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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Photo: Firewater at 529

Firewater at 529
After watching Arrested Development play an epic set to what has to be the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at the Goat Farm Wednesday night, I high-tailed it across town to catch Firewater’s show at 529. I snapped off one picture before the batteries in my camera crapped out. Too bad, but this one shot does capture the ecstatic mood of the room — pit stains and all. The six-piece ensemble, fronted by ex-Cop Shoot Cop vocalist Tod A, ran through a good mix of newer material from their latest album, International Orange, along with a fair amount of older numbers as well. “Three Legged Dog” was a particular highlight, as was their “book of the month club” bit when one of the guys from the band read a page from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” set to a faux porno soundtrack.

Firewater seems to have scaled things down in some very subtle ways since 2008’s The Golden Hour took shape as the group’s definitive merger of nihilistic post-industrial jangle mixed with various shades of Balkan, klezmer, and middle-eastern inflections. The emphasis for this latest round of songs, at least for Tod A, has drifted back in the direction of bedrock songwriting. Live, the set was a mixed bag of heavy, ethnic rhythms and expansive blues — rock music that isn’t necessarily concerned with rocking out. But the longer the band played on last night, the more explosive the show became.

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