Fresno Phil celebrates new music as part of this year's 'California Festival'
Plus, a Pierce the Veil Jaws of Life tour review.
The job of any good philharmonic, aside from providing simple entertainment, is to help cultivate orchestral music.
For Fresno’s philharmonic that means playing, and more importantly commissioning, works by living composers.
In the last six seasons, director Rei Hotoda has lead the philharmonic in works from a long list of both established and emerging composers, such as Benjamin Boone (a name I’ve certainly mentioned before).
For the organization’s 70th Anniversary, the orchestra has partnered with the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, to commission a new work by composers Hitomi Oba and Erika Oba. It will be based on the life and work of Central Valley farmer/poet David “Mas” Masumoto.
This is all context for a pair of performances this upcoming weekend as part of the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music.
The festival, which kicked of Feb. 3, asks musical organizations throughout the state to curate a program of music that features at least one work composed within the last five years.
In Fresno, that will be Anna Clyne’s DANCE, a 2019 composition that takes its title from the 13th century Persian poet and mystic Rumi. The piece was written for cello and orchestra, and specifically for cellist Inbal Segev, who’s recorded version of its opening number was one of NPR Music’s “Favorite Songs of 2020.” It has 10 million plus streams on Spotify.
Bonus for Fresnans: Segev will be the featured cellist at both performances.
The Fresno Philharmonic performs 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall. Tickets are on sale now.
Review: Pierce the Veil, Jaws of Life tour, Selland Arena
The thing to know about a Pierce the Veil concert is that the fans are wild.
Not wild, like, hopped up on drugs or overtly menacing or dangerous, but like, you could get crushed in the dense throng of bodies freaking out in what is essentially a 90-minute sing-along at the front of the stage.
In fact, two of the three opening acts on the band’s Jaw of Life tour stop in Fresno last Sunday had to pause their sets to check in on the audience.
At least one person was pulled from the crowd and cradled by security to an EMT waiting backstage.
Also know that Pierce the Veil is really popular.
The line outside the Selland Arena was the longest I’ve seen for a show at the venue (any venue, really) in a long time. It stretched almost fully around the Convention Center complex, meaning those who arrived early (as opposed to in the morning or the middle of the afternoon) missed part of the opening set from Destroy Boys and were certainly too late to get a floor-access wristband.
The tour feature a strong and somewhat diverse set of openers.
Destroy Boys was the rawest of the bunch, in a great way.
Dayseeker seemed the most polished, but also the most subdued comparatively, though that may just be a function of the music itself. They do melodic, midtempo, emotive rock, if that’s your thing.
There were likely a few people (myself included) who came to the show with the express purposed of seeing a post-punk post-rock supergroup L.S. Dunes.
While the band was exciting to watch (singer Anthony Green in particular), it suffered some from being an opening act and playing in an arena that gobbled up (and also somehow bounced around) the sound coming from the stage.
The set left me impressed, certainly, but wanting.
It was clear the night belonged to Peirce the Veil.
That’s in terms of the band’s performance (a mad flurry of movement that makes one wonder how they are able to actually play their instruments); the crowd’s reaction (which noticeable raised the arena’s decibel levels); and the overall production (think confetti cannons and smoke jets).
This is the Jaws of Life tour, and band pulled heavily from that album, thought it also played several tracks from 2012’s “Selfish Machines,” including an acoustic version of “Bulletproof Love.”
Pierce the Veil setlist, Selland Arena, Nov. 5, 2023
Death of an Executioner
Pass the Nirvana
A Match Into Water
Hold On Till May
May These Noises Startle You in Your Sleep Tonight
So Far So Fake
The Jaws Of Life
King for a Day
That’s it for this week. Remember you can now hear me on the Homegrown Show Sundays at 8 p.m. on New Rock 104.1 FM and follow my other writing at The Fresno Bee. If you have anything you think I need to be looking at or listening to, feel free to let me know: email@example.com