Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

BANDGEEK: Shwaye, Sweat and the Summerland tour


Planes are being shot out of the sky! We won’t fault you for not thinking about getting out to see some live music this weekend. Still, it’s my job to keep you informed. So here it is, your weekly music roundup (back from a short hiatus) … BANDGEEEEK!


  • Ghost Key.
    W/Castaway, Outlier, Rampage and Chip Spacey. At CYC. 6:30 p.m. $4. ALl ages. (Flier link)

  • Electronic Ladyland Tour.
    W/Je4sika Von Rabbit, Maria Del Pilar and Okapi Sun. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. No ticket price listed. (Flier link)

  • A beach party and potluck.
    W/Math, Suzy’s Dead, The P.I.T.S., Egg Slut and Sci-Fi Caper. At C.A.F.E. Infoshop. 6 p.m. $3-5. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Pinche Culture Night.
    5th Anniversary. W/Marcus Hernandez, Pa’Chango, Resident Alien and Conjunto Califas. At Cellar Door, Visalia. 7 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

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    Bumbling bandits caught on video

    Our newsroom is buzzing about this video of an attempted robbery caught on a security camera at a jewelry store in southeast Fresno. The robbers are, shall we say, not very good (to put it nicely)? Perhaps it would have went smoother if one of them wasn’t talking on the phone the entire time. You can read the whole story here, but what you don’t see is the jewelry store owner emerging from a back room with a shotgun. The cops are looking for would-be robbers.

    TONIGHT: Jimbo Mathus

    Jimbo Mathus is an archive of southern musical styles. The Mississippi-born songwriter/guitarist was raised in a musical family and grew up playing those old folk, country and blues tunes.

    “I’ve been studying on this since I was 8 years old,” says Mathus, whose band, the Tri-State Coalition, plays tonight at Fulton 55 with Southern Culture on the Skids.

    “I’m just immersed in it.”

    Mathus’ current album, “Dark Night of the Soul,” serves as a record of both that innate knowledge and of his career in music.

    “It’s the natural progression of the stuff I’ve been doing my whole life. And I’ve been in the game for a minute,” he says.

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    Tonight: Folk singer Joseph Eid at Full Circle Brewing Co.

    At 22 years old, Joseph Eid had a revelatory moment. He was sitting in a med-school library, readying himself for a microbiology exam and thinking more-than fondly about the night before.

    He had been sitting outside the dorms, singing with his friends.

    “We were singing old songs and it felt so freeing an amazing,” says the Liberian-born folk singer, who plays tonight at Full Circle Brewing Company.

    In that moment, Eid honestly assessed his life. Questions followed.

    “How did I end up here? Why am I really doing this?”

    And finally: “What if? What if I could do whatever I wanted to in my life?,” Eid says.

    Two days later he’d dropped out of med school to pursue a career as a musician, which he’s done with abandon. He was named one the Hottest 100 Unsigned Artists in both 2012 and 2013 by Music Connection and had a single released on a Cleopatra Records folk compilation. His latest album “Human” was released last year.

    Here, I find out more about Eid.

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    Win tickets to: Trio Ellas at the Arte Americas summer concert series

    nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.

    Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

    We’ll be giving away passes each week (except July 4, 25 and Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features the Fresno return of the Latin Grammy-nominated group Trio Ellas. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

    We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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    Support the “We All Follow the Arsenal” book project

    arsenalJordan Wiebe and his wife Channelle follow the Arsenal.

    Like, religiously.

    Like, to the point of organizing an Arsenal fan club so every Gooner (that’s the official term) has a a proper pub to go to for those 4 a.m. matches. There’s no better way to watch a match than with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other.

    They’re also packing up the car for a 6,000-mile road trip to New York City to watch the club take on the New York Red Bulls this summer. Arsenal fans being what they are, the Wiebes will make a point to stop in at pubs along the way and meet (and stay) with as many Gooners as possible. They’re documenting the whole ordeal for a 30-page Arsenal-inspired design, photography and printmaking book.

