“Best punk tour of the year.”
Face to Face is a veteran band, recording and touring on and off since 1991. Now, where was I in ’91? I think I was listening to They Might Be Giants and wearing nothing but Umbro Soccer gear as I waded through tide pools at marine science camp (ie: I was a nerdy kid with no discernible social life). Face to Face has been honing their craft and shredding faces since I was in 4th/5th grade (!) so it’s no wonder they were true to form on the 7th and gave an energetic, punch-you-in-the-face performance. To my delight, they opened with Walk the Walk, which is my favorite Face to Face song.
There were moments of reminiscing during which Keith recalled playing the old 930 Club, and some self-promotion when he asked the audience to buy Face to Face’s new album Three Chords and a Half Truth…or download it illegally. Either way. Because fuck it, they have, like, seven other records and if all these people are here everyone’s probably got at least one of them. That long discography allowed for a set that pulled songs from across two decades and a show pleasing to veteran Face to Face fans and the newbies alike.
My friend and I showed up at Black Cat about halfway into the performances (we were hungry, we had to stop to eat before we got there). We sadly missed Blacklist Royals and Joshua Black Wilkins because we thought the show started later than it did (while I can’t review their performances I’d suggest giving both acts a listen), but we came in just as Teenage Bottlerocket started their set.
I’d heard of Teenage Bottlerocket in passing but I’d never actually heard their music. I think the “teenage” part of their name turned me off. Regardless, they put on a hell of a show! They’re the brand of punk I like to see live the most – lots of double-time, harmonizing vocals, audience participation and an absolutely unrelenting, punishing set. Their drummer deserves a medal for keeping up their frenetic pace without a break between songs. The circle pit in front was the most active during their set, and I encourage anyone reading this to see Teenage Bottlerocket live if you ever get the chance. You will NOT be disappointed. I can’t tell you the content of their songs, it’s pretty hard to figure that sort of thing out live, but the youthful energy of their set will make your night.
For me Teenage Bottlerocket brought back fond memories of playing punk clubs in California and I found myself bouncing on my toes and smiling a lot while they were onstage. A weird reaction to punk music, I guess, but nostalgia’s a weird little bug.
The crowd was a mix, some older punks, some young punks and a good number of in-betweenies who were maybe dragged there by a friend/boyfriend – the ubiquitous deck-party set.
There’s actually a pretty stark difference visually between new and old guard punks. Maybe it’s just an age thing, but older punks (like, late 30s and early 40s) tend to look like normal people who pick up guitars and drum sticks at night. In spite of tattoos in coverable places, such as the arms, there are no piercings generally, they’re dressed in normal clothes, usually a t-shirt or button down, some kind of hat for the dudes, whatever pants they find and some Chucks, and usually they have sensible haircuts. Younger punks find the time to look the part, digging up tight pants, studded belts, ripped up black t-shirts and animal-print tank tops to hit a show. It may just be a matter of life priorities. I’m somewhere in the middle and I give up a little more on what I’m wearing every day. By the time I’m in my 40s maybe I’ll just be that t-shirt and random pants gal.
Now, I got no problem with in-betweenies. To me they look like people who just left a deck party, in plaid shorts and Topsiders, light skirts and sandals; they seem to abound here in DC. They look like generic toast wrapped around vanilla ice cream to make a bland sandwich. It’s boring, but not generally a hazard. Except when you go to a punk show. There were girls at the show on Friday who had no business being there, wearing flip flops or slipper shoes, wearing poofy skirts and carrying gigantic purses…these are girls who deserve to be “accidentally” nudged into the pit as a learning experience. You wear SHOES to a punk show. Wear a satchel you can sling over your body. You want to loose your belongings and have your toes trampled by combat boots? No? Loose the purse and bring shoes. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed this issue and, DC-women-who-were-obviously-dragged-to-a-show-by-a-friend/boyfriend, for fuck’s sake I’m trying to help you out.
Idiot accessorizing aside, Face to Face and Teenage Bottlerocket put on amazing shows. If this tour is coming anywhere near you you should make sure to get out and see it.
Live punk shows are what’s up.