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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Bandgeek!: The Remones, Red Scare and the Tastmaker’s Festival

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With Halloween one weekend away (technically it’s two weeks and a day, but whatever) you’ll probably spend the weekend working on your costume (I hear Ebola’s trending this year).

Be sure to take a break for a couple of hours and check out one of the live music performances happening through next week. It’s a long list, which I’ll leave here as your weekly BANDGEEK!

TONIGHT:

  • Fiji.
    W/Essel and ReLion. At Fulton 55. 9 p.m. $25-$35. (Flier link)

  • Roger Sellers.
    W/Tson. At Peeve’s Public House. 8 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Curse.
    W/Midwest Moms and The Agonic Line. At C.A.F.E. Infoshop. 8 p.m. $5. All ages. (Flier link)

  • Ron Thompson and his Resistors.
    Central Valley’s Blues Society’s weekly dance party. At Pinot Wine Bar. 6 p.m. Free.

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    Concert Announcement: Ladies Night Out Vol. 3 with Frankie J, Ginuwine

    nights

    Get ready to live like its the 1990s … for a third time.

    The Save Mart Center announced the third installment of the Ladies Night hip-hop and R&B concert will be stopping at the arena Nov. 22.

    Ladies Night Out Vol. 2 came to the arena in 2011 and featured ’90s throw-back groups like Bell Biv DeVoe, Color Me Badd, Jagged Edge and H-Town.

    This time around the concert features Mexican singer Frankie J (of the Kumbia Kings), R&B icon Ginuwine, “Baby Got Back” rapper Sir-Mix-A-Lot, the R& B duo Next and Silk, the ’90s group discovered by Keith Sweat.

    Venue and radio presales for the concert begin 10 a.m. Sept. 8 according to Ticketmaster. They go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Sept. 15.

    Tickets are $29-$69 and available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

    Catch a video of Frankie J on the jump.

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    Announcement: Mega Old School Party Jam 2

    nights

    The Rotary Amphitheater at Woodward Park is under appreciated (if not underused) as a concert venue.

    But it will be busy in September.

    I already told you about A Day to Remember, which brings its “Parks and Devastation” tour to the amphitheater Sept. 23.

    Before that is The Mega Old School Party Jam 2.

    The concert, scheduled for Sept. 5, is for fans of early hip-hop with performances from Treach and Kay Gee (of Naughty by Nature) Jalil & Ecstasy (of Whodini), plus Kurtis Blow, Shock G (of Digital Underground), Coolio and Young MC.

    Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m.

    Tickets are $35-$40 and on sale now online at myticketportal.com (thru Sept. 1), or at Rimco in Fresno (5375 N. Blackstone Ave.) or Visalia (1712 E. Main Street), at Ed Dena’s Auto Center, 1500 W. El Monte Way in Dinuba, or the Mega 97.9 studios located at Palm and Shaw in Fresno.

    Just for fun, click to jump to watch the video for “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

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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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    BANDGEEK: Fierce Creatures, Chapin Sisters and Paul Collins’ Beat

    6-6-14This weekend, it’s all about a horse race. Worry not, you’ll still have time to make it out to at least one of the dozens of these live music events, which we compile each week so you don’t have to. Here’s an all-new BANDGEEEK!

    TONIGHT:

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    TONIGHT: Pollywog Crew

    pwc nomadThe Beastie Boys encapsulated a wide swath of pop culture in the 1990s — even though the New York band had blasted onto the scene with its brand of beer-swilling party-time hip-hop almost a decade earlier. There was the music, for sure, but the trio (Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock) were also deep into fashion, the skateboarding culture and sports.

    “They had their hands everywhere. They were the youth of America,” says Dino Carrillo, or D-Rock, as he is known in the Pollywog Crew, the Beastie Boys tribute band that formed in L.A. in 2012. They play tonight at Strummer’s.

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    TONIGHT: Mila J

    mila
    When Mila J dropped her mixtape in 2012, it quickly hit more than 600,000 downloads and incited a major-label bidding war. The Los Angeles based soul singer, the older sister of R&B crooner Jhené Aiko, ultimately signed with Motown and went to work on her debut album, the first single of which, “Smoke, Drink, Break-Up,” is steadily climbing the Urban Mainstream Chart and has already reached more than a half million YouTube/VEVO views in less than a month. It is also currently in rotation on MTV Jams, MTV HITS, MTV2 and VH1.
    Mila has just embarked on her first national tour, playing support for rapper Ty Dollar $ign on his “Beach Hour Tour.” That tour kicks off tonight at Strummer’s. Tickets are $17 and available online or at the venue.

