Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

QnA with Cristobal Carrillo, organizer of Orosi’s Spanspek Festival


The Spanspek Music and Arts Festival is a teach-by-doing kind of endeavor.

Founded in 2006, the annual event brings locally created visual and performing arts to the community of Cutler-Orosi with the hope that it will inspire the youth in the area on their own artistic paths.

Dozens of local visual and performing artist will put their work on display 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Orosi Memorial Hall. All festival proceeds go toward funding Orosi High School scholarships, commissioning new works from local artists and ensuring the continuation of the event in the future.

Over the years, organizers Cristobal Carrillo and Israel Flores have developed a knack for spotting new local talent — such as Visalia psyche blues band Slow Season and the Dinuba hip hop collective, Roach Collection. Both play this year, along with local heavy hitters Patrick Contreras and the rock duo Strange Vine.

I emailed with Carrillo to find out more about growing up as an artist in a small, rural town and why this year’s lineup of musicians seems so great.

Read more

Spanspek Music and Arts Festival announces 2014 lineup


Orosi’s Spanspek Music and Arts Festival is closing in on a decade of showcasing some of the hippest local bands and artists.

It seems to be just hitting its stride.

The lineup for this year’s festival (which was announced this morning) features eight local heavy hitters, including two of, arguably, the best known acts in town — the rock duo Strange Vine and violin master Patrick Contreras.

But the don’t miss band on this year’s bill may be Visalia fuzz-rockers Slow Season. The group had serious buzz at last year’s festival and has put in big work on the road (and in the studio) this year.

On the arts side of things, the festival will include more than a dozen artists/and/or art collectives, including Carlos Cisneros, the Orosi High School Art Department and Fresno Underground Art.

The event happens 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Orosi Memorial Hall in Orosi (follow the 99 south, just past Kingsburg, then head East). If you haven’t been, it’s completely worth the drive (especially with this year’s lineup). A full list of bands and artists can be seen at the Spanspek website.

On another festival note: Keep in mind Fresno’s own locals-only music fest, F.U.S.E. is happening Sept. 26-27.

Fresno gets representation at SXSW

ICYMI, I was on Valley Edition this morning talking SXSW; specifically, Fresno’s representation at the festival, which runs through the weekend. We talked about three local bands that are getting lots of buzz (both locally and beyond).

1.) Strange Vine

2.) Le Wolves

3.) Light Thieves

Much thanks to KVPR for the opportunity to pass along the good word on local music.

You can listen to the segment here.

Win tickets to: Strange Vine + Soft White Sixties tonight @ Fulton 55

strangeStrange Vine has a habit of setting up awesome local shows. When they play, you know you’ll be getting your money’s worth. So tonight’s show at Fulton 55 with San Francisco’s Soft White Sixties (plus Light Thieves and Planet Live in Houses) could be the music pick of the weekend.

You just have to start your weekend on a Thursday, is all.

The band has hooked us up with a couple tickets to pass along y’all Beehivers. To enter to win, just leave a comment on the post. Tell us who is your favorite rock-n-roll duo. This is a super-last minute, super-quick one. Deadline for entry is 3 p.m., today. Winners will be chosen by random and notified via email within the hour. So, check your email if you entered.

Check out the full rules and an awesome video from Kevin Figueroa on the jump.

Read more

Win tickets to He’s My Brother She’s My Sister

He’s My Brother She’s My Sister are no strangers to Fresno. The Los-Angeles band (fronted by brother-sister duo Robert and Rachel Kolar) have played here often in the past few years. Its brand of “flamboyant folk” — there’s a tap-dancing drummer — is catching on with audiences and earned the band spots at big-time music festivals like Bonnaroo, Firefly and Austin City Limits. Just off a successful tour of the UK tour (sold-out shows in London, ya’ll), the band has embarked on its first headling tour of the US. It will be the last before they start work on a new album. Which means…see them now.

As in tonight, at Fulton 55 with Song Preservation Society and Strange Vine. This same lineup was an advanced sell-out in Santa Barbara. So it should be packed.

We have tickets to tonight’s show that we want to give away to a few lucky Beehivers.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Tell us why you want to see the show. This’ll be a quick one. Deadline is 3 p.m. today. Winners will be chosen by random and notified via email shortly thereafter. So check your email if you enter. One comment per person, please.

Rules are on the jump.

Read more

Win tickets to: Bob Log III + Strange Vine

1004718_10152880242025551_52253158_nBob Log III is probably, mostly a novelty act … Probably.
He’s a one-man blues band, plays slide guitar while kicking a bass and high-hat over drum machine beats. He’s a faceless sort. Wears a racing helmet with a darkened visor, has an old telephone receiver rigged up as a microphone. The whole thing comes off as an otherworldly disco-blues-rock fiasco. Like a bastard child of a David Bowie, Jack White, Evel Knievel three-way.

