Face to Face. A cautionary tale…


After spending 36 years on this planet, you’d think there would be certain truths that would be ingrained in my mind and person. Especially when the universe has tried so damn hard to teach me these things…

No matter how nice the weather, don’t day drink before a late night show.

No matter how tired you are after day drinking, mixing Red Bull with vodka is never a good idea.

No matter how much energy you have after that deadly concoction, a punk rock pit is not a safe place for a drunk old man.

And no matter how much fun you are having in that pit, your extended social network does not need a play-by-play.

You would think that those would be pretty simple rules to follow. You would think. But as I struggled to open my eyes Sunday morning, I realized that there are certain nights when the most simple of things can be hard for someone lacking luck like me self control.

When the Golden Gods shine bright rays of much missed sun down on the patios of Denver, and the beer is flowing like wine, all while the kid is away at a sleepover, the parents must play like the kids they once were. I believe that’s written in the Bible somewhere. And when AEG throws down free Face to Face tickets, it’s just another sign from above that it’s time to act like a 17-year-old who has nothing to lose!


Or maybe I read the signs wrong? Either way, by the time Face to Face took the stage at the Gothic Theatre for the second of their 2 night run, I could have dove from the balcony and felt no pain.

The “Gaslight Anthem-like’ Blacklist Royals and Teenage Bottlerocket proved excellent openers, each in their own way. I am always a bit weary of any band that formed after 2000 being call “old school”, but Teenage Bottlerocket reminded me that just because I exited a scene over 15 years ago doesn’t mean the scene doesn’t still exist. Punk rock, skate punk, pop punk — call it what you will, this is feel good music. If I was ever going to use the popular exaggeration that a ‘music’ saved my life, it would be about the Fat Wreck Chords bands of the early 90’s. As these feelings of nostalgia sloshed around with the beer, liquor and sugary energy drink, a dangerous chemical reaction formed, and all it needed was a spark.  That spark turned out to be “I’m Not Afraid” from 1992’s Don’t Turn Away. I slammed my last drink and threw myself into the pit.

And that’s where things get blurry.   According to my handy Notes app, it seems I tried to keep a setlist while being slammed around. I’m just amazed that parts of it actually make sense…


Now, my intoxicated state didn’t stop me from enjoying the show, it just makes it a little hard to review. Those punk anthems are so much a part of my life, that it really wouldn’t have been possible for me to have a bad time. I know every word to every song that came out before 1996. And even though the new songs had unfamiliar lyrics, they all had that classic SoCal sound.

Now that the hangover is gone, and I’m able to look back on the evening, it makes me smile that I can still go a little ‘punk rock’ and make some mistakes in my old age. I have a few more bruises and a few less brain cells because of it, but it’s all worth it!  And while I can’t say I learned any new truths, maybe next time I’ll pass on the Red Bull…I’m pretty sure that shit is poison!

Some of the songs they played:
123 Drop
Walk the Walk
I’m Not Afraid
Bright Lights Go Down
You’ve Done Nothing
Walk Away
Smokestacks and Skyskrapers
Big Choice