    If any of this seems cool to you, the book (along with other Arsenal-inspired art) will be available through Kickstarter. The proceeds will fund the trip (and the project).

    The campaign has actually been fully funded already, but there are still some backer spots available (and 14-days left to pledge). Get Jordon Wiebe’s pitch for the project on the jump:

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    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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    TONIGHT: Dizzy Wright

    dizzyIt’ll be awhile before we get an official full-album release from Dizzy Wright.

    But fans are still privy to new music from the Las Vegas rapper, who was named one of XXL Magazine’s freshman class last year (he was the people’s choice). “I’m always releasing stuff. I released a song today,” says Wright, who’s State of Mind Tour stops tonight at Fulton 55.

    That song is “Spark Up The Flame,” a summer-time party anthem that was written just for the season (as things start to heat up) and is available for free.

    Wright has been prolific since his full-length debut “SmokeOut Conversations” was released in 2012. He’s put out a half-dozen mix-tapes and the “State of Mind,” EP, which was released in March.

    He’s also been soaking up the experiences of being a touring musician, of getting out of Las Vegas (in a tour bus this time around) and seeing how other people live. “I get to travel, get to see other people’s environments,” he says. “It gave me a different outlook on how to put on a show.”

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    Dierks Bentley, Snoop Dogg and R5 on tap for Big Fresno Fair

    Dierks Bentley_Approved Publicity Photo_FNL CroppedIt’s that time of year when The Big Fresno Fair starts announcing performers for its Table Mountain Concert Series, which kicks off Oct. 1 at the Paul Paul Theatre.

    Its latest announcement (which came this morning) is the standard mix of country, classic hip-hop and teen-age pop rock and includes Dierks Bentley, Snoop Dogg and R5.

    • Bentley is a Grand Ole Opry inductee who’s had 11 chart-topping singles and an equal number of Grammy nominations. He plays Oct. 3. Tickets are $43 to $48.
    • In a career that has spanned close to two decades, Snoop Dogg has been on the forefront of both hip-hop (his debut album “Doggystyle” was a Billboard chart-topper and sold more than 800,000 in the first week) and popular culture. Snoog Dogg plays Oct. 8. Tickets are $33-$38.
    • R5 is a family band (brothers Riker Lynch, Rocky Lynch, Ross Lynch and sister Rydel Lynch plus friend Ellington Ratliff) that signed to Hollywood Records in 2010. It’s debut album “Louder,” was released last year. The band plays the early show Oct. 11. Tickets are $18-$23.

    The three join the list of already announced acts: TobyMac (Oct. 2), Emblem3 (Oct. 4), Beach Boys (Oct. 6), Justin Moore (Oct. 9) and comedian Gabriel Iglesias (Oct. 10).

    That leaves seven nights to fill. The fair usually lands one big hard-rock or metal act (last year it was Korn), so we should have another exciting announcement in the upcoming weeks.

    On sale (and pre-sale) dates on the jump.

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    Win tickets to: Arte Americas summer concert series

    nightsFresno’s summer days can be brutal. But our nights … our nights are so very lovely.
    Which is why Arte Americas hosts a series of Friday-night concerts in it outdoor pavilion each summer. The Nights in the Plaza series features local and regional bands playing Latin lazz and mariachi, Brazilian, Son Jarocho and rockabilly.

    We’ll be giving away passes each week (except July 4, 25 and Sept. 26) for the rest of the series’ run. This week’s concert features Steve Alcala’s “little big band,” Rumba 32. To enter to win, leave a comment in this post. Tell us your favorite way to spend a warm summer’s night in the Valley. The contest runs through noon Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random, notified by email and be able to pick up the passes at The Fresno Bee office (1626 E. Street) during normal business hours. Passes are good for any concert night, but do not guarantee entry, so early arrival is suggested.

