Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

You review: F.U.S.E. Fest 2013

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Overheard at F.U.S.E. “I don’t know why Collecto would want to cover that up in a robot suit?” Apparently, he is handsome.

Each year the Fresno Urban Sound Experience packs 30-plus local bands into a few close blocks of downtown, then lets fans meander from venue to venue to venue like its some kind of audio buffet. You may hear a blues band, followed by some hard-core punk or a couple hip-hop MCs. You might hear folk music, or EDM or some shoegaze.

The sixth installment of the annual music festival (often referred to as F.U.S.E.) took place Friday and Saturday, despite competition from a sold-out college football game and a freak wind storm. Attendance felt low, but those who came out were enthusiastic about connecting with the local music scene. It was a nice opportunity for uber fans to sort of geek out. For many, it was also their first time inside the Warnors Theatre, which was worth the ticket price.

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Picture Atlantic plays tomorrow night at Tokyo Garden

1173833_10151954766591414_1964920397_nSan Jose alternative-indie band Picture Atlantic was scheduled to play Fresno back in August. I had a nice email interview with the band’s singer/guitarist Nikolaus Bartunek all set to go in advance of the show … Then the show fell through and we all did a big “Womp, womp.”

It was welcome news, then, when the band announced they had rescheduled a Fresno date. They will play Saturday night at Tokyo Garden with Hocus Opus and Style Like Revelators.

I can finally run that interview. Note: Some parts have been edited for timeliness.

Tell us a little about what the band has going on now.

Right now the band is pretty busy with shows. We’re at the point again where we are traveling out of town and trying to play out of state as much as possible. But we’re also working on new music, which we’ve had the chance to share with our fans on a couple occasions. Pretty soon though, we’ll be dropping a brand new music video. [The video for “Edgewood Road” was released Aug. 20]. I’m curious to see how that will go.

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To do: Lovebirds@Tokyo Garden, tomorrow

shapeimage_3Lindsay White and Veronica May are lovebirds, or at very least, The Lovebirds (capitalized with a definite article). In Youtube videos, the San Diego folk duo come across as a well-matched set, quirky and charming and belting out songs with unabashed joy. The pair is on tour in support of its latest album “and a one, and a two,” and play tomorrow night at Tokyo Garden. In advance of the show, we caught up with White via email.

From the youtube videos I’ve watched, it seems like The Lovebirds is a fitting name? Am I off base? Give me some history on how The Lovebirds came together. Musically or otherwise.

Veronica and I both had established solo and band projects in San Diego before we met and started writing together about three years ago. We found a great connection through music and eventually started dating. I think Veronica eventually came up with the name The Lovebirds, and it stuck. We recently (about a month ago) decided to take a break from our romantic partnership in order to preserve our musical partnership. We both feel that our connection is stronger and more meaningful in the musical realm, which can be hard for people to understand. It requires a great deal of strength and maturity to break up AND stay together, but we are trying to put our music first and let that also be the thing that heals us. It always has in the past, and we trust it will now.

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Go see: Manhattan Murder Mystery

292963_10150609117766442_11307908_nManhattan Murder Mystery probably drinks more whiskey than you. Which you might expect from a band with songs titles like “I Always Think About Dyin’,” whose live shows have been described as a “battle royal. A wonderful, scummy battle royal (that one’s from Radio Free Silverlake).”

Yes, the band is named for the Woody Allen film, but not because they particularly liked it or anything. On the list of possible names, it was just the best.

And yes, the band’s show , tomorrow night at Tokyo Garden, will probably be one of those not-to-be-missed events that you probably will miss and hate yourself for later.

Or, maybe you go, and hate yourself later anyway.

Either way, I was intrigued, so I got in touch with MMM front man Matthew Teardrop to find out more.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While pondering a downtown public market.

NYC hip-hop duo Camp Lo — famous for their stellar 1997 album, “Uptown Saturday Night” — are at Fulton 55 on Saturday as part of the anniversary tour for the album. It’s a cool gig, particularly if you’ve never seen “Luchini” pour from the sky. [More]

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than going to The Big Fresno Fair one last time this year.

