The Radio Attack Tour #3: Carrboro, NC

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The Radio Attack Tour #3: Carrboro, NC

If you’re anything like we were before this tour, you’re wondering to yourself.. Where is Carrboro?  Is it a real place?  Well, as it turns out, it IS a real place and it’s beautiful.  It’s adjacent to Chapel Hill, which is of course where UNC (aka Michael Jordan University) is.  Carrboro may be a small town, but it’s got heart.  The importance of the arts and music scene here was immediately apparent upon our arrival.

We pulled up to the venue and there was this incredible jazz quartet playing (that’s means 4 performers for you Ryan Monahans out there).  What a great way to start the night.  After they wrapped up their set… our event was set to begin.  It was a really cool and unique setup for this event put on by 3 Corners Collective.  There were three acts; Leia Sedika, Chessa Rich and Fair City Fire.  Each artist played 20 minutes in that order and then started over and each artist played another set.  The other two acts were awesome singer/songwriters from Carrboro.  They were both very good singers with really thoughtful lyics and also multi instrumentalists.  Leia played guitar and ukelele.  Chessa played guitar and keys.  Really cool to hear them do their thing.  We took the stage and were welcomed warmly despite our drastically different vibe.  It seems like the good people of Carrboro just enjoy music no matter what genre.  

Wondering why Carrboro?  Well let me tell ya a brief story of how I met Carrboro resident and acoustic blues phenom, Matt Phillips.  He came into Firehouse open mic while on tour back before Fair City Fire was even a thing.  I was really impressed with his musicality and creativity so I made it a point to chat with him.  Good thing I did.  When we connected on Facebook later I learned that he not only performs all over the place in the Carolinas… he was booking shows and organizing things like these 3 Corner’s Collective Showcases.  A great guy to know now that we’re plotting out tours along the East Coast.   I hit him up this time around and sure enough, he hooked us up with this gig in a town I probably never would have been to otherwise.  Cheers Matt Phillips!  We had a great time and look forward to coming back.  We had multiple recommendations for Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen for breakfast in the morning.  So we hit that up real hard in the morning on the way out of town.  Sure enough, it ruled.  Heading to Philly… the city that called me fat when I was like 8… but that’s a story for another time.  I’m ready to face Philly with some loud rock and roll this time around.

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The Radio Attack Tour #2: Charlotte, NC

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The Radio Attack Tour #2: Charlotte, NC

Time to head to the Queen City.  We were certainly reminded of the importance of being flexible for this one.  We had to change venues super last minute because the previously booked venue became suddenly sketchy and unresponsive, which was super fun. (The venue will remain nameless… don’t want to go down that Rabbit Hole ya know?) That’s extra stressful while on the road not knowing if the gig you are travelling hours to will actually even happen.  Anyways, things worked out for us thanks to the kindness of local Charlotte band, Angwish.  I reached out to them to perform with us that night and they agreed.  When things got weird with the venue they found a new one with their connections in town.  So, we ended up doing our show at a deliciously divey bar called Keg and Cue.  We had an absolute blast. 

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The first act of the night was a local songwriter named PK.  He had an incredible indie folk sound that was somewhat along the lines of The Mountain Goats. Definitely enjoyed his entire set.  Then it was our turn.  A few highlights included a patron of the bar yelling “was that a Sex Pistols cover?” after we played one of our more laid back songs “Love and Music”.  “It’s like listening to John Bonham, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson” -another patron said in the middle of the set.  Jeez we need to bring these people on the road with us to hype our shows.  Then, it was time for one of our new favorite Charlotte bands, Angwish, to take the stage.  With a really cool punk rock attitude, Bryan and Bethany, blasted their way through an awesome set.  It included a Star Wars themed rap at the end that blew our minds.  The way Angwish treated us when we were a touring band getting dicked around will not soon be forgotten.   Viva la Angwish!

