Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENTS: Dierks Bentley, Peter Murphy

When country singer Dierks Bentley last came through town, he played the Paul Paul Theater as part of the Big Fresno Fair.

When he returns this August, it will be as a full-blown arena act, with a headlining show at the Save Mart Center.

Bentley’s “Sounds of Summer” tour kicks off June 5 in Raleigh, NC. and stops Aug. 20 at the Save Mart Center. Kip Moore, Maddie and Tae and Canaan Smith will join as touring support.

“Kip, Maddie and Tae and Canaan are three of the hottest rising artists out there right now and I feel fortunate to be spending the summer with them,” Bentley said in a release. “If our first ‘tour meeting’ is any indication, they are up for anything, which is awesome. No one is going to have more fun this summer than us.”

Tickets for the Fresno date are $31.75-$52.75 and on 10 a.m. sale Friday, March 27 at the SMC box office, select Save Mart Supermarkets, online or on the phone, (800) 745-3000. Fan club pres ales are available Tuesday March 24 on Bentley’s website.

Bentley is known for mixing elements of modern and classic country with bluegrass and rock. His latest album “Riser” debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Top 200. It was his seventh top ten album was nominated for Best Country Album at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Also announced:

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Iggy Azalea’s “Great Escape Tour” rescheduled

If you were super excited that Iggy Azalea would be in town for her “Great Escape Tour” in a little more than a month — prepare for disappointment.

The tour has been postponed. It will now kick off Sept. 18 in San Diego before stopping at the Save Mart Center, Sept. 20. Tickets will honored for the rescheduled dates, though shows in Baltimore, Las Vegas and Sacramento will not be rescheduled.

Opening acts for the rescheduled dates have yet to be announced, either. Originally, Nick Jonas and Tinashé were scheduled to play.

According to a release from the Save Mart Center, the tour was rescheduled “to accommodate for creative team availability and tour production plans …”

“It is extremely important to Iggy that she delivers the show she envisaged to share with her fans and that requires more time in development.”

Or, according to Iggz HQ:

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 (but did not win) four Grammy Awards this year, including best new artist, best rap album, record of the year and best pop duo/group performance.

Rescheduling a tour like this seems like a major undertaking, though some news outlets saw it coming. And Azalea’s management seems to have taken over her Instagram account, which leaves one to wonder, “what’s up with Iggy?”

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Tickets for Marvel Universe Live on sale Feb. 19

After working their way through 85-cities last summer, The Avengers will assemble … in Fresno.

The Save Mart Center announced Marvel Universe LIVE! will be in town for six shows starting April 3.

The arena event features everyone’s favorite Marvel superheros including Thor, Captain American, Wolverine and the Hulk in an all-out HULK-SMASH battle royal against Red Skull, Madame Hydra, Loki, Electro and more.

This is big-screen action in real time; with aerial stunts, pyrotechnics and movie-style special effects that utilize the entire arena floor, plus some multilevel aerial fighting. Seeing Captain America slug it out with Red Skull might be worth the price of admission alone.

You can see all the action 7 p.m. April 3, 11 a.m. or 3 and 7 p.m. April 4, 2 p.m. April 5 and 6 p.m. April 6.

Tickets for the show are $23-$78 and go on sale 10 a.m. Feb. 19 at the SMC box office, select Save Mart Supermarkets,at (800) 745-3000 or online at

Click through to the jump to catch a video of Marvel Universe.

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Was Eric Church’s “The Outsiders” tour a little too outside?

Eric Church may be the future of country music (and pop music in general, perhaps). He’s an artist unbound by genre, who sets his own rules and is unashamed to wear his influences on his sleeves, even if it’s Black Sabbath. His music is country-rock, with an emphasis on the rock, though there are hints of roots and soul music, too. And some twang for good measure.

“The Outsiders” tour, which stopped at the Save Mart Center last night, is a reflection of Church himself. The two opening acts (Halestorm and Dwight Yoakam) showcase the disparate worlds of rock and country, with headliner Church standing as the bridge between.

But does it work as a show? From the reviews I’ve heard, the crowd didn’t really start filling in until after Halestorm’s set (as if they knew?) and at least a few of those who did see the band were less than enthused by their rock pedigree.

