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.
San 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.”
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.
Lindsay 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.
Manhattan 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.
1. HAVE AN UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT
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]
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.
1. FILL YOUR EARS WITH LOCAL MUSIC 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]
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 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]
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.
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.
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.
More good than bad in this new installment of Worst Fliers of the Week — which is why I changed up the title. Yeah, there’s an ugly club flier in there, but there are a few clever ones that I enjoyed too.
1. FIND HOPE WITH MATT & KIM
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1. SEE REGGAE ROYALTY 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]
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.
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.
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.
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.