I was just sitting here putting together the set list for Monday’s show with Firewater and thinking how lucky I am to share the stage with a major musical influence for the second time.
Back when I was in A Midnite Choir, there weren’t a lot of gypsy punk or klezmer punk or steampunk or punk cabaret or whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-them bands. There was some interesting stuff coming out of Denver like 16 Horsepower, the Denver Gentlemen and Devotchka, some cool stuff from Boston, mainly Reverend Glasseye and his Wooden Legs, a few great bands out of the South like the Pine Hill Haints, the collection of weirdness that was starting to assemble in the Pacific Northwest….and, of course, New York had Firewater!
Personally, I related to Tod A’s punk delivery on their debut record “Get Off the Cross…We Need the Wood for the Fire.” I also loved his aversion from sounding too “vintage” like all the other bands in the scene at the time. He took Tom Waits swagger and mixed it with Gypsy grooves at a rock and roll volume and created his own multi-cultural sound, which he tweaked with mixed results over several releases. Of course, from Firewater we got bands like Gogol Bordello and Balkan Beat Box. It was Firewater that really lit the fuse in New York, from my, admittedly distant perspective.
I lost interest for a while but when “The Golden Hour” came out, I felt that they had hit a new creative peak. I loved that I was starting to hear more of the ska influences coming through, mixed with the Eastern melodies and instruments and Tod’s always sneering punk smirk. We were lucky enough to open for them on that tour and now, with the release of a new record, which I have yet to hear, we are back, together again. Get your tickets quick because I think this is very close to being sold out. See you at the Croc on Monday.
– Jimmy the Pickpocket