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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

QnA with promoter Pete Salazar of Diehardz Music

Pete Salazar doesn’t label himself as a “promoter,” even though his company, Diehardz Music, has been booking and promoting live music in Fresno for more than a half decade.

“We are fans of pop-culture, music, movie, sports and selling collectibles,” Salazar says.

Along with concerts, his team helps with band merchandising and printing and created the biannual Rock N Shop indoor mall show.

Diehardz celebrates its seventh anniversary on Saturday with Stellar, a tribute to Incubus, plus locals Amorata, Days Under Authority and Rise the Ruler. We emailed with Salazar, just to get nostalgic.

Tell us about the first show you booked?

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BANDGEEK!: Prince, Presley and Roy Orbison

While I am trying figure out whether to care about this whole deflate-gate thing (I also heard it referred to as the much funnier ball-gate), you’ll all be checking out one of the awesome concerts happening in town this week. Right? We’ve collated them again in out weekly BANDGEEEEEEK! roundup.

TONIGHT

  • Fulton 55 4th Anniv. Party.
    W/The Purple Ones. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $13-$16. (Flier link)

  • Agent Orange.
    W/The Infirmities and Plot. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $10-$12. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Jordon Page.
    At Peeve’s. 8 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Tumbao.
    W/Menneo, Erika Nicole and Torres Castro. At Cellar Door Visalia. 9 p.m. $10. (Flier link)

  • Gristle.
    W/Wally Don’t Bite, Descend Factor and The Tripatronix. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $6.

  • Slow Season.
    W/Bitter Buffalo and Werebear. At Kelly’s Beach, Reedley. 9 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

  • Smoked Fish.
    Music at Gazebo Garden. 6 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    Other than mulling over what the closing of Wet Seal will mean for you …

    1. Queen Nation
    They will, they will rock you.

    2. Cristela Alonzo
    Cristela Alonzo is funny. Or so says Variety, L.A. Weekly, Cosmo and Vulture.com.

    3. Fresno Monsters “Star Wars” Night
    Darth Vader on ice.

    4. Chick Fest!
    Your introduction to the women in Fresno’s indie-music scene.

    5. “‘night Mother”
    Theatre Ventoux returns from a seven-year hiatus to stage Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer-price winning play.

    For music specific items, be sure to check out our weekly BANDGEEEEK! roundup.

    Bandgeek: Queen Nation, motown and John McCutcheon


    You may want to spend the weekend getting caught up on the Oscar-nominated films showing. Be sure to set aside some time for music. Here’s a list of this week’s local concerts, collated in our BANDGEEEEK! roundup.

    TONIGHT

  • Skunkdub.
    W/ONE oz and MKC. At Fulton 55. 8 p.m. $5-$8.

  • American Guitar Masters.
    A touring concert series w/Peter Janson and Steve Davison. At Full Circle Brewing Co. 8 p.m. $21.

  • Fresno’s Monthly Motown Night.
    W/The Experience. Plus DJ Mr. Leonard, Conor Miles and Josh Barrera. At Audie’s Olympic Tavern. 9 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

  • VVomen.
    Brave Season, Midwest Moms, Effort/Recover and Sleeve. At The Escape from Milf Mountain. 8 p.m. $2. (Flier link)

  • Read more

    Local rap duo merge movies and music

    In my first column of the 2015, I predicted this would be a big year for hip-hop in Fresno.

    My analysis was based on the mainstreaming of hip-hop (both in pop culture and in the local scene) and the rise of standout local talent.

    I mentioned Fashawn and others in a short list that I prefaced with the fact that others were left out. For instance: Shake da Mayor and Diego Redd, two rappers have have been representing Fresno for a decade, at least.

    Shake was part of the well-known rap group Skhool Yard with Planet Asia and Kubiq. Some will remember his song “Stunna Shades.”

    Redd is know for hits like “In the ‘No.”

    The pair got some notice of their own in 2014 for their collaboration, 99 North, which was featured in a full-length hop-hop musical of the same name released in October.

    Read more

    Roger Perry’s latest recordings were pure inspiration … and maybe some caffeine

    Roger Perry spent the first 71 hours of the New Year sitting in a little room on the side of his house recording the 10 songs that make up “In My Way,” the CD he’s releasing tonight at Audie’s Olympic Tavern.

    “I accidentally took Vitamin C with caffeine,” says Perry, a longtime Fresno musician and well known singer and guitarist.

    That would do it.

    The album was inspired by the Joe Simon song “Nine Pound Steal,” which Perry stumbled upon while clicking through Youtube. It’s what Perry describes as “real music” — simple production sans any crazy digital affects.

    “And he could really sing,” Perry says.

    Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    You could go watch some dudes climb a rock. Or …

    1. “Force Majeure
    Another beautiful foreign film presented by Fresno Filmworks. This one’s a swede, an actual Swedish movie, not the kind we’re known for.

