fIREHOSE, Crescent Ballroom, 4/17/12
See also: fIREHOSE's Ed Crawford: "It Was Our Job. We Fuckin' Showed Up Every Day."
Melissa Fossum fIREHOSE tearing it up.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I entered the Crescent Ballroom with a mix of anticipation and apprehension in my gut. Soon to be on stage was fIREHOSE, a band I frequented in the 1990s and despite guitarist Ed Crawford's recent interview claims that "we're not going get up there and embarrass ourselves," I could only hope that would be the case.
Opening with "Brave Captain" and whipping up a frenzy with "Chemical Wire," it was clear the band had indeed prepared mightily for this reformation tour. In fact, the entire 16-song set was spot-on, tight, syncopated and chock-full of original intensity.
Melissa Fossum "Mike Watt -- killing that bass."
If anything, fIREHOSE was too good. Back in the day, there was a rough-and-tumble feeling and attitude within the band and every performance, from the make-it-up-as-we go stage ethic and DIY attitude to selling homemade T-shirts off the stage. Now, 18 years later, this trio has more than mastered their instruments and overall musicianship to the point that it didn't take away from the performance, but the raw edge was absent.
But, really, isn't that is to be expected and accepted? What remained the same from the band's '90s heyday was a devotion to each and every song during the set: Mike Watt's bass was deep down and thunderous, Crawford's singing a little shaky at times, but he was certainly going for it every moment, and drummer George Hurley thrashed in happy 4/4 time. The band never let up as it continued through "Choose Any Memory," "Sometimes" and the more recognizable "hit" "Honey Please." Each song was a high-energy explosion, with Crawford belting out the vocals in vintage form.
The tempo dropped only slightly as Watt -- who also plays with the reformed Stooges, composes rock operas, and has released a handful of solo albums -- rolled through the beat poet jazz vibe of "Makin' the Freeway." This pattern was typical of the night as Crawford fronted a few tunes before Watt's mellow baritone gave everyone a breather.