    We’ll have a new contest up every Monday so keep checking back. Complete performer schedule and contest rules on the jump.

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    What you need to know about H&M in Fresno

    photo (89)An eye-popping 1,100 people flocked to the grand opening of Fresno’s first H&M clothing store. Getting an H&M store here — in the former Borders space in River Park — is a huge deal to a lot of people, particularly shoppers in their teens and 20s. You can see a video of the opening frenzy below. But here’s what you need to know about the store with one of the craziest openings I’ve ever covered.

    What’s the clothing like? The store carries men’s and women’s clothing, including a large selection of menswear such as dress shirts and shorts. It carries women’s plus sizes from 14 to 22, but only had one large rack devoted to it Thursday. The “H&M Mama” (maternity) section was bigger. The kid’s section is sizeable and the store also sells accessories, lingerie and fitness clothing.

    Shoppers described the styles as similar to Forever 21 and Love Culture (both in Fashion Fair mall), but more appropriate for work. The styles definitely skew young. Some said H&M clothes were less expensive than Forever 21 and higher quality. Prices ranged from $7 maxi dresses to $29.95 orange-and-white striped men’s dress shirts.

    Why the big deal? This is the only H&M store between Modesto and Santa Barbara. Shoppers have been seeking out H&M in other cities when traveling out of town for years. The retailer is the epitome of “fast fashion” which means getting cutting-edge runway looks onto store racks quickly.

    But isn’t Fresno just in love with chain stores? Perhaps. But there’s more going on here that’s inspiring 1,100 people to line up beginning 

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    Swedies: Swede Fest XIII awards

    SF13_Flyer_OL_FINALSwede Fest’s held its 13th installment last weekend at the Tower Theatre. While the semi-annual celebration of sweded films has never been keen on actual judging (it would pretty much go against everything the festival stands for), The Beehive has made it habit to hand out awards for what we see as the best of the fest.

    You can see all the entries at Swede Fest site.

    Winners receive their names in this post (great for the EPKs) and the knowledge that they left me (and probably the rest of the viewers) totally inspired.

    And the Swedies go to:

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    Pizza fries and other funky Fresno pizza

    pizzafriesOoeey gooey cheesy hot pizza is plenty good on its own, but if you’re the type who likes to try new things (say, fruit punch Oreos), some restaurants in Fresno are getting creative with their pizza. Pizza fries are a “secret menu” item at Popolo’s Pizza on North Blackstone.

    This one has a charming little back story: A 26-year-old Fresno rapper named Halo the Human (he got the name Halo in church because he didn’t cuss) is a pizza fanatic. He throws monthly pizza parties for adults. He went to a pizza expo in Las Vegas and discovered pizza fries. They’re exactly what they sound like — french fries smothered in mozzarella, cheddar and pepperoni, baked so the cheese gets all melty and served with a side of sauce. He asked Popolo’s if they could make them. They said yes and the pizza fries took off. It’s not on the menu, but they’ll make them for you if you ask. A big plate costs $8.95 or $4.95 during happy hour from 3-6 p.m. daily. By the way, Popolo’s is apparently quite the place for craft beer if you’re in the mood for pizza and beer.

    IMG_9917Richie’s Pizza & Hot Dogs, which opened recently in the Tower District (more on that here) sells a pizza dog. It’s a spicy Italian sausage with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, also baked for the melty goodness.

    The new Zamore’ Mobile Pizzeria (there’s also more about them in today’s column) has an unusual pizza too. The truck has a Thai fusion slice that is topped with chicken, a ginger

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    BANDGEEK!: Kat Jones, Natural Thrills and Pillar Point

    5-2-14-2You may want to steer clear of The Crossroads. But any of the area’s other bars/clubs/theaters are still fair game and most have something happening this weekend. Check their listings in our weekly music roundup known as BANDGEEEK!


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    Five (plus five) Things You Should Do This Weekend

    5things4-25-2Looks like y’all were at the Rodeo last night, which means you need something to do with the rest of the weekend. Lucky for you there are choices. And how.

