Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fresno : Brian Kenney Fresno (Or "The slippery special spot of Fresno.")

Brian Kenney Fresno is one of the guys that I knew absolutely had to mention when I started this thing. He is a truly bizarre anti-folk / folkster / prog-rocking monster whose last name is Fresno. For reals. His regimen of steady touring since the 90’s, his record label and his not-to-suprising lack of commercial success has inspired and educated me. At the closing of yesterday’s post I referred to Brian Kenney Fresno as one of Fresno’s most underrated musicians – In hindsight, it would have been more appropriate to describe Brian as one of the WORLD’S most underrated musicians.

BKF is a master of the Warr Guitar. As I understand it, the Warr Guitar is a customized revamp of another instrument called the Chapman Stick. It is a stringed and fretted instrument like a guitar, but instead of picking, strumming or bowing, as on a conventional stringed instrument, each of Brian’s hands are tapping on the instrument independently. It is a monster and Brian has his set up with 12 strings – 5 bass strings and 7 guitar strings. This wicked instrument combined with loop pedals, effects processors and vocals means that BKF can pump out an orchestra level amount of counterpoint and noise. Talk about an arsenal.

Beyond his technical proficiency and hi-tech gadgetry, there is something about his music and his performance that is so ridiculous and awesome and life changing. No matter how hard I try and get down what this guy does musically with his guitar and with his music and his face and his whole thing .. the schtick … no matter what, my writing won’t be nearly as impressive as seeing him live just once. Soooo, if you have the chance, I highly recommend you see him.

Last year he played my birthday party and I had several friends from LA visiting. They loved him. Which leads me to believe that his appeal isn’t simply based on Fresno kitsch.

One of the guests at the party was Randy from the band One Trick Pony. I don’t remember everything about the party in exact detail, but I remember we were pretty trashed, sweaty and giggly by the end of the night, which is about when Brian Kenney took the stage (or backyard rather). Once Brian began his set, everyone, no matter how tired or sun-stroked or drunk got up and stood in the middle of the backyard to get a good view of this caped, marijuana-smelling, weird-guitar-wielding, flannel clad freakshow.

At one point I remember I was standing next to Randy, and at some point BKF said or played something so completely ridiculous that Randy (the guy from One Trick Pony) fell to his knees laughing and crying and completely spazzing out. And drunk.

I remember Brian stopped in the middle of the song, pointed at Randy and yelled, “That’s right! That’s right! Get down on your knees!”

I think that’s how I’ll always remember Brian Kenney Fresno : telling my friends to get down on their knees and worship him.

He is performing every Sunday evening at Club Fred in Fresno, CA. From 5 to 8. Afterwards you get to watch the Simpsons! Below is a great video and some audio. Watch the video. Please.

DOWNLOAD : Brian Kenney Fresno - That's Who
DOWNLOAD : Brian Kenney Fresno - Bobby Salazar!

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