Face to Face
with Snapcase, Orange 9MM, and Envy
at Showplace Theatre in Buffalo, NY
April 6, 1998
After having waited for a long, long time to see Face to Face live, I have to say that my expectations were pretty high going into this show. I also have to say that I was extremely unprepared, as I had heard nothing by Envy, next to nothing by Orange 9MM, and one album by Snapcase (Progression Through Unlearning, which I must say, I was unimpressed by). What I had heard, however, told me that this was not going to be a night of one poppy punk band after another.
When Envy hit the stage, my friends and I pretty much got what we expected: a more or less generic hardcore band with a lot of screamed vocals and loud, fast guitars. Nothing really special. This was one of those times where you appreciate the fact that opening acts get less playing time.
After Envy came Orange 9MM. I actually used to own Driver Not Included, but after seldom listening to it, I sold it, dismissing O9MM as a cheap Helmet knockoff, a move which I regretted after seeing their performance. Lead singer Chaka Malik jumped around the stage like a kangaroo on speed and rapped/sang, producing a blend of funk and hardcore. Their set also included a cover of the Janeís Addiction tune "Pigs in Zen."
The third and final openers were Buffalo hardcore pioneers Snapcase, who received a huge reaction from the audience. As I said earlier, the only Snapcase album I own, and plan on ever owning, is Progression Through Unlearning. My major complaint with Snapcase is that every song seems to be the same loud guitars with the same screaming. I do have to admit, though, that they put on a good live show. The entire set was very tight and the band was energetic (something you canít take for granted, see recent God Lives Underwater appearance at Showplace). Nevertheless, I was still glad when they finished their set, though. The crowd was not. About a quarter of them left after Snapcase walked offstage.
So finally, my friends and I walked out into the crowd from where we had been sitting (hey, it was a long night) after all the people who were going to leave had cleared out. We ended up about ten feet from the stage, near the center. After what seemed like a long wait, Face to Face hit the stage, opening with "I Wonít Lie Down," the first single from their self-titled album, now roughly a year and a half old. I could tell from the faces of the people who screamed along to Trever Keithís every word, like myself, that these people were glad they stayed.
"I Wonít Lie Down" was followed by the opener of the Big Choice album, "Struggle." The sound was great, and the band never faltered. After "Struggle" came "Disconnected," another flawless performance. I had had my fingers crossed, hoping that this would be on the setlist. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when the song began. "You donít know what you would give up...you donít know what you want, it may take you years to find out...you donít know what you need, something that may never come to you." Yes, that is a Descendents lyric in there (thanks, Dana). Anyway, when the chorus began...letís just say that by the end of the night, I had partially lost my voice.
The band continued to play songs from all of their full length releases (mostly older stuff), as well as crowd favorites such as "No Authority," which started with Trever claiming that their new drummer Jose didnít know the song yet. However, the band played the song so well that whether he was kidding or not is anyoneís guess. Other songs played included "Walk the Walk," "Iím Trying," "Blind," "Nothing New" (this came as a surprise to me, this was one I was NOT expecting), "Ordinary," "You Lied," and many more.
There were several highlights of this show for me, the main one being "Velocity," from Big Choice, another song which caught me off-guard. This was also another instance where I knew exactly where Trever was coming from with the lyrics. A crowd singalong was invited during "Pastel" for the interlude... "I donít want a game where I donít know how to play, just go away..."
After "Itís Not Over," Face to Face left the stage, with the crowd screaming for more. It wasnít over. A minute passed, and Trever Keith came back onstage, asking if weíd like another song. The crowdír fans. Do yourself a favor and go see them. If you canít, the live record comes close.
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