The Fireball: Fuelling The Fire Tour 2018 kicked off with a two day stint at London’s very own Shepherds Bush Empire on the 2nd and 3rd December. Smith’s went down to check out the five hour punk marathon, sponsored by Fireball and Kerrang!
The tour boasted a huge variety of bands working within different aspects of the punk genre, including metalcore influenced up and comers Lost in Stereo, pop-punk veterans Face to Face, the alternative and hardcore The Bronx, and finally headlining, folk-punk legends Flogging Molly. Whilst we waited in expectation for the evening to kick off, the large standing area filled with punks of all shapes and sizes, men, women, old and young. Fireball created a truly unique energy with the diverse set of bands they pulled together.
Glasgow natives Lost In Stereo kicked off proceedings aptly with a short but sweet set of abrasive pop punk tunes, including their new single ‘Gold’ and other cuts. These guys won Fireball’s Hottest Band of 2018 and since then have been set to play every date of the tour. The band seemed cool, confident, and most importantly natural on stage. They showed good potential, warming the crowd up successfully, I’m looking forward to hearing new releases in the future.
Warped Tour icons Face to Face continued proceedings with a fun set of pop punk bangers; they really took me back to my childhood days spent listening to Blink 182 and The Offspring, playing Tony Hawk’s’ Pro Skater 2 to the early hours. I wouldn’t describe them as unoriginal or a gimmick, they just brought a great energy to the crowd, and a real sense of togetherness as they chugged through hits off of their first album Don’t Turn Away, Big Choice (produced by Thom Wilson of The Offspring), and newer tracks off Protection.
Up next were LA punks The Bronx; representing hardcore fans, they deliver a style and energy similar to that of Black Flag or Minor Threat – very classic yet presented with a more contemporary twist and flair. Featuring ex-Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo, who blasts through each track with natural ability, and vocalist Matt Caughthran, the band made every effort to get right up into the audiences faces. Stage divers and crowd surfers were left, right and centre, Caughthran jumped into the crowd to mingle with and provoke the audience; needless to say this was extremely successful.
As the band burned through hits from their albums V, I, and III, Shepherds Bush emanated an untameable aura only achieved by the most exciting and dynamic bands. The Bronx left the audience wanting more; yet we waited in anticipation for the final act of the night, American/Celtic punk act, Flogging Molly.
In this short gap I can’t help but wonder how their music will translate to this audience; a cluster of mohicans, moshers, and leather boots. Tension builds through the surprisingly diverse crowd, and suddenly it’s lights down as Dave King and co. waltz front and center stage. Dave holds a can of Guinness and guitar in hand, beaming with warm confidence. Punks and rockers gaze forward in anticipation; perhaps Flogging Molly will prevail after all.
Well, my skepticism of Celtic punk was quelled within the first minute of the set- it was my first time moshing to Irish music, and it will certainly not be my last. Flogging Molly played with an unmatched and unrelenting energy across their hour slot; in between various toasts conducted by Dave, the band don’t let up with one pub banger after another. They play through their discography, cuts off of their most recent release including the unyielding jam ‘The Hand of John L. Sullivan’, and even ending with a special performance of ‘If I Ever Leave This World Alive’ – one of the first songs ever laid down in the studio by the group. Overall their set was huge fun and not a performance I’ll be forgetting any time soon.
The tour continues its stint across the country, find our more here.
Words & Images, Peter Riddell – @peteriddell1