While there will no doubt be many a Paul Walker memorial movie marathon happening this weekend (make sure you include “Running Scared.” It is by far his best.), there’s also a deluge of music. It’s all here in The Beehive’s weekly music roundup known as BANDGEEEEEK!!.
Hooray! The government shut down is over! Now we can all resume our lives and do all the stuff we’ve been putting off for weeks. Like following the exploits of Banksy. Or, hitting the area’s bars, clubs, theaters (and arena) to gorge ourselves on live music. Start by scrolling through this week’s music roundup. Here’s your BANDGEEEEK!
Stop daydreaming about what $16 million could do for the Fulton Mall.
Go out and enjoy some live music. Here’s a couple of suggestions that I’ve formatted for easy consumption. Here’s your weekly music roundup. Here is an all-new BANDGEEEEK! You are welcome.
Ron “Doc” Morse joins Andrew “Bad Andy” Bunnell on stage at the “Fresno Covers Fresno” album release show.
Note:I had a hand in producing the Fresno Covers Fresno compilation. So, this is a bit of a shameless plug and comes with upfront apologies.
Music scenes are notoriously incestuous, so there is an inherent interconnectedness that runs throughout “Fresno Covers Fresno,” the 16-track compilation that was release this weekend. It’s not something the casual listener would necessarily pick up on, but astute fans of the scene (especially the small slice represented on this album), will find a history lesson here. These are musicians, who are also fans, and are, at equal turns, performing and paying homage to those who have performed before them.
To be fair, I missed a large part of it, including what I’ve been told was the best set of the night (Werebear). What I caught was a night of one-off performances and collaborations that may never be seen again, including two-songs from American-Sparklejet. That’s a combo of members from Sparklejet and the now defunct American Sloth, with Ron “Doc” Morse on guitar and Blake Jones playing bass and Tom Magill clanging away on Fresno Brewing Company’s old piano.
Also me, if you count singing along from the crowd.
Most of the musicians who were there are friends, people I have played and collaborated with or written about. The casual fan may have had a different experience. Still, it felt like a great example of what happens when you support original, local music.
UPDATE: If you weren’t excited before, The Catacomb Party has released an updated lineup and poster. The official schedule now stands at 40-plus band/musicians and DJs for the all-ages music festival. Those added include Strange Vine, Copper & Glass and the Visalia band Stable Hands, along with some acoustic acts (including Dim Peaks, the new project from Niilo Smeds) and a punk/hardcore contingent (It’ll Grow Back, Wallflower, Dependence). You can check out the updated flier on the jump.
Original post (June 10): The official lineup of this year’s Catacomb Party has just been released. It’s got some big names and a couple of surprises for hardcore fans of the scene.
Let’s get right in and discuss.
Headliners: Last year the festival was headlined by Fierce Creatures (it was the band’s party, after all). This year, Nigerian drummer Tony Allen will co-headline the show with Fresno’s own Fashawn. Allen has been making music since the 1960s and is an Afrobeat legend. Fashawn is home-town hero. This alone will secure a crowd.
Out-of-towners: While the lineup is heavy on the locals, there is a good draw of national, touring acts. Most have played the area before, including post-punk band Seahaven (who has established a following), San Francisco indie-band Animal Friend and hip-hop sample-master Diabase.
The locals: Putting Fashawn aside, the local lineup is solid and includes workhorse band like Sahab and Light Thieves, along with the much hyped Le Wolves and Sci-Fi Caper. The big surprise is the reunion of Sleepover Disaster. There is a generation who may have never seen this influential local band. This will be a welcomed introduction.
Again, the whole event takes place July 20 on the Fulton Mall. It will be free and all ages.
In case you’ve forgotten, last year’s Catacomb Party (essentially the Fierce Creatures’ album release show), was a free mini- music festival on the Fulton Mall. It was such a success, organizers decided to run with the idea for another year.
Take a look at the full lineup and tell us what you think?
You’re going to have some free time weekend, now that you have to give up filing for that patent on your DNA. Worry not, there is plenty to do, especially if you’re a music fan. For a close-to-complete-but-not-at-all list, I present your weekly installment of BANDGEEEEEK!!!
Local musicians are mourning the loss of longtime Fresno guitarist Allen Rodriguez, who died on Saturday at the age of 57. Rodriguez was part of a community of musicians that started playing in the area in the late 1970s and produced bands like Gang’s Back.
Fresno was a little smaller of a place back then, and Arturo Aldana remembers everyone getting together for jam sessions at Kearney or Roeding park. “Until they threw us out,” says Aldana, who started playing music in 1971, mostly because of Rodriguez. The two remained friends throughout the years. He remembers Rodriguez as a talented guitar player who was well liked by many. “We was always working, always playing in bands,” Aldana says. In fact, he was in the middle of a gig Saturday, when he started feeling ill.
“Who he was was defined by his music,” says Rodriguez’ son, Adrian Rodriguez. He knew the man mostly as a father, but often got to watch him perform and even joined in for a time, playing the congas. Rodriguez’ world was the music scene and his absence is being felt by many, Adrian says.
To honor Rodriguez’ memory and influence, Aldana and others are putting together a jam session 2 p.m. Friday at the American Legion Post 509 (3509 N. First St.) and welcome those who knew him to participate.
Here is a video of a young Rodriguez that’s being passed around. It encapsulates Rodriguez’ performing style.
You’ve got to love proud parents. They make the best PR reps.
For instance, Gary Warner, who emailed in to let us know his children (son Scott and daughter Kristi) will be performing on Thursday night at Yosemite Ranch.
This is actually a good tip.
Some will no doubt remember Scott (who now attends Belmont University in Nashville), from his days making electro-pop music under the name RoboPop. And his sister Kristi is making a name for herself as a country singer, dping Nashville’s club and café writers rounds, open mic nights at the like. Recently, she competed at the Wildhorse Saloon’s Battle for the Saddle competition, and did fairly well, according to dad.
Thursday’s show starts at 9 p.m. There’s no cover. Here’s a link to the flier with some more details.
And here is a video of Scott (looking a bit like Mike Patton) at Zapp’s Park, followed by one of Kristi doing a cover of Patti Loveless’ “Jealous Bone.”
If you are anything like me, this weekend is all about recuperating from last weekend and possibly gearing up for the big election. Of course, there’s always the chance I’ll get out to a few shows, some of which I present to you know in another installment of BANDGEEEK!!!
This 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!!
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.