    “Smoke, Drink, Break-Up,” on the jump.

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    Jazmin Sisters get giddy over new single

    jazminThe Jazmin Sisters — Nadia, Felicia, Celia and Daria — are buzzing and you can’t tell if it’s the venti servings of caffeine they’re drinking, or if this is the natural state of being for the Los Angeles pop/R&B group.

    Either way, the girls talk at rapid fire pace, starting and finishing each other sentences in a way only actual sisters (the kind who grew up in sharing a single bedroom and two bunk beds) do.

    You can’t fault the girls for being excited. They spent last week on a radio run, traveling the state to spread word on their EP — “90′ Baby,” which was released in November and produced by MIDI Mafia, the Grammy nominated team that has done songs for the likes of 50 Cent, JLo, Fantasia and Justin Bieber. The sisters were meeting with stations in Fresno on Friday, and played Saturday night at Cellar Door in Visalia.

    Last week also saw the release of a remix for the group’s single single “You,” which features Bay Area hip-hop artist Iamsu! The track got quick love. They just finished recording the song last Sunday. By Tuesday, it was on the radio station Power 106 in Los Angeles and getting love in national hip-hop publications.

    “We were in Fader, dude!” says Felicia.

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    Win tickets to Krush Groove

    krushgrooveThe Krush Groove hi-hip showcase rolls into town Friday. The fifth annual event, started by Los Angeles radio station 93.5 KDAY, is heaven for fans of the old-school, with some of heaviest hitters of the ’90s, including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Redman AND Method Man, DJ Quik and Too $hort, plus Daz and WC, Tha Eastsidaz, Jayo Felony and 2 II None.

    Bone Thugs in particular, are no strangers to Fresno. The group was part of the similarly themed West Coast Fest last summer and lobbied to have that tour kick-off in Fresno. So, fans should be out in force.

    We have tickets for a lucky Beehiver.
    Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post. Tell us which Krush Groove artist ranks best, or tell us who should have been on the bill. Deadline to enter is 8 p.m. Thursday. Please enter only once. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email (so check yours Friday morning if you entered).

    Full contest rules on the jump.

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    TONIGHT: Fauxchella w/ ZZ Ward

    zzwardThere are moments when it’s hard for ZZ Ward to fathom her own success — like say, the three days this summer she’ll be opening for guitar god Eric Clapton, or playing Red Rocks Amphitheater with Amos Lee this August. Or, this weekend’s slot at the Coachella Festival.

    “There are days when everything feels like such a big deal,” says Ward, the 27-year old blues R&B hip-hop singer, who has worked with guys like Asher Roth, Kendrick Lamar and Pete Rock. Her debut “Til the Casket Drops,” was released in 2012 on Hollywood Records. Her free “Eleven Roses,” mix-tape feature interpretations tracks by Lamar along with Childish Gambino and Tyler, the Creator.

    Most days though, there’s just not time for that kind of thinking, Ward says.
    “I still feel like I’m trying to do it,” she says. “I’m always too busy trying to do a good job with things.”

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    Win tickets to Let’s Go Bowling/40 Watt Hype

    lgbThere are few local bands that have the enduring appeal of ska-rockers Let’s Go Bowling.

    The live hip-hop/jazz/soul group 40 Watt Hype would be one.

    Put the two bands on the same bill and you’re assured to get A.) a packed house B.) a great night of live, local music.

    The bands play back to back 9 p.m. Friday at Fulton 55 and we have tickets to give away to a few lucky Beehivers. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Tell us which band (LGB or 40 Watt) you’re more excited to see and why. The contest will run until 5 p.m. Thursday. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email (so check yours if you enter).

    Rules and videos on the jump.

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    Fresno’s hip-hop hero Fashawn releases new track

    Ladies - Cover Art - LargeFor fans of Fresno rapper Fashawn: A Valentine’s gift; a new single to tide you over until the release of his sophomore album “The Ecology.”

    The Hecktik produced track was released today. It’s Fashawn’s ode to women.

    “Being raised without a father and experiencing the difficulties of poverty as a young man helped shape Fashawn into the father he is today and the respect he has for woman who sacrifice in order to keep families together.”

    On a cool little side note: The artwork for the single was created by Stromberg, an “abstract stencil expressionist” who recently made news for creating a fake Bansky.

    You can listen to “Ladies” on the jump. NSFW.