    1. Smack in Da Middle
    Another fringe sport takes hold in Fresno.

    2. Fresno Film Festival
    If you love films, but hate the multiplex, this is a good weekend.

    3. Woofstock 3
    Doggies need love, too.
    4. Fresno Ideawork’s Day
    Fresno Ideaworks and the Grizzlies introduced us to the idea of “the maker” last year. Fan fans of robots and cardboard costume crafting.

    5. One Night Stanza
    Twenty-five of Fresno’s best poets — both the writer and performer types –share their best work.


    1. Vintage Days
    If you can find the lineup of live music, it’s a doozy!

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    Bandgeek!: Punknecks, Millionaires and Circle Takes the Square

    4-25-14Everything is happening this weekend. While that might overwhelm some, the rest of us know it’s pretty par for the course, especially when it comes to the myriad live music options happening each week. We list them all right here in your weekly update BANDGEEEEEK!


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    Bandgeek!: Pato, Squarecrow and Enjambre

    3-21-14All of your friends may be sitting in front of a TV somewhere vegging out on March Madness coverage. Not you. You’re looking at the plethora of live music happenings this week and thinking, “bring it on.” Here is our weekly music roundup in an all-new BANDGEEK!:


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    Concert news: Kip Moore added as Tim McGraw’s special guest

    kipmooreWe already told you about the Fresno date for Tim McGraw’s “Sundown Heaven” tour. It stops at the Save Mart Center May 8. Now comes news that Kip Moore will join the show as McGraw’s special guest, along with the already announced Cassadee Pope.

    Moore is an up-and-comer who helped usher in the next generation of truck-loving country artists (his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” was No. 1 on the Billboard country chart). His debut album, “Up All Night,” was and was the best-selling debut by a male country artist in 2012 and 2013.

    Check out the video for “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” on the jump.

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    Call for entries: Swede Fest 13

    Swede-02-01Swede Fest, the low- or no-budget parody film festival, has announced a call for submissions for Swede Fest 13, May 17 at the Tower Theatre.

    You have right around two months to put an entry together before the deadline, 11:59 p.m. May 12, but the first 20 entries get screened, so there’s benefit in getting yours in early. Films must be under 4 minutes suitable for all ages. Submission is free and open to the public (film makers of all ages are encouraged).

    To get a sense for the festival, here are some previous submissions.

    On a side note: This year, the Swede Fest coincides with Kingsburg’s annual Swedish Festival.

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    If you’re not out looking for a missing airliner

    5thing-3-14-1`41.) “Veronica Mars
    This is being dual released in theaters and on video on demand. It’s not opening in Fresno, but you can get it on all of your digital devices. For those into marathon watching TV, you could watch the complete series AND the film and never have to leave your couch.

    2.) Tool
    Rumor is, the band will play just seven songs. BUT, it’s Tool, so that could be more than an hour of music.

    3.) Visalia Irish Fest
    Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early. And with good beer.
    4.) Absurd Masterworks
    I’m not extremely well versed in absurdist theater. I did read Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinocéros” during my college days (in its original French). I also have a translated copy, because it’s good stuff. Here, Fresno state presents short works from Ionesco and Samuel Beckett.

    5.) Cloudship
    Cloudship is Brandon Freeman (Local Honey, Luchador) + Jonathan Napole (Gods and Kings, Before Perils).

    Bandgeek!: Salamanders, Le Wolves and Cattle Decapitation

    3-7-14Rogue Festival is in its final week and there are still LOTS of shows you have not seen. Some of them are good, even. If that’s not your thing, it’s cool. There are LOTS of musical happenings this week, too. Here they are in a nice, linear format we call BANDGEEEEEK!


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    Fulton Focus: Mall’s fate could soon be shown

    fulton mallBoth sides of the Fulton Mall debate have kicked into full battle mode in advance of the city council’s vote Thursday night. The save-the-mall crowd hosted a rally/party Saturday in the mall’s free speech area.

