Fresno Beehive

Banda MS closes out the first weekend of The Big Fresno Fair

The regional Mexican group Band MS closed out the first weekend of The Big Fresno Fair’s concert series.
The regional Mexican group Band MS closed out the first weekend of The Big Fresno Fair’s concert series. The Fresno Bee

The members of Banda MS make an impressive entrance, streaming single-file across the stage in suits that match down the gold watches and belt buckle. They have the initials “MS.” There are eleven musicians up front – two singers, three trombone players, three trumpeters and three guys on clarinet – plus another five in back and once they kick into the first number its non stop music and motion for an hour and forty-five minutes.

That was the case for the band performed Sunday night at The Big Fresno Fair, at any rate.

Banda MS, or Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizarraga, was founded in Sinaloa in 2003 and has become popular for its brand of regional Mexican music. Its latest album, “Que Bendicion” was No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin albums chart –and 71 on the Top 200. The band just won three times at the Latin American Music Awards.

This is not Latin pop or rock music and whether you enjoyed – or even attended the show – was likely based on you familiarity with the style and whether you like brass bands. For me not speaking the language, some of the performance was lost, especially the interactions between vocalists Alan Salcido and Sergio Lizárraga. But the band itself made it easy to watch, with synchronized movements and dancing that came off like a Motown revue. The best moments of the night saw the entire band marching and dancing in a flurry around the stage. Afterward, they would all take a collective water break.

Salcido and Lizárraga were obviously leading the show, trading off singing duties every few songs. But the horn sections had their time at center stage and in the spotlight, too. At points throughout the performance, the band dropped out completely, trusting that the close-to-sell out crowd to know the words and sing along.

And they did. The audience – or at least the women in the audience – seemed to know and sing along to every song.

Stray observations:

▪ Salcido multi-tasked through the final number, singing while signing autographs and talking pictures with fans.

▪ Once again, reserved seating seemed to be just a suggestion in my section.

▪ Props to the sound guys for keeping the music was loud enough to drown out the people behind me who talked through the whole show.

▪ Favorite thing about concerts in the age of cell phones: Watching people contort themselves so they can get selfies with the band in the background.

▪ More bands nee to embrace the clarinet.

Check back in with The Beehive for more reviews on The Big Fresno Fair concerts.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee