August 8th brought a great line up to Philadelphia at the Theatre of Living Arts. The Snails, Gasoline Heart, and the resurrected Five Iron Frenzy. So far one of my favorite shows of 2014, wish this was a package tour for the entire nation to enjoy. The opening band was Philadelphia’s own, The Snails. My story with The Snails is I’ve seen them a couple of times when they opened for other bands. Sadly I only caught the ending to their set because I was always late. To be blunt, Philly traffic isn’t fun during the week. However, thinking I would miss them again, I was able to make this show on time to catch their full set. The Snails play reggae with soul and rocksteady in the mix. Taking the likes of Westbound Train and The Slackers, Todd’s vocals are raspy but sweet at the same time. The Snails music will make you either tap your toe or get up and dance, which is what the crowd at the show was feeling during their set. Finally catching The Snails full set, I am bummed it took me this long to finally see them play. I did make it up a week later when they stopped by my hometown for a show which I caught. However, if you plan to see The Snails, you will have to wait till next year. They are on a break while their drummer goes to India. That doesn’t mean you can’t pick up their music below!
The next band was Gasoline Heart. I don’t know what else to say about Gasoline Heart, I lost count as to how many times I’ve seen them live. Each time I do, I am impressed, but this performance had to be my favorite. Opening with a song I wasn’t familiar with, the buildup actually drew me in to stop taking photos. The rest of the set featured what Gasoline Heart does best, play great rock n’ roll music and Louis brings the comedy. For a “ska” show like this, I wasn’t sure how the crowd would take a band like Gasoline Heart, but the crowd seemed ecstatic to hear them. I hope this show put more life into Gasoline Heart and we start to see them tour more often, more people need to check out Gasoline Heart because this industry is missing the loud vocals and guitars.
Closing the night was Five Iron Frenzy. Growing up I was a huge Five Iron Frenzy fan. I still remember the day I bought Electric Boogaloo. It was a cold winter day and I walked to my favorite record shop in the snow. From there I listened to the album in my discman and thought how fitting this album was for a day like this. Even the artwork screamed dislocation, and that isn’t a bad thing either! That album would go on to be one of my top favorite albums. Vinyl would be nice, just saying, maybe I’ll write about what that album means to me one day. I saw Five Iron Frenzy once during my young years in Allentown at a festival. There weren’t a lot of songs from Electric Boogaloo played. This show made up for it. Playing songs like “Farsighted” and “You Can’t Handle This” were enough for me. In fact, I was pleased with their whole set list. Not once did it slow down. Of course they played their known songs like “Blue Comb ‘79” and “Oh Canada”, but Five Iron Frenzy has a new life now and they seem to want to play other songs. It was nice seeing “American Kryptonite” thrown in the mix. Compared to the last time I saw Five Iron Frenzy, they seemed to be full of more energy. Maybe that break they took was needed. Reese and Leanor did not stop moving and jumping throughout the show. Some of my photos may even show that. They aren’t perfect, but I think they show that Reese proved age is just a number and no matter how old you get, you can still feel like you’re young. At the end of their set, drummer Andrew came into the crowd and sang along to Queen’s “We Are The Champions” with everyone else singing along followed by hand shakes and autographs. Lastly, I don’t want to start internet rumors like years ago, but Brad is not dead. I am unsure why he wasn’t playing trumpet at this show, but I can assure you he isn’t dead! I know the future is in uncertain for Five Iron Frenzy right now, but let’s hope they keep touring because they are just a fun band to see live.