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    Concert announcement: Krush Groove featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and more

    krushgrooveThe Krush Groove showcase takes its name from the iconic 1985 movie about the early days of hip-hop. The fifth annual event, started by Los Angeles radio station 93.5 KDAY, announced an April 18 date at the Save Mart Center.

    This will be a celebration of old-school rap and hip-hop, with some of heaviest hitters of the ’90s, including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Redman and Method Man, DJ Quik, Too $hort, Daz and WC, Tha Eastsidaz, Jayo Felony and 2 II None.

    Bone Thugs-N-Harmony‘s combination of rapid-fire rhymes and smooth harmonies earned the group a Grammy and helped them sell more than 50 million records. The Cleveland, Ohio five-piece are no strangers to Fresno. The group was part of the similarly themed West Coast Fest last summer and lobbied to have the tour kick-off in Fresno.

    Tickets for Krush Groove are $29.50-$69.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Friday. They will be available online at the Save Mart Center box office, select Save Mart Supermarkets, on line at www.ticketmaster.com and www.livenation.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

    Videos on the jump.

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    You review: Jay Z, Joe Bonamassa, Florida Georgia Line

    Fresno got a good run of big-name concerts this week, including blues man Joe Bonamassa and mega-pop star Jay Z on Tuesday (playing the Warnors Theatre and Save Mart Center respectively) and up-and-coming country act Florida Georgia Line last night (another Save Mart Center show).

    We followed the Jay Z show on Twitter and Instagram. The arena looked full and at least one fan marked it as “the best night in Fresno. Ever.”

    Danny Salas of Q97 had this Tweet, though he later followed up and said the place got packed.

    So, were you there? What did you think? Did Jay Z deliver the goods? How was this show compared to his 2009 performance?

    What about Joe Bonamassa and Florida Georgia Line? The latter has been getting a ton of hype lately. Were they able to draw a crowd worthy of the talk? How was the Warnor’s Theatre as a setting for a show like Bonamassa’s?

    Concert Announcements: Talib Kweli, English Beat

    talibLast week we brought you news that Ice Cube (and Cypress Hill, Tyga and others) would be coming to the Selland Arena on Dec. 28, in a show that is sure to please both hip-hop fans and certain city council members. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday.

    Here are two more shows to keep an eye on:

    • Talib Kweli, Dec. 6, at Cellar Door, Visalia.
      Brooklyn-born Talib Kweli is one of the most critically successful (if not famous) rappers of the late ‘90s. Known for his work with Mos Def and the group Black Star, Kweli has collaborated with Kanye West, Common, The Roots, Q-Tip and Kendrick Lamar. For the show, he’ll be joined by local rapper Planet Asia and Omar Aura. Tickets are $23 (with fees) and on sale now.
  • The English Beat, Jan. 24, at Fulton 55.
    Along with the Specials, The English Beat created a British ska revival in the late 1970s that spawned entire generations of ska/punk/reggae bands. Included in that roster is Fresno’s own Let’s Go Bowling, which will be opening the show. Tickets are $20 and on sale now. They will go quickly.
  • Check out a video of English Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom,’ on the jump.

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    CONCERT NEWS: Ice Cube & Cypress Hill at Selland Arena

    fresnowinterjam

    Here’s a concert for hip-hop fans to end 2013 with: Fresno Winter Jam at Selland Arena on Saturday, Dec. 28.

    Performers include Ice Cube, Cypress Hill, Tyga, Sage the Gemini, and Ty Dolla $ign.

    Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 15, and cost $27, $37, $51, $76, $112. They are available at the convention center main box office at Selland Arena, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and weekends on show dates, or through the Ticketmaster website, by phone (800) 745-3000 and all Ticketmaster outlets, including select Vallarta and Save Mart Supermarkets.

    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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    Concert news: Mobb Deep, Meat Puppets + more

    probablWhile the newly re-minted Strummer’s (formerly the Starline) has been on an impressive run of shows lately, it’s hardly the only venue bringing in quality acts.

    This weekend Audie’s Olympic had indie-standout Kurt Vile (with Strange Vine to boot).

    Fulton 55 just announced underground hip-hop duo Mobb Deep will be in town Sept. 4 on its 20th anniversary tour. For the hardcore hip-hop fans, this is a biggie.

    Visalia’s Sound n Vision foundation has a string of good shows, including the return of indie-upstarts Pure Bathing Culture (who played the Cellar Door in March) and grunge-influencers The Meat Puppets, who play Nov. 10, with the World Takes (with Bonebrake of the band X). Strange Vine opens.

