Cloudship isn’t the band it was when Brandon Freeman and Jonathan Napoles first started jamming.
Freeman breaks it down in terms of the equipment used, which tells you something about the duo’s approach to music.
“I was only playing a single tom with mallets and using a foot tambourine or a hand tambourine. It was a quirky percussion setup, although I was still playing keys. Nowadays, I play what amounts to a whole drum kit,” he says. “Not to mention I’m expanding my keys setup. Jonathan now uses a custom hybrid guitar created by Ted Cromwell of TC Guitars. In layman’s terms, it serves as both an electric and acoustic guitar and sends separate signals for both sounds.
“We weren’t using electric guitar or distortion at first, so our music is a bit more edgy now,” Freeman says. “I think that edge shows in my lyrics, too.”
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That is evident on the duo’s latest, “A Series of Fortunate Events,” which it recorded over a month and half in between cross-country tour stops this year.
“This is, very much, a rock album,” Freeman says. “But we still have that roots-music influence that we always have had and are very much proud of.”
The pair celebrates the release Saturday night with Cloudfest – a mini-music festival at Tioga Sequoia. The event will feature a performance from Cloudship along with sets from Sahab, Patrick Contreras and The Sleepover Disaster. The brewery even created a special beer for the night.
“I think we’ve got the cream of the crop for our little fest. It’s gonna be an awesome night,” Freeman says.
Details: 6 p.m. Saturday. Tioga-Sequoia, 745 Fulton St. Free. www.cloudshipmusic.com
Here is trio of midweek concerts that are also worth note.
British blues icon
The event: Guitarist John Mayall, who led the Bluesbreakers is the late 1960s, performs at the Tower Theatre.
The draw: Mayall is the Godfather of British blues. His band spawned a generation of blues and rock legends, including Eric Clapton, who left to join the Yardbirds; Peter Green, ditto, for Fleetwood Mac; Andy Fraser, who went on to form the band Free and Mick Taylor, who joined the Rolling Stones.
“I always played my own music,” says Mayall, on the phone from Los Angeles, where he’s lived since 1969. “That’s the only way to define it.”
The guitarist is currently in the midst of a monthlong West Coast tour in support of his latest album “Find a Way to Care” and will have a new album out on Forty Below Records next year.
The tour is a bit of history in the making for Mayall in that he’s playing as a trio, along with bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport. The changeup happened as a bit of necessity, but Mayall has captured the intimacy and interplay that comes with having three people on stage.
It’s the first time Mayall has played with a without a secondary guitar player and he’s having fun exploring the musical territory.
“The trio situation is working really well.”
Details: 7 p.m. Monday. Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $32.50-$52.50. 559-485-9050, www.towertheatrefresno.com
The event: Kris Kristofferson performs an intimate show at the Tower Theatre.
The draw: Kristofferson is a country music icon, a surviving member of a generation of songwriters that included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Kristofferson was the renaissance man – a Rhodes scholar and a captain in the Army and at one point was a rugged leading man. He starred alongside Barbra Streisand is “A Star is Born.” He also penned a number of classic tunes, including “Me and BobbyMcGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”
The 80-year-old singer played the Warnors Theatre in 2012.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $39.50-$64.50. 559-485-9050, www.towertheatrefresno.com
The event: The electro-pop duo Cherub brings its Bleeding Gold tour to Strummer’s.
The draw: All that Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber say seems like maybe they’re messing with you. Like how fans can buy a meet-and-greet with the duo’s bulldog Little George at the merch booth.
“He would like to meet everybody,” says Kelley, or maybe it’s Huber. The pair are on the phone together before a show in Portland, Ore., and talking back and forth, so its hard to track who’s saying what.
They’re not talking on their burner phone, which the pair bought the last time they came through Fresno so fans could text them afterparty updates. That phone got upgraded, then lost somewhere inside the bus.
The duo, which plays as a four piece for this tour, has been busy since they were last in town. They recorded and released an album “Bleed Gold, Piss Excellence,” and took up hang-gliding and BASE-jumping as a way of getting them in the mood to make music.
“If we could BASE-jump into a show … ” Huber says excitedly, before letting the thought go. The insurance for something like that would be insane and already their manager complains that the insurance rates for the duo are way higher than his other artists based on the choice of song titles. After the tour ends, the pair will head to Thailand. Not to play music, just to catch waves or maybe some monkeys.
The pair clicks into a quick moment of sincerity, if not seriousness, when talking about the album, which was released last month.
It comes out as a cliché, but they don’t care because happens to be true.
“We are super stoked that it’s finally out,” Huber says.
Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday. Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. $25. All ages. 559-485-5356, www.strummersclub.com