Face To Face wasn’t even really on my bucket list. Honestly, I thought I had missed my chance to see them live and I had come to terms with that. Sure, I was bummed out that I would never see the legendary group that became a mainstay in the playlist of my life but you can’t catch them all. With ever being able to catch this band live completely out of my mind, I was more than shocked when I saw them announce a show in the Twin Cities. The best part? The show was going to be literally right down the street from my apartment. Sometimes life is amazing.
My Wednesday night was kicked off promptly at 10PM with Chicago skatepunks Counterpunch. Them covering No Use For A Name (rest in peace Tony Sly!) pretty much says all you need to know about these guys. Their music fits perfectly into the skatepunk scene of the past. With fast-paced, catchy songs, these guys kicked the night off right sending the older crowd into a world of nostalgia when life was all about skateboards, beer, and friends. The three-part harmonies were truly impressive throughout the forty minute set. Even though their music was very fast and very punk, there’s no denying the vocal strength of overall talent of this band.
With plenty of angst and passion radiating off the stage, I was a bit disappointed in the crowd’s response (myself included). There was no lack of energy coming from this four-piece band but the audience seemed a little bit subdued compared to that electric feeling coming off the stage. Sure, there were a couple people who were moving around a little bit towards the front but majority of the crowd just kind of stood there and bobbed their heads or tapped their toes. The band seemed to notice the lack of movement in the crowd and, although they asked for circle pits and a little more movement throughout the set, they never let the lack of participation keep them down. They slammed through their set with a sense of power and fury that had me falling head over heels for this band.
Counterpunch singer Eric Hausser brought up how awesome last night’s venue was after just a couple of songs and I think it’s worth bringing up as well. Last night’s show was held at The James Ballentine “Uptown” VFW- Post 246. Yes, a VFW but it’s probably not what you’re thinking at all. This VFW is the epitome of amazing. With three bars in it (one in back that is your typical VFW, one in front which is more of a sports bar always filled with youngsters, and a super nice, fairly new venue) this place has become one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood. Not only is the place nice and clean and the staff friendly, but like any other VFW, the profits from the bars and pull tabs go towards the men and women that have served this country. Eric brought up that he was from a military family and you could feel the sincerity as he thanked everyone in the packed venue for coming out and supporting a venue like this. I don’t think I ever really realized the impact of going to a show at the VFW or even drinking there as much as I do until Eric said something and it was truly heartwarming.
As the stage was turned over for Face To Face, you could see the crowd get a little closer to the stage and could feel the anticipation in the air. Having been a band for 26 years and with ten full length albums out, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call this band legendary. Sure, I felt like one of the younger people in the crowd last night and I was there alone but that was not going to keep me from truly taking it all in. To be able to see a band live that you thought you had missed out on is truly one of the best feelings in the world.
Hailing from Victorville, California, Face To Face definitely has that SoCal punk vibe to them. It’s fun, punchy, and upbeat while still having a sense of intensity that you would want from any given punk band. Even with a four year hiatus in their past, the music of Face To Face hasn’t really changed over the years. I was afraid walking into the show last night that maybe it’s been too long and, having missed them in their heyday, it really wouldn’t be the same to see them now. Thank the Lord I was wrong.
With a set list of nearly twenty songs, Face To Face was able to hit all of the great songs that were the anthems to many people’s teenage years. The modest mosh pit that had started at the beginning of their set seemed to grow in size and strength with each song. I wanted to completely lose myself in the crowd and getting a little sweaty in the pit but something was stopping me. I was just too in awe of being able to see this band live that I just couldn’t move. I didn’t want to miss a single thing happen on that stage. I wanted to see and hear all of the funny banter and the passion. So I stood there in my own little world with my eyes on the stage and a smile on my face.
I never thought I’d be able to see Face To Face live. To say I’m thankful to have had the opportunity Wednesday night would be an understatement. It was absolutely everything I could have asked for and then some.