Patrick ended an outstanding performance year in 2008 as the opening performer for BB King at Warnors Theatre on New Years Eve. Patrick has been selected as one of the Best of Fresno artists, and was Fresnbeehive.com’s solo artist of...
Patrick ended an outstanding performance year in 2008 as the opening performer for BB King at Warnors Theatre on New Years Eve. Patrick has been selected as one of the Best of Fresno artists, and was Fresnbeehive.com’s solo artist of the year for 2007 and then again in 2008. He was The Fresno Art Councils featured artist and also awarded a Horizon award for artistic excellence. Patrick has headlined just about every club and theater in the Central Valley and had success. Some of his recent shows include: the Best of Fresno show at Engelmann Cellars, Arte Americas, , Warnors Theater, Tower Theater, Visalia Fox Theatre, Club Fred, Starline (live video filming), Crossroads, Palamino’s, Cellar Door in Visalia, and numerous private parties. He regularly travels to venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles to perform. He performed a concert at California State University Fresno’s Satellite Student Union in February. The CSUF concert was the kick-off event for his European tour which lasted several months in 2008.
2009 is looking to be the most promising year so far with concert dates across the country and a growing fan base.
Fresno's rockin' violinist ready for next step by The Fresno Bee Violin in hand, Patrick Contreras has vaulted to the top of Fresno's music scene.He's headlined at venues local artists rarely play -- Warnors Theatre, Tower Theatre, Visalia Fox Theatre, Arte...
Violinist's Block Party shows what Fresno can be. by The Fresno Bee There's something about opening the door of your car and being welcomed by the sound of live music.When I parked Saturday night in the Tower District on my way to violinist Patrick Contreras' block...
Fresno's rockin' violinist ready for next step by The Fresno Bee
Violin in hand, Patrick Contreras has vaulted to the top of Fresno's music scene.
He's headlined at venues local artists rarely play -- Warnors Theatre, Tower Theatre, Visalia Fox Theatre, Arte Américas.
Ever the showman, he's jumped on the bar and shredded his bow at just about every music club in town, playing his violin with the ferocity of a guitarist.
It could be said that Contreras will go anywhere and everywhere. In the last six months, he's played both tiny Zapp's Park and opened for B.B. King at the Warnors.
This weekend -- for probably his biggest concert yet -- Contreras, 26, hosts a Tower District block party to celebrate the release of his first CD, "American Rock Violinist.
t's happening Saturday in the parking lot behind the Tower Theatre, where Contreras and his band (Jason Williams on drums, Quetzal Andrade on bass) promise to have even more tricks than usual up their collective sleeve.
Question: For someone who has never seen you live, how would you best describe what you do?
Answer: We play rock music with the violin as the lead. It's one part Carlos Santana, one part Jimi Hendrix, one part Mozart
How did the idea of a block party get started?
Bill Keubler of The Tower District Marketing Committee has been vital to this whole process. When we planned to record our CD, we immediately knew the CD-release show had to be the biggest and best show we've ever done. I contacted Bill with the crazy idea of having an outdoor CD-release block party in the heart of Tower. A year later, here we are.
What's going to be different about this show?
It's an outdoor show. The weather will be perfect, and we're in the heart of the Tower District. What could be cooler than that?
Also, the band is better than before, and I'm better than before. We are seriously at a high level right now. At recent shows, during our set, I just have to kinda shake my head and laugh because I know we're kicking butt. It's a great feeling.
Let's talk about the CD. What kind of work went into putting this together?
We recorded a few different ways for months, but it just wasn't working. I really wanted to capture the live energy we have on stage on the album. It's not an easy thing to do in a studio with no audience. Aaron Wall of 40 Watt Hype recommended to me Aaron Lipinksi. Aaron has helped produce some of the top Christian Rock acts over at Tooth and Nail records. Once we got in the studio and set up, we recorded the album in nine hours over a span of two days. I love the album because it's straight-up music. It's us as a three-piece just doing our thing. It has a very live feel.
What's your favorite song on the album? Why?
My favorite song on the album is "Purple Haze." Even though it's a Jimi Hendrix tune, something special happened on that recording. We stepped it up to another level, and it's like Jimi was smiling down on us. I seriously felt that.
What other styles are on the CD?
The album, first and foremost, is a rock album, but my love of world music definitely influenced the CD. There's a cumbia on there to get everyone dancing, an Irish rock song that has a Flogging Molly feel to it and a Middle Eastern number that is reminiscent of "Kashmir.
Of any local act, you've played some of the most impressive local venues -- what's next?
We really, really, really want to do a huge outdoor show in River Park. I think if we can pull that off we can bridge a huge divide between the music scene and North Fresno. I think people would really take notice of the great music scene we have here." THE REPORTER CAN BE REACHED AT MOSEGUEDA@FRESNOBEE.COM OR (559) 441-6479. READ HIS BLOG AT FRESNOBEEHIVE.COM.
Violinist's Block Party shows what Fresno can be. by The Fresno Bee There's something about opening the door of your car and being welcomed by the sound of live music.
When I parked Saturday night in the Tower District on my way to violinist Patrick Contreras' block party concert in the Tower Theatre parking lot, the music hit my ear from a few hundred yards away.
And it was wonderful.
There were many successes at Contreras' CD- release party on Saturday night. One of them was reminding Fresno of how great it is to hear live music outdoors -- especially when you consider how lovely our spring and summer nights are here.
Another success was taking local music out of the clubs, and putting it in front of the community, in front of families, and letting everyone enjoy it -- even if some of the fans' bedtime was closer to 10 p.m.
The biggest success was the number of fans the show drew: 750 people through the gates, according to organizers.
That's a feat that should make Fresno's local music scene proud.
And it happened on a weekend that also brought the grand opening of The Edge nightclub at Granite Park.
In the days leading up the club's opening -- which featured an appearance from reality TV star Kim Kardashian and Las Vegas' DJ Vice -- owner Kirk Vartanian promised, "It's going to be the best event Fresno ever had.
While "best" is certainly subjective, Contreras' concert certainly gave Kim K. and Co. a run for their money in the attendance department. Crowd estimates at The Edge have been about 600.
It's quite a statement that a local musician, a homegrown talent, can draw more than a reality TV star.
It was a testament to Contreras' talent and his have-violin-will-play- anywhere attitude, but also to the type of event he and his team put together.
It shows the need for more events like his Tower Block Party.
I know I wasn't the only one looking around Saturday night thinking, "Why don't we have stuff like this more often?
The crowd was diverse -- young adults milling around and drinking beer, older people who brought their own chairs, families with young children. It wasn't the crowd you'd see at Starline or Audie's Olympic.
Having live, amplified music floating around the Tower District was great. It gave the neighborhood a certain vibrancy and charm.
Along with the people who paid to come in, many others watched and listened outside the gates. Maybe they didn't know about the concert and just happened upon it. If so, I'd bet they felt like something cool was happening in their community.
At the same time, people were going in and out of the concert gates, buying food and drinks from local businesses such as Me-N-Ed's and Sequoia Brewing Co. That had to have a nice economic impact, right?
So I'll say it again: Why don't we do stuff like this more often?
Sure, it would probably be a logistical nightmare to do a block party-type concert every weekend, but how great would it be?