Facebook is great. It’s where I get all my news tips (just kidding, I’m a professional).
But I did see: News that a group of locals (including Paul Cruikshank, Jason Pistoresi, Steve Richard and Eddy from Numbskull Productions) is buying (or according to the post I saw already bought) the Starline and Starline Grill. I am working to confirm and track down some more info on what this might mean if it’s true, but my initial reaction is this will be great for the scene. So…stay tuned for more.
First off: Make time to get out to the Fresno Ideaworks Mini Makers Faire on Sunday. It’s one of those ahead-of-the-curve things that you may not understand now, but give it a few years. Everyone will be talking about it. That’s my take anyway.
You may also want to block out some time for all the great music events. So, let’s get to it. Once again, let us BANDGEEEEEEEEK!
The compilation album is seriously one of the best things to ever be invented. The majority of my musical favorites were discovered on compilations (this one and this one and this one and this one in particular). The albums serve as time capsules, perfect little snap-shots of a scene or genre. Fresno has had a couple such albums in the past, including a double CD from Grey Tank Records.
The contest started with 50,000 contestants nationwide, with five regional winners duking out tonight in Nashville. Jewel hosted the competition, which eventually will be televised nationally. The country showdown has helped launch the careers of stars such as Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Martina McBride and Miranda Lambert.
In a Q & A that published in today’s Fresno Bee, I asked bass player Dustin Medeiros what he thought winning would do for Poor Man’s Poison. His answer: “I’m not totally sure that winning or not will change our future.” Something tells me Poor Man’s Poison’s future just got a lot brighter.
Starting tonight, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Rudy Parris, the Visalia singer/guitarist who competed on the current season of NBC’s “The Voice.” Here are three tidbits that his fans should be excited about:
1. Though he was eliminated in October — in a knockout round against current finalist Terry McDermott – Parris will be back for the final two episodes of “The Voice” tonight and Tuesday. It’ll be in look-back fashion, of course, but it’s still nice to see local musicians on popular, national TV shows.
2. Fresno fans can see Parris in person twice in the coming weeks. Friday night, he plays at Fresno’s Fulton 55. It’s his first Fresno show since his appearance on “The Voice.” Ticket info here. He’s also playing at World Sports Cafe at River Park on New Year’s Eve. 9 p.m. $20.
3. Since it’s Christmas music season, Parris fans can find him on the new Christmas album from his “Voice” coach Blake Shelton. Parris and the rest of Shelton’s team sing background on “White Christmas.”
Gotta admit, I’m quite smitten with local band Copper & Glass at the moment. These five dudes have a great sound that doesn’t scream “local band.” In fact, last week I had some of their songs on an iTunes playlist with a bunch of national bands, and as I listened I couldn’t distinguish which was the new local group and which were the veteran national acts.
It probably helps that two of Copper & Glass’ members were part of Atari Champ, a celebrated indie rock band from a decade ago. Below is “Clear Black Skies,” a more alt-country-sounding song of theirs. Head to their ReverbNation page to check out my favorite song of theirs, “All My Life,” which has more of a folksy/indie rock vibe. Says singer Jc Babb: “We’ve been compared to everyone from Marshall Tucker Band to Ryan Adams to Ray LaMontagne — a little bit country, a little bit soul and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.”
The band — Babb (vocals/guitars), Mike Morris (pedal steel guitar/keys), Taylor Hollman (lead guitar/mandolin), Erik Escovedo (bass) and Corey Dobbins (drums) — is having its album release concert Saturday night at Audie’s Olympic. Details are below. I’ll have an interview with the band in Friday’s Fresno Bee, so watch out for that.
UPDATE: We’re still awaiting local singer/guitarist Rudy Parris‘ appearance on “The Voice.” It wasn’t last week. Now there are only eight spots left. So if you’re looking for Rudy, tonight is a good night to tune in, it would seem.
ORIGINAL POST, 9/24: Visalia’s Rudy Parris — a blues/rock singer and guitarist — is maybe, probably, likely going to appear on NBC’s “The Voice” this week.
As usual with these reality/competition shows, things have to be a secret until they air. Parris has been hinting at an appearance on the show (like the above graphic on his Facebook page) but can’t offer specifics.
The show’s blind auditions continue this week and are soon winding to a close. He hasn’t appeared yet. So you do the math.
