It’s been almost a year since FIVES put out their EP Heart & Thunder, but during their performance at Metro Gallery last week, they played with the energy of a band fresh off a new release.
Maybe it’s thanks to a home stage advantage. The Metro Gallery, which hosted their CD release party in December, is a favorite venue of the Baltimore-based band. And even as they wind down from a tour that included New York and D.C., they never tire of returning to Charm City.
“Friends and family come and there’s a different energy,” says lead guitarist and vocalist Marc Cashin. “We’re just more relaxed here.”
The five-piece indie pop group also includes Matthew White on keyboard, Nate Lanzino on guitar, Billy Toti on drums and Max Rosenstein on bass.
On this night, they opened for pop/rock solo project Vesperteen, along with Philadelphia alternative rock band Civil Youth. Soon into their set, the mostly teenage audience was singing, clapping, and jumping along (thanks to Cashin’s encouragement). When the singer waded into the crowd, they welcomed him with open arms. If someone stumbled into the venue, they would have thought they were watching the headliner.
The band agrees that their enthusiasm can be owed to the town in which they’re based.
“We’re sort of scrappy,” Cashin says. “Baltimore to me is like a, ‘We gotta prove ourselves every day’ kind of city. We’re like NY, Philly and DC’s little brother.”
According to White, the city also helps FIVES stand out.
“Baltimore has a really strong metal and rock and punk scene,” he says. “There aren’t too many bands who do what we do here in Baltimore, so that’s kind of good for us.”
Their 80’s pop-meets-rock style certainly shone through during their show. Shimmering synth was punctuated by Lanzino’s killer guitar solos, in constant company with drumming by Toti that put the “thunder” in their record’s title.
And as the one-year anniversary of that record draws near, the band looks back fondly on the experience of creating it.
“I think that process was really interesting,” Lanzino says. “We got to come into our own a little bit. We were all coming from different places. So it didn’t just come out to be this thing we were all ready to do off the bat. It was kind of this friction.”
Part of that friction, Cashin says, comes from trying to combine each member’s distinct style, from synth pop to bluegrass to classical. While all of those genres didn’t make it onto this record, the band shared that a new EP (and maybe a music video) will hopefully be released by the end of the year.
In the meantime, you can catch FIVES at the Metro Gallery again on Sunday, July 16.