.


  • Shannon Ashley.
    W/Lou Umbra and The Tough Love. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Tribal Seeds.
    W/Hirie and Wheeland Brothers. At Strummer’s. 7 p.m. Online tickets SOLD OUT.

  • Ultrasonic: A Book Launch.
    W/music from Iwanaga and Fatty Cakes & the Puff Pastries. At Peeve’s Public House. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Paradox.
    W/Mutant Itch, Choas Tribe, Fiend, Inhuman and Battleshok. At CYC. 6 p.m. $5 donation. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Chris Play Guitar.
    Reunion show. W/Constellation Prize. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $5. (Flier link)

  • Lee Greenwood.
    W/Crystal Gayle. At Tachi Palace. 6 p.m. Tickets off sale. (Flier link)

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    Bandgeek: Humperdinck, Daniels and Doyle


    Aside from not eating at Burger King (the tax thing may be the least of its offences), your schedule for the next seven days looks full up, especially if you are into any sort of live music. The choices are presented here in our weekly roundup known as BANDGEEEEK!


  • EZ Mark’s Honky Tonk.
    A Sit-around jam. At Full Circle Brewing. 5:30 p.m. Free.

  • Engelbert Humperdinck.
    At Tachi Palace. 7:30 p.m. $35-$70.

  • Pacific Dub.
    W/ ONEoz. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $12. All ages. (Flier link)

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    Mid-week concerts to get you through to Friday


    To anyone who thinks there is nothing to do in Fresno, I give this quick list of super-ridiculous concerts — one or more every day through Thursday (and then the weekend kicks in).

    Feel free to pass it along. You can add this message: “Quit complaining.”


  • Lynryd Skynyrd
    It’s a Saturday night special … on Monday … See what I did there.
  • Beach Day.
    Free girl-pop garage rock at Peeve’s.

  • Future Islands
    Best frontman in entertainment today? You be the judge.
  • Balance and Composure
    Post hard-core emo band from Pennsylvania. For fans of Sunny Day Real Estate.
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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    5things613142Forget World Cup …

    1. Woodward Park Shakespeare Festival
    Forget “House of Cards.” Shakespeare perfected the whole political-intrigue thing. QUICK CORRECTION: Color me embarrassed. “Macbeth,” doesn’t open until Thursday. So, add it to next weekend’s events.

    2. Father’s Day Blues Fest
    Headliner is Johnny Rawls: An old-time road-warrior if there ever was one. He’s been on the road (pretty much constantly) since 1969.

    3. “Austin and Ally” at Fresno Grizzlies
    I haven’t kept up with my Disney stars since Hilary Duff, but Calum Worthy, who plays Dez on “Austin and Ally,” will be at the game.
    4. Table Mountain Rancheria Pow-Wow
    Here’s a part of our area’s cultural heritage that doesn’t get enough positive attention.

    5. Fresno’s Greatest Hits: Comedy Edition
    Yes, Fresno has a comedy scene that you should support.

    And in case you missed this week’s BANDGEEK post …

    1. King Buzzo
    2. Harps
    3. Strange Vine
    4. Lance Canales and the Flood
    5. Jazz Night at Tokyo Garden

    BANDGEEK: Sara Evans, Kings Buzzo and Murs

    6-13-14Between watching the World Cup and getting your head around the dude who was mistakenly released from jail (and then killed), your weekend is spent. Unless you’re up for the dozens of live music events happening around the city, which we (once again) cull together and collate in the weekly feature we call BANDGEEEEEK!


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    Tweak Bird bring positive doom to Cellar Door

    TweakBirdBryanRichardMartin1Tweak Bird makes music that is oddly undefinable.

    “When you’ve been influenced by 100 bands, it’s going to be multi-genre and a little hard to place,” says Ashton Bird, who makes up the guitar-drum duo with his brother Caleb.

    Bird is not the real surname, Ashton says. “It’s a band thing.”

