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A Burning Water steps up.

Fiery Sky

A Burning Water released debut album 'We Can See the Sky From Here' last Friday

By Sarah Quelland

FOUNDED IN 2000, regional band A Burning Water has steadily risen up the ranks and shared the stage with bands like Thrice, Finch, the Velvet Teen, the Matches, dredg and onelinedrawing. Last Friday (April 16), the Santa Cruz-based group celebrated the release of its first full-length album, We Can See the Sky From Here, at the Vets Hall in Santa Cruz with Time in Malta, Moving Units and the (International) Noise Conspiracy.

A compact but powerful force, the young quartet flows numerous influences together to create a vibrant, modern sound that bears some of the heaviness of Chevelle, the emotion of Hoobastank, the atmosphere of A.F.I. and the texture of the Police.

On Friday, the band didn't play long, but it made the most of its opening slot and used its time onstage effectively. A Burning Water's set included "Out in the Dark," a speedy metal-punk assault of rock fusion and sputtering screams, the visceral attack of "These Ruins," the belting anger and quiet fury of "Retract" and the softer, sweeter "A Passing Wish," which opens with thumping percussion, emotive guitar and deep bass before revealing a deep longing for freedom and betraying desperate loneliness through lines like "I'm holding my hands to the sky and wishing for the answers / These bars are black and I can't see through / And this empty chair is my new friend."

The band appeared confident and fully at ease onstage. Singer Brian has the presence and intensity of a true rock & roll frontman. Meanwhile, guitarist, keyboardist and backup vocalist Ash has a style all his own. Possessed by the music, his legs seem to move independently from the rest of his body as they shuffle, shudder and twitch, the result a strange but endearing dance.

Other tracks on the new record include "So Much You Hide," "Turquoise Tears" and "In Failed Attempts," which features a guest appearance by the Matches' guitarist Jon Devoto. The album offers three instrumentals: the brooding "Introduction," the eerie "Echoes in the Alcove" and the moody "The Instrumental." There's also a hidden alternate version of "A Passing Wish," which plays like a chant elevated by resonating vocals, keyboard and maracas and takes an almost medieval turn near the end.

To promote the new album, the band recently went on Santa Cruz X (FM-103.9), and the station is reportedly putting "Out in the Dark" in rotation. The group accepted an invitation to play a high school prom this Friday. Other shows coming up include next Thursday (April 29) at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco with Decahedron and Pigeon and next Friday (April 30) at the Bronco Pub in the Benson Center of Santa Clara University with Desa and the Reverse Noise. Visit www.aburningwater.com.

HOT TOPIC: Bay Area band Audrye Sessions releases its new EP, We Can All Just Sail Away, this Friday (April 23) at Blake's in Berkeley with the Cushion Theory and Cova. The band also has a show Saturday (April 24) at the Mitchell Park Center in Palo Alto. Visit www.audrye-sessions.com. ... An all-ages music series called Live @ the Warner begins this Friday (April 23) at the Warner Hutton House teen center in Saratoga with performances by My Former Self, Salchichez and Perkis. Bands start at 8pm and there's a $5 cover. On May 8, the Saratoga Youth Commission presents MusicFest 2004, an all-ages outdoor concert held at Wildwood Park. ... Heavy local rock band Krenshaw opens up the Loud Music Symposium 5 Sunday (April 25) at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Other performers at this celebration of loud music include the San Francisco Renegades drum and bugle corps, the Punk Rock Orchestra, Outgrabe and the Stewart Tartan Pipes. Tickets are $15, and doors open at 2pm. Visit www.renegades.org for more info.

PLAN AHEAD: Rodney Atkins, April 21 at the Saddle Rack in Fremont; Slender Means, April 22 at the Outhouse in Los Gatos; Hyena Suite, April 22 at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell; the Rum Diary, April 23 at the Outhouse; Day One Symphony, April 23 at the Caravan; Dusty 45s, April 23 at the Blank Club; Atomic Mint, April 24 at the Britannia Arms in Cupertino; Gary Allan, April 25 at the Saddle Rack; the Richards and Otto, April 26 at Waves Smokehouse; SECURITY, April 27 at the Blank Club.

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From the April 21-27, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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