There’s no doubt the walls we’ve set up around specific genres are beginning to brake down and I think we will soon begin to see more of these kinds of concerts. That said, was “The Outsiders” tour a little too outside from mainstream country music fans?

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


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 or 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).

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Cirque du Soleil returns to Fresno in March

Cirque du Soleil fans, this should make your day:

“Varekai” will play the Save Mart Center for seven performances March 25-29. Here’s a description of the show:

Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world – a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai. The story of Varekai begins as Icarus, a solitary young man, falls from the sky and lands in a lush, wondrous world called Varekai. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest – a kaleidoscopic world imbued with fantastical creatures – Icarus takes flight in an adventure both absurd and extraordinary.

At the edge of time, in a place of pure and undiluted possibility, begins an inspired incantation to a life rediscovered and to a newly found wonder in the mysteries of the world and the mind. The word Varekai (pronounced ver•ay•’kie) means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. Directed by Dominic Champagne, this production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to those who quest with infinite passion along the path that leads toVarekai.

Ah, that lush Cirque prose.

The franchise last played in Fresno in 2012 with the show “Dralion.” (I hope this new show has fewer clowns.)

Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 12 at or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Until then, the only way to get tickets is to join the free online Cirque Club.

Win tickets to: Ladies Night Out Vol. 3


The third installment of the Ladies Night Out hip-hop and R&B concert stops at The Save Mart Center on Saturday Nov. 22 and we have tickets to give away.

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; Silk, the ’90s group discovered by Keith Sweat and local rapper Zee Will.

To enter to win, just leave a comment on this post. Tell us what makes for the perfect “ladies night out.” You gents out there may have to use you imagination.You have until 5 p.m. Thursday to enter. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. So check yours if you enter.

See the complete contest rules on the jump.

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Concert announcements: Bush, Chris Tomlin schedule Fresno dates


Here’s a couple of quick concert announcements we picked up this morning:

First up is Bush, Gavin Rossdale’s ’90s alternative “grunge” band, which plays an acoustic show Dec. 9 at Fulton 55.

The show, presented by New Rock 104.1 as a pre-Christmas party, will also feature acoustic sets from up-and-coming indie-pop act Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and singer-songwriter Meg Myers. Tickets are $10.41 and are on sale Monday at Fulton 55 box office and Tower District Records, or online at

Fans have to wait until April to see Christian singer Chris Tomlin, who announced his “Love Ran Red” tour will stop at the Save Mart Center April 16. Tickets are $28.50-$38.50 and available at noon today at the arena box office, select Save Mart Supermarkets, online at or on the phone at (800) 745-3000. Tomlin, who has 10 No. 1 singles, 18 Dove Awards and three Grammy nominations, played was in town last year on his “Burning Lights Tour.”

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

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!


  • 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.

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    Concert Announcement: Eric Church


    Eric Church will be the first performer to hit the Save Mart Center in 2015.

    The outlaw country rocker will play the arena Jan.22 on the second leg of his Outsiders World Tour. County icon Dwight Yoakam and rock band Halestorm open the show. Tickets are $25 to $59.50 and on sale 10 a.m. Oct. 24 at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

    Fan club and VIP presales start 10 a.m. tomorrow, with radio and venue presales staring 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

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    You review: The Eagles


    It’s been close to a decade since the Eagles stopped through town. The band — whose greatest hits album is one of the 10 best-selling records of all time — played the Save Mart Center two years running in 2004 and 2005.

    Both times there were close to 10,000 in attendance.

    The band returned to the Save Mart Center last night as part of its “History of the Eagles” tour. We want to hear from those who were there.

    How was the crowd? Were locals fans as excited for the band as they were a decade ago? Given that this tour is supposed to span the band’s entire career (and promised some songs that have never been played lived before), what was the set-list like? Any unusual choice? Any of the hits get left out? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section. Then, click over to The Bee to see our photo gallery from last night’s show.

    Bandgeek!: The Eagles, The Experience and Tony Bennett

    While you are locked in your house worrying about whether it’s ebola or tuberculosis that will kill you first, the rest of us will be enjoying some live music. If you care to join, here is a list of happenings through next week. We call it BANDGEEEK!