Saturday’s “For the Love of Coffee” event at Fulton 55 is the best $5 you can spend on local music this weekend. Look at that band lineup! It’s a celebration of Cafe Corazon’s coffee goodness too. And we hear there’s going to be a special coffee beer collabo with Corazon and Tioga-Sequoia? Win. [More]

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Tonight: Local H, jazz from Paris and farewell to John Magic

Fulton 55 hosts a night of blistering, politically-infused rock when Chicago duo Local H makes a tour stop. The band is here fresh off the release of its new album, “Hallelujah! I’m A Bum,” which came out last week. NYC band Ambassadors — check out their song “Unconsolable,” which I dig a lot — open up. Tickets cost $15-$18.


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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

In addition to the concerts I already recommended.

Tonight is the kick off of an interesting campaign by the folks behind Fuse Fest. They’re starting a Fresno Covers Fresno compilation. In short, as the name suggests, it’ll be Fresno musicians covering the music of other Fresno musicians. Hope is for the comp to be done at this time next year. This Tokyo Garden show is the start of fund-raising efforts for Fresno Covers Fresno. [More]


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Tonight: A Tuesday that begs you to get out of the house

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Do you remember when Tuesdays used to the day to go see a band in this city? I do. And I can’t help but notice that tonight’s Tuesday night entertainment harkens back to those days. Some good stuff ahead of you, Fresno. So go see a show.

AT AUDIE’S OLYMPIC: L.A. punk/bluegrass band Old Man Markley arrives for a tour stop thanks to Numbskull Shows. The band is playing here before doing a run of dates with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. [More]

AT FULTON 55: Love the Captive brings us Portland band Aan (as heard on last week’s Ozmosis) plus much-buzzed-about local indie rock band Light Thieves as main support. The bill also features Greener By Color and Actress. [More]

AT TOKYO GARDEN: Another Oregon group, Wintertime Carousel, stops in town to share its indie/folks sounds. Let’s hope the carousel doesn’t melt in the Fresno heat. [More]

AT BABYLON: Itchy-O — a 32-piece masked (!!) marching band from Denver stops at Babylon. It sounds a bit like a concert and the Royal Rumble all in one. With pulsing percussion and electronica fun. [More]

AT ALDO’S: For the club crowd, Aldo’s hosts “Gotham City,” a Batman-themed party with all the usual club flair, plus a costume contest. I hope someone goes as Alfred — or, I suppose, the more probable, Slutty Alfred. [More]

The Week Ahead: Catacomb Party, not-quite $5 country, Rev. Horton Heat, etc.

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CATACOMB PARTY: Indie rockers Fierce Creatures have their big Catacomb Party album release concert on Saturday. It’s a free, all-ages event with nine other bands joining Fierce Creatures outdoors on the Fulton Mall. It’s the local music event of the week, for sure.

THE HOTTEST TICKET OF THE WEEK: That goes to Kiss Country’s $5 concert at Rotary Amphitheatre at Woodward Park, starring “American Idol” Scotty McCreery and Joe Nichols. The $5 thing, that’s a lie at this point. Tickets sold out in less than a day when they went on sale and now if you want them, you’re going to pay much more than that.

BACK-UP PLAN: Another quality show on Thursday night is at Fulton 55, where Rev. Horton Heat, Supersuckers and The Goddamn Gallows make a tour stop. Rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, roots rock are too be expected. Good stuff too.

ALSO IN TOWN THIS WEEK: Bachata star Joan Soriano (Tuesday at Starline), pop/rock band The Torn ACLs (Wednesday at Tokyo Garden), dancy indie rock group Conveyor (Friday at Kuppajoe), Origami Ghosts (Friday at Cafe Infoshop) and the Hiero Imperium Tour with Souls of Mischief, Pep Love and Casual (Saturday at Fulton 55).

FOR LAUGHS: “Mad TV” alum Mo Collins — who “Parks & Rec” fans also know as Joan Callamezzo of “Pawnee Today” — performs at Club One Casino on Friday night with Rebecca Corry.

TWEETUP: We like Tweetups — obviously — so we think you should know that them lady bloggers over at The Full Moxie are having one on Friday.

CAN I GET AN ENCORE? Looks like Encore Nightclub is having a big “grand opening” weekend — it’s been open, but ya know how these things go. It’s fully operational as an 18+ place, which is worth a note. This is, if you’re wondering, the most re-named club in Fresno. It’s the former On the Rocks, Bliss, Bisla’s, XO and most recently NVS.

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Worst Flier of the Week: Vol. 33

Well kids, we’ve got a humdinger of a Worst Flier this week. I could sit here and list off the things that are wrong with it, but I figure it would be fun if you readers just named the graphic design travesties. It’s like we’re in elementary school playing a “what’s wrong with this picture?” game. Find ‘em and shout ‘em out in the comments.

