Paul Kresowik, drummer for Tomar and the FCs, sees a lot of his Iowa City hometown in the roots of his current homebase, Austin, Texas.
Dubbed “The Live Music Capital of the World” thanks to its myriad venues, Austin has morphed dramatically over the last generation. During the late ’80s, Austin was a sleepy but cool college town with a high hip quotient, without traffic jams.
These days, the Texas capital is plagued by gridlock and is bursting with new arrivals.
“It’s crazy with the amount of people here, but it’s still an amazing place to live,” Kresowik said by phone from his Austin home. “But from what I’m told, Iowa City is what Austin was like back in the ’80s — a cool, undiscovered college town.”
The Michigan native is all about Iowa City where he lived from age 6 to 18. He graduated from City High School in 2000.
“Iowa City had a profound impact on me, particularly the arts festivals,” he said. “I must have been about 6 when I went to one of the arts fest shows in Iowa City. Those events were a lot of fun.”
Tomar and FCs will headline the two-day Soul & Blues Festival on Saturday (8/3).
“That couldn’t be any cooler,” Kresowik said. “It’s especially cool considering the slot we’re in at the festival. We’re going to make the most of the opportunity.”
The energetic live band, fronted by the dynamic Tomar Williams, will preview songs from its forthcoming second album, “Rise Above,” which will drop later in the year. The project is another soul record, but with more blues and rock elements this time around.
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“We’re going to play everything off of the album,” Kresowik said. “We can’t wait to experience the response to the new stuff.”
Tomar and the FCs, which formed in 2015, is accustomed to good reviews. It has garnered positive press from Austin’s local papers and a palpable buzz rose when the group performed at South By Southwest in March.
The band is best experienced live. Williams is an inveterate showman, who works up a sweat during every performance.
“Tomar inspires us to raise it to another level with every show,” Kresowik said.
Kresowik has great expectations for the Soul & Blues Festival show, since he’ll be performing in front of friends and family, and will be joined by keyboardist David Earl, who recently left the band.
Earl, an original member of the band, recently returned to his native Iowa City. He’ll join the band’s new keyboardist, Eric Baker, at the festival.
“We’re going to have two keyboardists and David will be one of them,” Kresowik said.
Kresowik doesn’t get back to Iowa City often enough for his liking, due to the distance and his schedule.
“It’s a long way from Austin to Iowa City (1,042 miles). I appreciate it every time I go back, since it’s still this cool town that not enough people know about.”
WHAT: Summer of the Arts: Soul & Blues Festival
WHERE: Iowa Avenue and Linn Street, downtown Iowa City
WHEN: 5 to after 10 p.m. Friday (8/2); 11 a.m. to after 10:30 p.m. Saturday (8/3)
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FRIDAY (8/2): 5 p.m. Culinary Delights, DJ Freeze and Mr. DJ Ice at Main Stage; 7:30 p.m. Fashion Show; 8 to 9:30 p.m. Dance Party with DJ Freeze and Mr. DJ Ice; 10 p.m. after party with Soul Shake, Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St.
SATURDAY (8/3): 11 a.m. Black Author’s Panel, with Venise Berry, Steven Torriano Berry, Rachelle Chase, Caleb Rainey and moderator Alfred Martin, Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St.; noon, artists, children’s activities, Culinary Delights open; 12:30 p.m. Kevin “B.F.” Burt; 2 p.m. Goose Town; 3:30 p.m. Tanya English Band; 5 p.m. Rico McFarland Band; 7 p.m. JC New King of Funk; 9 p.m. Tomar and the FCs; 10:30 p.m. Boogie Nights After Party with DJ Freeze and Mr. DJ Ice, Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St.