CONCERT REVIEW: Fireball Fueling the Fire O2 Academy Glasgow 25th September 2019

Fireball Tour roll in to the UK for it’s fourth year bringing an outstanding line up of Ska / Punk bands to the United Kingdom. This year featuring Less than Jake and Goldfinger to the shows, co-headlining the tour along with Save Ferris! , They’ll be joined by Fireball’s hottest band for 2019, Thieves Of Liberty and the local band competition winners, Crashes and DJ Matt Stocks. Tonight, the tour rolls in to Glasgow at the O2 Academy.

To open the show this evening is competition winner Crashes from Inverclyde area featuring Craig, Corey, Rory & Gary. The band playing their own style of Punk Rock with more emphasis to the rock. A powerful set featuring their latest single “In Colour”, opening the show for the Fireball Tour in Glasgow is a big achievement for the band to date, but going with their stage presence and style,  can see them faring well, even playing even more important dates. This looked like a big step up for the band, which they handled well and delivered a power drivin set with a good punch, well worth checking out at a venue near you.

Fireball’s hottest new band Thieves of Liberty from Sunderland featuring Lidya Balaban Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Kieran Wilson – Lead Guitar/Vocals, Simeon Robson – Bass/Vocals and Connor Henderson – Drums/Vocals, with the Hottest new band title on them, they showed little doubt why , there definitely the hottest new band on the scene. Playing through a short set featuring their singles “Wearing You Out” and “Medicine Wizard” they had the foot tapping audience mesmerised in their show. With lead singer Lidya Balaban delivering powerful raw vocals that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, their own anthem rock style capturing music lovers with their fun style that is very marketable, and will bring a smile to all live music lovers.

Save Ferris! ska-punk, Californian style featuring Monique Powell – lead vocals, Brandon Dickert — drums, Adam Bones – guitar and backing vocals, Alex Csillag – trombone/keyboards, Max O’Leary – trumpet and Nate Light – bass and backing vocals. The band took to the stage with a great reception from the Glasgow audience, some of them having only heard a few songs from the band. As Monique Powell lead singer got going, they were in for a ska punk party fill with fun and skanking. Monique knows how to gain audience approval, with her in your face singing, encouraging them to enjoy the music and the moment. The raw and powerful vocals from Monique turned a few heads from the back of the room. The band on form and enjoying their time in front of the Glasgow crowd filled the venue with powerful songs complete with brass section, playing their way through many renditions of Ska in their own South California style. Playing through their various back catalogue until their most famous cover of Dexys Midnight Runner “Come on Eileen” had the crowd whipped into a frenzy, The Orange County Ska punk outfit left their mark on Glasgow with a blistering set.

Goldfinger made their return to Glasgow with a bang from the very first chord. The band featuring John Feldmann vocals/guitar, Mike Herrera bass/harmonies, Charlie Paulson – lead guitar/backing vocals, Nick Gross – drums and Phil Sneed guitar/harmonies brought their own California Punk rock and Ska to the packed O2 Academy. This looked like much of a super group with Mike Herrera from MPX and Phil Sneed from Story of the Year. The band playing a much loved greatest hit set to the young crowd, and a few older faces featuring “Superman” from Tony Hawks Pro Skater, that had the audience in a skanking frenzy, before the up temple Goldfinger version of “99 Red Balloons” belted out around the venue.  The energetic John Feldmann delighted the audience with hit after hit, it didn’t take long for John to have the Glasgow audience creating as much energy and sweat as the band itself, they showed the audience that music can be away of setting the world free from politics with fun and passion. This was Ska Punk at its best, skanking, fun and having a great time, this was a welcome return to Glasgow for the band that gained many a new fan with their sweat dripping set that set the scene for the headline band Less Than Jake.

Less than Jake make a triumphant return to Glasgow, greeting the audience in their own traditional way, giving it to them, tonight they did it with energy, passion and in your face Ska Punk. The Gainesville, Florida band featuring Chris DeMakes – vocals/guitar, Roger Lima – vocals/guitar/bass, Buddy “Goldfinger” Schaub – trombone, Peter “JR” Wasilewski – tenor saxophone/backing vocals and Matt Yonker – drums, Less Than Jake turned the O2 Academy in to a festival play ground with jumping around and getting the crowd on to cloud nine with hit after hit from their back catalogue. Entertaining the fans, as well as getting massive enjoyment from the experience, with their well-known stage antics. Covering every inch of the stage their energetic set they delivered fan favourites “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts”, Plastic Cup Politics” & “History of a Boring Town”. Bouncing around the stage the band was creating as much energy as the mosh pit, you could see they wanted more and encouraged the crowd, talking to them between songs. The much-missed fun that we have not seen in a long time is back, putting the music first before everything else that is going on in the world. With the band’s strong lyrics and slogans these were soaked up with the passion from the audience and band, capturing  the moment with humour and delivering a punch with their up beat ska punk style to create a raw power show.  The band never slowed down hitting the audience with “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” followed by Escape from a Bomb House” as the set came to a close. This was a night for the security as they had a busy time of it pulling people out the crowd, this was not in a bad way, just young and old enjoying themselves to Less Than Jake. As the band left the stage the crowd let themselves be known, by wanting more from the band. They did not disappoint after a very short break, they returned to finish off their set with the classic anthem of “All My Best Friends Are Metal Heads”, as the venue burst into life, soaked t- shirts and sweat dripping bodies took in every last chord of fun filled night in Glasgow. Chris DeMakes Slowed the pace down, much to take breath with the classic “Rest of My Life”, raw vocals puts this song in to a different light, the mood in the venue was high, fans stood and watched as he sang. He finished off by thanking the Glasgow crowd and how much a pleasure it was to be in Scotland again.  Before ending the show with fast drivin guitars,  in your face punk rock n roll that was “ Last One Out of Liberty City” to bring the night to a close.  This was a night of two steps back to the past with one step in to the future.

DJ Matt Stocks had the party vide started from the word go playing music of a generation that had thrills and spills along the way before and between the bands.

A top-class night of music to remember under the Fireball Banner “Fueling the Fire Tour”, tonight the fire was fuelled and it won’t be going out for a long time to come. A great selection of bands brought together on the one stage, to entertain the Glasgow audience, with the finest blend of Ska Punk from home and from the US of A.

Review & Photography  by James Edmond