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Reflecting on the rise and fall of Five Iron Frenzy

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By the time Five Iron Frenzy played its final show on November 22, 2003, at the Fillmore, it was one of Denver's most successful acts. From the time the group formed in 1995 until the time it folded nearly a decade later, it built a rabid fan base the old-fashioned way, winning over one fan at a time by touring the world and putting out nine albums, which, collectively, sold over a million copies.

For its farewell show, Five Iron Frenzy sold out the Fillmore Auditorium. While today the prospect of a local band selling out the Fillmore might not seem all that lofty, what with the likes of 3OH!3 and Yonder Mountain String Band around, six years ago it was a very big deal. Remember, this was back before social media really took hold and sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter turned the music industry on its head and gave everyone equal footing.

We recently had the chance to watch The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy, the band's exhaustive DVD (and we do mean exhaustive: The running time of the doc, which chronicles the outfit's entire trajectory month to month from beginning to end, is somewhere around three hours), in its entirety, as well as the accompanying live footage. Watching the band rise from its humble beginnings of playing churches to headlining festivals in front of thousands and thousands of people is beyond impressive.

If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, we highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy. It's an enlightening snapshot of the band -- from seeing how the bandmembers all grew as people from awkward, hilarious goofballs into thoughtful adults who helped each other through difficult times to observing how the journey affected them individually, strengthening their convictions or causing them to lose their faith entirely. The DVD also offers another stunning testament to just how far you can make it with good songs and boundless determination.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.