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07/06/2010 Fuel, Danielle Barbe, Strike The Sky, Minds Open Wide (Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall)

By Eric | July 13, 2010 3:57 pm

I met Greg out front of Water Street on one of the hottest day of the year, and we reluctantly walked inside. I say reluctantly because we figured it’d be nothing less than a sauna inside, and we were right. The first act up was a Rochester band called Minds Open Wide. I’m not quite sure what kind of sound they were going for, but I wasn’t terribly interested in them. However, the next local band was half the reason we came!

Strike The Sky was up next, and we met these guys through the More Than Me guys, and as such have seen them around, both playing and at MTM gigs, so we’re more than familiar with them. In fact, Greg got our tickets through Rob, the guitar player. We got right up front, and the guys put on an energetic six song set. They threw a couple new tunes at us (that I hadn’t heard, anyway) that sounded pretty damn good, plus Over You, Edge of the World, and Fail Me Now. They seemed to have sold a fair number of tickets themselves, as the crowd response was resounding between songs. Very solid all around.

(Yes, the pics from the iPhone suck. I know.)

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The direct support act apparently has been with Fuel for most of this trek, Danielle Barbe and her band came out and put on a great set. Danielle has a strong voice, and her band was very impressive behind her. The sound could be described as adult-rock I suppose, certainly not heavy, but not necessarily light either. Catchy songs played well, and while this has nothing at all to do with the music nor the show, Ms. Barbe is very easy on the eyes as well haha.

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Finally it was time for Fuel. Well, Brett Scallions and three other dudes. And not just “other dudes”, but bassist Brad Stewart and guitarist Jasin Todd (both formerly of Shinedown), and drummer Ken Schalk (ex-Candiria), who are no slouches. But most importantly, Brett was singing, so I wasn’t expecting anything less than a great time. How would one kick off that great time? Just like old times, with Untitled! New Thing was next, then a focus on Something Like Human with Empty Spaces and Prove. The first real big crowd pleaser was Jesus or a Gun, and then Sunburn was next. It was at this point you could start to tell that it wasn’t Carl Bell playing the solos, as Jasin’s solo didn’t quite measure up. Granted, he’d only been in the band about a week too (Yogi (ex-Buckcherry) had just left), so I wouldn’t say it’s entirely his fault. The band stuck to just songs off of the first two albums, which suited me just fine. (Won’t Back Down would have been the only one worth it anyway.), so it was onward with Slow, and two huge singalongs in Bad Day and Shimmer. Next was easily my favorite song (both on the album and of the night), Bittersweet, and the main set closed with a rowdy Ozone. The encore started with drummer Ken Schalk bringing out a Didgeridoo for a solo, and Brett climbed behind the drum kit to back him. We got back into the swing of things with Hideaway, and then Brett mentioned that a couple people had been yelling for the next song, so he decided to play it for us, that being a solo acoustic version of Elton John’s Daniel! Brett/Fuel had been playing it for years, I have multiple MP3’s of it, but I don’t think I ever got to see it live! Our night finished with the crowd-pleasing Hemorrhage.

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Like I said up top, it wasn’t “original” Fuel as they were, and Jasin Todd had a tendency to “Shinedown-ize” a couple of the solos (it’s not like the guy can’t play at all, I’m guessing that’s his sound), but with Brett singing, it was more than good enough for nostalgia’s sake. I indeed had a great time, albeit hot and sweaty, singing along with songs I didn’t think I’d see performed live again.

Fuel Setlist: Untitled, New Thing, Empty Spaces, Prove, Jesus Or A Gun, Sunburn, Slow, Bad Day, Shimmer, Bittersweet, Ozone. Encore: Ken Schalk Didgeridoo solo (Brett on drums), Hideaway, Daniel (Brett solo acoustic), Hemorrhage.

Someone on YouTube got a really great video of “Daniel”:

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