I have a terrible habit of buying tickets to see shows, and then when the day finally comes I dread going. Maybe it’s my age? I guess I’m just easily irritated. About two weeks ago, I had read online that Face to Face was coming to a small venue here in Buffalo, NY. At that moment, I had decided that I needed to see this show. Face to Face is quite possibly my favorite band of all time, so I was interested in going for sure.
As the years have gone by, Face to Face has pretty much become a generational punk band like Bad Religion, minus roughly ten years. I had seen them a few times, but the last time I saw them I was around 20 years old. I oddly remember most of it, which is impressive considering the state I was in at the time. The show was in Rochester, NY and Dashboard Confessional was opening for them. I was keeping it real back then, with my hair dyed blonde (and totally falling out), studded bracelets, ripped jeans – the whole thing. I was also piss drunk and utterly disgusting. I remember there being a few times where I was rescued by a good friend of mine, from making out with some girl that I insisted was insanely hot. Without harping on physical appearances, let’s just say my judgement was way off.
Roughly 17 years later. After watering the flowers and taking out the trash, I cooked my wife and daughter planked salmon for dinner, changed my kids diaper, gave them both kisses, and headed to the show. I was still amazed that I wasn’t dreading having to go. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was mainly because I was going solo. I didn’t have to show up on time and if it was terrible, I wouldn’t have to stay. I could basically do what I wanted. I found this appealing!
The doors opened at 7pm, and I arrived around 8:30. It was being held at a smaller venue called, “The Waiting Room,” which was a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere. This means a lot coming from a guy who’s constantly uncomfortable. What was also awesome, was that they had a decent beer selection on tap. While they had Genny and Pabst for the kids, they also had some delicious craft IPA’s for guys like me. This made it easy for me to sit through the opening bands.
Face to Face came out to play at around 9:45. They looked great. Trever Keith is getting pretty heavy, but they looked like they had loads of energy. They played song blocks from their first three albums, and everything they played sounded incredible. The crowd was pretty amped up, and there were plenty of older dudes breaking it down in the pit. I understood. The songs were so good and they were being played so well, I actually had the urge to get busy, but I didn’t. Come on man, I’m 37 years old.
When they got to their self-titled album, Keith openly joked about not wanting to listen to people asking why certain songs weren’t being played, attributing it to the fact that they have so many songs, and how it would be impossible to play them all. To me this basically meant, they didn’t want to play “I Won’t Lie Down,” which was one of the more popular songs on the album (also featured on the Mortal Combat Movie Soundtrack Remixed.) I was correct in assuming that, as it was not played. I had no complaints though, the set list was phenomenal.
The encore was slightly embarrassing, but was saved by the fact that the band came out and mocked the shitty, unenthusiastic cheers they were getting to come back out. I hate encores. I think everyone does actually. I saw Louie C.K. a few years ago, and at the beginning of the show, he came right out and said that he wasn’t doing an encore. He basically said they were stupid, and that when he’s done with his act, he’s just leaving and we can all go home. I loved that. It should be no different with music. Nobody wants to sit there and beg for a band to come back out, in fact, most of the time it’s getting late and everyone’s annoyed that it’s taking so long. Aside from that, they ended the show with covers of “Painted Black” by The Rolling Stones, and “Bikeage” by The Decendents, which was incredible.
Face to Face was that rare show that actually took you back to your youth, that energized your soul, and that really made you feel like everything is alright. At an age where things can get pretty stressful, where the people in your life are narrowed down to a select few that you love more than anything, somehow the deafening sounds of those West Coast power-chords became the most comforting sounds on earth. They were just as good as they were 17 years ago, the only difference for me was that now during the opening bands, I sip craft beer at the bar and thumb through pictures of my wife and daughter on my phone.
Life is pretty damn good.