    Those who support opening the mall to traffic have gone on a social media blitz.

    The debate revolves around whether the council should accept the city’s proposal to use a $16 million federal grant (and other matching funds) to reopen the main stretch of Fulton street to traffic (while updating the area’s worn infrastructure). Many (including Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin) believe that an open street would fundamentally change the economics of downtown by creating more marketable commercial spaces. Others believe the mall is a precious piece of historic architecture (and art and design) and should be preserved as such (with much needed upgrades in infrastructure). Still others, council member Sal Quintero for example, question the cost of opening the full six blocks to traffic and wonder if a compromise could be made. Quintero says he will put forth his own alternative at Thursday council meeting; It would open to traffic just the north and south sections of the mall and leave the center to serve as a town square of sort.

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    Concert announcement: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center Sept. 11

    sheltonCountry superstar and TV singing-competition coach Blake Shelton announced round two of his “Ten Times Crazier” tour, which includes a Sept. 11 date at the Save Mart Center.

    Shelton, who’s been CMA’s best male vocalist for four consecutive years, is touring in support of the platinum-selling “Based on a Truth Story…,” which was released last March. The Band Perry, Neal McCoy, and Dan + Shay will join Shelton for the 20-plus dates, which includes shows at Madison Square Garden, Wrigley Field and the Hollywood Bowl.

    “I cannot wait to get back out on the road,” says Shelton, who has been a judge on NBC’s “The Voice,” since its inception and has produced three of the show’s five winners. “I had so much fun playing songs from ‘Based On A True Story…’ and getting to see the crowd’s reaction to those songs was unforgettable. It is one of the most validating things for an artist like me, to have people sing along to your songs. It means what I’m doing is right and no matter what I’m doing, whether it is ‘The Voice’ or a TV special, absolutely nothing compares to playing live for me,” he says.

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    Win tickets to Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy

    1296323Dis/Orient/Ed Comedy is the first-ever (mostly) all-female, all Asian-American comedy tour. The brainchild of Los Angeles comics Jenny Yang and Atsuko Okatsuka, the tour has played to sell-out crowds up and down the West Coast. It comes to Fresno, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre. Featured comics include Yang, Okatsuka and Helen Hong.

    Tickets for the show are available at the Tower Theatre box office or online at ($5 off if you use the coupon code “fresnobee”).

    Of course, we have a pair of tickets for one lucky Beehiver. To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. Tell us who is your favorite comedienne. This is a quick one: Deadline is 5 p.m. tonight. Winners will be informed by email and will need to come down to The Bee’s front counter by 5 p.m. Friday to claim the tickets. Full rules plus videos of Yang and Hong on the jump.

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    The fallout from the BRT vote yet to be seen

    While we have yet to see the full fallout from last week’s 4-3 council vote, it looks like Bus Rapid Transit isn’t gone for good. Which makes last Thursday’s fiasco (if you doubt my wording, read the live tweets) seem that much more of a waste.

    The silver lining here is what The Bee predicted in one of two editorials it ran prior to the vote: The council (or at least four of its members) have proven their intentions disingenuous and that their motives can’t be trusted.

    Even those opposed to BRT shouldn’t see the vote as a victory. Because BRT was never the issue. Neither was the appropriation of tax-payer money. No, this was about something else. Council member Lee Brand said as much in this quote from Friday’s story in The Bee: “BRT wasn’t the issue,” Council Member Lee Brand said. “The issue was the general plan.”

    As reminder, this is the general plan that the council approved in 2012. It’s the general plan that focuses on infill development and curbing sprawl and one which certain council members (and developers) now want to see changed (at a estimated cost of $2 million or more. As reminder, that will also be taxpayer dollars spent).

    So, that is the kind of politics the city is dealing with. Here’s hoping it will be remembered by voters come June.