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Five Iron Frenzy is BACK

May 18, 2013

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 – 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.


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One Comment
  1. jered permalink

    Stumbled across this blog searching for LIFE ’98 info. When you saw them there did you see them perform outside on the sidewalk near the convention center? The city police (I think it was the police) had to come shut them down — apparently the outdoor venue was against city ordinance (they weren’t doing anything otherwise illegal). I was working at the conference that whole week and so I didn’t get a chance to see them anywhere else, though, if they actually performed somewhere else.

    Fortunately it wasn’t the only time I got to see them live. I saw them twice in Dublin, CA (east bay area) – both times with several other bands (The W’s, Rivulets and Violets, Dime Store Prophets, etc.). Fun memories!

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