Big shoutout to the Witbecks for putting us up.  Danny and Melissa have a beautiful home just outside of Charlotte.  Thank you so much for hosting us again.  We woke up the next day and hit the bowling alley for a few hours before hitting the road again.  Let’s just say, my bowling prowess is now a thing of the past.  Even Joe, a no good bafoon, beat me.  No, I’m not bitter.  I’m a mature adult and can take a loss… I’ll just constantly train until I get my chance at revenge.  Footnote: Brett had a better score than Joe and I combined, but that is besides the point.  Time to head to Carrboro!

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The Radio Attack Tour #1: Music City

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The Radio Attack Tour #1: Music City

The Radio Attack Tour is HERE!  Time to hit the road again.  We are so proud of the single “Attack” that came out June 16th.  We celebrated with a huge show at Stubbs in Austin with our friends, Finite Fidelity.  We couldn’t have asked for a better single release/tour sendoff show.  We love performing for our Austin loves and what an incredible venue to do it at.  We are lucky to get to do our thing there, especially on a Friday.  We had a day off to get the rental van, pack our stuff and hang out a bit before we left on that Sunday.

Radio Attack Tour Sendoff Show at Stubbs!

Radio Attack Tour Sendoff Show at Stubbs!

 

First stop, Nashville!  WOO!  One problem.. Traffic made it a 14 hour drive.  Thankfully, we reserved all of Sunday to get the drive done.  We got to take some back roads in Tennesee which was beautiful.  Then we got to Nashville and what a beautiful sight it was.  Seriously, Music City is something special.  If you haven’t been there, you should probably go.  We grabbed some Yuengling and some Dominos and headed for the Hammel house.  Justin and Brenna Hammel (congrats on getting married since the last trip) have been incredibly kind to put us up like they have all 3 times we’ve come through on tour.  

Nashville skyline

Nashville skyline

Woke up the next morning and took a stroll around the neighborhood… the non-Texas level of heat was a huge relief.  I then spent a few hours on promo stuff and headed out with the dudes.  We had an incredible opportunity to appear on Justin Hammel’s radio show on Acme Radio.  The station is so cool.  It’s located right on the end of Broadway closest to the Bridgestone Arena, where the Titans play.  For our Austin peeps that haven’t been, it definitely has a similar vibe to dirty 6th.  The station is part of building with a 4-floor hangout spot with a restaurant and venue.  It becomes one of the only bars on that strip that welcomes original music regularly every night.  Something we totally support.  You can see the stream of that appearance here:  What a great experience it was.  We performed “No Promises”, “Green X” live on air and he played our single “Attack”.  We also chatted with him about what we’re up to and a bit about the Austin scene.  Check out the stream of the show at https://goo.gl/mUC5vE

We weren’t planning on doing a show that night, but Justin managed to hook us up with a sweet gig at a new venue called The Country.  Incredibly it was maybe 100 feet from the first Nashville venue we played, Springwater.  This show ended up being a great time.   Paige (Page?) (Payyyyge?) (she didn’t have a damn name tag ok??)  helped us out with our sound and did a great job.  We always appreciate a good sound engineer and she definitely had it going on.  We got to meet some pretty cool people in the crowd after the set and it made for a really good first show on the road.  After, we went to go take a look at the Panthenon at Vanderbilt and then took a slow drive through Broadway to check out the late night scene.  In our drive with the windows down, I will say one thing.. We heard “Sweet Home Alabama” too many times.

Our venue for the night!  The Country!

Our venue for the night!  The Country!

It was a great time and we are definitely looking forward to coming back to Nashville soon.  We’re already starting to make plans!  On to charlotte!

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2016 Was Not Nothing

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2016 Was Not Nothing

Written by Brian Wolff

Early 2016 was pretty much solely dedicated to releasing our debut album “The Simple Truth”.  The time and energy it takes to release something like this the right way is definitely something that would be hard to grasp unless you’ve done it before.  We had a couple shows at Lamberts that were pretty awesome including a killer show with The Warplanes to release our first single, “Uninformed Platform”.  We also met one of our now favorite Austin bands, The Canvas People, at our show at 502 Bar in San Antonio.  If you haven’t checked those aforementioned bands out yet… you absolutely should.

