Fireside Riot brings the earworm pop
by Lynne Hogan.
Lil’ Wayne has it, Stephen Harper doesn’t have it, and some people say they have it, but how does one define the term “swagger?”
I always thought it applied to guys who pronounce “girl” with three “r”s. But Mikey Rabara (just the one “r” in the middle), lead vocalist of local pop-rock band Fireside Riot describes swagger as, “the way you present yourself, the way you act and the way you perform.” He’s right; it’s about being 100 per cent behind everything you do, or in this case, the music you put out or the shows you perform. Fireside Riot is a five-man pop-rock band trying to succeed in a market that demands commercial songs from bands, who must also bring something new to the table. Luckily, their unique pop-rock sound, coupled with the members’ strong commitment, gives them a good start.
Fireside Riot was the creative seedling of lead vocalist and lyricist Rabara and guitarist/ synth-man Mike Benke. With the help of Facebook, the band was formed from Rabara’s post searching for local bands in need of a vocalist. Soon the band was rounded out with guitarist Matt Dandurand, bassist/vocalist Aaron Vaiasicca and MRU policy studies student/drummer Jamie LeSueur. Forming quickly, these dudes dove into creating music, combining their divergent musical tastes with their common love of modern pop.
There isn’t a story or inside joke behind the name Fireside Riot, rather Rabara describes the sound the name evokes: their contrasting sound. “We bring a lot of pop, but with Matt’s heavy riot-invoking ‘core influences, Mike’s synths and Jamie’s hip-hop infused drums,” Rabara said.
Matt Dandurand and Aaron Vaiasicca bring walls of guitars influenced by Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, as well as Fall Out Boy and Down With Webster. Their music is suited well for the dance floor rock, with the power-pop-heavy hip-hop; all attached with fistpumping rhythms and catchy melodies.
While playing together for only a year, this band is a group of experienced musicians with long-term aspirations and their eyes on the prize. All of the members have a background playing music in other bands, like LeSueur who started out as a jazz drummer, and recently jammed with local bigwig rocker Matt Blais. Fireside Riot’s music is directed to a large audience, ripe for radio play, especially for fans of bands like Hedley, Marianas Trench and Linkin Park. The success of any band will always be built upon the ears of listeners and Fireside Riot understands that giving listeners what they want is a top priority.
These guys realize the power of earworm pop, they all love Ke$ha, Lady Gaga and other mainstream pop and bring that focus to their music. Rabara says, “We love creating our music but we also want to make music for the masses. We have a lot of fun writing songs that are dance-y with a really addictive beat, really focusing the hook.”
Fireside Riot has brought their roughed-up power pop to various venues all over Calgary, playing at the Rusty Cage, The New Black Centre and our own Liberty Lounge.
Their new release “Triage” provides a good range of their different styles, mixtures of rapdance melodies with bouncy synths running along rapid guitar riffs. These guys have their hands in all kinds of musical jars, like rap-rock, R&B breakdowns and pop punk. Like the album, their MySpace features their unique recipe for success: melodic synths, heavy crunch guitar, pop vocals and, most importantly, swagger.