  • The Eagles.
    At the Save Mart Center. 8 p.m. $49.50-$149.50.

  • Katchafire.
    W/White Glove Service and Jordan T. At Strummer’s. 7 p.m. $18. All ages. (Flier link)

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

  • The Body.
    W/Sandworm, Inside the Sun and Keeper. At Audie’s Olympic. 8:30 p.m. $8. (Flier link)

  • Justin Moore.
    At the Big Fresno Fair. $21-$26.

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    BANDGEEK!: Guttermouth, Growlers and Let’s Go Bowling


    No doubt you’ll spend at least part of the weekend wondering how the heck it can be close to 100 degrees in October.

    There will still be plenty of time to catch one of the many live music performances happening through next week. We have once again listed them here in our weekly BANDGEEEK! roundup.


  • J Dubb.
    W/Tone + 1AD7. Remedy, Arcane 9, Chuck Sin, Urbane and J:Pre$ko. At Strummer’s. 7:30 p.m. $10-$12. (Flier link)

  • Waterbox Inc.
    W/Philophobia. At Peeve’s Public House. 8 p.m. Free. All ages.

  • Bryan Vickers Band.
    At ApCal. 7 p.m. Free.

  • Dierks Bentley.
    At the Big Fresno Fair. 7 p.m. $43-$48.

  • Style Like Revelators.
    W/Banshee Bones and Beastmaker. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $5. (Flier link)

  • Days Under Authority.
    Saving Temperance, Rise the Ruler and Tomi Jean. At Kuppajoe. 7:30 p.m. $6-$8. All ages. (Flier link)

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    Review: Blake Shelton at the Save Mart Center

    Blake SheltonI’m a rock girl, but I have to say there’s something about country music. Maybe it’s the story. Or the twang. Or even the good time sentiment found in many songs. In the case of Blake Shelton — arguably the hottest singer in country music right now with hit after hit (and a new album on the way) — it’s all three. And each was on full display Thursday night at the Save Mart Center where he headlined the Ten Times Crazier Tour.

    For one hour fifty minutes, Blake Shelton wove his way through his extensive song list that included new single “Neon Lights” and favorites like “Kiss My Country Ass,” “Honey Bee” and “Boys Round Here.” And the fans — who filled nearly every seat all the way to the last row on the upper level — toe-tapped and sang along until the very last note.

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    Concert announcement: Brantley Gilbert


    There’s no doubt that contemporary country music likes to dabble in rock ‘n’ roll. There’s a reason the Motley Crue tribute “Nashville Outlaws,” got made and that it’s mostly (oddly) on point. The album features a who’s-who of country music stars including Brantley Gilbert, a guy who looks right at home singing “Girls, Girls, Girls,” but who’s album “Just as I Am,” debuted No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts in May. He’s also written any number of hits for guys like Jason Aldean.

    Gilbert is currently in the midst of his “Let it Ride Tour,” with Aaron Lewis (who’s no stranger to rock and roll).

    Gilbert recently added a second round of dates to the tour (with guests Tyler Farr, Chase Bryant and Brian Davis), which will include a Fresno stop, 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Save Mart Center. Tickets go on sale to the general public 10 a.m. Sept. 12. They are $24.75, $29.75, $37 and available at select Save Mart Supermarkets, the Save Mart Center box office, online at or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Pre-sale tickets are available on his web site.

    Check out the video for Gilbert’s latest single, “Bottoms Up,” on the jump.

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


    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 or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

    Catch a video of Frankie J on the jump.

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    You review: Rascal Flatts

    Rascal Flatts‘ “Rewind 2014″ tour was arguably the biggest show to hit town this week (and it was a big week for live music).

    The Ohio trio stands out as one of most prolific (and popular) country acts of the decade. The group has been recognized by just about any country-music organization that hands out awards, and is one of the nation’s best-selling touring acts (of any genre). The band has sold more than 7 million tickets since debuting in 2000. That includes selling more than 10,000 tickets to each of their previous Fresno shows — in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

    Last night’s show had the bonus of featuring Sheryl Crow and country up-and-comers Gloriana.

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    Bandgeek: Rascal Flatts, Man Man and D.R.I.


