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Face to Face / Strung Out

Face to Face / Strung Out: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2011)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The drunks were at the bar; the punks were in the pit. Between the two there was a clear divide in energy levels at the Face to Face/Strung Out show Sat., May 21 at Philadelphia's Trocadero. Kids on the floor maintained a constantly swirling mass for both bands without tiring (and surprisingly few f.


The drunks were at the bar; the punks were in the pit. Between the two there was a clear divide in energy levels at the Face to Face/Strung Out show Sat., May 21 at Philadelphia's Trocadero. Kids on the floor maintained a constantly swirling mass for both bands without tiring (and surprisingly few fights). The old heads up at the balcony drank their drinks and took some abuse from the bands. There wasn't any real hostility, though, just a kinship formed over fast beats and snotty vocals.

After opening sets from the Darlings (SoCal pop-punk) and the regrettably named Cerebral Ballzy (thrash punk), Strung Out emerged to big applause and an even bigger mosh pit. While the band has tweaked its sound over the years, the tunes segued nicely into each other as guitarists Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos peeled off solo after solo. Frontman Jason Cruz frequently interacted with the crowd during and between songs, offering high-fives and fist bumps while occasionally tweaking the adults at the bar. After a tight 45-minute set, the band bowed out to make room for the night's main event, Face to Face.

While Face to Face has officially been reunited since 2008, 2011 feels like their true comeback. Their new, pretty good album Laugh Now, Laugh Later just dropped. More importantly, their promotional tour for the record boasts the best Face to Face set I have ever seen.

I'm not going to pretend to be an old vintage punker, but I did catch the band twice before their breakup, and while both performances were exemplary, tonight had a raw energy and enthusiasm that surpassed previous stops in Philly. Maybe it was the rambunctious crowd. Maybe it was the fact that the returning members look exactly the same (well, Trevor Keith and Scott Shiflett anyway. Drummer Danny Thompson is new and I don't know who the second guitarist was, but he wasn't Chad Yaro). Or maybe it was just a really, really well-picked set list.

Tonight, the band played "the hits." That means a lot of stuff off the first three records, plus "Bill of Goods" from How to Ruin Everything. Four tracks from Laugh Now were shown off (set opener "Should Anything Go Wrong", plus "It's Not All About You", "Bombs Away" and "All for Nothing"), and they sound much better in a faster, live setting. I'm one of the few who actually loves the group's experimental Ignorance Is Bliss record, but I didn't mind seeing it passed over, along with Reactionary, in favor of tracks like "Won't Lie Down", "A-OK" and "Walk Away".

The band kicked things off with new tune "Should Anything Go Wrong" and the crowd erupted. They didn't quite know the words yet, but they sure kept time. Then Keith counted into Don't Turn Away's "You've Done Nothing", and the audience sure knew the words to that one. The show seemed to deal out songs by period. A Face to Face suite yielded "Ordinary", "Walk the Walk", "Won't Lie Down" and a particularly roaring version of "Blind", for example. Big Choice, of course, got the biggest reaction, with songs like "Disconnected" and "Big Choice" setting off the crowd.

Keith took the time to chide the drunks, galvanizing them to a minimal amount of exercise by standing up for the entirety of "Bill of Goods". But after an hour-long performance plus a two-song encore, Face to Face left the stage to applause from everyone in attendance. Fans were promised another show within a year, plus they scored Laugh Now for free if they bought anything at the merch table. All kidding aside, Keith and co. were good to Philadelphia.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
NeckTattoo (May 26, 2011)

i was expecting to see Chad but some dude in skinny jeans played instead. oh well.

'You Lied' was a killer opener. never expected that. also loved 'Complicated'

Godisaman81 (May 25, 2011)

Chad Yaro played lead guitar on Laugh Now. He must only play west coast tour dates since I saw a youtube video of them playing in Vacouver the first night of the tour and he was playing that night. He was also on the west coast warped tour dates.

naymtaken (May 25, 2011)

Ill be there Jun.6 in San Antone. These guys are so underrated, and i think, ahead of their time.

misterspike (May 25, 2011)

Seeing this on Saturday. Excited.

whoostin (May 25, 2011)

In NYC they said Chad lost some weight

SouthSideScumbag (May 25, 2011)

Saw them in Chicago on May 5th, hands down the best set I've seen from them out of six shows since '95. They opened with one of my favorites "You Lied" which got the crowd going nuts to start off with. They played a blistering set which closed with "Disconnected" and encored with "It's Not Over" I felt like I was 15 again and seeing a band I love for the first time. There was an energy from the band and crowd which you just don't see that much anymore. If you like Face to Face you must see them on this small tour otherwise you will probably never see a show like this again.

oldpunkerforever (May 25, 2011)

Chad did not play bmore either. Anyone know whats up?-oldpunker-

facetofacereunion08 (May 25, 2011)

I meant definitely NOT Chat Yaro...it is Dennis Hill

notfeelingcreative (May 25, 2011)

Damn, I have tickets for monday night and I will be out of town. THis just ticks me off!

facetofacereunion08 (May 24, 2011)

Saw this in milwaukee...was great, they seemed to be having a blast. And the second guitarist definitely was Chad Yaro!

danperrone (May 24, 2011)

saw this in jersey and it was great. strung out was excellent and surprisingly played a ton of older stuff. they lost their magic once they started getting more metallic. face to face was also really good. when "disconnected" was played towards the end of the set, a random kid turned to me and said "this is what we were all waiting for" and he was right. they've got a lot of great songs, but that one is just iconic.

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