It was one of those no-good, rainy Saturdays that just makes you want a cigarette, whether you smoke or not. Running late to the Baltimore Soundstage added to the gloom but ended up being a blessing more than a curse, as I got a good parking spot across the street. Returning from a self-imposed hiatus on covering shows, I could not have hoped for a more energetic show than ex-My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and his new bandmates, The Patience.
With Iero's lost-in-the-world lyrics, the music was a callback to days gone by of eyeliner and singing about jumping out of second-floor windows, with little modernization. In fact, if anything, Frank Iero and The Patience stripped away the built-up nature of emo/punk bands of the early '00s, instead leaving a core of raw aggression.
Their sound carries the roughness of that old garage band that used to play up the street — but their songs are crafted in a way to make the loose cadences an asset, driving an electric nostalgia into the heart of the songs.
This energy, which is something Iero brought to his previous projects, works beautifully to tell the story of someone who lived through the rise and fall of bands like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, but still hasn't figured out what they want to be when they grow up.
During the extremely distraught, "I'm A Mess," Iero's overdriven guitar blends with his scratchy vocals to create the perfect megaphone for his angst.
"Maybe I'm just tired or dead inside," he shouts to the crowd. "Something's wrong with me/ Maybe that's just how I am/ Maybe I'm a mess and I ain't gonna change."
Looking around the crowd, his sentiment seems to be felt by all the attendants, and in a sea of checkered vans, lip piercings and colored hair, I'm brought back to feeling the same way. There's a cozy sense of camaraderie that comes with being a fuck-up in a room full of fuck-ups.
Iero throws his head to the ground, flipping his black moppish hair out of his face. Covered by an olive bomber, his tattooed hands work their way along the fretboard with an air of carelessness. It's all for show though, and watching him perform proves that every move is as chaotic as it is calculated. He may be lost in the world, but with his music, he definitely knows where he's going.
That sense of purpose has not always been there for Iero and crew. Last October, while touring in Australia, their tour bus collided with a van. While Iero escaped physically unscathed, two band members had to undergo serious surgery. The band canceled the rest of their tour while they took time to recover.
In the months since, the band has recollected itself and is back with a new lease on life.
Coming back so quickly is impressive, because the touring process can be grueling for a group. Iero shared with the crowd that before Saturday night's show, he hadn't showered in five days, but was glad to be back in Baltimore, nonetheless.
"Whenever you tour, it's like being a modern-day pirate," he told the crowd, "You travel around — city to city, port to port — and you're away from your family for months. But there is always a group of familiar faces in the crowd. It's good to be back."
The familiar faces came from far and wide to see The Patience in Baltimore. I overheard a few audience members in the front row talking about how they had flown from Sweden and France to follow the band on tour.
Obviously, many bands have fans all across the world, but for a band with a smaller global recognition, the fact that these fans travel far and wide to see it speaks to the universal nature of feeling disillusioned.
Delivering his scratchy vocals with a smile, Iero pushes himself past his limits, making even his vocal breaks endearing. This give-it-all attitude is what Frank Iero and The Patience are all about, and there is no doubt they leave their all on the stage by the end of the night.
Originally published in The Diamondback