by Steven Sanchez
On Wednesday, January 10, Drake Bell, the former actor and teen heartthrob from the Nickelodeon program The Drake and Josh Show, made his way to Fresno to perform a one-man acoustic set at Fulton 55. He is currently on tour in support of his recent four song EP, Honest.
The venue that’s located downtown was fitting for his unplugged headlining performance in front of an intimate audience. Part rockabilly and a mixture of 60s upbeat folk, Bell put his musical talents center stage channeling a Brian Setzer-like influence, applying soulful rhythms into his songs, playing personal throwbacks that his diehards would know and showcasing new originals. Stomping around, grinning away, his presence suggested that of a seasoned instrumentalist who earned their chops in a Seattle coffeehouse or an underground club in Greenwich Village than having a past phase gracing teen magazines. With this trajectory, he can leave his Nickelodeon days behind him and become a name-stay in the music industry as a pop rock artist, since so few exist in entertainment nowadays.
A couple of up-and-coming, local acoustic solo artists got the chance to open up for the former teen idol. Kat, a Fresno native and a defining example of the title “artist,” is a singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and painter. A favorite of Reedley’s The Wakehouse, her style is very reminiscent of old school Jewel and Joan Baez with an added Latin flavor which was refreshing to see. George Anthony, the pharmacy tech by day, brought high energy to his stripped-down, strumming around a campfire-type set. His sound was a mix of hipster vibes, a Hawaiian touch accompanied by reggae undertones with heavy metal lyrics.
Overall, it was enjoyable to see a show that harkens back to the days where all it took was a single guitar and a voice to move a crowd.