“The Voice” is on tonight and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
It’s available via iTunes and other major digital music outlets. The duo is also having a meet-and-greet Thursday at FYE, 200 W. Shaw Ave. in Clovis. It starts at 6 p.m. Get a taste of the album, including the video for “Slash Gordan,” after the jump.
Now here’s the discussion point: What did you think of the festival? In its fifth year, has Fuse Fest hit its stride? Does it still have some improvement to do? What would you like to see done better? What could make Fuse Fest reach out past the “usual suspects” and the get the whole city to rally behind it?
The people I talked to Saturday night were handing out both praise and ideas on how to make the festival better. So what do YOU think? For more on Fuse Fest, read recaps over at Fresno Famous and The Fresnan.
1. LIGHT YOUR FUSE FOR LOCAL MUSIC Were this feature called “One Thing You Should Do This Weekend,” this would be it. Fuse Fest, or Fresno Urban Sound Experience, is our annual all-local music festival that acts as an all-you-can-eat buffet of local music of various genres. It’s tonight and Saturday, with a total of 40 acts playing on 10 stages, all in downtown Fresno. Tickets can be purchased for $15 per night or $20 for both, good for maximum stage hopping. For more about the festival, read this story from today’s Bee about its evolution, check out the band lineup/schedule, listen to my podcast, or Famous’ podcast, check out The Fresnan or hit up the Facebook page. If there were one weekend to get out and support the Fresno music scene, this is it. [More]
UPDATE: Congrats to our winners — Hootzie and RayDad. Hope the two of you, and everyone else, enjoy the festival this weekend.
ORIGINAL POST: This weekend is Fresno’s annual all-local music festival — Fuse Fest, or the Fresno Urban Sound Experience, if you like to spell things out. Fuse actually gets started tonight at 5:30 with a free preview at The Hashtag, but the meat of the festival is Friday and Saturdays nights, as 40 bands play on 10 stages in a diverse, genre-jumping display of Fresno’s music scene.
The festival functions like an all-you-can-see live music buffet — with tickets that allow you to hop from venue to venue. Tickets cost $15 per day, or $20 for both. They can be purchased at Fulton 55 (in advance), at any other venue (the day of) or at tonight’s preview.
We’ve got a giveaway that can help you save some cash. We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to two lucky readers. Just leave a comment below telling us your favorite local band of all time and you’ll be entered to win. This is a quick contest, so deadline to enter is 5 p.m. today. Winners will be notified by e-mail, so please check yours. No duplicate entries please. Complete rules below.
Local folk/Americana band Poor Man’s Poison won the California portion of the Texaco Country Showdown on Saturday night and advances to a regional final in November with a chance of winning national final worth $100,000.
It’s the latest achievement in what’s proven to be a big year for the Hanford-based band, which sold out the Hanford Fox Theatre in February (becoming the first local band to do so), then got chosen to play for U.S. troops stationed at Guantanamo Bay.
Poor Man’s Poison now moves on to a Nov. 10 competition in Oregon, one of five regional competitions in the country showdown, which will ultimately crown “the best new act in country music.” The winner gets $100,000 and joins names such as Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley and Martina McBride as past winners.
Poor Man’s Poison isn’t the first band from the area to fare well in the competition. Kerman-based Whisky Row made it to the national finals in 2009, back when the event was called the Colgate Country Showdown.
If you’re interested, the first thing to do is go here and upload a video. They can be music videos, live performances or audio with still images. Videos must be less than 500mb and shorter than 10 minutes. Accepted video formats are MOV, AVI, MPEG or WMV.
After Friday’s submission deadline, online voting will decide who advances in the contest. The first round of voting is July 17-Aug. 6. The top 25 will move to the second round, Aug. 10-Sept. 4. The top six acts will then perform at the fair.
A few of the local acts already signed up include Patrick Contreras, Palm Kids, White Glove Service and PieceMakers.
Here’s info on two noteworthy — albeit in completely different worlds — upcoming local music releases:
We know indie rock septet Fierce Creatures is releasing its much-anticipated full-length album soon. But now word comes down the band will do so with Brooklyn-based Paper Garden Records.
