Monday, March 16, 2015

Firehouse @ Tally Ho Theater 3/13/2015

I went to see hair band Firehouse ($23.58) up in Leesburg at the lovely Tally Ho Theater. I got my ticket pretty far in advance because the last Tally Ho show was a horrible price gouging affair. Blue Oyster Cult had a date scheduled, and I saw the advance price of $35, but wasn't sure if I could make it or not at the time. About 2 weeks before the event, I determined I was going to go, so I checked the website and noticed the price had DOUBLED. I don't think I've ever seen this sort of behaviour at any other venue, so that and missing BOC really left a sour taste in my mouth (they did sell out the venue that night, I heard). In any event I met up with Ariel and Michelle and Neil there.

The morning of the show, I got an email from Tally Ho laying out the set times and that the show was close to selling out. It was offering alternate parking solutions, which was blowing my mind... Firehouse selling out a show here in VA in 2015? I think that the several hundred people who made it out this evening because, similar to Frederick, is that not a lot of shows come out there, and when they do... people come. Nothing wrong with that, and the about 600 or so (close to sell out crowd of 700).

I only saw merchandise for Baby Jane or Teaze, who opened (but I didn't see either band). I think they could have moved several shirts, or even some Rubicon Cross CDs (singer CJ Snare's side project). Maybe this was because they were recently in Indonesia, playing for 75,000 people and didn't have time to get merch around! Now, going from 75K to about 0.8% of that... is a bit mind boggling!

In any event, Tally Ho had advertized that Firehouse was to go on around 10 PM. They went on slightly after, much to my relief, as I got there late. The garage next door as well as the venue itself were pretty packed- a pretty great turnout for a hair band that many would say is past its prime. Tally Ho's screens lit up with various visualizations or the lineup, at certain times. I noticed that there was an investment on some serious new speakers. Tally Ho had pretty great sound there already, the couple of times I've been, but I think the upgrade just made it even better! As I said last time, just bring some more (IMO) interesting acts here and (more recently) stop gouging for the tickets, and you'll have a prime concert venue here!

Firehouse started out with "Shake & Tumble" and then slowly changed into the excellent "All She Wrote." The emphasis being on slow, as the first several songs at least sounded a bit like 50-75% of the expected tempo. Now, I thought they still sounded good, but the slowness was a bit distracting.  Otherwise, the band seems to have held up for this headline show (I last saw them at M3). The crowd was pretty receptive, although mainly for songs off of the first album and the 'hits.' There was an overall positive vibe that evening, and the rowdiest people were the ones throwing some mini beach balls around.

I will say that setlist wise,  7/12 of the first album was played, along with an unnecessary AC/DC cover, a boring drum solo (albeit perhaps needed for the band to take a breather?), and some deep cuts. As a principle, I loved the deep cuts, because when the hell else are you going to hear some Firehouse songs that even I was scratching my head on? My lack of preparation was a bit annoying as I felt like I should have enjoyed the rare tracks more, but I give them massive props for actually playing those odd songs. My favourite Firehouse song, "Overnight Sensation," was definitely my pick of best song of the night, with the slower tempo "Don't Walk Away" sounding extra perfect!

Pacing wise, at the start of the show it felt like there were too many 'breaks' - short jam, guitarist sings, then a song, then drum solo, more songs, bassist sings... at least at the beginning the momentum was lost a little bit. I thought the AC/DC song was an odd choice, why not just play another Firehouse song instead? I guess CJ needed a break? The crowd ate it up anyways. They played about 1.5 hrs, which I also appreciated. Make no mistake, this was no phone in a la Don Dokken, but some guys who clearly still can rock it, and following through!

Regardless, vocalist CJ Snare still hit most if not all of the high notes (Here's a video clip of "Overnight Sensation"), Neil Young looking guitarist Bill Leverty had a great tone, Don Dokken looking (OK, with more hair) bassist Allen McKenzie and drummer Michael Foster both kept the rhythm section solid. Foster was a bit silly, as he was doing all sorts of drum tricks like tossing and catching his drumsticks while playing effortlessly. I don't know how difficult the Firehouse songs are on drums, but he made it look like he could do it in his sleep! Mr. Leverty and Mr. McKenzie both had a bit of spotlight as both sang on a couple songs ("Holding On" and "Highway to Hell," respectively). Mr. Leverty's simple yet beautiful solo sounded pretty fantastic on the new sound system as well. Mr. Foster's son came out to play drums for the AC/DC cover too, for some reason.

Overall, a nice night of hard rockin' hair metal. Some complaints, but to hear an extended set from a band I really enjoy (well, I guess I need to dig up those old albums) it was a treat!  Tally Ho has some rough spots (see first para), but still has a lot of potential!

Next show: Enslaved? Adrenaline Mob?

Firehouse (10:08 -11:37)
  • Shake & Tumble 
  • All She Wrote 
  • You're Too Bad
  • Rock On The Radio 
  • short jam
  • Holding On (Guitarist sings)
  • When I Look Into Your Eyes 
  • Drum solo
  • Love Is a Dangerous Thing
  • Hold Your Fire 
  • Don't Walk Away
  • Trying to Make a Living
  • Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover) (bassist sings)
  • Guitar Solo
  • Overnight Sensation 
  • Love of a Lifetime 
  • Reach For The Sky
  • Don't Treat Me Bad