This month will be the 10-year anniversary of New York indie-rock band Bear Hands, which begs the question frontman Dylan Rau fields quite often: How has the band changed over its career?
“Usually, I say it hasn’t changed very much,” says Rau, on the phone during a stop on the band’s tour, opening for Australian alt-rockers Atlas Genius. The band is in Fresno for an already sold-out show Friday, Aug. 5, at Strummer’s.
Of course, Bear Hands has changed some. When the band recorded its first EP in 2007, it played straight-ahead punk rock at underground venues. By the time it released its second full-length album seven years later, Bear Hands had earned a name for its slightly off-kilter electronic indie-dance rock and scored a top 10 single on Billboard’s Alternative songs chart with “Giants.” It was also landing gigs at big-named festivals such as SXSW, Coachella, Lollapalooza and The Great Escape Festival in England.
The band self-released its third album, “You’ll Pay For This,” in April. Sonically, the album is not far out of line from “Distraction,” Rau says.
Of late, the biggest change for Bear Hands can be seen on stage. The band recently took on an additional member to cover Rau’s keyboard parts, and he’s stopped playing guitar except on a few songs. The change was necessitated partly because Rau is self-taught on the keys.
“It was a real distraction when it came to performing,” he says. “It’s nice for me to be able to prowl around the stage.”
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. This show is sold out. 559-485-5356, www.strummerclub.com
The draw: Ross writes stories disguised as country songs.
“They’re like movies in three minutes,” says Ross, who released a six-song EP “Turn Up the Noise,” in May.
Ross started working on these songs last year. Three months ago, he put together a full band and started performing. Already, he has played Kiss Country’s $5 concert series, opening for Chris Janson in May. He will also play the Bakersfield Business Conference in October.
Ross was raised on country music – his grandparents played with country western legend Bob Wills’ Playboys – but spent time in the local rock scene playing with the band Hammerdown Sindrum. He happily admits to being a big fan of the metal band Pantera, along with more contemporary country music.
“Early ’80s country is what I really love,” Ross says.
His music has the requisite pedal steel and telecaster guitars: “There’s also some distortion,” he says.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. $10-$12. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
For the love of rock ’n’ roll
Event: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino.
The draw: This is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, playing as part of Chukchansi’s summer concert series.
Jett’s style and music – and not just hits like “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” and “Bad Reputation” – inspired generations of female musicians, from the riot grrrl group Bikini Kill to Miley Cyrus.
The singer/guitarist is no stranger to the Valley. She played last year at Visalia’s Fox Theatre.
Later this month Jett embarks on the Rock Hall Three For All tour with Heart and Cheap Trick.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, 711 Lucky Lane, Coarsegold. $45-$55. 866-794-6946, www.chukchansigold.com/entertainment
Un gran baile
The event: Selland Arena plays host to another installment of El Corrido VIP with a lineup of more than a dozen regional Mexican acts.
The draw: This is another mega-concert from the local promotions company Hyphy Music Inc., which partnered with the Fresno Convention Center last year and brought in the likes of Hector Monetmayor and Chelo. The El Corrido lineup includes Jesus Ojeda, Los Incomparables de Tijuana, Tite Chavez, Los Buchones de Culiacan, Los Zafiros del Norte, Grupo Maximo Grado and more.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Selland Arena, 700 M St. $25. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com