When I was a kid, I used to love reading reviews in Rolling Stone and SPIN magazines. Movie reviews, concert reviews, album reviews, all kinds of reviews. My late grandmother, Dorothy, used to say that I’d surely grow up to be the Charles Kuralt of the arts, riding in my bus all over the country, interviewing filmmakers and musicians of all types in the style of the famous newsman’s folksy, human-interest style “On the Road” segments that used to air on the CBS Evening News.
I’ve dabbled at writing arts reviews here and there in the past, but I haven’t pursued it seriously because a) it’s super tough to make a living as a professional arts reviewer, and b) you’ve got to have a lot of highly specialized knowledge to do it well. But lately, I’ve found myself more inspired to try and develop my skills in this area. I’ve been writing regular movie reviews for this blog since the first of the year, and I’ve written a couple of album reviews– most notably, for the Niilo Smeds record “Helicopter Circles”– for the citizen media site FresnoFamous.com, where I used to be a regular contributor from 2005-2007.
This year, when the annual Fresno Urban Sound Experience came around, I decided to try documenting and reviewing all the shows I went to. Last year, I got inspired to put together an impromptu photo walk post during FUSE Fest 2011, so I wanted to try something new this time around. I live-posted photos to Instagram during the festival, and then I wrote day-after Twitter reviews (140 characters or less!) of each show. I got a lot of great feedback and encouragement on the posts– including many kind words from people I didn’t even know– so I thought I would aggregate everything here in one place.
Brother Luke & The Comrades – STANDING ROOM ONLY for this gospel.
B Rawcity feat. F.T.M. – Lyrical wizard turns up the funk w/ new “Check Your Head” style backing band. Plus: light show!
Strawberry Jam – Four chicks, glued to the ground, combine twang, surf, machine-gun grunge, and a dash of Peter Hook.
Restaurnaut – With brand new 9V battery, lonesome southern trucker plugs in electric uke; foot stomping, clapping ensue.
Sparklejet – Your smart, cool older brother & his two best friends consistently remind you that “rock” is both noun, verb.
Kat Jones – Lipstick hurricane sonic boom frequency.
Light Thieves – Lost in space, your earplugs fall out; then, the tiny girl on the bass hollows out your eustachian tube.
Blake Jones & Trike Shop – That moment when The Beatles, a theramin, an iron gargoyle, the Fresno PD seamlessly converge.
Actress – If John Mayer joined the Pet Shop Boys fan club and then started covering The Xx in his bedroom.
I also reviewed my dinner at the Dusty Buns Bistro Bus, which was parked outside of the Fresno Brewing Company on the Fulton Mall. Sadly, I ate the sandwich so fast between shows that there was no time to make a photograph! But here was my review:
Dusty Buns Bistro Bus – Le Grilled Cheese sandwich for Fresno Mayor 2016.
Big thanks to the Creative Fresno board and all the FUSE Fest 2012 musicians, volunteers, and fans for a great festival! My good friend Mike Osegueda from the Fresno Bee has his FUSE review up on the Beehive, with links to reviews by other good folks as well. If you were there and would like to leave a Twitter-inspired 140-character review of some of the shows I missed, feel free to add a comment.