Coconuts, Friday, Sept. 10

Those who spent their Friday night at Coconuts were treated to something special. While celebrating the birthday of KLPX's graveyard man, Mike Gaube, Phoenix-based F5 dominated the evening during their 50-minute set.

On its way to becoming the next big band in hard rock, F5 is the new project featuring former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson. The band includes former Sick Speed vocalist Dale Steele, drummer David Small and guitarists Steve Conley and John Davis.

F5 showed the Tucson crowd why they are a force to be reckoned with. Steele's voice is very reminiscent of Anthrax's John Bush. An intense stage presence, Steele dug deep into his soul while pouring out lyrics, especially during "Dying on Vine." Small hammers his drum kit--similar to Living Colour's William Calhoun and Death Angel's Andy Galeon--while Davis is a true, hard-rock rhythm guitarist; his riffs are down-tuned, crunchy, thick and heavy. Conley squeezed out solos with ease, and demonstrated great use of his wah pedal. And bringing his experience and knowledge into the band, Ellefson's bass tones have never sounded better.

Although the crowd did not know the band's material, they sure didn't act like it. Instead of blankly staring at the band with their mouths open, the crowd really got into F5's performance. Guys were headbanging and pounding their fists in the air, while the women were dancing as if there were poles in front of them.

"You didn't think we were fucking around, did ya?" Steele asked the pumped-up crowd.

"Dissidence" was a crushing, down-tuned hard rock song that had the band and crowd headbanging in-sync. "Look You Eyes" started off with a mesmerizing bass solo from Ellefson that had an arena-rock touch to it, then was lifted with swaggering guitar riffs. F5 also covered "What I Am," originally done by Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, with Steele sinisterly belting out the chorus, "What I am is what I am."

Before ending their set with "Fall to Me," Steele offered some advice to the crowd. "If we all work together, we can move mountains."

That being said, rock fans have been warned: Know the name F5, because they will make bigger noise in the near future.

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