Special thanks to Kaci for sending this in. And special thanks to whoever made this for the Republik Nightclub in Visalia. We appreciate the amusement.

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Tonight: Since you can’t see that $5 country concert …

The biggest concert of the night will be the second in Kiss Country’s $5 summer concert series, which is long sold-out and will pack-out the Rotary Amphitheatre at Woodward Park. Since you can’t go to that, you might consider Grammy-winner Louie Ortega of the Texas Tornados, Straight Line Stitch, Sonnymoon, Thee Satisfaction, The Jacka or some tropical grooving at Starline.

Here’s more:

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While you sharpen up your Tetris skills

Lindy Perry — the former 4 Non Blondes singer and songwriter/producer whose credits include Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Grew Stefani and Alicia Keys — brings her new band Deep Dark Robot to Audie’s Olympic tonight. Read more in this interview with Perry from today’s Bee. [Info]


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Shameless self promo: Sexy Oz


This Saturday night I’ll be playing some tunes at Tokyo Garden and helping Creative Fresno raise money for more downtown murals.

It’s part of Creative Fresno’s “Sexy” DJ series — and to make sure Sexy Oz lives up to the name, my wife is going to be there. *Wocka, Wocka*

Keeping with the theme of the night, you can expect sexy and smooth tunes, ranging from 90s R & B (but not the stuff that’s on The Beat all the time), indie rock, electro-pop, hip-hop, etc.

Money raised goes toward Creative Fresno’s mural project — which has helped erect many murals around downtown.

If you’re heading up Swede Fest on Saturday — and you should — this will be a great afterparty.

Get more info or RSVP on Facebook.

To-Do Tonight: Pre-Halloween shuffle


Lots happening tonight, so let’s not waste any time on some generic setup:

More happenings, including a bunch of nightclub stuff, below

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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]


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The Beehive Interview: Malcolm Sosa of Rademacher


It’s an ArtHop Thursday in Fresno, and local indie rock fans should know that means: It’s Rademacher time.

For years, wandering over to Tokyo Garden after ArtHop and enjoying a sweaty night of live tunes with Fresno’s foremost indie rock band was a downtown tradition. Things have evolved in Rademacher land lately. The band isn’t playing Tokyo Garden as much, but it is in the middle of peeling off a series of three EPs called “Babyhawk.”

The release of the second EP — on Tuesday via Bandcamp, free to listen, btw — is giving Rademacher a good reason to party tonight, and at a swankier venue than Tokyo Garden.

Find Rademacher at Fulton 55 with friends Light FM (currently touring with Smashing Pumpkins) and Glasslands. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $7. You can also catch Rademacher on Sunday at the Festival of Hope at the Tulare Outlet Mall. It’s a free show, headlined by Matt & Kim, and also featuring Fierce Creatures and Strange Vine. Rademacher plays at 6 p.m., right before Matt & Kim.

Rademacher’s frontman Malcolm Sosa is more than just the band’s singer. He’s the glue of Rademacher, and a longtime local musician. He’s also a longtime downtown resident, one of the guys championing the “Mural District” and Tokyo Garden before it got cool. Let’s not forget he’s a pioneer of the blogosphere too, having been one of the original contributors to Fresno Famous. So I figured when we decided to have a chat, we had a lot to talk about it.

Check out our Q & A below, touching on the new EP, the band’s current lineup, his thoughts on where downtown is these days and why Rademacher isn’t playing Tokyo Garden.

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To-Do Tonight: All that jazz

Tokyo Garden has a cool-sounding jazz show lined up tonight. The Kandinsky Effect — a Paris-based trio — is set to play its post-modern style of jazz. That’s a fancy way of saying the group blends jazz with rock, electronica, hip-hop and other experimental sounds.

The Kandinsky Effect played Angel City Jazz Festival in L.A. over the weekend and played Yoshi’s in San Francisco on Tuesday night. Sounds like a nice treat for Tokyo Garden and Fresno jazz fans.


To-Do Tonight: Felsen, 1776, Abbey Road and the Frebbys

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Let’s hop around town for some happenings:

FELSEN: Tokyo Garden hosts Oakland rock band Felsen, who calls its style “indie classic rock” — which means you’re going to hear a little bit of Wlico and Radiohead in there, and a little bit of Pink Floyd and The Beatles too. Band member Rich McCulley is a Fresno native. 9 p.m. $5.

