San Francisco’s psychedelic soul band Monophonics are pushing up against the end of a much deserved break.
“We’ve been busy making records and touring all over the world since 2012,” keyboardist Kelly Finnigan says in a phone interview in advance of the band’s stop in town, Friday, May 6, at Fulton 55. The show will be one of the few the Monophonics have done this year and will lead up to a spot at BottleRock Napa Valley, the music festival headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Death Cab for Cutie and Florence and the Machine (and featuring Cold War Kids, Grouplove, Walk the Moon and dozens of others).
In parts of the world – Turkey, Romania – the Monophonics have earned a well-established fan base for their relentless work. In Greece, for example, the band is played on multiple radio stations, multiple times a day; a fact the band didn’t know until it toured the country and heard its song in the car on the way from the airport.
“If you live in Greece and you like music, you have likely heard the Monophonics,” Finnigan says.
The band’s experimental approach to soul music – think Jimi Hendrix, Isaac Hayes or “Ball of Confusion”-era Temptations – has an appeal that extends across borders. As does the passion and effort the band puts into live performances, Finnigan says.
“That in itself is attractive.”
We’re going to put our heart and soul into that 90 minutes.
Kelly Finnigan, keyboardist for San Francisco’s Monophonics
Monophonics is not the only entertainment option this week. Here are some other events worth noting.
Play on at Playland
The event: After being shuttered for almost a year, Fresno’s Playland has its grand reopening.
The draw: Playland opened in 1955 as Fresno’s amusement park. It saw more than 250,000 visitors that year alone and has become, for many, a nostalgic reminder of childhood in the Valley. It’s little wonder there was an outpouring of support when the park – and its sister property, the fairy-tale-themed Storyland – closed last year.
Storyland reopened in September with a massive facelift and organizational restructuring.
Now, it’s Playland’s turn. The revitalized park features four of its original attractions – the little Ferris wheel and race cars, the carousel and roller coaster. In all, eight rides will be operating for the reopening. Several more will open within the next few months.
Details: 10 a.m. Friday, May 6, at 890 W. Belmont Ave. $1.50-$3 per ride, or $16 for a day pass. 559-486-2124, www.playlandfresno.com
The event: The Women’s Art and Music Festival of Fresno hosts a performance fundraiser, featuring close to two dozen visual artists, dancers and musicians.
The draw: WAMFF is a local collective, working with the Rape Counseling Services and the Women’s Studies Program at Fresno State. The group seeks to celebrate and encourage the development of local talent in Fresno – in arts and music and professional careers. Proceeds will pay for a women’s studies internship. Performers include: Abel Wonders & Gabriel Falcon, AJ’S Hip Hop, Fattycakes and the Puff Pastries, Ghost Meat, Hazey Autumns, Jasmin La Caris, Kooleidiscope, Ladi Soul, Megan Bronson, Michelle Correa and Sci-Fi Caper.
The details: 5 p.m. Friday, May 6, at Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $5-$10. 559-485-9050, www.towertheatre.com
Mother’s Day with the Gilly Girls
The event: The Gilly Girls, a local old-timey twin-sibling folk act, present a Mother’s Day concert at the Tower Theatre.
The draw: The Gilly Girls are sisters Savannah, Morgan, Hailey and Jillian. The quartet – two sets of twins, ages 9 and 12 – are child prodigies, playing a style of bluegrass, Southern gospel and old-time string music fitting their home in the Sierra foothills. Here, they play with local folk-music legend and educator Evo Bluestein and harpist Barry Shultz.
The details: 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at the Tower Theatre lounge, 815 E. Olive Ave. $12-$22. 559-485-9050, www.towertheatre.com