502 Bar-  San Antonio- February 20 2016.  The night Derik sang the entire set because Brian was dying

502 Bar-  San Antonio- February 20 2016.  The night Derik sang the entire set because Brian was dying

April 1 was the day “The Simple Truth” was released into the world.  We had a great show at Stubbs to celebrate.  It was a perfect storm… the first album and our first time at this dream venue of all of ours.  Headlining on a Friday night no less!  My parents also came down to be part of the celebration.  That was so cool.   All that work had paid off.  That room was packed wall to wall and the energy from the crowd was like nothing else I’d ever experienced.   Our album was on the shelf at Waterloo records.  We were getting great reviews from some great online sources.  Our music was absolutely everywhere you could find music online.  It was even getting some local radio airplay.  I couldn’t have been flying any higher at the time. 

The Simple Truth Album Cover- Designed by Dos Mundos Creative-  Location- Immortal Performance in Austin, Texas (yes that still works!!)

The Simple Truth Album Cover- Designed by Dos Mundos Creative-  Location- Immortal Performance in Austin, Texas (yes that still works!!)

June 2nd we got to play Stubbs again!  This time in support of The Canvas People’s single release show.  It was an awesome night.  A great turnout again.  Having some serious success at this highly sought after venue.  We were on fire!  Austin Music Foundation then informed us we would be their selection for Artist of the Month in August.  What an incredible honor.  Then, it dawned on us... we needed to plan one HUGE show for the summer.  

August 20th- Thus, The “Too Damn Hot” Affair was born.  We were going to rally up the best lineup we could and have us a party. That… we did.  Finite Fidelity, That Girl Dre and Canvas People rounded out the lineup.   We had the one and only Matt Jones (of getting punched in the face by a phone charging fiend fame) host the whole thing.   We raised money for The Sims Foundation with side events like getting a picture with Sarah’s Polaroid camera and also donating to add a design to a “mural” that would be auctioned off at the end of the night.   Every band brought their absolute best that night and it made for an incredible time. 

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October 7th-22nd-  “The Simple Truth” Tour.  We all knew one thing about this year’s tour… it had to be bigger and better than the last one a year prior.  We had an album to promote this time around!  How exciting.  We also had shirts made, posters, koozies… all sorts of stuff.  We had limited time due to Derik’s demanding job so we had to make the most of our time on the road.  We played 14 shows in 15 days.  Including Dallas, Nashville, Indianapolis, Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, Youngstown, Binghamton, New York City, Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, and of course Austin.   What an experience that was.  Connecting with new audiences all over the country.  Some of the cities had a nice repeat crowd from our last tour.  This time people knew our songs!  The album was out and people were listening to it.  It was so cool.  A lot of the tour is described in previous blog posts.  We had a great crowd at our return home show at Mohawk which was really nice. 

From Derik's Last Show Dec 15 at Empire Control Room in Austin

From Derik's Last Show Dec 15 at Empire Control Room in Austin

December 15- Derik’s last show with Fair City Fire at Empire Control Room.  It was and is the sad truth.  Derik has decided to leave Fair City Fire and we had one last hoorah with him.  In true Derik fashion, he threw his guitar into the crowd like a savage.  He wasn’t going out without one more crazy act.  We’re going to miss that animal.  We had a great crowd that night.  The energy in the room was pretty awesome to experience. 

As 2017 approaches, Fair City Fire is excited to announce that we are going to continue on and we will be bigger and better than ever after a little bit of a rebuilding hiatus.  We’ve got new songs, a bit of a new sound and a new life.   Look out for new music and new show announcements before long!!

Here's a little something from each of the guys and some fans about their favorite FCF moments of 2016.