Bob plays tomorrow night at a rare all-ages show at Howie and Son’s Pizza in Visalia. Local indie blues-rock kings Strange Vine open. The duo played with Bob down in Los Angles this weekend and assure me the show will be INSANE. So …

We have a pair of tickets we’ll give away to TWO Beehive readers. Enter to win by leaving a comment below. Make your case as to why you should get to see Bob for free while everyone else has to pay up. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. This is a quick one. Contest only runs until 3 p.m., tomorrow.

Check out the director’s cut video for “Bump Pow!” and full contest rules after the jump.

Only readers who submit a comment on this post are eligible. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail at the end of each giveaway period. No substitutions or transfer of winners/prizes. Prizes are not redeemable for cash. Some prizes may have due dates for redemption/use. Employees and immediate family of The Fresno Bee, and any/all of the participating giveaway sponsors, are not eligible to win. By accepting a giveaway, recipient consents to allow the use of his/her name and/or photograph for advertising or similar promotions without further compensation. Winner releases all sponsors of liability regarding use and enjoyment of the prizes. Tax liabilities and insurance, if any, are sole responsibility of the winner. No purchase necessary to win

Win tickets to Sleepy Sun, Strange Vine and Light Thieves

943381_10151187750814364_678010849_nOne of the benefits of being a touring band is connecting with awesome musicians from other cities and then “hooking” them up with shows in your home town. Strange Vine has always done great job of this, which is a benefit for local fans. I discovered American Sharks through a show the guys in Strange Vine pulled together last year and my life is better for it.

Tomorrow night, they bring their friends Sleepy Sun to Audie’s Olympic. The San Francisco band plays psychedelic rock, which will fit perfectly with Strange Vine and openers Light Thieves. My sense is, this will be one of those slipped-under-the-radar-but-damn-awesome-if-you-were-there shows.

Luckily, you won’t miss it, because 1.) I just told you about it. And 2.) We have tickets to give away.

Just leave a comment below. Tell us what was the best local-show-you-almost missed. We’ll pick winners at random. Contest closes at noon tomorrow (Thursday) and winners will be notified by email. No repeat entries, please. Complete rules and a video of Sleepy Sun are on the jump.

Read more

Win tickets to see B.B. King with Strange Vine

UPDATE: Congrats to our winner, Danae. Thanks for playing everybody. Enjoy the show.

ORIGINAL POST: Here’s your chance to bow before the King — for free. We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away for Saturday night’s B.B. King show at the Visalia Fox Theatre.

The tickets come to us courtesy of the Fox Theatre and Fresno band Strange Vine, who landed the opening spot for the blues icon. Round of applause for them.

Here’s how this will work: Leave a comment below telling us where in the central San Joaquin Valley you’d take B.B. King to hang out. Remember, he’s a king. Pick something good. Deadline to enter is 9 a.m. Thursday.

We’ll pick one commenter at random to win the tickets. The winner will be notified by e-mail, so please leave a valid address and please check it. Complete rules below.

Read more

R.I.P. Corby Yates, guitar prodigy


UPDATE: A sad update to the Corby Yates story. Corby took his own life Monday night after struggling with schizophrenia and mental illness in recent years. Read my Fresno Bee column for more of the story. I’m told funeral services are private, but there will, eventually, be musical tributes to him. I’ll give you info on those when they’re announced.

ORIGINAL POST, 9/25: Sad news hitting the local music scene today: Corby Yates, the once-teenage blues guitar prodigy, has died. Details are few at this time, but musicians he played with and a few of his close friends are verifying that Yates died Monday night.

Yates started to play guitar at age 6 and when he was 11, he won the Charlie Daniels Guitar Wars Competition. He was the national winner of the Jimi Hendrix Music Competition when he was a junior in high school. He attended Sierra High School in Auberry.

Read more

Podcast: Ozmosis #34

On this week’s episode of Ozmosis: Pinback, Animal Collective, Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie and many more great artists. Strange Vine is the Tioga-Sequoia “Drink Local, Listen Local” band of the week and two acts you’ll see in Fresno later this week — Royal Canoe and David Dondero are also featured.

If you dig Ozmosis or just wanna hang with me and drink beer, then know that the first Ozmosis Happy Hour is going down Thursday at Audie’s Olympic. More info here. Enjoy the podcast and tune in at 9 p.m. Sunday for a new episode of Ozmosis on New Rock 104.1.

If the above player gives you any grief, you can listen directly on Mixcloud.

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than helping clean up a river.

Strange Vine is my favorite band in Fresno right now. Fact is, they’re a lot of peoples’ favorite band right now. In fact, I gushed about them in the paper today and said they should totally open for The Black Keys (like that FB page, y’all!). But let’s focus on the now: Strange Vine is taking off for a quick tour through Texas and Nashville and up to NYC. Send them off Saturday night at Audie’s Olympic. Indie rock darlings of the moment Light Thieves are also playing. [More]


Read more

The eight finalists for Chukchansi’s $10K local battle of the bands are …


Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino has raised the stakes for local band battles with its Rock at the Top contest.

It’ll award $10,000 worth of cash and prizes to the top band and another $5,500 to runners up.

As you might expect, dozens and dozens of groups tried to make the cut for this. But the casino only chose eight for the Aug. 25 finals. They are:

The event starts at 4 p.m. and admission is free. Any predictions on who is going to take it?

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than watching that stripper movie or the talking-bear movie.

I’m hyped for tonight’s show at Fulton 55, which features two of the best bands on our local scene — Strange Vine and Poor Man’s Poison — and SoCal funky folksters He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, who have won over crowds here before. They’re playing the Austin City Limits festival in September too. Anyhow, it’s gonna be a great show and if you don’t go that blue creature on the flier will eat you. [Tickets]


Read more

Win tickets to see a great night of music at Fulton 55


UPDATE: Congrats to our winners — Kristy, Nicole and Christina F. Enjoy the show. Thanks to all who played. Everybody managed to keep it on topic in the comments. Bless you.

ORIGINAL POST: Dear people of Fresno who have ears: Friday night’s show at Fulton 55 is not one you’ll want to miss. It includes two of the best local bands currently on the scene — Strange Vine and Poor Man’s Poison, as well as SoCal band He’s My Brother She’s My Sister. You might recall that I sang the praises of them in the past.

On their own, I’d recommend HMBSMS. With Strange Vine and Poor Man’s Poison on the bill? This is stellar.

Tickets cost $8 in advance or $10 at the door. But you can win some right here on The Beehive if you’re lucky. We have three pair to give away, courtesy of Strange Vine. To get entered into our contest, just leave a comment below that uses the words “poison” “strange” and “sister.”

We treasure creativity. The winner, however, will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail, so please a leave e-mail address and please check it. Since the show is right around the corner, this is going to be a quick contest. Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday. Complete rules below.

Read more

Tonight: The best local businesses, the best local tunes


It’s nice how these two local events lined tonight. Go to one. Or both.

  • The BLOB Awards, which honor Fresno’s best locally owned businesses, happen tonight at 6 at Fulton 55. Our own Heather McLane and her cohorts from The Full Moxie are hosting. More info here, including the top three vote-getters in each category.
  • Afterward, you can head to Audie’s Olympic, where two of Fresno’s top local bands are playing. That’s Strange Vine and Fierce Creatures. And they’re sharing the stage with SoCal group Cuckoo Chaos, who I also dig a bunch. I’ve been saying for weeks it’s the best $5 you can spend on live music this month, heck, maybe this year.

Read more

The Week Ahead: Grizzlies, BLOBs, lots and lots of great live music + more

EG.jpg strangevinechaos.jpg stonefoxesfly.png lancefly.jpg

TONIGHT: Mat Kearney is at Fulton 55. The show was sold out, but a few tickets opened up. No guarantees now. But good for you, Fresno, selling out the show. It’s just the start of a great week of live music. Keep reading.

ELECTRIC GUEST: Tuesday is Electric Guest playing Visalia Fox Theatre as part of the TOMS Shoes One Day Without Shoes event. I’ve been co-signing these guys for a while, so you know it’s got my stamp on it. Strange Vine also opens and it’s free. Can’t go wrong there, folks. I’ll be DJing between sets, so come say hi.

CUCKOO CHAOS: Another great show — L.A. indie group Cuckoo Chaos (I’m high on them too) plays Wednesday night at Audie’s Olympic with Strange Vine and Fierce Creatures. It’s a great show for only $5.

OH, AND FIREHOSE: Reunited ’90s rockers Firehose play Fulton 55 on Friday night before heading out to this weekend’s big Coachella music festival. Score another for Fulton 55!

Read more

Fresno goes SXSW: Day 2


Once again, we check in with James Collier and Ryan Jones — two Fresno guys who are in the thick of the madness that is the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Tx. They’re tracking some of our local bands as they wade through the throngs of shows happening every day. In this installment, that web of local music has tangled in a most lovely way.

Here are some words by James and photos by Ryan:

Okay, so the story goes something like this: 

- Strange Vine books a show at a house party for Tuesday. Due to travel delays, they have to cancel the show.

- On Monday, Ryan receives a call from a music connection, asking about equipment. His friend mentions that Kat Jones is in town looking for gigs. Ryan helps Kat connect to the house party.