    The Los Angeles duo doesn’t worry much about genre. They just play and hope the music passes along their joy for life, forgetting the fact they spent two years playing with mostly doom and stoner rock bands, or that their sound borrows heavily from those genres (with flashes of indie-rock and psychedelia mixed).

    “People have a choice. They should all feel fun and positive, too,” Ashton says.

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    BANDGEEK!: Backstabbers, Black Star Riders and Asleep at the Wheel

    5-9-14In light of the dozens of original live performances happening through next week, I should probably reconsider what I said about Fresno being a cover-band town. Here’s your weekly BANDGEEEEEK! roundup.


    Bandgeek!: Bear Hands, the Brother Weiss and a tribute to Johnny Cash

    4-4-14While the majority of your friends are out watching “Wicked,” you’d rather be out at a bar somewhere, listening to some low-down dirty rock and roll. Or any of the dozen of other music options happening this weekend (and into next week). Here’s your music roundup known as BANDGEEEEEK!


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    Tonight: Saintseneca

    Saintseneca_by_Saintsenca_-_EtcSaintseneca invested a lot of time into its latest album “Dark Arc,” which is released Tuesday on Anti-.

    The original songs came together over the course of close to 10 months. They were recorded in an attic at a friend’s home, and were the kind of sparse, minimal folk instrumentation the Columbus Ohio band is known for. It was a fully realized album and the label was excited, says Zac Little, who sings and plays a variety of instruments in the band, which plays Visalia’s Cell Door, tonight.

    “They would have released it as was,” he says.

    But they didn’t release the track as they were.

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    Tonight: Fashawn’s birthday bash

    FashFlyerAs a genre, hip-hip thrives on sense of place. Artists aren’t just from a city, they become the city. Think: Jay Z and New York, Run DMC and Hollis, Queens or NWA and Compton.

    Fresno has Fashawn.

    “If I’m in Lithuania, I’ve probably got a Fresno jersey on,” says Fashawn, who was featured on the cover of XXL Magazine as one of it’s Freshman class back in 2010. “I’ve got one foot in the music industry and one foot on Shield’s Avenue.”

    Tonight, he’ll have both feet in Visalia. He plays the Cellar Door for a birthday bash (he just turned 25) that includes some friends — Los Angeles rapper Evidence, Fresno’a Omar Aura and others.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    Besides sneaking your way into that George Strait show that’s hella sold out.

    You can see another country legend (sorta!) — as Johnny Cash tribute Cash’d Out plays tonight. They’re legit — as in they can make Cash’s daughter cry. Then Saturday, S.F.’s Nicki Bluhm comes to play some fun folky music for you. She’s legit too. [More]

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    Podcast: Ozmosis #53 (One-Year Anniversary Show)

    Well, this is the last Ozmosis podcast you’ll find here on The Beehive. And it’s a good one. Here’s the one-year anniversary show, which includes lots of good music from Kate Nash, Free Energy, Christopher Owens and Jake Bugg, among others. Of local note: He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister and Nicki Bluhm are featured (playing Fulton 55 on Thursday and Saturday, respectively), as are Sir Sly (Friday at The Cellar Door). You can also check out Born Betty, the “Drink Local, Listen Local” band of the week. Remember to catch new episodes of Ozmosis every Sunday night at 9 p.m. on New Rock 104.1. For future podcasts, go to the Ozmosis blog.

    Ozmosis – One-Year Anniversary Show (01.27.13) by Mike Osegueda on Mixcloud

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    While hoping no other local businesses close.

    With news earlier this week that long-time LGBT nightclub The Express is closing, you can expect big crowds for its final three days tonight, Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, the popular Xotica drag show — usually on Thursdays — will be capping the final night of the club. [More]

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    The Sea of ‘Sea’ bands starts tonight

    For the next three days, the Valley won’t have a shortage of “water.” And we have a Sea of indie rock bands to thank.

    Tonight, Sea Wolf makes a tour stop at Fulton 55. Then on Friday, indie vets The Sea and Cake visit The Cellar Door in Visalia. Saturday is the CD release party for local band Sea of Sound. It’s happening at Kuppajoe.

