firekid Dazzles New Yorkers With His Metropolitan Mountain Music

firekid live by Liz Rowley

New York – Thursday in the city was a blustery night, but firekid brought the heat with a packed show at Irving Plaza. A voluminous crowd of rain-drenched New Yorkers turned out in droves to catch firekid’s set, filling the venue to capacity ahead of closing act Moon Taxi.

Dillon Hodges is the face of firekid, a bluegrass-turned alt-pop-rock band, who describes his work as “metropolitan mountain music.” Originating from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Hodges’ sound is southern fusion at its finest. Firekid’s work boasts the heart of The Lumineers and the soul of The Tallest Man On Earth, and offers up complexly moving cuts grounded by resolute lyricism.

For Hodges, the writing’s on the wall. At 17, he won the National Guitar Championship before earning dual degrees in entertainment management and accounting. Now 24, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama native-turned Nashville transplant has already worked with big time producer Sam Hollander (The Fray, Train, Gym Class Heroes).

“I’m inspired by all of the Nashville talent there is, whether it’s the bluegrass community, rock community, everything that’s out there,” Hodges told Best New Bands’ Amaryllis Lyle in May. Recently signed to Atlantic Records, firekid is well positioned to skyrocket to the mainstream, and listeners would be wise to get in on the ground floor.

Hodges took the stage a hair past 8pm, joined by percussionist Josh Kleppin. The two are often joined by multi-instrumentalist Luke Richardson on firekid’s recorded tracks. The band cycled through the breadth of its limited canon to date, which includes “Lay By Me,” “Movin’ On,” “Die For Alabama” and “Boomerang.” But firekid’s set was not limited to its recorded catalog, and the band peppered in an overflowing handful of unreleased tracks, including “Bend In The River,” a showstopper of a heart-thumping ballad.

Midway through the set, Hodges introduced a Gameboy onto the scene. Like Chekhov’s gun, a loaded Gameboy must never be introduced onto the stage unless it is to go off. And Hodges has made a habit of sampling Gameboy sound bytes, particularly for covers. As such, Thursday’s crowd was not disappointed, and enjoyed a Gameboy-infused cover of “The World Is Mine.”

But perhaps the crowing delivery was firekid’s closing track, “Magic Mountain.” This song has it all – multi-part harmonies, guts, glory, and raw lyrical determination. “Magic Mountain” is a sonically ethereal, emotional shakeout that doesn’t lament too much. The perfect capstone to a ground-shaking set, the delivery tied a pretty bow on a yet breathtaking hour-long performance.

Firekid’s debut LP is slated to surface September 25th, and the record holds utmost promise. To adore firekid’s work, listeners must have a love for (or at the very least a tolerance of) southern-tinted tunes. There’s more than a hint of twang embedded in firekid’s musings, but overlaid with heavy percussion, the band’s tracks come through brilliantly nuanced. A perfect patchwork of genres, firekid is modern, fresh, and not to be missed.

While we wait for the record to drop, urban captives far and wide should add “Magic Mountain” to fall playlists, and let firekid soundtrack every imagined nature-steeped escape.

firekid is going out on tour. Go HERE to checkout the scheduled tour dates.
Liz Rowley

Liz Rowley

Born in Mexico and raised in Toronto, Jerusalem and Chicago by a pair of journalists, Liz comes to with an inherited love of writing. After discovering a niche for herself in music journalism and radio while at Bates College in Maine, she always keeps a running playlist of new music to soundtrack her place in the world. Liz is passionate about helping dedicated, talented musicians gain the exposure they deserve. A recent transplant to Brooklyn from Hawaii, she is plagued by an incurable case of wanderlust and cursed with an affinity for old maps and old things like typewriters and vintage books. She adores photography and running and is very good with plants. Having come of age in Chicago, Wilco speaks to her soul. If she could be anything, she would be a cat in a Murakami novel.
Liz Rowley

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