by Lorie Lewis Ham
If you’re looking for a great concert in a safe atmosphere, Kuppajoe All Ages Nightclub in Fresno may be just the place for you. “We have three main goals,” said Jesse Kennedy, Volunteer Director of the nightclub. “To throw great concerts with bands that have a positive message, create a safe environment for kids who just wanna hang out and have a good night with great tunes, and to build relationships with the kids who attend thus be able to invite them to our bible study on Monday nights.”
The Kuppajoe All Ages Nightclub was started in January of 1997 by Dave Brown in conjunction with the Goorabian Family Life Center to help connect with the younger generation of which Jesse was a part. “And now I get to share with the next.” Jesse — who is also a freelance touring musician — has been organizing the shows at Kuppajoe for three years and attending concerts there for at least 10 years, starting when he was just a kid off the street.
Their concerts are every Friday night, with an occasional Saturday concert. With an indoor capacity of 171, they can accommodate twice that with the extra room provided by the patio. The bands who perform there range in style from Pop and Rock to Indie and Alternative. The many bands Kuppajoe has hosted include Run Kid Run (Tooth & Nail Records), Lakes (The Militia Group), Confide (Tragic Hero Records), Abandon Kansas (Gotee Records), Sleep For Sleepers (Dreamt Music/Facedown Records), I Am Empire (Tooth & Nail Records), Wavorly (Flicker Records), A Hope For Home (Strike First Records) and Of Machines (Rise Records).
Local bands often play there, including Sounds & Sciences from Dinuba who has a performance coming up there on July 30th. “Kuppajoe is a wonderful place to play,” says lead bassist Anthony Polanco. “It’s a great Christian venue with an amazingly welcoming staff; they’re like family. They take what they do seriously, and book really good bands. It’s a smaller sized stage with great sound, and usually turns a great crowd. We’ve played there twice outside of the 30th and have actually attended a few shows there also. Kuppajoe staff also hosts a really great bible study Monday nights that is open to everyone, I highly recommend it.”
Reedley band A Current Affair, who has been experiencing some great success, will also be playing at the July 30 concert. “It is run by people who actually care about the music scene and they promote every show really well. They have the nicest volunteers and have made a good name for themselves by working extremely hard to take care of bands. They constantly bring in bands of different genres so kids can be exposed to new music,” stated Joey Rotella, bassist for A Current Affair.
Jesse is thrilled to be a part of this club and feels it offers something important to the community. “Most local clubs just sit back, take your money and, as soon as the show is over, they kick you out and that’s it. Here we try to make every opportunity to meet our show-goers. Give them a chance to hang out with their favorite local/touring bands. Plus we have THE BEST in upcoming artists/bands. We always want to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to music and have the best touring bands we can get while they’re still young to medium sized. It’s great to say ‘I saw them when…’ about such acts as Pillar, As I Lay Dying, etc.”Doors open every Friday night at 7:30pm and usually close by 11. Prices vary per show and Jesse says they try to keep them as cheap as possible. “It varies from $5 to $12.” Most of the money made at the door goes straight back to the bands as Kuppajoe wants to support the bands that come through. Everyone is welcome to come and make friends, no matter their age. “And have a great time drug and alcohol free.”
Monday night Bible study starts around 7pm and goes until 9. Refreshments are available at the concerts and Bible studies. Kuppajoe All Ages Nightclub is located at 3673 N. First Street in Fresno. To find out what bands will be performing each week, follow their in-house booking at Myspace. Kuppajoe itself is also on MySpace, as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Local bands A Current Affair and Sounds & Sciences are also on MySpace, Facebook [ACA, S&S] and Twitter [ACA, S&S]. Be sure to check them both out at the July 30 show along with One Hot Minute and Lions! Tigers! Bears! Finally, if you haven’t read it yet, don’t forget Sounds & Sciences’ band profile here on Kings River Life.