Smoke or Fire / Tim Barry / Tenwatch

Smoke or Fire / Tim Barry / Tenwatch: live in Baltimorelive in Baltimore (2007)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: baseballbaseball
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I should start off this review by saying that this show had the potential to be a massive disappointment. You see, this was supposed to be the last time I saw Fifth Hour Hero in light of the recent breakup news. So naturally, when my friend and I arrived and saw a sign posted as we entered the Ottob.

I should start off this review by saying that this show had the potential to be a massive disappointment. You see, this was supposed to be the last time I saw Fifth Hour Hero in light of the recent breakup news. So naturally, when my friend and I arrived and saw a sign posted as we entered the Ottobar saying Fifth Hour Hero would not be playing the show, we were disappointed to say the least. The only consolation is that I was able to catch Fifth Hour Hero a couple months back on tour with the Draft.

The Ottobar: If there's one place I will greatly miss if I ever leave the Baltimore area, it's the Ottobar. I can't really say I've ever been to a bad show here over the years. Generally great crowds, laid-back staff, and affordable drink prices are some of the advantages.

Onto the show. The first band was a local band called Tenwatch. I'd heard some of their songs on their MySpace at one point or another. Their sound is pretty much straightforward, fairly melodic punk. They seemed to enjoy being there and displayed some decent energy. I'll put it this way: I've seen many worse opening bands than Tenwatch. I believe they were giving out some of their CDs at no charge as well, which is always nice.

Next up was Tim Barry and his band. I've got to admit, I was taken back a little bit at how many people Tim was touring with. For some reason, I was under the impression his act was just him and maybe a couple other people. After the five-piece set up, they opened with a great rendition of "Dog Bumped" and quickly caught the attention of the crowd. One of the first things you'll notice about seeing Tim Barry and his band is they appear to be more like a family, as my friend put it, on stage, than performers. Tim's set consisted of the better part of his debut CD littered with some great storytelling in between and during the songs. Stories of train-hopping, shaking up the daily grind of life, not overworking yourself, and even talking down a woman who was intending to jump in front of a train because she was losing her house were included. His honesty absolutely grabbed the crowd and almost every single person in the place was shouting along to the chorus of "Avoiding Catatonic Surrender" by the latter half of the set. Tim explained to the crowd how this is like therapy for him, his journal entries, and it's easy to see exactly what he means while he plays. This was one of the most honest performances I've ever seen and thusly left this show a flat out fan of Tim Barry and his band. Highly recommended.

After a short setup, Smoke or Fire came on stage. To add to the potential disappointment, Smoke or Fire was playing as a three-piece this night. Their second guitar player had to attend to some "pretty serious" family business, as described by their singer. Luckily, if there's one thing you can't ever accuse Smoke or Fire of lacking, it's energy. I think this was the fifth time I've seen them, the first being on tour with Against Me! before Searching for a Former Clarity came out. They've really taken their live show to the next level since then and this night was no exception. The band tore through a highly energetic set heavy on Above the City songs. They didn't play a ton of new songs, which is probably attributed to the absence of their second guitar player. By far and away the highlight of this set for me was the inclusion of "Cryin' Shame." This is a song I've never heard them play live as far as I can remember. It was a gut-wrenching performance with the whole crowd screaming at the top of their lungs along and often times overpowering the mic'd vocals. As if that wasn't enough, Tim Barry came out for the second half of the song to join in on vocal duties. I don't have a whole set list but some of the other highlights were "Culture as Given," "Filter," "California's Burning" (closing), "Delawhere," "Cops and Drugs" and from the new album "What Separates Us All" (opening), "Melatonin," "Little Bohemia" and "Shine."

All in all, this was a show that could have been a disappointment but turned out to be one of the better Wednesday nights I can remember.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ConsolationPrizefighter (April 8, 2007)

Saw this tour in Cambridge last night, and I'm really upset that I'll never get to see Fifth Hour Hero again. But good news is their hoodies are 12 bucks now.

Anonymous (April 8, 2007)

it may be a schtick but he is really good at what he does.

Anonymous (April 7, 2007)

Tim Barry must feel awfully guilty about growing up priveleged. His "I'm a redneck!" routine is a total shtick. He should tour with Larry the Cable Guy.

FeelingJaded (April 7, 2007)

This made me even more excited for the Philly show next week

mcgregor107 (April 7, 2007)


misterspike (April 7, 2007)

Phantom, you need to encode that tape to mp3 and get it to me. Like, Now.

mynameisbud (April 7, 2007)

California's burning is a great song

PhantomBoner (April 7, 2007)

To MikeStupid: He played right outside of Kilby Court. I interviewed him for SLUG that night, so I stuck around for a while after the show officially got cancelled. About 10 or so people showed up bummed that the show got cancelled, so Tim gathered us all around his van and played for about two hours and about 15 other people came and went as the night went on. He let me record the set on the crappy little tape recorder I had, so it doesn't sound all that great, but it's still awesome to have.

Anonymous (April 7, 2007)

goign to see this tour on wednesday. so excited. i've never seen SOF before.

MikeStupid (April 7, 2007)

PhantomBoner, are you fucking kidding me? I was so bummed when that show got cancelled... where did he play out of his van and how did you find out about it?

skankin_in_the_pit (April 6, 2007)

I'm not trying to hate on Smoke or Fire, but I'd be really bummed if Tim Barry and Fifth Hour Hero opened up for Smoke or Fire here. Maybe I've been let down because of all the hype, but Smoke or Fire have been extremely disappointing both times they've played Vegas.

sickboi (April 6, 2007)

Good review Ryan.

Caught this last night. Landmines opened and absolutely killed it. I was told Fifth Hour Hero probably wouldn't make it, but then pulled in about 30 minutes before their set and proceeded to rock the fuck out.

PhantomBoner (April 6, 2007)

I saw Tim Barry play out of his van about two months ago after the real show got cancelled. Probably the coolest thing I've ever been a part of. He is indeed a really cool and friendly guy, and everyone seriously should go out and get Rivanna Junction.

misterspike (April 6, 2007)

I got to meet Tim Barry when Avail opened for Rancid last summer. He was easily the most down-to-earth, nicest "punks" I've met. A beer with the man is a guaranteed good story.

Whomever hasn't picked up Rivanna Junction is missing out one of the the best suprises (to me, at least) of hte past year. Great review.

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