The Fire Tonight – How Could Anyone Do This?
Good music isn’t hard to find if you’re willing to turn the radio off, unsubscribe from Rolling Stone, and instead spend some time perusing sights like Bearded Gentleman Music, No Depression, RiffRaf, and Noise Trade. Still, even with the plethora of blogs and webzines dedicated to promoting bands that are making music and not money, it’s nice to have friends who share their favorite indie bands with you. Like many local breweries that don’t have distribution outside of their area, there are many regional indie bands that fly under the radar of even the excellent music sites that I’ve mentioned above. I’m lucky to have many friends who keep me in the loop about the new regional music that they’re listening to and enjoying. This is how I heard about The Fire Tonight.
The Fire Tonight (Collin Derrick, Stephen Russ, and Jesse James) has been writing, performing, and recording music since 2008. According to the band’s Facebook page, they are based out of Atlanta, Washington D.C., and South Carolina. I’m not really sure how that works, and I’m curious how the distance between the band members affects, either positively or negatively, the creative process. Regardless of the distance between the band members, The Fire Tonight recently released the album, How Could Anyone Do This?, which is billed as “a rock and roll trip through multiple genres.”
A mix of fusion jazz, arena rock, electronica, and alternative, among other genres, How Could Anyone Do This? is definitely a “trip through multiple genres.” On track 3, “Cash Metal,” The Fire Tonight incorporates the whistling of Zach Groff, while the very next track “Sugar” utilizes the sultry voice of Darby Wilcox followed by the rapping of YabOy!G. At points, traditional folk instruments are used alongside electronica on the album. Usually the mixing of that many genres makes me suspicious. Like most Greek/Italian restaurants I’ve been to, it often means that they’re aren’t very good at one thing, and are hoping that the wide array of choices will distract from the mediocrity. I’m happy to say that this isn’t the case with The Fire Tonight. The band’s musicality is excellent, and they have skillfully weaved together a variety of musical genres into a compelling musical narrative arc that demands that the listener take in the album in its entirety. And it’s an album that becomes more intriguing with repeat listens; I should know, I’ve listened to How Could Anyone Do This? at least a dozen times the last couple of days, and I’m already looking forward to my next listen.
If you’re looking for some comparisons to hang your hat on, think Mars Volta, Muse, and Radiohead. Actually, I bet that if you listen to the album, you will probably be able to pick out some influences/comparisons that I missed, but that resonate with you.
The Fire Tonight has some upcoming live shows this spring. On March 16 the band will be playing the Galaxy Hut here in Arlington. I have circled that date on my calendar. Buy the album, and then find a date when the band will be performing near you, and go.