    The Foundation also has its annual Festival of Hope coming up Sept. 28-29. The festival always has a musical lineup. This year it includes Big Black Delta, Caught a Ghost and Song Preservation Society, plus locals Poor Mans Poison, Gospel Whiskey Runners and Mezcal.

    The Artourage has announced Kyle Gass (1/2 of Tenacious D) will return to Fresno Sept. 6, playing the Babylon Club. This will a CD release show for the band. The promoter also announced rock band Fuel will play the next night (Sept. 7) at Bullfogs Bar and Grill in Kingsburg.

    With all this great music coming through (then adding in the local stuff), the question becomes whether the fans come out to support. Videos of Vile, Mobb Deep, Pure Bathing Culture, Meat Puppets, Gass and Fuel on the jump.

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    Watch this: Sahab rips out his own heart.

    Electronic indie hip-hop act Sahab is in full-on promo mode for his new album elevenfiftynine. The album will be available on Aug. 27 and as lead up, the performer is doing everything from an Instagram project/contest, to a series of videos produced in conjunction with Windsong Productions.

    I’m not 100 percent how the videos tie back to the album, but if you have five minutes or so, they’re worth the time. Maybe you can help explain them to me. The fourth (of five) episode of the series will be available at 11:59 on Tuesday, over at iamsahab.com.

    Watch episode two on the jump. It’s a doozy. Dude rips out his own heart. The rest can be seen here.

    Bandgeek! Beards, Llama Boy and a Mercy Fist

    942345_10151553167417736_700213046_n (1)It’s like a heatwave, to borrow from Martha and the Vandellas. Though it’s not burning in my heart, I suppose.

    And it’s not like a heatwave, it is an actual heatwave … Well … Don’t let that stop you from getting out and seeing some live music, because the weekend is deep with options, which I give you now in another installment of BANDGEEEK!

    FRIDAY:

    Artist you should know: Cockcamamie Jamie (full interview)

    AP56Cockamamie seems like a fitting word to describe Jamie Nelson — or at least his hip-hop alter ego.

    He was after all, 1/2 of the local rapper group Argyle Pimps, which was known for being off-beat and nonsensical in its approach to the genre. He continues working the theme in a new solo project, Cockamamie Jamie, which plays 7 p.m. Saturday at Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero Street. The show is a fundraiser for the Catacomb Party music festival, being held July 20 on Fresno’s Fulton Mall. Its also Cockamamie Jamie’s live debut.

    We emailed Nelson to find out more.

    He replied with appropriately oddball answers.

    Tell us about Cockamamie Jamie. Who is this guy and what’s he all about?

    Cockamamie Jamie is lifelong resident of Fresno, who has written and recorded rap music for the better part of 18 years. He writes quirky songs, records them to beats and performs his music to throngs of gawkers, and onlookers in the Central Valley, and beyond. He’s a runner, who runs about 200 miles a month in the Old Fig Garden area, and has specifically requested that people stop throwing both: items, and insults at him while he is running.
    They both hurt.
    He’s got a new album out called “Survivor Series,” and he wants you to know that it is available digitally on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. Or, you can score a limited edition (1,000 made) compact disc via Bandcamp. If all of this terrifies you, just Google search: Cockamamie Jamie, and watch stuff happen.

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    Bandgeek!: Nick Fest, a rent show and 77 Jefferson

    969363_10151216315599364_2126256360_nThis Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be in Reno competing in the National Bowling Tournament. But the world doesn’t revolve around me and local venues, band and promoters are continuing on with their plans, which I present to you now as another installment of BANDGEEEEEEK!!

    TONIGHT (Thursday):

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    BANDGEEK!: Face to Face with Man or-Astroman?, Yngwie Malmsteen and a Blind Bison

    01-elgOther than getting sufficiently lubricated at the Fresno Craft Beer Festival (even if it is at a winery in Madera), what’s a music-loving boy (or girl) to do this weekend? Quite a bit turns out. Let’s break it down with this week’s BANDGEEEEEEEK!!

    TONIGHT (Thursday):

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    Announced: Fresno Urban Sound Experience 2013

    581529_10151088814821144_214532054_nFresno Urban Sound Experience (known by some as F.U.S.E.) has announced the dates for the 2013 festival. So, circle Sept. 20 and 21 on the calendar for this locals-only music event. The festival will once again be held in downtown Fresno venues (including Fresno Brewing Company, Frank’s Place, Tokyo Garden and more) and will feature an insane number of local, original bands.

    This will be the festival’s sixth year.
    Because the lineup is still in the works: Who do you think deserves to be in this year’s lineup?