Forces are gathering a harmonic conversion of near epic proportions for Friday the 13th with a Geminid Meteor Shower possibly brighter than a nearly full moon between 9 and 10 p.m. – just about when FireHouse hits the stage live at Amos’ Southend in Charlotte.
That’s a big buildup for a much-anticipated return from the very area that launched the band. This metro area, Carolinas and Virginia were the stomping grounds for FireHouse, originally White Heat, in the early 90s, so we claim them as our own.
It’s a special experience when your favorite local band jumps from area buzz to world-wide notoriety. And the band – Bill Leverty, guitar/vocals; CJ Snare, lead vocals/keys; Michael Foster, drums/vocals; plus Allen McKenzie, bass/vocals – have never forgotten that initial support.
What followed was 16 albums, platinum sales worldwide thanks to two Top 5 hit songs, four Top 25 hits, and seven Hot 100 hits on Billboard; an American Music Award, with other recognition, awards and a faithful fan following for this charismatic band and their melodic hard rock sound.
No last tours or lost years here; FireHouse has stayed active and popular performing, touring worldwide, even recording. As recently as 2007 they re-recorded 10 favorites for the album “Full Circle.” Various ventures and solo projects have also kept the members busy over the years.
Calling from his home in Richmond, Va., guitarist Leverty touted the return with anticipation saying, “We’re so glad to be back where it all started in Charlotte for our annual visit.” Reminding him that it’s actually been closer to a year and a half, Leverty ponders briefly, then says “Really? Well, no wonder we’re ready. We’ve got some new stuff to play for everyone – a few different tunes – lots of fun stuff.”
“It’s been a busy year or so for us,” he said, explaining their often packed schedule of club/theater dates, arena festivals including the Monsters of Rock Tours as well as a Monsters of Rock Cruise with another one set for early 2014, plus shows in Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Peru, Brazil and Bali.
Even with the distances traveled and culture differences, Leverty believes “fans are fans with similar style of enthusiasm no matter where they are. Language is a big difference but the music takes care of any gap,” he said. “Most concerts are big, with 8,000 to 10,000 people, except the stop in Bali, which was a Hard Rock Café special event.”
According to Leverty, “the ballads are the most popular songs in other parts of the world.” Around these parts however, “the Charlotte likes to rock. Then, when we play a ballad, like “Love of a Lifetime” I see couples slow dancing around in the audience.”
Outside projects take up another big chunk of time for Leverty who just “released a fourth solo record titled “Drive.” “The album,” he said, “features covers of tunes that influenced me when I was 7 or 8 and when I started playing guitar around 14.”
Leverty also recently released a well-received new album of original songs, “Flood The Engine,” with a group of longtime friends in the Richmond area. He also works in his home studio engineering for other bands, plus a new venture in video production. Let’s not forget Leverty is a married family man, too, with an 11-year-old daughter.
Well-rounded in his talents and always upbeat, Leverty maintains, “It’s an ongoing, ever-changing path … a never-ending education with music.”
He sends this message to fans, friends and family in the Charlotte area. “We can’t wait to get back there to Amos” with plenty of new music and a few favorites. I can’t wait to shake hands and hang out at the end of the night – something we’ve always done and really look forward to it.”
Be there for the rock and roll reunion/holiday party when FireHouse returns live with guests Departure-Journey Tribute; Sunset Strip-Hair Metal Tribute to Amos’ Southend, 1423 S. Tryon St., Charlotte. Call 704-377-6874 or go to amossouthend.com for show details. For more on the music, check firehousemusic.com and leverty.com.
Friday: The Oneppo Brothers Duo at David’s Steak and Spirits, Rock Hill; Christmas Party with Frank Sciandra – Bring Toys for Tots – at Fatfinger’s Bar & Grill, Catawba; Sweatin’ Bullets at Midtown Sundries Grill and Bar, Fort Mill; DeCarlo at Lake Wylie Bowl N Bounce, Lake Wylie; Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands with Something Clever, Beautiful Chaos, The Vintage Three, One Final Hope, more at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas, Shana Blake and Pivotal Soul at Evening Muse, Charlotte; Those Darlins at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; The Barbed Wires, Loose Lugnuts at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Grown Up Avenger Stuff, SemiPro at The Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Early Ray at Coyote Joe’s, Charlotte; Year of the Ox, Sinister Haze, Base of Base at the Milestone, Charlotte; Brandon Kirkley and the Firecrackers at Ed’s Tavern, Charlotte; Basement Music Series 2: Slow Motion Riot, Wormholes, Flesh and Stone, Sun Dried Vibes, The Chemist, more at The Chop Shop-NoDa, Charlotte; The Neighbourhood, The 1975 at Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte; Chuck Johnson Duo at The Lodge, Charlotte; Perfect Strangers Acoustic at Winedown Wine Bar, Harrisburg; Tantrum at Finz Raw Bar, Matthews; Shannon Lee at Freeman’s Pub, Gastonia.
Saturday: Benefit for Robert Hendricks with Weekends at the End Zone, Rock Hill; Alan Barrington at Amici Lovin Oven, Rock Hill; Ashley Rhodes Peeples Solo Acoustic at The Garden Café, York; Cravin Melon at Sylvia Theater, York; The Oneppo Brothers Band at John’s Place, Fort Mill; Anando CD Release at The Well Coffeehouse, Pineville; AntiSeen, The Poontanglers, Vulture at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Purgatory 55 at Amos’ Southend, Charlotte; Cosmic Charlie at the Visulite Theater, Charlotte; Cabinet at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Randy Franklin at Vintner Wine Market, Charlotte; Motel Glory, Borrowed Arts at Snug Harbor, Charlotte; Jon Linker Band at The Saloon-NC Music Factory, Charlotte; Spyro Byra and the Yellowjackets at Knight Theater, Charlotte; Rockin’ Kids First with Jake Haldenwang Music “Halden Vang;” Analog Daze; Michael Tracy, Fiftywatt Freight Train, more at The Chop Shop-NoDa, Charlotte; Carolina Chocolate Drops at Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte; Dark Sun Kult, Greevace, Cemetery Thieves, more at the Milestone, Charlotte; Eric Strickland & The B Sides at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte; Matt Tucker CD Release, Shook Lane, Out of the Blue at Coyote Joe’s, Charlotte; Pam Taylor Band at Sharkey’s Place, Gastonia.
Sunday: Anybody Killa, Mr. Toxic at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Rock The Holidays with Poor Man’s Fame, Butterfly Corpse, Barely A Giant, more at Amos’ Southend, Charlotte; Tidal Wave, Mr. Gold at the Milestone, Charlotte.
Monday: Chris Isaak at Knight Theater, Charlotte.
Tuesday: Baking with Caskey Tour with Cheyne/Matthew Thorsen, Zach D, Tanner Wayne at Tremont Music Hall.
Wednesday: Oneppo Brothers Duo at The End Zone, Rock Hill; Chris Marks Band at The Saloon-NC Music Factory, Charlotte; Consider the Source, Fall of Ashes at Evening Muse, Charlotte; Diarrhea Planet, No Regrets, more at The Chop Shop-NoDa, Charlotte; Honor By August at Double Door Inn, Charlotte; Toby Creek at Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte.
Thursday: Torche, Stone City, Late Bloomer at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte; Bob Schneider, Ruston Kelly at The Chop Shop-NoDa, Charlotte; Sinners and Saints, Rachel Kate, more at Milestone, Charlotte.
“And that was all she wrote.”
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