Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

Face to Face

Face to Face and Bad Cop/Bad Cop at the Casbah, San Diego 5/6/2017

By Paul Silver
Photos courtesy of Happy Place Media

Getting old really sucks. I mean, I can’t definitely pin it on getting old, but I’d been suffering with debilitating back pain for the past month. It caused me to miss shows I wanted to see. It caused me to have to sleep on a couch instead of in my bed multiple nights. It caused my doctor to experiment with different medications of increasing potency to help me deal with the pain (thus preventing me from enjoying any alcoholic beverages for a period of time). As the pain lingered and worsened, I grew concerned that I might have to miss a show I had been anticipating for months. Fat Wreck Chords bands Face to Face and Bad Cop/Bad Cop were doing a short tour around the West Coast together, and were making a stop at San Diego’s Casbah. The show sold out nearly as soon as tickets went on sale. I didn’t want to miss it, and was determined to be there, even if it meant being high on painkillers and hanging out in a corner all night. Thankfully, a mere two days before the show, the pain that had made me walk like a 90 year old (when I could walk at all) subsided to the point where I no longer needed meds and I was able to attend, free of anything in my system that would conspire against me with the alcohol I might imbibe that night. Being newly on the mend, however, precluded me from being right up front, camera in hand, getting jostled pushed, kicked and smacked in the face by an enthusiastic bunch of punks in order to get photos. I still ended up hanging out near the back most of the night, but at least I got to enjoy the show and a few beers.

First up were Bad Cop/Bad Cop, a band you absolutely need to know about, if you don’t already. I first met the band at Awesomefest 7, four years ago, and was immediately impressed. In the intervening years they’ve gone from a local Southern California band to one of international renown, having signed to Fat Wreck Chords a few years back, releasing two records with them since, and touring throughout North America and Europe. A third record, their second full-length LP, is coming out next month. The band played several songs from the new record, “Warriors,” as well as many from their debut LP “Not Sorry” and the “Boss Lady” EP. Their three-part harmonies were out in full force, with guitarists Stacey Dee and Jennie Cotterill and bassist Linh Le blending together beautifully, as drummer Myra Gallarza pushed the band ever forward with a strong beat. Both Stacey and Linh were sporting brand new instruments, and poor Linh had some strap malfunctions, with the strap coming undone a few times during songs. She and their tour manager used duct tape to hold it in place in true punk rock fashion, while Stacey declared that San Diego had more people named Kevin per capita than any other city, an inside joke because a number of our friends in the scene are named Kevin. “How many Kevins do we have here tonight?” she asked, but not a single hand was raised. Our friends had been unable to secure tickets for the night. As the band continued, two of the new songs stood out for me. One was written and sung by Le, something new for the band as most of the songs have been written and sung by Dee and Cotterill. I don’t know the name of this particular song, but it’s very much in the Fat Wreck skate-punk vein and it was pretty fantastic. The other was what Dee referred to as their “Weezer” song, the one that will be “radio friendly.” It’s called “Amputation,” and is about cutting out the toxic relationships in your life. In contrast to the topic of the lyrics, the music was a bit slower, very bouncy, and tons of fun. After forty minutes of great music, it was time for Bad Cop/Bad Cop to say goodnight, however, so the switchover for Face to Face could be made.

Now, this may be surprising to some, confounding to many, but this night was the first time I’ve seen Face to Face. Not only that, I had never really spent much time listening to them. So I had no expectations, no way to know what I was about to experience. I know, I know. Yes, I have been living under a rock, what’s your point? Face to Face has been around for some twenty-six years, and in that time have put out nearly a dozen full-length LPs and even more EPs. They’ve been on a number of record labels, even releasing a few records on controversial label Victory Records and several on major label A&M. They released some stuff on Fat back in the day, and now they’re back in the fold. Given that history, I had some skepticism about whether I would enjoy the band. Lots of bands that are that “old” tend to slow down, rest on their laurels, and play “hits” from back in the day that sound about as relevant today as black and white television. But Face to Face are just as relevant as any band in the pop punk scene today, and a lot tighter. I can’t say I know what songs they played, but they had a very modern pop punk sound. The crowd went crazy, and there was even crowd surfing, something that almost never happens at a show at the Casbah. Front-man Trever Keith injected a bit of humor into the nearly non-stop set of breakneck-paced punk songs by promising he would not say “whale vagina” for the whole night. Except he said it. Multiple times. After nearly an hour of some great music, the band thanked the crowd and walked off stage. This is when the crowd normally would start shouting for encores. But San Diego is a weird place. A few people started whooping and hollering, but for the most part the crowd was subdued, just standing and waiting for the band to come back. They did, but not without some more humor. They said they came back inside, not because the crowd demanded more songs, but because of the rain from an unusual spring storm that hit Southern California that night. As long as they were there, they might as well play some more songs, right? They immediately launched into a cover of Descendents’ “Bikeage,” driving the crowd into a frenzy. After a few more encores, Face to Face had played a set of some sixty-five minutes to the capacity crowd, and the night was over.

My back is still on the mend, but now so is the gaping hole in my punk points score, because I’ve now seen Face to Face and know what all the fuss is about. And now I’m a fan, too. It was unexpected, but is certainly not undeserved. is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

Jersey Beat Podcast

Home | Contact Jersey Beat | Sitemap

©2010 Jersey Beat & Not a Mongo Multimedia

Music Fanzine - Jersey Beat