    It’s Greek Fest weekend. So you’ll be busy dancing and eating and yelling Opa! There are also dozens of live, musical performances happening at the city’s bars, clubs and theater if that’s more your speed. Here’s you weekly BANDGEEK! list.


  • Ando Ehlers.
    Split 7 ” tour. SS Web and It’ll Grow Back. At Audie’s Olympic. 9 p.m. $5. (Flier link)

  • Fashawn.
    The Ecology listening party. At Strummer’s. 8:30 p.m. This show is sold out. (Flier link)

  • Built to Spill.
    W/Slam Dunk and The Warm Hair. At Cellar Door, Visalia. 8 p.m. $20. (Flier link)

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    Mid-week concerts to get you through to Friday


    To anyone who thinks there is nothing to do in Fresno, I give this quick list of super-ridiculous concerts — one or more every day through Thursday (and then the weekend kicks in).

    Feel free to pass it along. You can add this message: “Quit complaining.”


  • Lynryd Skynyrd
    It’s a Saturday night special … on Monday … See what I did there.
  • Beach Day.
    Free girl-pop garage rock at Peeve’s.

  • Future Islands
    Best frontman in entertainment today? You be the judge.
  • Balance and Composure
    Post hard-core emo band from Pennsylvania. For fans of Sunny Day Real Estate.
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    Concert Announcement: Winter Jam, 2014


    Winter Jam, the world’s best selling concert tour according to Poll Star magazine, will return to the Save Mart Center this year. The tour just announced dates for its West Coast run, including a Nov. 11 stop at the arena.

    For those unfamiliar, the wildly popular annual tour features 10 of Christian music’s top artists for a $10 ticket price. This year, the tour is headlined by Australian worship band Hillsong United. The band has a growing popularity in the U.S. — it was the first Christian artist ever to sell out Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Colton Dixon, Disciple, Trip Lee, Tony Nolan, Everfound, About A Mile and Veridia round out the bill.

    Normally, this is where we would pass along on-sale ticket information. With Winter Jam there is no need. Tickets are only available on the day of the show at the venue.

    CANCELLED: “Jesus Christ Superstar”

    jesusJesus Christ Superstar” the arena spectacular, the touring version of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s groundbreaking rock musical, which features a cast chock full of rock, pop and R&B heavy weights, including Brandon Boyd and Johnny Rotten, has been canceled.

    The announcement for the Fresno date, which was scheduled for July 19 at the Save Mart Center, came this afternoon. While the release is light on information, is reporting that the whole tour has been canceled, according to social media reports from the cast. The tour’s website has this short note.

    All purchased tickets will be refunded. Online and telephone sales will be refunded automatically. Tickets purchased from the Box Office or ticket outlets must be returned to the point of purchase. The Save Mart Center Box Office will begin refunds 10 a.m. Monday during business hours.

    This is the first show at the Save Mart Center than I can remember ever being canceled. It’s the second canceled show in the last week.

    You Review: Bruno Mars

    When the traffic advisory went out yesterday afternoon for the area of Shaw Avenue around the Save Mart Center, it was like, “duh.” Bruno Mar’s “Moonshine Jungle” tour (which stopped at the arena last night) has been sold-out pretty much since tickets went on sale.

    The show was sure to be packed, but it looks like it filled up early, thanks to the one-two punch of opener Aloe Blacc.

    The whole thing (or the collage I created of it via social media, which was kind of fun) had a next-level King-of-Pop feel (with a good level of Elvis the pelvis for good measure).

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    You review: Tim McGraw/Kip Moore + Cassadee Pope

    mcgrawTim McGraw kicked off his “Sundown Heaven Town” tour last night at the Save Mart Center. The tour, which features country up-and-comer Kip Moore and “The Voice” winner Cassadee Pope as openers, is the kind of big-draw highly-anticipated country show that does so well at the arena.

    We’d love to have your thoughts on the show.

    Did the lineup get the kind of turnout and excitement other country shows have seen (Lady Antebellum and the like)? How were the Moore and Cassadee? Do they have the goods to move to that next level? Can we expect either to be passing through on their own headline tours anytime soon?

    And how about McGraw’s song choices, sound and overall performance level?

    Feel free to share your review, then check out our photo gallery from the show at The Fresnobee.

    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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