    And Sunday … no Sea bands on Sunday?!? Way to mess it up, Sunday. Ah well, you’ll have to visit Avila Beach.

    Podcast: Ozmosis #40

    On this installment of Ozmosis, there’s new music from Papa, Robert Delong and Diamond Rings. I dip into indie hip-hop with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. We listen to a few bands in town soon Brainstorm (tonight at Fulton 55) and The Sea and Cake (11/9 at The Cellar Door). And Rademacher, recently featured on Daytrotter is our Tioga-Sequoia “Drink Local, Listen Local” band of the week.

    As always, there are a few bonus tracks on podcast that didn’t make the Sunday show. Enjoy the podcast below and listen to new episodes of Ozmosis Sundays at 9 p.m. on New Rock 104.1.

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    Podcast: Ozmosis #33

    Lots of great new music on the latest episode of Ozmosis — The XX, Two Door Cinema Club, Cat Power, The Divine Fits and Matt & Kim to name a few. Sea of Sound is the Tioga-Sequoia “Drink Local, Listen Local” band of the week and there’s music from three artists performing tonight — Nite Jewel (at Cellar Door), Camper Van Beethoven (at Fulton 55) and Ape Machine (at Audie’s Olympic).

    If you listened to the show live on Sunday night, you’ll be happy to know there are a few more songs on the podcast for you to check out. Enjoy the podcast and tune in at 9 p.m. Sunday for a new episode of Ozmosis on New Rock 104.1.

    If the above player gives you any grief, you can listen directly on Mixcloud.

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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    Besides singing “Don’t Drop that Baklava.”

    You know how The Cellar Door in Visalia gets all those cool concerts? Well, organizers are saying tonight’s is the biggest one of the year. It’s with ’80s-inspired dance-pop act (and critical darling) Twin Shadow and the very groovy Poolside. In fact, I’ve heard people from L.A. and S.F. have been buying most of the advance tickets. Don’t miss out, local hipsters! Read this interview I did with Twin Shadow to get you ready. [Tickets]


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    Get familiar: Milo Greene

    Milo Greene is a great upstart band made up of five people, none of whom are named Milo and four of whom are lead singers. They sound a bit like Of Monsters and Men, who sound a bit like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

    Milo Greene just released its debut album and are stopping in Visalia on Thursday night to play The Cellar Door with Fresno faves Fierce Creatures. Go here for tickets and info. Consider Milo Greene one of those “on the rise” bands we’re seeing for cheap that could totally be famous a year from now.

    Here are two of my favorite songs of theirs:

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    Podcast: Ozmosis #20

    This week’s Ozmosis podcast features a handful of bands you’ll see playing in Fresno and the Valley in the next 10 days, including The Violet Lights (Friday night at Audie’s Olympic), The Yawpers (Friday night at Full Circle Brewing Co.), Via Coma (Friday night at Kuppajoe), Sister Crayon (Saturday at The Cellar Door) and Audiafauna, who Twitter loved during the show Sunday night and is playing June 22 at Arte Americas. There’s also new music from Grizzly Bear, Black Box Revelation and others.

    Enjoy the podcast below and tune in at 9 p.m. Sunday for a new episode of Ozmosis on New Rock 104.1.

    If the above player gives you any grief, you can listen directly on Mixcloud.

    Tonight: Remembering Tony Blanco, dueling pianos karaoke and more


    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    Other than celebrating or making Swedes.

    Argh! This weekend be the Fresno Pirate Festival, ye swashbucklers. Go pillage those land-lovers at Fresno Famous to find out more. Ahoy! [More]


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    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    Other than playing games with your food.

    While we’ve been obsessing about our own bracket around here, we’ve yet to mention that the women’s NCAA Tournament is in Fresno this week. You can see the likes of Duke and Stanford playing. And, we presume, stand in some HUGE Doghouse Grill lines. [More]

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