    2. “Inherent Vice
    The new film from the guy who did “Magnolia.”

    3. Fatty Cakes “Live at the Kirby”
    An in-store performance at Tower District Records.

    4. Judy Collins
    The inspiration for CSN’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is as busy as ever.

    5. Fresno Fuego v. SJ Earthquakes PDL
    Pre-season kickoff for Fresno’s official soccer team. It’s a “friendly match” (quotes not mine).

    For a full list of music-specific event, be sure to see this week’s BANDGEEEK roundup.

    Singer Judy Collins keeps as busy as ever

    Judy Collins is multitasking.

    She excuses herself from our phone interview and leaves me on the line for a minute to take care of a quick work session. It just popped up and she didn’t want to bother with rescheduling.

    Besides, she’s used to handling multiple things at once.

    “I’m always balancing five or six things,” says Collins, in advance of her show Saturday night at the Tower Theatre.

    At 75 years old, the singer/songwriter/author/actress is a workaholic.

    The list of things on her current to-do list includes putting the final touches on a new book (she’s just turned it over to her agent), recording a PBS show for late summer (a follow up to her show at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art in 2009 and last year’s concert at Dromoland Castle in Ireland), starting promotions for the re-release of “Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman” (the documentary she produced in 1974. It earned an Oscar nomination) and finishing a series of recording projects.

    That’s ignoring the 100-plus live shows she does each year.

    “I’m busy, busy, busy,” she says.

    Read more

    BANDGEEK: Haunted Summer, Mane Horse and Dictators NYC

    Sad to say, it’ll still be another 10 years (at least) before you’ll get to take high-speed rail anywhere to see a good show. That’s fine though, because there is plenty to see right here, right now. I’ve collected this week’s music options in another installment of BANDGEEEEEK!

    TONIGHT

  • The Notones.
    After Art-Hop party. At Peeve’s Public House. 9 p.m. Free.

  • Karen Marguth and David Aus.
    The Art of the Song. At Bloo Hookah Lounge. 7 p.m. Free. (Flier link)

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends.
    W/Brave City, Santa Mira and Brave At Last. At CYC. 7 p.m. $5. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Mane Horse.
    W/Stateless, Meet me in Montauk, Sleep Spindles, Cabin Fire and Chokeslam. At The Escape to Milf Mountain. 6 p.m. $2. (Flier link)

  • EZ Mark’s Honky Tonk.
    At Full circle Brewing Company. 5:30 p.m. Free.

  • Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    nights

    Now that the New Year’s Eve celebrations are over …

    1. The Art of the Forty, Part 2
    “I ain’t drank a forty since I became old enough to drink.”

    2. The Pretty Flowers
    The new indie-rock project from drummer (and Fresno expat) Eli Reyes.

    3. Bethel Jazz Mass
    For those who find listening to jazz a spiritual experience.

    4. Fresno Hip-Hop Showcase
    Will 2015 be a big year for hip-hop in Fresno? Show up and see.

    5. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
    Good Company Players takes on this Tony-award winning Broadway play. It’s a comedy.

    BANDGEEK: Feliz Skavidad, Fashawn and From Indian Lakes

    nights

    Since you won’t be seeing “The Interview,” you’ll have plenty of time to catch a live music show. We’ve collected a full list of what’s around town this week on another BANDGEEEEEK! roundup.

    TONIGHT:

  • StradivariKingOfStrings.
    W/Halo The Human. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Lisa’s Big Night Out.
    At the Patio Cafe. 6 p.m. Free.

  • Ugly Lovers.
    W/Double Jinx and Olive Avenue. At C.A.F.E. Infoshop. 7:30 p.m. $5 donation. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Read more

    ‘Tis the season for a Fresno Christmas Light tour

    nights

    There is an understanding around the Guerriero household that, come Christmas time, the hair dyer and microwave, pretty much all appliances, really, are off limits after 5:30 p.m. There’s been one too many blown fuses.

    Yes, the Guerriero’s home (on Tenaya Avenue, near Van Ness and Sierra) taxes the grid, what with its massive display of holiday lights and decorations.

    “Every year we buy more and more,” says Mary Guerriero, who, along with her husband Joe Guerriero, spends a month (or more) each year setting up the display, which is lit from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. through Christmas.

    Even once all the decor is up, there are still small tweaks to be made, Mary says.

    “I’m still doing it every day.”

    Read more

    Where do you shop local?

    My buy local gift guide was on the cover of Sunday’s Spotlight section with lots of gift suggestions. These are not just local, but super local: locally grown and locally made. We’re talking purses made in a downtown art gallery, “Fresbro” T-shirts printed in a Tower shop and chocolate-dipped apples rolled in M&Ms at the California Gourmet Co. 

