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Four things for Fresno Urban Sound Experience Year 4
The Fresno Urban Sound Experience has been happening for four years.
I was in high school for four years. I was in college for four years. OK, college was closer to five and a half years, but the point is, this thing has some legs. And why not? This is not what some radio station thinks a rock festival should be. It's wacky and weird and a truly authentic (I love that word) celebration of Fresno music. The fact that there are 45 bands playing over two days is pretty awesome too.
But you can find out all the details (times/tickets prices/etc.) elsewhere. No, instead I'd like to take a walk down memory lane and share some highlights from the first three festivals, and what I'm looking forward to this year.
Year 1 (2008): Fashawn@Milano. So, right before Fashawn blew up and started doing sell-out shows and tours with Ghostface Killah, he played for 100 or so people in a tiny-ass pizza parlor on the Fulton Mall. It was extra awesome because I can now say my band opened up for Fashawn.
Year 2 (2009): The Parking Garage stage. The festival has tried its best to only use existing venues when possible. After all, the idea is to support downtown business. But best laid plans and all that. In year two, the festival resorted to some out-of-the-box thinking and set a stage up on the top of the spiral garage at Van Ness and Inyo Streets. The whole thing felt like something you were never going to see again (and probably won't) and there was something spectacular in seeing those bands with Fresno's skyline as a back drop.
Year 3 (2010): Trumpet Solo@Frank's Place. With so many bands playing in such a compacted amount of time, the flow of this event is important. Last year there were two stages at Frank's Place and as one band finished, the next band started up, almost on cue. As was the case with Trumpet Solo. As the band on stage one said its goodnights Trumpet Solo growler Reid May screamed off “We are Trumpet Solo,” the band exploded into “Hard Working Economy” and the entire audience swung en mass from one stage to the next. It was as close to a perfect moment as I'd seen in a long time.
This year: Kevin Hill Blowout, which is scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday @ African American Museum. Jazzman Kevin Hill wants to put 30 of Fresno’s best musicians up on stage. Included: 5 drummers, 5 guitarists, 5 keyboard players and 3 tubas. He’s even hinted at an anything-goes free-for-all jam to end the set. No. To. Be. Missed.