ABBEY ROAD: Speaking of The Beatles, Abbey Road, a touring Fab Four tribute act, headlines Tower Theatre tonight. We’ve seen these guys before. They were part of the “In My Life” live theatrical show that came to Warnors Theatre last year. The band has been back to The Cellar Door a few times since. Now, it’s Fresno’s turn again. 7:30 p.m. $30-$40.

1776 & FRIENDS: Portlanders 1776 return to Audie’s Olympic tonight, joining up with local band Quiet Americans, who — spoiler alert — aren’t so quiet and Vancouver band The Shivas. More info here. 8 p.m. $5.

FREBBYS: Finally, don’t forget about the Frebby Awards, which are handing out big ol’ trophies to some our local web standard-setters at Fulton 55. Everything you need to know right here.

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

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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.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

While you’re not jaywalking

The Wailers — you know, they played with that dude Bob Marley, perhaps you’ve heard of him? — headline Tower Theatre on Sunday. It’s a special matinee show, starting at 3 p.m., with a number of local acts starting things off, peeps like Patrick Contreras and More Than Without. [Tickets]


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The Week Ahead: The Wailers, Zoe, Brother Luke, Midnight Run and more

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THE WAILERS: If you dig the sounds of Bob Marley — and really who doesn’t — then about the closest you’re going to get to a live show is seeing his band The Wailers, who play Sunday at Tower Theatre.

ALSO IN TOWN THIS WEEK: Latin alt-rock group Zoe (Tues. at Fulton 55), The Fling w/ local faves Strange Vine (Thurs. at Fulton 55), hip-hoppers Rej3ctz (Friday at Tulare Fairgrounds) and Aaron Lewis of Staind (Fri. at Visalia Fox).

BROTHER LUKE & EVERYBODY HE KNOWS: Indie vet Brother Luke isn’t just bringing his Comrades to Tuesday night’s CD release/tour kick-off show at Audie’s Olympic. He’s bringing a handful of Fresno friends — 14 people total, including musicians from bands such as Rademacher, Achievement House and Fay Wrays.

IT ALWAYS GROWS BACK: Punk vets It’ll Grow Back — featuring our blogging friend Famous Whitewater — have a CD record release party this week too. It’s happening Friday at Tokyo Garden.

MORE JOURNEY: If it seems like the music of Journey is everywhere — then I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who thinks that right now. Here’s another example: You can catch popular local tribute band Midnight Run headlining Tower Theatre on Saturday night.

ALL LAUGHS: On-the-rise comic Ian Edwards is at Starline on Saturday night, and a lot of the local comedy folks are gushing over this one. Here’s one routine of his I especially dig.

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F.U.S.E. Fest 2011: It’s coming


It’s about time we start talking about this year’s Fresno Urban Sound Experience — or simply, F.U.S.E. Fest, which is, believe it or not, right around the corner.

For the unfamiliar: the festival is a celebration of Fresno’s local music scene, with dozens of bands playing at a various downtown venues for one all-you-can-listen-to ticket price.

A few more bits of info to get you salivating:

DATES: Yes, that’s dates, as in plural. This year, the festival expands to two days — Sept. 30 (a Friday) and Oct. 1 (a Saturday). This is year No. 4 for the festival, so it’s nice to see it growing at a steady pace.

VENUES: On Friday, the festival announced its venues, and it’s more obvious why they’re splitting into two nights. There are two clusters of venues separated by a big chunk of downtown. Organizers figured it’s best to have one day with Chukchansi Park-vicinity venues and another with the Mural District venues. That schedules out to Club One Casino, Karma, Joe’s Steakhouse and Heroes on Sept. 30 and Fulton 55, Tokyo Garden, the African-American Museum’s outdoor stage on Oct. 1. Iron Bird Cafe was supposed to be a venue –we’ll have to see what happens with that.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Once again this year, the F.U.S.E. folks have set up a Kickstarter campaign to support the festival. Like last year, there are a number of rewards for people who donate — from exclusive festival swag to big corporate sponsorships. They have a goal of $4,444 (it being the fourth year and all) to be reached in 44 days. More in the video below.

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Five Things You Should Do This Weekend

Other than mingling with some techies at The Hashtag tonight …

Contrary to how that might sound, it’s a good thing: Sunday’s Tower District Father Day’s Blues Festival is a good destination for celebrating dad this weekend [Info]


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