Slam Dunk Festival Diaries: Frank Iero and the Patience

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It has been a wild, somewhat surreal past nine months for Frank Iero and the Patience. After the horrific bus crash in Sydney last winter which almost killed three of its members, the band -made up of ex-My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero, and his bandmates guitarist Evan Nestor, drummer Matt Olsson, and bassist Alex Grippo- took a break from touring to recover both mentally and physically, and since their return have barely looked back, touring the UK with Taking Back Sunday in February, followed by a European tour of their own, before heading back to the UK for Slam Dunk Festival this spring. Their addition to the line-up sent waves of excitement rippling through both the My Chemical Romance and Frank Iero fans online, and the anticipation for their set was evident from the huge crowd of people who had clustered around the small stage by the time I arrived there!
 
Opening with the first track from the Patience’s latest album ‘Parachutes’, the raucous, clamouring ‘World Destroyer’, with its undulating bassline that gives way to crunching, growling guitars and Frank’s impassioned screams that never fail to send a fire coursing through your veins, nobody was in any doubt that this was set to be an incredible three quarters of an hour! The small stage was the perfect setting, maintaining the sense of intimacy that set my head spinning with the proximity to the whirlwind of energy radiating from the stage! The short but powerful ‘Joyriding’, with its gut punching gunfire effects woven low into the mix sent electrical volts pulsing through the crowd, while the altogether more ebbing and flowing melody of ‘Remedy’, peppered with Frank’s exhilarating screams, caused hands to wave in the air in perfect unison, as fans sang along with tear filled eyes and breaking, hoarse voices. That atmosphere was positively spellbinding throughout, the band’s set flew by, and before we knew it the emotion behind the anthemic closer ‘Oceans’ was palpable in the air, so much so that it reduced me to tears, as I knew it would! By the time Frank and the band, with a final wave and smile at the crowd, left the stage, I was shaking, my legs feeling like jelly as I collapsed next to the overflowing plastic cup bins, letting the tears fall as I let the waves of emotion roll over me, scarcely able to process what I had just experienced. I can’t even put my finger on exactly why I was so emotional- sometimes though that is the power of live music, it completely transcends rationality, sense and words- which is pretty inconvenient for me in this profession, but an experience I wouldn’t change for anything.
 
One of my fondest memories of the band’s set however, was the surprising yet refreshing demographic of people getting stuck into the mosh with wild abandon. At almost every other band I had seen that day, the vast majority of the mosh pit was male, with the odd brave woman who jumped in with the rest. Yet during FIATP’s set, it was the complete reverse, with almost the entirety of the mosh pit being made up of young women and girls, some no older than twelve or thirteen, all jumping around and screaming along without a care in the world. And that to me shows the true importance of bands like this, whose fanbase ranges from young girls all the way up to veteran rockers- their appeal is so broad that everybody feels at home watching them play, and nobody feels as though they don’t belong or can’t get stuck in with the best of them- everyone is welcomed, everyone is accepted and everyone is free to party as hard and as wild as their hearts desire! This may be a new era for Frank Iero, but one thing that has remained from the days of My Chemical Romance is the sense of community, and more than that- of family- that continues to surround him and everything he does. And while he and all of us are glad that this new era is dawning so brightly for him and the Patience, that is one thing that I am sure he is as glad as we are to have stay with us no matter what.

Frank Iero and the Patience’s latest album ‘Parachutes’ is out now via Vagrant Records. The band are set embark on a huge US tour this summer, dates can be found on the band’s website: http://frank-iero.com/
 
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