The Show: Wednesday, April 25, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Firewater w/Big Lazy

By Christy Goldfinch

“It’s a bad, bad world / And I’m a bad, bad boy” growls Firewater frontman Tod Ashley as he offers yet another upbeat song about ugly things. Ashley, ex-bassist of industro-core band Cop Shoot Cop, is Steven Wright-like in his deadpan comments on suburban shooting sprees, airline disasters, a nation on antidepressants, and suicide. Dance to this? Most definitely.

The genius of Firewater is in setting Ashley’s raspy, gravelly voice and bleak lyrics against a layered canvas of sound: guitars, mainly, but flavored with ragtime piano, jangly finger-bells, and mournful violin. On the self-flagellating “Get Out of My Head,” Ashley moans, “Baby, I could be a billionaire / If I wasn’t always broke / And I could be a comedian / If I wasn’t such a joke / Guess I knew it all along / Being born’s where I went wrong.” Matching the vocal intensity is jazzy garage punk that begs for a mosh pit.

The original 1996 lineup that Ashley gathered to record his tunes included members of The Jesus Lizard, Foetus, Soul Coughing, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion; all eventually decided to stick with their day jobs. But their influence is still apparent on Firewater’s third release, October’s Psychopharmacology. By turns scathing, mischievous, groovy, brash, and passionate, Firewater lives in hell and laughs about it. It’s more fun than Prozac — and that’s Ashley’s point.

Firewater w/Big Lazy, The Theater Fire, 10 pm Fri. Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 411 E Sycamore St, Denton. $8. 940-387-7781.


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