When Frank Iero announced earlier in the summer that he would be playing some Irish dates in August and September, I knew I had to go. I’ve been a fan since the My Chemical Romance days when I was a little emo fifteen year old and became obsessed all over again when he released ‘Stomachaches‘ last year: a passionate, raw and brazenly punk debut album which has been met with critical acclaim and rave reviews.
The night was kicked off by Irish three-piece Axis Of, who as usual played an absolute belter and ripped through their set with an energy and brawn which is incomparable to any other local band I’ve seen live. They played a good mix of both their albums, ‘Finding St Kilda‘ and ‘The Mid Brae Inn‘, and I loved everything about it, from the heavy bass and melodic, engaging lyrics to Ewan’s native accent when he sang. They completely gripped the crowd from the get-go and were the perfect warm-up for the night ahead. It’s easy to see why they’re so well loved here in Northern Ireland, and why they’ve been chosen to support so many well renowned international bands over the past few years.
After a short wait, the lights dimmed and the crowd went borderline hysterical as Iero entered Bar Sub and took to the stage, followed by his band. They immediately thundered into first track (and the first track on ‘Stomachaches‘) ‘All I Want Is Nothing‘, sending everyone into a complete frenzy – and they stayed in that frenzied state for the entire show. Highlights for me included the anthemic ‘Joyriding‘, which had the whole crowd singing along, and ‘She’s The Prettiest Girl At The Party (And She Can Prove it With A Solid Right Hook)‘, which was understated, vulnerable and harmonious and gave us a chance to really hear Iero’s vocals. The crowd clapped along and jumped in unison to ‘Neverenders‘ and ‘Weighted‘ as Frank sang with a raspy raucousness which didn’t quit throughout the entire set. During his performance, Iero said “It’s a pleasure to play to a crowd who love music as much as you do“, and his love for what he does really shows. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself, which made the crowd enjoy themselves even more. It’s clear to see that with ‘Stomachaches‘, he’s doing what he loves and is having fun with the freedom that comes with being solo(ish), which seemed to be the basis for what was a brilliant gig. He ended the night with a riotous performance of Stitches, and then promptly left the stage through the crowd, followed by a swarm of excitable fans.
Although this was Iero’s first performance here in Ireland, the crowd’s reaction to him and the elation he showed on stage proves that it certainly won’t be his last. I got a chance to meet him earlier that day and was lucky enough to interview him recently, and can say that as well as being an extremely talented performer and songwriter, he’s very sweet and down to earth and seems to have so much appreciation for his fans, staying behind late after his shows to sign autographs and doing a free acoustic set during the day. I spoke to a few people outside the venue and they all said they had their fingers crossed that he’d be back next year, so here’s hoping! Meghan Gilleece, GiggingNI.com.