The Fireball: Fuelling The Fire Tour hit Birmingham last Saturday, arriving with a mass of red hot acts and even more shots of whiskey! The 4th annual tour boasts a line up which any ska-punk fan would salivate over. Headed by Less Than Jake and Goldfinger, the tour has some differences in line up at different locations. The Birmingham date, however, went above and beyond, providing seven hours of high energy, whiskey fuelled entertainment.

Opening with local act Like Giants, the night started with a bang and got more explosive as the hours passed. They may say “save the best till last” but Like Giants showed they were more than ready to slug it out with their heavyweight associates. The pop-punk four-piece are in with a fantastic chance of becoming Fireball‘s Hottest Band of 2020. Although not at full capacity at this point, the heavy guitar riffs and clean vocals of Cut And Run, the band’s debut single, got the early birds going. Expect GIANT things of this band!

Like Giants by @StephenKeay1

Thieves Of Liberty stole the hearts of the besotted crowd, as the powerful vocals of Lidya Balaban echoed around the 02 Academy. Packed with charisma and confidence, the current holders of Fireball‘s Hottest Band title, Thieves Of Liberty performed a seriously impressive set, proving themselves more than worthy of their standing. Setting the bar high, Thieves Of Liberty performed each track with modesty and conviction.

Thieves Of Liberty by @StephenKeay1

Formed in 2016, Lady Bird have shown in three short years, they are more than ready to fly far from their nest in Turnbridge Wells. Performing with more stage presence and persona than many bands twice their age, Lady Bird delivered a set which was both energising and refreshing.

Lady Bird by @StephenKeay1

Following Lady Bird, ska-punk royalty, King Prawn took to the stage. The audience, already becoming increasingly pumped with every passing whiskey shot, were immediately hooked. More than twenty-five years after they were formed, King Prawn showed that you never really age, you just Level Up! The upbeat energy provided by the long-time punk rockers showed testament to the bands resilience and continuous brilliance.

King Prawn by @StephenKeay1

After three hours of jumping and skanking, the crowd showed no signs of stopping, with each passing act supplying them with more energy and motivation than a third-year cramming pro-plus the night before their deadline. The catchy lyrics of Arsehole were utterly infectious and had the crowd bouncing as they sang along in unison with UK punk legends Snuff. Drafted in as a replacement shortly before the tour started, Snuff showed that not only do they have silver linings themselves so does every cloud.

Snuff by @StephenKeay1

Things were about to get even warmer with a raunchy yet comedic set from Orange County ska-punk hotshots, Save Ferris. The ska-punk cover of Come On Eileen, a Save Ferris classic for many years, turned up the fun factor adding fuel to an already roaring fire. Ska-punk Godfather of Goldfinger, John Feldmann, joined the band on stage momentarily to perform the Reel Big Fish hit, She Has A Girlfriend Now, much to the delight and surprise of the audience and lead singer, Monique Powell.

Save Ferris by @StephenKeay1

After appearing briefly for twenty seconds or so earlier in the night, John Feldmann returned with a merry mob of musical men, in the form of Goldfinger. The soundtrack to many nights on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the joyful band had not come to play games. Performing with the perfect mix of professionalism and passion, Goldfinger cranked up the heat within moments of arriving on stage.

Goldfinger by @StephenKeay1

It is genuinely incredible and uplifting to witness a musician, of 52 years of age, jump on stage and crowd alike with as much glee as front-man, Feldmann. Featuring various artists from other well-known punk bands such as New Found Glory, this mash-up version of the band nailed every single song, with covers of Blur‘s smash hit Song 2 and Nena‘s classic 99 Red Balloons being personal highlights. The only criticism which could be given to the performance is that it was not nearly long enough. More, please!

No strangers to playing in Birmingham, Less Than Jake returned to the Academy stage, greeted by hundreds of open arms. Less Than Jake are a band capable of doing possibly the most important thing in music, making the listener feel. It would be a challenge for any listener to not instantly smile with the grin of a Cheshire cat when being gifted the joy and privilege of witnessing this band live.

Less Than Jake by @StephenKeay1

Those who attended the Birmingham leg of the tour were lucky enough to be blessed with the priceless opportunity of seeing the band perform their classic nineties album, Hello Rockview… in FULL! With a set-list already containing the far from dull hit History Of A Boring Town and the sprightly fan favourite All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, fans were delighted when Roger, Chris, and the gang chose to play hits from other albums afterwards.

Whether they were handing out free shots of Fireball or enticing the crowd to help a more experienced punk rocker crowd surf, for what can only be described as an impressive amount of time, Less Than Jake set the roof on fire whenever they graced the Academy stage. Trivial as it sounds, catching vocalist and bassist, Roger Lima sneakily enjoying other acts from the side of the stage only intensified the feel-good factor felt throughout the night.

Throughout the night, Matt Stocks provided introductions and DJ accompaniment almost effortlessly. For those who may question the need for a DJ at an event such as this, the answer is here in the form of Matt Stocks. Getting the crowd pumped with a selection of hits such as Basket Case and Fat Lip during intervals while dressed as Raoul Duke from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Matt did a more than impressive job.

This tour is not to be missed. If the opportunity arises, GO! Those who are already attending other dates on the tour may not be able to see Hello Rockview in full but should be prepared for another night of Plastic Cup Politics that will never, ever be forgotten. For a tour in only it’s 4th year of existence, Fireball‘s Fuelling The Fire Tour is already blazing a legacy that appears to show no signs of dimming anytime soon.

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