Music News & Reviews

Fresno expats reunite for mega-jam at Tower Theatre; plus Fashawn’s Beary Xmas and more

David Hull put together an all-star lineup of Fresno musicians and expats for the Fiesta Americana Food and Music Festival, Monday Dec. 26 at the Tower Theatre.
David Hull put together an all-star lineup of Fresno musicians and expats for the Fiesta Americana Food and Music Festival, Monday Dec. 26 at the Tower Theatre. Special to The Bee

David Hull woke up two weeks ago with an idea in his head – get all his favorite musician friends together in one room for a blow-out jam-session concert party reunion.

Hull enlisted fellow Fresnan (and professional musician) Pete Ortega and the two set about organizing what they hope will become an annual event. The Fiesta Americana Food and Music Festival happens Monday at the Tower Theater and will feature an all-star cast of local musician and expats in town for the holidays. Hull will play a casual pre-show set of honky tonk piano in the theater’s lounge, along with a set from the Blue Street Jazz Band. The featured concert will happen on the main stage and feature a set from Deja Blues, along with Hull and Ortega’s all-star band, which includes Eva Scow, Javier Navarrette, Ray Moore, Pat Olvera, Richard Juarez, Jay Rossette, Kevin Hill and Marisa Orduno. The evening will end with an open jam back at the Tower Theatre Lounge.

In a way, the event is a gathering of the Fresno musician’s network, Hull says.

“Fresno Unified schools did something right when they put magnet programs in the high school,” he says.

Hull graduated from the music program at Roosevelt School of the Arts and went on to become a professional pianist. He’s been away from Fresno for the last eight years, playing cruise ship gigs, before ending up in New Orleans, where he plays piano on Bourbon Street. Ortega also graduated from Roosevelt, before attending the Berklee College of Music. He lives in Los Angeles and plays saxophone in Stevie Wonder’s band.

“There has been a long history of talent coming out of Roosevelt,” Ortega says. That includes Broadway star Audra McDonald.

While the concert was originally conceived as a reunion of friends and family, Ortega hopes young musicians take advantage of the opportunity to see (and network) with players of this caliber.

Details: 7 p.m. Monday. Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $12-$18. 559-485-9050,

Beary Xmas

The event: It’s a merry, beary Xmas for local hip-hop fans! Fashawn hosts his annual end-of-the-year bash.

The draw: Beary X Mas is one of two local shows Fashawn is guaranteed to play each year – a bookend to the massive Grizzly Fest concert each spring. The rapper uses the smaller, more intimate performance to give his fans a unique experience each year. Past lineups have included the local indie rock duo Strange Vine, underground rap icon Tabli Kweli and local hip-hop pioneer Planet Asia. This year, Fashawn will play with a live band lead by drummer Ray Moore and be supported by DJs Hecktik and Kay Rich.

Two dollars from each ticket will be donated to help staff affected by the fire that closed Livingstone’s restaurant earlier this week. The restaurant is located next door to Strummer’s.

Details: 8 p.m. Friday. Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. $15. All ages. (559) 485-5356,

New Saturnalia, pt. 2

The events: It’s part two of Light Thieves’ curated concerts series New Saturnalia.

The draw: Earlier this month, the Fresno psych rock band hosted and headlined the first event, with a half-dozen of its friends and compatriots (the lofi rap trio Sagey was particularly turnt, as they say). Part two builds on the hype, with performances from the Light Thieves, Cockamamie Jamie, Sahab, Brother Luke and the Comrades and Amoret, plus headlining sets from both Strange Vine and a reunited Fierce Creatures.

Details: 5 p.m. Friday. Tioga-Sequoia, 745 Fulton St. Free. All ages. 559-486-2337,,

The cherry on top

The event: Los Angeles indie darlings Cherry Glazerr finish off the year with a short run of California dates, including this all-ages show at Strummer’s.

The draw: Cherry Glazerr’s latest album was recorded at the iconic Sunset Sound studio with help of Joe Chicarrelli and Carlos De La Garza, who between them have produced work for The Strokes, The White Stripes, M83 and Paramore. Of course, you’ll have to wait until next year to hear it. The album is out Jan. 20 on Secretly Canadian. The trio, led by musician/actress/model Clementine Creevy, will be touring in support of the album in February.

You can save yourself the wait and just see them now.

Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday. Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. $12. All ages. (559) 485-5356,

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee