Emerging from a hiatus in 2008, Face To Face are back in action boasting a new album Laugh Now..Laugh Later to be released in 2011 coinciding with their 20-year anniversary as a band. A packed House of Blues Anaheim roared immediately as the opening chords of "Resignation" blared. Face to Face have long perfected their melodic uptempo punk rock sound and continue to stimulate mosh pits wherever they play.
A two minute blast of "You've Done Nothing" had me ducking as someone from backstage dove straight off the stage into the pit. A barrage of power chords in the form of "Struggle" continued keep the crowd moving as frontman Trevor Keith rapidly strummed his Gibson Les Paul. Scott Shiflett is a vital component to Face To Face's sound with his acrobatic and inventive bass playing that provide a strong melodic backbone to their songs.
Keith was in good spirits throughout the evening occasionally taking a few sips of wine. It didn't take long for the whole house to nearly explode when Face To Face started in on their massive KROQ hit "Disconnected." The song is still played just as frequently as when it was released nearly 17 years ago. Keith would rhetorically ask the crowd if they were playing too fast.
After thanking the crowd, Keith explained they had recently come off playing the Warped tour and that it "sucked dick" due to the awful bands and young kids. Face To Face kept the energy level high and stuck primarily to their hits by expertly dispensing "Ordinary," "You Lied" and Velocity." Their drummer Danny Thompson kept the beat fast and steady.
Once the crowd was appropriately warmed up, a new song "Should Anything Go Wrong" blended in well to their set and doesn't stray that far from their melodic punk rock template. Shiflett shined again for the hook laden bass notes of "Walk The Walk." The audience sang along every word for most of the evening but got a chance for a real sing along during "Pastel" as Keith had everyone screaming "Just go away!"
Another new song "It's All About You" and a fiery version of "A-Ok" closed out their main set. Chants of "Face To Face" welcomed the band back onstage for an encore of their cover of the Descendents "Bikeage" and the lyrically ironic closer "It's Not Over." Judging from the reaction of the crowd, Face To Face could be around for another 20 years.
Opening the evening was The Sparring
who had their lead singer jump down onto the floor to start a circle pit by himself. The Darlings
fared very well with the crowd with their Social Distortion influenced punk rock. They also got bonus points for rocking a bullet microphone for some distorted vocals during some of their songs.
Personal Bias: Face To Face are one my favorite punk bands from the college days.
Crowd: Most of the crowd was over thirty due to the informal poll conducted by Keith in the middle of the show. Tattoos and tall cans of beer were in abundance.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Going to work is going to suck tomorrow." Even punks work, apparently.
Random Notebook Dump: I cringed in disgust upon observing a dad in the balcony who had his baby strapped to his chest without any observable hearing protection.
"You've Done Nothing"
"What's In A Name?"
"Bill of Goods"
"I Won't Lie Down"
"Should Anything Go Wrong"
"Walk The Walk"
"It's All About You"
"It's Not Over"