Underground Spotlight: Letters from the Fire
Written by Shannon Reardon – Photos by Shannon Reardon
On a stormy Thursday night, October 20, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it wasn’t the rain that brought the house down, but rather the music that came from the Hard Rock Café.
The show consisted of local bands NeverWake, SECRET EYES, and Divine Betrayal, and was headlined by hard rock band, Letters from the Fire, who’s singer, Alexa Kabazie, is a local.
“So we’re coming off a hill, we’re ten minutes away from my house, it’s 4 a.m., and well we got pulled over,” said Kabazie. “Me, Brian, and Dre, our merch girl, didn’t know that we had gotten pulled over. [We get to the] gas station and literally all three of us run out of the van inside of this gas station because we have to pee so bad, and we come back out and we’re like, did we get pulled over? And the officer [tells us], ‘Yeah, it’s pretty sketchy when three people run out of a van when you pull them over.’”
The band says that officer was understanding of the situation, and that they find the whole ordeal hilarious.
“We had no idea, we thought we were just stopping to pee. We had no idea that we were getting pulled over,” Kabazie laughed. “Since nothing went wrong it was super funny. Had something gone wrong, I’m sure we would not be laughing about it.”
The first band to take the stage that night was hard rock band, NeverWake.
NeverWake performed songs, “Beginning of the Night,” “Days Gone By,” “Soul You’ll Never Save,” “Feed The Fire,” “Pulse,” Defiance,” “Winds of Change,” and a cover of the Michael Jackson song, “Thriller.”
Due to the strict time limits set for each set, NeverWake were unable to perform the last song in their set, “Incinerate.”
After NeverWake finished their set, the next band to take the stage was SECRET EYES, who performed their songs, “Search / Destroy,” “Oh Dear,” “Under the Stars,” “Ships,” and “Kiss 4 Kill.”
For the same reasons as NeverWake, SECRET EYES were unable to perform their song “Miss C.”
Next to take the stage were alternative rock group Divine Betrayal, who performed songs, “The Lie,” “Down Below,” “Tomb,” “Something More,” and “The Fall,” off of an album that the band is still recording.
The last band of the night was Letters from the Fire, who performed songs only off of their latest album, “Worth The Pain.”
The band opened their set with “Perfect Life,” the opening song for their album as well, and continued with “Mother Misery,” “Live a Lie,” “Bruised,” “Last December,” “Holy Ghost,” “At War,” “Control,” “One Foot in the Grave,” and ended their set with “Give In To Me.”
“’Live a Lie’ and ‘Control’ are some of my favorites,” said Kabazie. “When we play them live we get a pretty good reaction from them, so it’s always fun when the audience is into it. And ‘Control’ is one of my favorite songs to sing and perform.”
Of the songs that the band performed, there was an additional song listed on their set list that they did not play, “Eleanor Rigsby,” a cover of a Beatles’ song that was recorded under the last singer.
“We’re just going to play the new stuff,” says guitarist and the only remaining original member, Mike Keller, on the Letters From The Fire Facebook page. “Shed the past, let this stand on its own. Expect the album’s title track to be a highlight, [because] with everything we’ve gone through, we kept fighting. There were times we were so close to giving up and moving on. At the end of the day, it’s been worth the struggle and the fight to do this.”
The struggles that Keller is referring to come from the uphill battle that band’s face to become well known.
“Everything we do is a challenge,” said Kabazie about her own struggles. “It’s always an uphill battle. One of the major challenges I had to overcome was not even knowing where to start to get into the music industry. I had no clue, I didn’t know anyone, and I had no connections.”
Throughout the band’s existence, Keller has seen multiple lineup changes, a series of struggles that are widely different than one individual’s struggle within the music industry.
“When you lose a singer you basically start over from scratch, and we were fortunate that this last transition was quick,” said Keller. “We were able to keep that momentum, get back in everybody’s face, and be on the road again. But I mean, losing singers has always been hard, tours where we had no money, it’s just the general stuff that every band goes through. It’s tough, it’s hard, and it’s not for everybody, but we love it. That’s why we’re here.”
Fans of Letters From The Fire can catch the band on tour with Failure Anthem, Through Fire, and Cover Your Tracks. In December the band will film a music video, and then they plan to continue touring throughout 2017, starting with Shiprocked.