Gen-Con wouldn’t be Gen-Con without everyone’s favorite “Star Trek” tribute band, Five Year Mission. The Indianapolis-based quintet returned to “the best four days in gaming” to nerd out and rock out with at least 50 fans August 16 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.
For those who don’t know, Five Year Mission is a band, well, on a mission to write a song for all 80 episodes of the original “Star Trek” television series over the course of five albums. So far they have completed three albums plus a “Trouble with Tribbles” EP. They aren’t nerdy hacks, though—they’re talented musicians and songwriters. Their influences are diverse, and so is their sound, which ranges from easy listening (a la the Beatles) to ’90-style rock/rap (like the Beastie Boys). Some lyrics are profound and some are laugh-out-loud funny.
The show began with a performance by the Ford Theatre Reunion, a baroque rock band from Kentucky. The group had the staple instruments of a rock band, plus several unusual ones, such as an electric clarinet and accordion. Vocalist Alex Johns entertained the crowd with her Harley Quinn-like antics, switching between frightened schoolgirl and carnival freak. They started their set by performing the theme to “Reading Rainbow” just to irritate Five Year Mission, who later started their set by doing the same and jokingly calling FTR “dirty thieves.” Overall, FTR was more entertaining, respectful, and pleasant than the opening act featured at Five Year Mission’s Gen-Con show last year.
There was no projector displaying clips from the episodes for each of Five Year Mission’s songs this year, which was unfortunate since this has been a staple of theirs, at least at Gen-Con. Their mascot, the Gorn, was sadly absent, too. To compound the difficulty, band member Chris Spurgin was recovering from a “transporter accident”: he passed out at their Gen-Con pre-show Wednesday night and was carted away in an ambulance. Spurgin was a trooper (or rather, a Starfleet officer) and played through the hour-long set, though he didn’t rock out as much as he usually does.
The songs they performed, including “The Naked Time,” “Squire of Gothos,” and “The Doomsday Machine,” spanned all their albums. Fan favorite “Arena,” a punk rock song with a crown-rousing chorus about Captain Kirk battling the Gorn, was strangely absent. It seems to have been supplanted by “I, Mudd,” from their latest album, which also has a chorus crowds can enjoy.
As the show drew to a close, the band asked for volunteers—“preferably a couple,” they added—to act out a scene before the next song. Five Year Mission is known for humorous antics at shows involving their fans. They selected Corey Boschet and Kaylie DiGiacomo, a young couple sitting in the third or fourth row. Drummer Andy Fark joked that the couple was a plant, which was a clue that something was up. They handed Boschet a piece of paper, which presumably detailed the scene he and his girlfriend were to improv. Then, surrounded by the band, Boschet knelt to one knee and proposed to DiGiacomo. Obviously, she said, “Yes.”
Five Year Mission followed this up by playing a song they said described Boschet’s future: “The Man Trap.”
While this year’s show lacked the wacky antics of Gen-Cons past, Five Year Mission continued to entertain fans and con-goers with their unique brand of nerdy rock music.
May they live long and prosper.
Check out Five Year Mission’s official website.