Frank Iero Did Not Disappoint

Explosive Performance at The U Street Music Hall

There seems to be a tacit understanding between Frank Iero fans and the artist himself: loyalty and intensity know no bounds. Show goers lined up as early as late afternoon to ensure a prime concert participation spot last Friday night at U Street Music Hall, a basement venue with a capacity of 500. The stage can be seen easily even from the very back, but this crowd, which included young high schoolers as well as late day punks…..some of whom had travelled from North Carolina or Georgia to imbibe yet another bit of Iero’s raw and unfiltered energy…..wanted no barrier between rabid devotion and exhilarating delivery.

Frank Iero and the Patience did not disappoint. From the moment the band exploded on the stage with the sustained emotive pitch of World Destroyer, They Wanted Darkness, and I’ll Let You Down, all from their 2016 release, Parachutes, the crowd was right there, riding their wave of authentic, unmitigated angst: “And I’ve been down this road once before/I’ve stared down the barrel of my heart./It broke completely when I, I shifted blame. But I guess fools we don’t change./ Don’t listen to me, cause I’ll let you down.” Indeed, even those fans who seemed a bit too young to have been privy to the trajectory of Iero’s My Chemical Romance success, were anything but let down, jumping, fist pumping, and moshing in epiphany and self realization.

At one point, Iero, demonstrating both deference and appreciation, had the enthusiastic crowd take a collective step back from the stage, and I couldn’t help being reminded of one of the central themes of one of Iero’s favorite latest album tracks, Oceans, which explores both the necessity and danger of being completed subsumed by one’s own passions. This idea was echoed by a fan, in her late twenties, Lexi, and her boyfriend, who had travelled from Georgia specifically for this show. “Frank Iero is so incredibly soulful, I almost feel like I am drowning in him when he sings; he never gives less than his entire self at each show.” In fact his presence announces itself before he even appears on stage, the crowd’s anticipation augmented by the smoke of the Nags Champa incense he routinely burns before he performs.

Characteristic of the seemingly cathartic experience Frank Iero and the Patience create in concert, rage and emotive wails punctuate Iero’s performance. The audience readily embraces his emotional free fall, screaming right along with him through such raw expressions as Joyriding, from his first solo album, Stomachaches, released in 2014. Similarly, Stage 4: Fear of Trying, gives a visceral voice to his own inner vulnerability: If I face my fear, would my skies be all but clear?/ Probably not, then again/ I’ve always held my doubts so close to my heart; Iero’s devoted fans identify fully with that voice and through its resonant urging hope to find their own spot of safety on which to land.

Frank Iero gives as much as he gets, and the experience of being right there with him is one that all live music fans should seek out for themselves.

 

Leanne Tankel studied poetry writing as a UC Berkeley undergraduate and was fortunate enough to work with the inimitable Thom Gunn. She earned her M.A. in Creative Writing at Boston University, where she held a teaching fellowship. Currently, she is writing prose, and her manuscript, Broken Hallelujah: notes from a marriage, was a 2011 short-list finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Awards program. Leanne lives with her husband, three sons, and two pugs in Northern Virginia


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