- Kat invites Nick and Frick from Old Tire Swingers (pictured above) to stop by after her show, in hopes that they can set up a gig with Tara, the organizer. 

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than watching Drake videos on YouTube.

Believe it or not, the Drake concert probably won’t even be the biggest concert at Save Mart Center this week. The popular Rock and Worship Roadshow, a Christian rock festival-style concert, arrives on Sunday. It was the top-drawing concert in Fresno last year. Tickets cost only $10 and are only available at the door. For more about Rock & Worship’s success, read this feature story from today’s Bee.


Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

In addition to listening to Ozmosis.

At first, I was gonna leave this off, because we’ve written a lot about the Rogue Festival and we’re gonna write a lot more. But, hey, as I’ve been saying this week — the Rogue is one of my favorite annual Fresno events. If you’ve never been, do yourself a favor and become a part of Fresno’s great alternative performing arts festival. Here are a few picks from the festival’s 60-something shows to help you navigate. And don’t forget about those Rogue Bucks. [More]


Read more

Win tickets to see Howlin’ Rain


SF psychedelic rockers Howlin’ Rain arrive in Fresno on Sunday with a bunch of momentum — the band just released its new album, “The Russian Wilds” on Valentine’s Day. It was produced by the uber-famous Rick Rubin.

Sunday’s show is also cool because it includes local bands Strange Vine and Fay Wrays, plus it’s a good way to cap off the Tower District’s annual Mardi Gras parade.

You can buy tickets at — $8 in advance, or $10 at the door — or you can win a pair from your Beehive buds.

Leave a comment below telling us your favorite artist Rick Rubin has worked with and you’re entered to win. Deadline is 2 p.m. Friday. We’ll draw a winner at random and notify them via e-mail — so please leave a valid e-mail address and please check it. Complete rules (and some Howlin’ Rain goodies) below.

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than watching that Boise State game.

Indie pop duo Matt & Kim — one of my favorite groups — headlines a big day of music Sunday at the Festival of Hope in Tulare. It’s a two-day event, aimed at suicide prevention, it’s totally free and the entertainment lineup is quite stellar. Sunday is the strong day for music. In addition to Matt & Kim’s closing performance (at 8 p.m.), top-notch local bands Strange Vine (3 p.m.), Rademacher (4:30 p.m.) and Fierce Creatures (6 p.m.) play as well. [More info]


Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

No, sorry, Fuse Fest isn’t until next weekend.

When’s the last time you went to Orosi? Need a reason to go? Tonight’s Spanspek Music & Art Festival is a good one. Think of it like your Fuse warm-up. It’s got a bunch of great local bands, headed by Strange Vine, art, dance — plus a mission statement that anybody should be able to get behind: It’s about bringing local music and art to Orosi. It’s only $5, oh, and It’s got a great poster too. [Info]


Read more

The Week Ahead: Bartender challenge, Rehab, Gallagher, The Frebbys & more

cfbartenderchal.jpg tastevisaliafly.jpg frebbyfly.jpg spanspekfly.jpg gallagherfly.jpg

TONIGHT: Food and drink rule. If you’re in Fresno, consider Creative Fresno’s bartender challenge at Veni Vidi Vici, pitting Jaime Holt against Chris Acree in a battle of air vs. water. In the South Valley, treat your taste buds to the annual Taste of Downtown Visalia, which offers samples at 30 locations.

TOUR STOPS: Rehab (Wed. at Fulton 55), Felsen w/ ex-Fresnan Rich McCulley (Thurs. at Tokyo Garden), Futurebirds (Fri. at The Cellar Door), Gallagher (Sat at Tower Theatre), The Le Boeuf Brothers (Saturday at Heroes) and Picture Me Broken (Sat. at Starline),

CELEBRATE THEM LOCAL INTERNETS: This year’s Frebby Awards get handed out on Thursday at Fulton 55, honoring the good stuff from the local interwebs. Here’s a little something-something from The Bee and an interview from CBS 47 this morning.

FALL FLING VS. FALLTINI: Just read this.

BEATLEMANIA: Tower Theatre hosts SoCal-based Beatles tribute band Abbey Road on Thursday (they’ve become a popular group in Visalia). Then on Friday, Abbey Road performs as part of the “In My Life” live theater production about The Beatles, which is at Visalia’s L.J. Williams Theater.

Read more

Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

… Other than all that other stuff I already told you about.

Audie’s Olympic hosts a great lineup of indie rock bands tonight, in what promises to be a packed show. We Barbarians headline, and if you dig bands like Cold War Kids and The Walkmen, you’ll like them. Florida duo ANR, which gets a lot of MGMT comparisons, joins, as does local faves Strange Vine. We Barbarians sold out Audie’s earlier this year. With a new EP getting rave reviews, the show should be even bigger this time around. So get there early. [info]


Read more