    But this is by no means a comprehensive list. Lots of places are selling locally made goods and lots of stores are locally owned. Where do you go to buy local and what do you like to buy there? Tell us in the comments.

    Concert Announcement: Iggy Azalea’s ‘The Great Escape’ tour comes to Save Mart Center

    nights

    And, just like that, the Save Mart Center lands what may arguably be one of the most-anticipated tours of 2015.

    Female rap/pop star Iggy Azalea will stop at the arena April 14 to kick off “The Great Escape” tour, a 24-date North American trek with recording artist/actor Nick Jonas and R&B/hip-hop favorites Tinashe and DJ Wizz Kidd.

    Tickets for the Fresno date are $39.50-$69.50 and on sale 9 a.m. Dec. 19 at the arena box office and select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at ticketmaster.com or AEGLive.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Platinum and VIP packages, which include premium tickets plus exclusive autographed items, will also be available.

    Presale tickets are available for American Express card members 9 a.m. Dec. 15 (through 9 p.m. Dec. 18).

    Azalea was easily one of the biggest pop stars of 2014. Her single “Fancy” broke all sorts of airplay records and was the longest-leading No. 1 by a female rapper. It was Billboard’s 2014 Song of the Summer, iTunes Best Song of 2014, the year’s most-streamed song on Spotify and the most-watched video on VEVO (and also a parody hit for Weird Al). Azalea was nominated for four Grammy Awards this year, including best new artist, best rap album, record of the year and best pop duo/group performance. Her latest, “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora, also reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 40 chart.

    You can watch the Tarantino-inspired video for “Black Widow” on the jump (it’s slightly NSFW).

    Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    nights

    Forget playing/singing/jumping in the rain

    1. Downtown Christmas Parade
    The is the parade’s 85th year. The theme is Candy Canes and Christmas Carols. I’m hoping it’s a sing along.

    2. Uppitees’ Holiday Handcraft Boutique
    There are only 12 shopping days until Christmas.

    3. “A Shot in the Dark
    A performance piece from Fresno poet Stephen Mayu Jr.

    4. Fresno Holiday Jam
    For hip-hop fans young, old and other.

    5. Christmas Tree Lane Ride
    I’ll always mention a good group bicycle ride.

    Here’s a bonus five live-music, concert-type events:

    Read more

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

    nights
    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.

    TONIGHT:

  • 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)

  • Read more

    BANDGEEK: Fab Four, Molotov and Dance Gavin Dance

    nights

    We’ve hit the holiday season full on. Time management becomes critical, especially if you want to fit in a couple of live music events.

    Lucky for you, we’ve once again done the heavy lifting and collected them for you in our handy-dandy BANDGEEK roundup.

    TONIGHT:

  • The Jacktones.
    W/Jimmie O. At Fulton 55. 8:30 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Denitia and Sene.
    W/Gentle Jaime and Naelma. At Peeve’s Public House. 8:30 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Arthop at Studio Itz.
    W/Fatty Cakes & the Puff Pastries, Werebear, Santa Mira and Satellite Era. At Studio Itz. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Read more

    Save the date: Catacomb Party 2015

    nights

    The organizers of Fresno’s Catacomb Party staged two wildly successful downtown events; If you mark success by the mass of people who showed up on the Fulton Mall for a day’s worth of free music and festivities (and I do). Thousands showed up for last year’s party (despite the July heat) to watch 40 bands play over six stages.

    After taking a year off to regroup and reorganize, Catacomb Party returns in spring of 2015.

    While there’s been no official save-the-date announcement, and lineup decisions are still being made (band submissions ended yesterday), we now have a look at the festival’s new branding.

    Notice the date up top, put in the calendar and circle it in red: April 4. You can still volunteer to help with the festival (through Jan. 1) or just keep up-to-date by signing up for the Catahomies Newsletter.

    On the jump: Watch Gentle Jamie killing it (or himself) at last year’s party.

    Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    nights

    Gas is cheap again. So you could always skip town. Or …

    1. Downtown Fresno Ice Rink
    You’re skating on thin ice mister.

    2. Central California Auto Show
    Auto nerds need conventions too.

    3. “Levitated Mass
    This film ask the question, “Can a giant boulder be art?”

    4. “Birdman
    Restore your faith in American film making.

    5. Fundraiser Benefit Concert for Perry Hodge
    Perry Hodge has been a vital part of Fresno’s music scene since the 1980s. Here’s a small chance to repay the man.

    And a bonus five for music fans.

    Read more

    BANDGEEK!: Like a Villain, Light Thieves and Mariachi El Bronx

    nights

    Take a couple minutes to vote in The Fresno Bee’s People’s Choice Awards. Then. Check out one of these live music shows happening through next week. They are compiled again in The Beehive’s BANDGEEEK! roundup.

