Nick and The Fireflies light up local music scene

The student band combines pop, funk and blues.

There's a new indie rock band in Columbia trying to make a footprint on the local scene. They go by Nick and The Fireflies and their brand of infectious piano-led pop rock is sure to catch a little notice.

A three-piece outfit, the Fireflies consist of pianist and singer Nick Spina, bassist Dave Muscato and drummer Justin Fremont — a classic piano-rock setup.

The band was formed last summer and is still working to pick up some new-band momentum. So far, the band has been playing mainly at local bars and campus locations, such as the Tin Can Tavern, The Blue Note and the Student Recreation Complex for a Relay for Life event. Despite small venue success, the Fireflies know it takes more than a couple of bar shows to establish a long-term following.

"We'd really like to play some shows outside Columbia because you can only play the same venues so many times before people stop caring," Spina said.

Spina is classically trained on the piano and his unique chord progressions become evident in the pop format. Muscato and Freemont come from funk, blues and classic rock backgrounds. The variety spins their sound into a clever pop-dominant fusion that can sell itself out to a wide spectrum of musical demographics.

Still, Spina almost feels awkward being a part of a serious pop rock band.

"It's different for (Dave and Justin) because they grew up on rock, playing in bands," Spina said. "I grew up playing recitals in churches."

Spina isn't the only one playing out of his element, though. For the Fireflies' live set, Fremont provides a lot of energy from behind the drum set. However, Fremont is a guitarist by trade and is not used to playing drums for a band.

"It's been interesting getting him behind the drums," Spina said. "He's a pretty energetic guy. He feels sort of held back."

Freemont echoes this sentiment.

"I'll stand up if there's a part with a lot of energy or walk around the kit and hit the cymbals," Fremont said. "I have fun and do as much as I can to put on a good show."

Fremont firmly believes in the performance aspect of music, drawing significant influence from bands known as much for their energy as their musicianship.

"You can play crappy music, but if you're out there throwing guitars around and stuff, the audience feeds off it," said Fremont. "I guess I kind of feel that when I play."

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