Check out Paper Garden’s announcement for the album’s tracklist, the label’s praise for Fierce Creatures and more. You can pre-order the album digitally, on CD and vinyl through Bandcamp.
Sixteen-year-old pop singer Ryan Beatty announced this morning that his debut EP, “Because of You” will be out July 24. It’ll be a largely digital release via OcSkee Entertainment, the label of DJ Skee.
Nineteen-year-old rapper Baeza recently achieved something that no other local artist not named Ryan Beatty has done: Topped one million views on YouTube for his song “Far From Ready,” which was released in December.
Baeza — who is very obviously cut from the Drake cloth — has built a strong fanbase online, mostly of women. Ask Drake, that’s not a bad business model. Baeza says he’s already talking to record labels and prepping future releases. I did a Q & A with him that will appear in Friday’s Fresno Bee. Next This weekend, you can catch Baeza performing a headlining concert (flier below) at Veterans Memoral Auditorium in downtown Fresno.
The fate of all-ages, underground music venue The Bel-Tower is up in the air after a weekend in which the club was shut down by local authorities and its loyal fans began a campaign to save the Belmont Avenue space.
The Bel-Tower — which holds about 100 people for shows and is at 69 E. Belmont Ave. — had a meeting at noon today to talk to Fresno PD and local Alcoholic Beverage Control. Afterward, the club beckoned its devotees for a discussion about the venue’s future.
We’ll probably hear specifics from those meetings soon, but it’s already sounds like The Bel-Tower will need to get the proper permits to operate as a venue. Management is anticipating some repair costs to get the place up to code, as well.
UPDATE: Consider this now a not-so-last call. The fair has extended the deadline until July 15. So now you have two more weeks to get your video set, local bands.
ORIGINAL POST: Last year, The Big Fresno Fair rolled out a new contest that effectively turned one of its nights into a local music festival. Six local bands played on the fair’s Pavilion Stage. From dozens of entrants, the winners were chosen through an online vote.
So how was your weekend? For the music scene, seems like the last three days were filled with big crowds and big statements.
The Fierce Creatures show at Fulton 55 was all kinds of huge. The venue reports 562 people through the door. (That’s hitting capacity, people leaving, then hitting capacity again — numerous times, probably). It was a big statement for Fierce Creatures, who are off to win over the rest of the world at South by Southwest this week. Can we all agree now that they’re the coolest band in town?
One thing that holds Fresno’s live music scene back, in my opinion, is that it’s often hard to get people to take a chance on a quality act that doesn’t have a lot of name recognition. Ask any local promoter and they’ll tell you. Sure, it’s a tough thing anywhere, but it’s tougher in Fresno.
Fulton 55 general manager Tony Martin knew it was something he’d be fighting when the club opened. So he thought up a gimmick. He’s starting monthly “Take a Chance” nights that will showcase on-the-rise, not necessarily “name” bands that the club believes in — and give people a chance to check out the shows without risking too much.
Here’s how these “Take a Chance” nights will work: If you’re not confident enough in the bands to buy a regular ticket to the concert, then you can just show up and get in for free. If you like one or both of the bands, Fulton 55 asks that you leave the bands some money in a tip jar. Hopefully, this will give these touring bands enough money for their travels, and help them recruit new fans.
The larger goal is two-fold: (1) The bands’ fan bases will grow and they can keep coming back to Fresno and play on better nights. (2) People will get used to taking chances when it comes to live shows.
Audie’s Olympic will host some “Take a Chance” shows too, a little joint effort in trying to open Fresnans’ minds. Kinda nice to see two venues working together, isn’t it?
A couple of local bands are faring pretty well on the current CMJ charts, which measure college radio plays and help emerging artists build their rep.
Current indie rock darlings Fierce Creatures have the 10th most added album this week on CMJ’s charts with their self-released “I Mostri Feroci.” It beat out some pretty big indie rock names, such as Cold Way Kids and Iron & Wine.
Meanwhile, local scene vets 40 Watt Hype are a few weeks into a college radio campaign that saw them debut as the No. 2 most-added on CMJ’s hip-hop chart. Last week, they were #34 overall on the hip-hop charts, and this week they crept up to #32. The group is now getting getting played on more than 60 stations in the U.S. and Canada. Eight of those station’s have 40 Watt’s funky hip-hop/Latin fusion in their top 10.