    TONIGHT:

  • The Oh Hellos.
    W/The Collection and The Gospel Whiskey Runners. At Radiant Church Visalia. 5 p.m. $12.50.

  • The Fast Money Tour 3.
    W/Turf Talk. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $10-$15. (Flier link)

  • Like A Villain.
    W/Dovves. At Peeve’s Public House. 9:30 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Goodtime Boys.
    W/Lost Tribe, Vain and Valor, One Last Caress and Dependence. At CYC. 7 p.m. $6. All ages. (Flier link)

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

  • Read more

    Led Zeppelin won’t be reuniting for $800 million

    nights

    At this point, who knows if the news of Robert Plant turning down $800 million for a 35-date Led Zeppelin reunion is true.

    The story is a few hours old and already it’s being updated to quote Plant’s publicist. He says it’s “rubbish.”

    That’s the (sad) state of current news media for you.

    Read more

    BANDGEEK!: Winter Jam, The Kin and “Kittysiclosis”

    nights
    The election is over (sort of). Feel free to go back to not caring about politics for another two years. That’ll leave you plenty of time to enjoy any of the live music happenings this week.

    Here they are, compiled in our weekly BANDGEEEK roundup. Enjoy!

    TONIGHT:

  • Sahab.
    “Kittysiclosis,” release show. W/Zee Will. At Peeve’s Public House. 9 p.m. Free. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Soft-Spoken.
    W/WaterBox Inc. and The Morning Drive. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $6-$8. (Flier link)

  • Fortunate Youth.
    W/The Expanders, Thrive and One Oz. At Strummer’s. 8 p.m. $10. All ages.

  • Read more

    Concert fundraiser for local guitarist Perry Hodge

    nights

    Sad news for the local music scene.

    Perry Hodge, a guy who has been a vital part of scene since the 1980s, is in the hospital. And it looks to be bad. Currently, he’s too ill to perform, which is devastating (financially at the very least) for someone who makes their living as a musician.

    To help defray medical bills and costs of living (and other costs that are sure to arise) Fulton 55 will be hosting a benefit concert 4:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

    Details on the show are still being worked out, but expect performances from Hodge’s friends and band mates and others in the scene. Tickets will be on sale soon via Fulton 55 (online and at door). If you cannot attend but want to contribute or you wish to donate a significant amount, you will be able to do so via Fulton 55′s website.

    I’d met Perry a couple of times, but was able to perform with him earlier this year when he stepped in to play the role of Malcolm Young (or was it Angus) in my AC/DC tribute band. The guy is a pro in a way that I can only aspire to be. His presence from the scene will no doubt be heavily felt.

    From the Facebook event page:

    From his fresh lyrics in The Lone Wolf Gang with Joe Rosato; to thrilling harmonies and mean guitar in Roger Perry’s various bands; to all encompassing variety in Vince Warner’s Rockville and Beatleville, Perry Hodge is a Fresno Music Scene staple … Please come out to celebrate his life, his love of music, and his gift of sharing it all with us. We are indeed forever changed and grateful for the time we have with Mr. Perry Lee Hodge.

    Watch Hodge on stage with Beatleville on the jump.

    Read more

    The spiciest restaurant food in Fresno

    Occasionally I get questions from readers that are fun to find answers to. A few days ago reader Sundeep Dhillon wanted to know which restaurants had the spiciest dishes — Indian, Asian, whatever, the ethnicity didn’t matter as long as it got your taste buds burning. Being a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy foods myself, I threw the request out to the eating masses on Twitter and Facebook and they came back with lots of answers. Below is what they said. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments. And if you’ve tasted the dishes people suggested, what did you think? Hard core hot and spicy? Or could you handle hotter?

    Umi Sushi‘s jalapeno bomb.

    Thai Basil restaurant’s spicy beef salad, papaya salad, the Tom Kha Kai. (This one is in Visalia.)

    Buffalo Ranch‘s atomic chicken wings.

    B&K Asian Kitchen came up repeatedly as being able to make anything spicy.

    Club One‘s spicy pad thai.

    Read more

    Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

    nights

    1. CalaGala
    The reason for the season.

    2. “Phantom of the Opera”
    Silent horror film + pipe organ + Warnors Theatre = a step into the past. Seriously. When the theater screen this last year, 1,000 people showed.

    3. Movember kick-off shave party
    It’s not just for hipsters.

    4. Offal Dinner
    Can’t decide between the cow’s feet and the pickled tongue? Splurge and have both. It’s Halloween.

    5. Arrogant Bastard Day
    Drink up me hearties, yo ho.

    Here’s bonus five for fans of live music.

    1. The Purple Ones
    2. Ape Machine
    3. Flyleaf
    4. Sleepover Disaster
    5. The Cured

    For a full list of music-specific choices see this week’s Bandgeek post.
    And this is relevant for a few more hours at least.