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17

FRIDAY

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The ’80s efforts of long-running ’70s arena acts are surely the least-imitated section of the classic-rock canon. Those slick Yes songs, the overcooked Pink Floyd opuses, Robert Plant’s meandering solo discs: Such grandiosity requires some musical vision, and, more important, a relatively sizable recording budget. The Fire Theft seems to have had both for its self-titled “debut,” which reunites Sunny Day Real Estate members Jeremy Enigk, Nate Mendel, and William Goldsmith. The wild card is nimble guitarist Billy Dolan, who was the heart of 5ive Style’s noodlerific sound. In the Fire Theft, he provides clever accents to Enigk’s dynamic melodies, which are almost always buffeted by synths, piano, or an orchestra. (Yeah, there’s a children’s choir at one point, too.) The sweeping song structures and AOR references are irony-free, but the band’s overarching seriousness isn’t a burden. If anything, the Fire Theft makes the classic rock that Queensrÿche never could. The band plays with La Guardia at 9:30 p.m. on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 667-7960. (Joe Warminsky)