Brett Winning- What a year! I had such a great 2016 with Fair City Fire! We were lucky enough to release our first full length album out to the world and had the pleasure of doing so at the legendary Stubbs! We went on our second national tour, and I got to visit new cities I've never been to all by playing music. One thing I've learned over the years is that you can't have sweet without out the sour, and having Derik leave the band was one of those sour moments. But I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys to play music with and what we created in the last 2.5 years was something special and I'll never forget those moments!! Fair City Fire is far from over, we've only just began! See you soon 2017!"

Joe Valadez- Favorite moment was New York City with 3 of the best dudes I know. 2016 was a great year of growth, fun, and change for Fair City Fire and I am excited for 2017!

Brian Wolff- My favorite moment was probably a two way tie between the show in my hometown in Binghamton on The Simple Truth Tour and The Too Damn Hot Affair.  The Binghamton show recently got some recognition as one of the area's top concerts of the year.  Some other artists on the list?  James Taylor, Alice Cooper, Weird Al and one of my favorite local Binghamton bands Driftwood.  What a great honor.  It was a great night and to get that kind of recognition for it was amazing.  The Too Damn Hot Affair was amazing because it was something we created from nothing.  We wanted to make a unique and incredible event and we did it.  It was so much fun to see all of our hard work and creative energy materialize into a huge event like that.  We certainly hope to do it again this year!  Bring it 2017!

Emily Harrington- I didn't witness it, but there was the Matt Jones incident...

Derek Hamm- I'm going to second Emily's nomination. #nottheherowedeserve

Josh Hause- Noodle Blap!

Let's Bevy Inc.- Uhhh, that day our eyes connected from across the room and we fell in love, of course!

Amanda Bruner- the only one I have is meeting you guys in a traffic jam in KY

Kristopher Potrafka-  This. 6/10/16. Private concert for our rehearsal dinner.

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From Firehouse to Stubbs: A Derik Kroeze Story

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From Firehouse to Stubbs: A Derik Kroeze Story

Written By: Brian Wolff

It was a warm October night in Austin, Texas and I was a lost dog in a brand new city. I had a couple of friends I ran around the music scene with in college who had moved down here from New York, and they ran an open mic downtown at a place called Firehouse. I was a big fish in a small pond in my hometown, feeling pretty confident and sure of myself. In Austin, I was a stranger. I made a quick realization: Austin was a brand new world and I was just an average Joe at this OPEN MIC. What the hell!? In my mind, open mics were always the place people would go to express themselves if they couldn’t find other stages to do it. But this place was different. This was a room full of hungry musicians (probably literally and figuratively) who were trying to find other players and trying to find a place in this crazy music scene. Here I was in awe of everyone around me, and it was then I realized- I was middle of the pack here on my best day.

Open Mic at Firehouse


Then, at the end of the night, the one and only Derik Kroeze hit the stage. I had no idea who he was. My eyes and ears lit up entirely as soon as he hit his first chord. Here was this guy with a guitar playing stuff like Bob Dylan and Neil Young and even some original songs he’d written that were in the same vein, and he was going absolutely nuts. Derik was stomping on the stage and doing that Kroeze growl that we’ve all come to know and love. He was generating this insane amount of energy on stage that I’d never seen before and he was just by himself. While I respect anybody who has that sort of energy and passion for music, here was a guy who was doing that and sounding incredible in doing so. I knew at that moment I’d have to try to at least talk to him. Over time we discovered that we liked, and grew up on, many of the same bands. We both loved baseball, and most of all, we shared a burning desire to write and perform great music in the “Live Music Capital of the World”.  I had a new friend and it was awesome. There is nothing like a new friend to make you feel less like a stranger in an unfamiliar scene.  We were both pretty drunk on a particular night at that particular place. If you know us, that probably isn’t a huge surprise. We were catching up, as usual, on progress in getting solo gigs navigating the scene. Then it hit us- we had to start a band together. 

Drinks!

