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Five Iron Frenzy, the W's, Philmore, and Soul Junk
Mt. Oak United Methodist Church, Mitchellville, MD.
June 25th, 2000
Photos and review by Clarke Woodfin
Five Minute Walk Record's "Ham Jam " tour was designed to collect canned meat for the homeless. Sure enough, a lot of people showed up with Spam at Mt. Oak United Methodist Church in Mitchellville, Maryland. An hour before the doors opened, there were already two hundred people outside and the crowd continued to grow. Five Iron Frenzy has a history of selling out at Mt Oak. By the time the show started, there were about five hundred people packed into the gym.
First up was Soul Junk, a new FMW band out of San Diego. Their unique sound is probably best described as "groovy, rappy rock with a DeeJay." That's right, a DJ. Care for a little scratchin' with your rock music? They have it. Soul Junk and their dread locked lead singer put out some quality tunes. They ended with "Sweet to My Soul," a song about their relationship with Christ. The crowd reacted very positively to Soul Junk, far better than the normal opening band reaction you see at a lot of concerts.
Imagine the Squad 5-0 van having a head-on collision with the tour bus from Spinal Tap somewhere in the southwestern U.S. The end result would be Philmore. Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahma, these newcomers are a blend of 80's metal/rock and late 90's punk heavily influenced by the quintessential rock documentary spoof. Their lead singer wore a Spinal Tap band T-shirt. Their drummer wore a British flag t-shirt and looked strangely like Derek Smalls from the movie. Just when I thought my 80's flashbacks were over, they played a cover of Bon Jovi's mid 80's hit "Living on a Prayer." Another of their songs, "United," was about unity of believers in the body of Christ. I liked these guys. The crowd obviously did, too, considering the intensity of the moshing during their set.
All the way from the Pacific Northwest, the W's sound is a mix of swing and ska; a heavy, groovy bass sound coupled with an aggressive drummer who do a great job laying down a solid musical foundation for a super horn section, cool guitar riffs and vocals. They started with "The Devil is Bad" and continued through many other well known W's songs including "Frank was a Contractor" and "Hit 'em where it Hurts." The W's also played a new tune called "World on a String." From the very first song of the set, the crowd went into an all-out "skank" fest. Everyone was having a quality time. "They ended their set by inviting a few people in the crowd to come up and sing with them on their last song, a cover of John Denver's classic "Country Road."
Finally, Five Iron Frenzy took the stage wearing cowboy hats, which is no surprise considering they're from Denver, Colorado. Five Iron's sound is pure, unadulterated ska; lots of bass, heavy guitar riffs, and an exceptional horn section. They played a very solid hour and a half set, including many songs from their new CD All the Hype that Money Can Buy. My favorite was "Fahrenheit," a song about homophobia. Other tunes included "Giants" and "New Hope," a song about human darkness. Despite the heat in the building, the crowd went absolutely crazy during the FIF set. Around 10:30 p.m., they ended with some praise and worship songs, including "We Exalt Thee."
A special thanks is due to the good people at Mt. Oak United Methodist Church for putting on a show of this caliber. All the bands were really good, and there was no doubt that everyone was there to have a good time and worship the Lord. And bring in the Spam.