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On Fire

By Chaitra Chandrasekhar and Rachana Oza

Hot on the heels of their platinum debut album, Sunburn, rock band Fuel (Brett Scallions, lead vocals, guitar; Carl Bell, guitar, vocals, primary songwriter; Jeff Abercrombie, bass; Kevin Miller, drums) is climbing the charts in the alternative rock scene with their new release, Something Like Human, which arrived in stores on September 19. The first single from the album, “Hemorrhage (In My Hands),” is blowing up airwaves nationwide.

The band came from Western Tennessee, where Bell and bassist Abercrombie played in several bands together. The group formed under the name Fuel with the arrival of Scallions, another veteran of the Tennessee scene. After selling 5,000 copies of their eight-song demo at their shows, the group moved to Harrisburg, a strategic location. Their big break came with their first major-release album Sunburn, and Something Like Human appears to be following up its predecessor’s success.

Fuel celebrated the arrival of this sophomore album with an online webcast, a record-release event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Fan Appreciation Shows across the country. On the 21st of September, they played for a psyched audience at Axis in Boston. They performed most of the tracks from their new album and coupled it with racing hits from their prior albums. Their energy-packed performance and caustic intensity filled the atmosphere, setting the mood for the night.

Scallions, clad in oversized cargo pants and a red shirt that complemented his toned body, looked good enough to charm any woman alive. Bell looked collected and surprisingly non-rockstarish as he strummed away on his guitar. Abercrombie, on the other hand, was loving the attention and unsuccessfully trying to enamor the crowd. Shirtless and muscular, Miller was throwing all of his energy into an impressive display of percussion mastery. The intensity of Fuel’s music could be felt by everyone who came out to support the band.

The setlist included a little something for everyone, from drum-heavy, head-banging numbers to slow songs with Scallions crooning into the mic. The band was obviously having a great time -- Scallions has made it well-known that he loves being in the spotlight -- and their infectious enthusiasm quickly rubbed off on the crowd, who were jumping, head-banging, and dancing throughout the entire ninety-minute set. Fuel is definitely a band that likes to get on stage and have a good time; during a bridge toward the end of the set, Scallions stepped back from the mic and did a little dance step that had the female half of the audience swooning.

As the group played their hit singles off Sunburn, Scallions encouraged the fans to sing along with him by pointing the mic toward the audience, who enthusiastically belted out the lyrics to “Bittersweet” and “Shimmer.” Of couse, by the end of the set, the audience was screaming for more. Fuel opened the encore with “Hemorrhage (In My Hands),” which had the entire crowd entranced by the consuming passion of the four musicians and the raw power of the music. It was an amazing close to an amazing show, and Fuel definitely lived up to their reputation for performing one of the most explosive rock acts in recent memory.