His girlfriend, now wife, and my girlfriend at the time went on a trip to a winery together as a girls’ day out. No boys allowed. Derik had a regular standing Saturday gig at a place on dirty 6th street called Bat Bar. Derik asked me, the morning of, if I wanted to join him for his 3-hour gig, knowing I probably didn’t have much going on that day. Having never performed or even practiced together, I was skeptical and nervous. But I didn’t come to Austin, TX to not take chances. So here we were on stage figuring out what songs we both knew on the fly, and if one of us didn’t know it, we taught it to each other on the fly. It was something special. I had some experience playing at this place and had never really noticed many people in there during the day, no matter what sort of band was on stage. Maybe the stars lined up just right, but by the time we were halfway through the set- damn- we had a packed house. Even though we were being master bullshitters on stage, people were loving it. After that, we knew it was going to work. We started doing duo shows around town, occasionally with the goal in mind of starting a real rock and roll band. We just had to find the other players. 

Brian and Derik as a duo


We had a bass player, Kyle McIntyre, and a drummer, Colter Lutz, down to join up with us and try a show or two. To do so we needed a name. At the time, Stray Eagle was the best name we could come up with. So, for no good reason, we called it Stray Eagle. We booked our first and only show at Red Eyed Fly. Kyle had to move away before the first show! So, we were down a bass player. Luckily, another guy I’d met, Daniel Corder, was a great player that was up for filling in.  We stumbled our way through a 45-minute set of mostly original music. I can remember playing “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads. It was a blast. We had a great time. We just didn’t really gel that much as a group. We could feel that it wasn’t right at the time. Derik was starting to sing with his future wife, Jessica, at his gigs under the name Regal Dreamers and I had joined a 6th street cover band called Hollie and the Hype. We just sort of decided to put Stray Eagle on the back burner. Maybe we’d come back to it someday… maybe we wouldn’t. It was fun while it lasted. 

Stray Eagle

Stray Eagle


Here I was, playing in a band on 6th street, in addition to the bazillion solo gigs I had going. It was good for a while, and man did that band have incredible talent through and through. I knew before long that it wasn’t going to be a permanent band. I just wasn’t passionate about it. The extra money was nice and the practice on stage with a band was important. Also, learning how to be second fiddle in a band helped me in a lot of ways. I knew I wanted to start an original rock and roll band though. That had to happen. So I gave the band a 6- month notice that at the end of the year I’d be leaving and pursuing my vision of a rock and roll band. Brett Winning was the bass player of The Hype and he told me right then and there that he was 100% in on board with whatever I wanted to do. Since then, he’s been my right hand man in so many ways. Joe Valadez was the drummer and he was unsure at the time of his future as he was about to graduate college. So I told Brett about Derik and it had begun. We all got together and started writing. Stray Eagle was to RISE FROM THE ASHES. Only, we all agreed that name was terrible.

Hollie and the Hype


We found a drummer named, Brittney Flippo, and the band Fair City Fire was complete. We worked very hard to get a set together of original rock and roll songs that we could be proud of and did our first show at Stompin Grounds. It went over extremely well. It seemed like every friend I made in Austin up til that day came out to support. The energy in the room was electric. Time went by and it seemed Brittney wasn’t the best fit for the band. We talked to Joe and he was chomping at the bit to join. So, then we had a solid lineup that wouldn’t change again for over 2 years.  

Fair City Fire at Stompin Grounds


Through hard work and steadfast belief… we were able to do amazing things in our 2 and a half years as a band with Derik. An EP, a full length album, 2 national tours, multiple shows at a dream venue called Stubbs and so much more.  They’ve been the best years of my musical life by a million miles. We’ve gotten so much support from everywhere. We can’t thank you enough. Derik will be leaving the band after our last show with him December 15th… for nothing but perfectly good reasons. While I want to be sad and that is my instinct. I’m just so happy and so proud to have gotten to be in the kind of band I always dreamed of being in since I was little when I fell in love with music. 

We are unsure where we’re headed as a band, but I know for sure, things will never be the same without Derik Smash destroying every stage we hit. Cheers to Derik and cheers to the future for all of us.

Derik and Brian during Fair City Fire's first Stubb's show

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