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BKF or WTF??!!
Brian Kenny Fresno bills his show as one big, giant festival of ridiculousness. And somehow that doesn't come off as boasting.
After all, the man does wear a cape and plays a monstrosity of a 12-stringed instrument called a Warr guitar that he adorns with pot leaves (not sure if they're real) and sings songs mostly about Fresno, because it's right there in his name, and it's his hometown and it makes people laugh.
He's huge in cities like San Francisco, where he sells his namesake as an exotic place, full of crooked restaurateurs, stoned detectives and Chateau-De-Fresno locals, where you drop dead hookers.
And maybe you're thinking, that sounds great. How come I've never seen him?
That's because, for the past nine years he's been banned from Fresno. OK, he says he was banned (though we're not sure how or why you get banned from an entire city).
You can see (no, let's make that an order) him break the ban tonight, 9 p.m., at Club Fred.
Yes, he gets it from the locals, who see him on the street and ask, Are you still playing music?
But it's OK. It keeps his ego in check.
It's like being Gene Simmons and doing your own laundry, he says. He's joking, we think.
The answer, of course, is yes. All the time. Everywhere.
He just got done with a 30-plus day coast-to-coast tour. He's opened for the likes of They Might Be Giants, Judas Priest, Bela Fleck, Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen (about whom he wrote a song), Los Lobos, King Crimson, David Byrne, Keller Williams, Willie Nelson, Joe Satriani, Yonder Mountain String Band, Fantomas, Hella, Ozomatli, Calexico, Zak Wylde, Richard Thompson, and Bob Weir's Ratdog and spent two consecutive New Year's Eves opening for Les Claypool bands at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
When he says his music is influenced by everything, he's not just some lame musician skirting the question to cover up that fact that his music is totally derivative. He actually is unbound by musical genres, taking cues from prog rock and punk rock and jazz, but not afraid to do a little death-metal ditty, if he feels it.
Sorry, he can't do indie rock (no drummer).
He's the guy who took every music class at Fresno City College (most of them twice) and turned the Star Spangled Banner into a drinking song, because that's what it was before Francis Scott Key stole the tune. He's just a hard-working showman who wants to destroy all other bands by being bigger, better and more entertaining.
It says as much in his one-sheet.
He takes on all opposing bands with Fresno tied around his neck.
And Fresno is the place raisins come from. And people love it.
So, when he says Fresno, you'd do well to slam back a box and cheer about it and sing along with whatever comes next.
Because that's your job. The audience is as important to a Fresno show than the man himself. The audience becomes the band well minus the Warr guitar and marijuana leaves and cape and your arm-crossed indifference won't do.
Give him two songs. You'll convert.