Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fuel [live review]

From the second that I saw the announcement saying that Fuel was coming to Lexington, complete with original singer, Brett Scallions, I knew I was it was a show I wasn't going to miss. Though all the other band members were new, basically making them another band with Fuel's singer, I'm a pathetic enough fan that I knew as long as Scallions (whose name i can't type or think of without thinking about green onions. pathetic fan, remember?) was singing, it would sound like the same old Fuel.

Putting on the hooker makeup, channeling my inner Jenna Marbles and cramming my foot into my hoochiest hoochie shoes - the sparkly ones!- took longer than I expected, causing me to miss the first band, Man Made Machine. This was actually really disappointing because  I met them after the show and they were super cool guys, made even cooler by their to their appreciation of bourbon shots ("To Kentucky!"). After the show I checked out their music, and their song "Victim" is actually really good, so I wanted to plug it in with the review of the other bands. (Oh, and hey Steve. It was really nice meeting you. lol.) Much more interesting stories from the night could be inserted here if no one actually read this blog, but people reading is kinda the point of the whole thing. If nobody read it, it would just basically be a diary and only losers still write in diaries if you're out of elementary school. All the cool kids know it's cooler just to write unpublished blog posts.

Man Made Machine- "Victim"

 The other two opening bands, Pale and Park Lane, were ok. Maybe their music just wasn't my style, maybe I was too concerned about not falling down due to my sparkly shoes (because that was clearly saved for later in the night...and my foot still hurts, by the way)  or maybe it was something else, all I know is that they weren't really that memorable, one way or another.


Pale had a kind of a Kings of Leon type-feel, and they were a talented group of musicians. I only saw the last two songs of their set, though, so I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are worth checking out if that's your thing.
  Park Lane

Park Lane took the stage next. The highlight of their show for me was their cover of The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby." They added their punky/emo-y modern twist to it, and it really worked. They were a pretty decent band, overall.   


Fuel hit the stage hard, playing  four of their  heavier songs to start the show. I found that I was much less familiar with Fuel that I'd like to admit. I adored the songs of theirs that I had heard on the radio, but for some reason I' m not really sure of, I hadn't investigated them deeper. Even though I didn't know all the words to "Last Time" and "Untitled" and the other songs that kicked off the set, I was impressed and loved what I heard. The band, though the ten millionth reincarnation of Fuel, was tight and obviously talented. They played the songs perfectly and put on one hell of a show.


"Sunburn" changed the pace, and marked a halfway point in a set that could really have been two separate shows. The first half rocked the audience hard, got them moving and the booze flowing through them. The second half, though, was full of the Fuel that I was previously so enamored with. "Sunburn" brought out the bluesy, smooth, side of their music, followed directly by "Slow" which had a really similar feel and sound and fell in perfectly behind it.

The second half of the set also brought out the super charismatic front man qualities of Scallions. When the pace of the show slowed, his strong connection to the audience became apparent, as he laughed, smiled and joked with the audience. He asked the crowd if there were any Zepplin fans amongst them, which led to a roaring response of yes, and then began to play "Tangerine." I felt like a super uncool kid at that moment, because I didn't know the song yet (I have since remedied that, though, so take that judging look off your face). Scallions has a voice that is totally different from Robert Plant's, but there is still some similarity that lends him the ability to cover Zepplin songs so well. (Fuel also has a great cover of  "Going to California" which I HIGHLY recommend that appears on Something Like Human- it's pretty much gorgeous.)

When the beginning notes of "Bad Day" rang out, the crowd reacted instantly.  You'd have to be deaf or living in Tazmania to have not heard that song enough times to memorize every single word. It's always a telling moment when a band plays one of their biggest hits live- can they possibly do it enough justice to make it sound just like you've memorized it? Not surprisingly, Fuel had no problem with this and played the song perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that I got that certain feeling deep inside my music-loving soul that reminded me of why I feel the way I do about concerts and music in general. The lyrics, the music, the band, the audience - aspects of all four came together like the ingredients of a magic potion. That song, their musical spell, hit me right in the chest and, for a moment, left me breathless.
My two favorite Fuel songs came next - "Shimmer" and  "Bittersweet." "Shimmer" is one of my anthems, and hearing it live was amazing. Every single time I hear "Bittersweet" playing, I can't help but dance around- whether it be in my car or in the shower, or sitting at me desk at work. You better believe that when Scallions got to the verse that says "Now hold your hands up to the sky" that the majority of the audience had 'em up, thanks in part to Fuel's adorable little tech/stage manager who was doing his best to encourage us.

The show's encore included an awesome cover of Elton John's "Daniel" that had the entire room singing (I was in the dark once again on this song, but I have since set it as the ringtone for my brother, my Daniel, on my phone, because I like it so much.) 

Overall, Fuel's show was amazing. I liked the band before, but I was in love with them afterwards. I even got a set list after I did a little flirting, smiling, and bargaining, being sure to play up the country accent as much as I could. As much as my extreme southern way of speaking has cursed me in the past, I've found that lately it can be quite useful when I try to make a yankee swoon ;) I got two picks, too, including one from that sweet little tech/stage manager, who's name I found out later was Rob, after he tried to exchange a set list for your yours truly to some kid in the audience (and later to give me post-show parking lot advice on avoiding diseases that I was in no way in need of being warned about, but thanks for the tips. lol)  

The show really epitomized why I am so determined to have a life that involves music. Spending the evening at a great venue, talking and bonding with new friends who like the same music you do, seeing a great live show and hanging out with cool-as-hell guys from the bands afterward is something I truly love. It was just a little bit more motivation to keep on pursuing ways to live my dream <3         


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