Five Iron Frenzy has been one of my favorite bands for the last 15 years. They blew up in the Christian music scene in the mid 90s, also in the midst of a mainstream ska revival, and have gained a fiercely loyal underground following. They are, in fact, a punk/ska band.
I wasn’t really a fan of their first CD – Upbeats & Beatdowns. The singing was just difficult to understand; the Supertones were more my cup of tea at the time; however, there was a certain wildness and obvious fun the band was having while making the album and that comes through in all their songs and I couldn’t help but feel a fundamental draw to them because of that.
A couple years later they were releasing their next CD – Our Newest Album Ever! Before the album came out, I got to see them for the first time as they performed at the LIFE ’98 youth conference in Salt Lake City – and that’s when I was hooked. Reese, the singer, came running onto the stage decked out in a suit of armor composed of stuffed animals and posterboard flaming gauntlets. If memory serves, they opened with Suckerpunch from their newest album (ever! (replete with coolest album art ever)). I don’t remember any of the other bands that played on the stage that afternoon, but FIF was my favorite.
I went on to see them at least four more times, including their last show on the east coast during the farewell tour and then last night in during their triumphant returning to life tour as they stopped in Columbus, OH and rocked out the Bluestone. Eight years after seeing them perform, they’ve still got it.
The opening acts were pretty good – a local band, The Skashank Redemption and a locally-originated band, House of Heroes – but I could hardly wait for my high school and college heroes to take the stage again. This was the first show I’ve been to (where I knew the band) since…shucks, since I last saw Five Iron on their farewell tour! Through a set of unplanned circumstances I wound up going by myself, but fans of FIF are never alone at one of their shows.
A few minutes after HOH left the stage, Micah, Andrew and Sonnie trickled, one-by-one, from the back to start the soundchecks. Then more and more of the band emerged and the excitement of the crowd grew more and more palpable. ”Jeff the Girl” started working the crowd as she warmed up on her sax. And then it was time…
Reese appeared and the band launched into Blue Comb ’78 – I don’t know why, but it was the perfect opener. We all sang/screamed along with all the words – it was electric – not Joy Electric – not even The Electrics – it was freakin’ Five Iron Frenzy back from the dead and it was fantastic.
I…don’t remember what came next, but most of their set came from Our Newest Album Ever! with at least a couple songs from all the albums in their catalog.
At one point, Reese set it up as to where we were expecting them to jump into “It’s Not Unusual” - instead they rocked the ever-lovin’ stink out of “The Power of Love”, the brass subbing in more than sufficiently for the synths.
They also performed some songs off their forthcoming album – the already available single It Was aDark and Stormy Night, and a couple others – The Zen and Art of Xenophobia and So Far - both really solid pieces of music.
The only complaint I have about the show last night is for the audience. For all the youth and young people who crowded up toward the front, from my vantage point, it was a minority of people who jumped during most of the show. Granted, a lot of the fanbase is now in its late-20s/early-30s, but c’mon - I was out-jumping the teens and college students around me!
As time has gone on Five Iron seems to only be getting stronger and better. One could ascribe the cliche to them of old wine and all that, but I prefer something a bit more rambunctious.
Five Iron Frenzy is like a Saiyan from the Dragonball Z manga and TV series. As time goes on and they get beat up – and even die – they just come back stronger and faster, indomitable and indefatigable in the face of evil. They closed with Every New Day which near about brought down the house and rounded out an evening of incredible fun by bringing it all to their spiritual center. Five Iron sings for fun, for the crowd, and for the love – not the love they receive but the love they know in Jesus and the love they feel for their fans. And they do it all without preaching a single word.
God bless Five Iron Frenzy and thank God for ‘em.
Back in February I posted a series on dating for the occasion of Valentine’s Day. Today, an article from Relevant Magazine adds a component I think I hinted at, but was unable to communicate as eloquently as is done now.
The article is written by Sharon Miller, a blogger, writer and mother. I was acquainted with her several years ago and she’s a good woman. She keeps up her own blog, SheWorships, and is a regular contributor for her.meneutics at Christianity Today. She’s not of the Joel Osteen flavored spirituality, nor the legalistic sourness that’s (always) prevalent in Christian society – after her own time of struggling with legalism she’s struck a healthy balance between grace and discipline.
Anyway, check out her stuff, in particular, this article.
This makes no sense, yet it makes perfect sense: Justin Bieber’s song, “U Smile” slowed down by 800% is amazing. It’s 35 min and 28 seconds long, I’m about halfway through it, and it’s just fantastic.
Via The AVClub
I just returned from Laos a week ago and it’s always weird readjusting to “normal” life after a significant excursion. This week was made even more weird by the tragic events in Boston; I mean on a Monday of all days…
I just came across this video by Amy Poehler, one of, if not my favorite actresses. In the video she addresses the Boston bombing in a poignant, gracious way which sums up how I feel about the coverage of the event. I was sickened by what I saw on the Greta Van Susteren show Monday night when I was at the gym: they kept replaying the footage of the blast over and over on endless loop, as if it was a video created for the Vine video service. News shows more closely resemble exploitation shows like “World’s Worst Police Chases.” It’s totally devoid of taste, class and dignity. It’s all about the shock factor and getting a thrill out of someone else’s misfortune.
Anyway, here’s the video:
Grace is something I’ve always struggled with; receiving it, giving it, believing it.
God loves me just the way I am? Seriously? I’m okay as I am? God wants me??
It’s an ongoing thing and I need frequent reminders, but the first time I really took a step in this direction was during my time in therapy. My therapist had me read The Ragamuffin Gospel. It’s close to six years now, since I read it, but it turned my life upside-down.
For the first time I felt like I didn’t have to try so hard at being a Christian, at being a human. I remember being struck at Brennan Manning’s candor and not just honesty, but transparency. The way he discusses his fight with alcoholism, with his own faith, and the terms of absolute tenderness he uses when speaking of God’s affections for us.
From there I went on to read a few more of his works, most notably Ruthless Trust. For me it was kind of like a sequel to Ragamuffin. Again, it’s been the better part of six years since I read it so I have a hard time recalling specifics, but I remember the profound impact it had on my spirituality. I would recommend Manning’s books to anyone with a pulse, but there was really only one of my friends who was at all receptive.
In a culture where people of results and achievements are championed, Manning provides a still, small voice of relief and most importantly, truth. That voice is solely preserved in his writings for on Friday, April 12, 2013, he passed from this world to that of Our Heavenly Father.
Dear Lord, thank You for allowing Brennan his time on earth and for the love You worked through him. Thank You for having him pass on the stories of his experiences and his studies and meditations; thank You for his heart for the lost and hurting. Thank You, God.
Brennan’s obituary is posted on his website: http://brennanmanning.com/
Sometimes I get upset at the apparent disingenuousness I see around me.
Sometimes I get upset at the shiny, happy Christians I see around me and what I perceive to be whitewashed tombs.
Then something happens that shakes me up.
I realize I’ve been doing some painting of my own.
I realize I’ve been ashamed of things that require no shame.
I realize I’ve been brazen with things that benefit from discretion.
I realize I’ve a tendency to survive rather than live, to play it safe rather than to play at all.
I highly recommend to you the documentary Whores’ Glory. It gives names and histories to whores, it humanizes them, the last thing you want to do before considering hiring any. It’s the first thing you want to do if you want to know what it’s like to feel compassion for undesirables, those turned away from church functions, for those who commonly have noses turned up at them and words whispered against them and around them and behind their backs.
And it does not give a flattering portrayal of men.
It’s available on Netflix.