Central Florida Fairgrounds • 7/30/99
The Fireballs were one of the early acts of the day that proved to be one of the most entertaining. Like most Warped Tours, I find the lesser-known bands usually shine over the “headliners” — Atomic Fireballs were no exception. The 8-piece swing/jump/jive band out of Detroit had every intention of adding fuel to an already scorching day.
They featured smokin’ renditions off their debut album Torch This Place . All the members of the band were involved in the set and got to showcase their talents — from trombone to trumpet and keyboards to drums, the Fireballs had the crowd swinging and kicking up dust.
Singing the praises of scotch on “Drink, Drank, Drunk,” and how smooth it goes down with “Caviar & Chitlins,” the Fireballs left no doubt they were the real deal. John Bunkley’s voice was as gruff as Louie Armstrong after a carton of ‘cigs, but strong and forceful as Dickie Barrett’s. He had a perfect blend for the high-energy sounds the band emanated. Atomic Fireballs continued to hit it hard with the jivin’ “Man with the Hex” and loungy “Pango Pango.”
After the show, I caught up with lead vocalist Bunkley, who expressed his desire to have played a few “slower” songs, but the crowd was too fired up. He also said they will be catching up with a couple festival-style shows in the near future and work the club circuit on the west coast.
The Atomic Fireballs put on a great thirty minute display, giving a glimpse of what you can do with talent, nostalgia, and a passion for scotch.