LIVE: Fuel @ SkyLoft, 2/27/20

Fuel emerged during the late 90’s “post-grunge” phase of modern rock. Releasing their major label debut “Sunburn” in March of 1998, Fuel quickly became staples of rock radio. Lead single “Shimmer” was followed by “Bittersweet” in 1998. “Jesus or a Gun” and “Sunburn,” made their way to radio by the end of 1999.

The band released their best selling album Something Like Human in September of 2000. The first single “Hemorrhage(In My Hands)” cracked the Billboard Top 40 and topped the Billboard Alternative chart. Singles “Last Time,” “Innocent” and “Bad Day” were radio hits as well.

2003 saw the release of Natural Selection which featured hits “Won’t Back Down” and “Falls on Me.” Fuel toured extensively to promote this record, bringing their show to a sold-out Northern Lights in Clifton Park in November of that year. To this date, it was the loudest concert I can remember attending.

Lead singer Brett Scallions left Fuel in 2004 to pursue other musical pursuits, such as performing with the Robby Kreiger and Ray Manzarek of The Doors. The band carried on without him but never hit the stride that they had with Scallions as frontman. They released one record without Scallions, 2007’s Angels & Devils. After the Angels & Devils tour, original members Jeff Abercrombie and Carl Bell left the band as well. Scallions picked the torch back up in 2010 and has been recording and touring since. The latest release is 2014’s “Puppet Strings.”

Scallions brought the reformed band to SkyLoft on Thursday, February 27, 2020. Taking the stage to Lorde’s version of the Tears for Fears classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Scallions and company looked like fighters making their way to the ring. They came out swinging with a one-two punch of “Untitled” from Sunburn and “Last Time” from Something Like Human. Scallions sounded note-perfect from early on in the set. The new band, bassist Phil Buckman, guitarist Jason Womack and drummer Shannon Boone sounded as good as the original members. I did notice that a lot of the songs were played at a slightly faster, more aggressive tempo. It brought a freshness to the tunes.

The setlist leaned heavily on the hits. Scallions knows what his fans want to hear. He looked genuinely happy to be on stage tonight. He bantered with individual audience members and riffed with them over Suicidal Tendencies songs. He even humored the “PLAY FREEBIRD” guy. Womack and Scallions decided that they are going to learn the damn song note for note and make people listen to every second.

Rather than leave the stage and come back for an encore, they closed the show out with 2014’s “Puppet Strings” and “Hemorrhage.” The sound and lighting at SkyLoft are the best in the region. If you have not made it out for a show yet, do it. Now. Thank me later. They are bringing some great acts through the area in the coming months.

SETLIST
UNTITLED
LAST TIME
SONG FOR YOU
BAD DAY
SUNBURN
SHIMMER
BITTERSWEET
MARY PRETENDS
PROVE
JESUS OR A GUN
IT’S COME TO THIS
OZONE
INNOCENT
FALLS ON ME
PUPPET STRINGS
HEMORRHAGE(IN MY HANDS)

Photo Gallery by Claude Sawyer

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