This was a show for the misfits. And no, I didn’t come to that conclusion by counting the number of Misfits t-shirts I saw (roughly 7). Without even noting the crowd’s uniform dark eyeliner and safety-pinned denim jackets, I could tell that this was going to be a show that would impact many a young teenager like myself back when I was as vulnerable and optimistic. After all, frnkiero andthe cellabration were headlining, and Frank Iero’s name is forever engrained in the early 2000’s pop-punk legacy.
The second the lights dimmed a barrage of fingerless skeleton gloves shot up into the air, phones in hand, already recording in anticipation. Screams filled the Glass House in Pomona and echoed back over the crowd. A classical piece that had a striking resemblance to Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” rang through the loudspeakers, which made as an oddly triumphant backing track to the band’s grand entrance. They slipped on their instruments – two guitars, one bass, and one thumping drum kit – and launched into song without hesitation.
The lights flashed red, blue, and yellow in staccato spurts, blindingly sharp and rapid like the movement on the stage. The band’s special sort of sound didn’t shake the ground with an excess of bass, but made your head buzz from the relentless feedback and furious electric guitar strumming. Frank Iero was thrashing left and right, throwing his anti-gravity “EVOL” guitar over his shoulders with ease, all while screaming, belting incredibly high notes, and breathlessly whispering into the mic. The lungs belonging to the other three talented musicians also packed a punch as their voices strained to mind-boggling heights. I was most impressed that even while the drums were pounding heavily and with great precision, frnkiero andthe cellabration’s drummer managed to shout harmonic lines that I couldn’t even manage standing still.
As the night progressed, my eardrums began to erode from the sheer volume. It was a blessing rather than a curse, as the drums began to meld with the guitar and bass melodiously. Their sound is so full and heartwarmingly live, and the energy they exude is contagious. People were laughing and fanning their eyes, and Iero would slam his foot on the floor and scream, withholding the relief of a resolve, and the crowd would light up with a flood of joy and passion. For the majority of us, this show is the definition of pleasant memories come back to life.
After playing many a great song off of their most recent album Stomachaches (not to mention a fun cover of “You are my Sunshine,” met with flickering yellow lights and the crowd’s warm adoration), frnkiero andthe cellabration closed the show with “Stitches”, a fan favorite.
Iero paused for a moment of inflection with us in his finale, acknowledging that the night we had spent with one another would “even though it may be miniscule, shape the [people] that [we] will become.” And this was certainly true. I remember the feeling of community and shared passion that I discovered at my first concert. As I looked around, many of the fans gazing starry-eyed at frnkiero andthe cellabration were very young, most likely searching for that same connection. Their inspiring and hopeful lyrics combined with an intense energy only emphasize why frnkiero andthe cellabration will be the spark to ignite a change.
frnkiero andthe cellabration are currently on tour!
Words by Elise Peregrin
Photography by Andrew London