LIVE REVIEW: Face to Face, The Darlings, and The Sparring @ House Of Blues 11/11
In the fall of 2004, Face to Face bid farewell to their adoring fans after many years of punk rock success. I remember it so vividly, curling up in the fetal position, sobbing and cursing the heavens. They broke up and nothing else mattered â€“ at least to me. That is until they decided to regroup in 2008 to participate in a handful of festivals in the states and abroad (Bamboozle Left, Warped Tour, Soundwave, Australia) and a short US tour. To hardcore fans, this was merely a tease, but certainly better than nothing. After a couple years of sporadic performances and the announcement of a new album, Laugh Now, Laugh Later (January 2011), a local show was in order to resurrect the young angry punk within.
Supporting Face to Face Thursday night was South Bay punk rockers, The Darlings and a band that no one seemed to notice, The Sparring. The Darlings introduced their brand of catchy pop punk and it had the audience frenzied and dancing along. Singer/guitarist Buddy Harris crooned his heart out to songs off the debut albumÂ The New Escape. They unleashed a high-energy performance that impressed even the straight-faced behemoths standing in the back of the bar. “Let’s Roll,” “Fight Alone” and “Where Do We Go” came loaded with infectious sing-along chorus lines and riveting guitar riffs. The Darlings definitely had the audience’s attention, more then I can say for the first band.
Finally, the band that stole our hearts in the early 90’s appeared beyond the heavy curtains. Face to Face performed a mind spinning 19 (or so) song set that ravished the packed House Of Blues. Those yearning to hear the classics got more than they bargained for: “Resignation,” “Disconnected,” “I Won’t Lie Down,” “Velocity,” “Big Choice,” “Pastel,” and the one-two punk punch “A-OK” and “It’s Not Over.” There wasn’t a dull moment during their set, even after frontman, Trever Keith, smothered the audience with several rants about being old, tired, and eating pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The sweaty crowd roared, insisting on less chit-chat and more punk rock. All bases were covered including the beloved Decendents cover “Bikeage” and two new singles, “Should Anything Go Wrong” and “It’s All About You,” off the soon to be releasedÂ Laugh Now, Laugh Later. It was great to see Face to Face as a four-piece again with Danny Thompson (drums) and long time band mates, Chad Yaro (guitars) and Scott Shiflett (bass).
It was a fantastic show and in my honest opinion, Face to Face delivered the most intense and electrifying performance ever. Seeing them brought back fond memories for everyone in attendance that night.