Saturday, May 23, 2015

Face to Face at the Bowery Ballroom

Trever Keith
Several bands have named themselves Face to Face, including a charting 1980s new wave band from Boston, Massachusetts, but the current touring outfit is a 1990s punk band from Victorville, California. Vocalist/guitarist Trever Keith formed the band in 1991 and, riding the West Coast punk rock renaissance of the early 1990s, Face to Face enjoyed success, thanks in part to the song "Disconnected," which appeared in the movies Tank Girl and National Lampoon's Senior Trip. After many personnel changes, Face to Face split in 2004, but regrouped four years later. Presently, the band consists of Keith, guitarist Chad Yaro, bassist Scott Shiflett and drummer Danny Thompson. The band's ninth and most recent album, Three Chords and a Half Truth, was released in 2013.

Face to Face has recorded and released two new albums since its 2008 reunion, but the band came to the Bowery Ballroom to celebrate its early years. Billed as their "Triple Crown" shows, Face to Face announced it would perform its first three albums across three nights: 1992's Don't Turn Away on May 22, 1994's Big Choice on May 23, and 1996's self-titled LP on May 24. Roughly 25 years later, the sets would include songs that were never before performed live. Tonight, Keith announced "We're Face to Face from southern California," then the band blasted through Big Choice with hardly a breath of air between songs. This was 90s hardcore punk: simple power chord changes, speedy and forceful delivery, and chant-along choruses characterized every song. Shortly after the stage diving began, Keith told the fans that if they were going to come on stage, here were the designated areas; in other words, do not interfere with the musicians' performance. This was understandable, as the band played with the thrust and energy of a speeding locomotive. Face to Face did not slow down until it concluded with the encores, which included songs from the Over It EP. This was punk the way it used to be.

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