A brisk Wednesday evening brought me to check out an old high school friends band FIGHTFACE. Feeling quite nostalgic in my mood, and remembering how 25 years ago I occasionally watched Dustin jam in his basement with our high school mates playing Smashing Pumpkins covers and then asking me what I thought. Now, 25 years later I am watching his fairly new band play at L’esco well in our 30s and I am actually reviewing the event this time. How things don’t really change?
The place is quite empty, well understandable for it being a Wednesday night. April has also been a very busy month for shows. Running into some old high school friends it definitely turned into a mini-reunion. As the place filled up, FIGHTFACE began their very long sound check teasing the fuck out of me as I haven’t even heard their music yet.
This was FIGHTFACE’s second set, after jamming together as a band for a couple of months. Each member has their own large musical past history so coming together they came off pretty tight and it seemed as though they’ve been jamming much longer. They classify themselves as “monster-themed, doo-wop inspired murder punk” which fits them perfectly.
“We are FIGHTFACE!!!” , Elvis growls in the mic and they began their set. With a front-man like this, the name FIGHTFACE makes even more sense. I just felt like punching everyone in the face. I wouldn’t want to get on this guys bad side though. The entire band does back-up vocals which made for a pretty entertaining, lively set. The way Elvis held his mic, however, held back some of his voice and I couldn’t really hear him well at times. A perfect vocal comparison is definitely to Bill Manspeaker of Green Jellÿ. He had that comedic/scary approach going on.
As the set progressed I felt tracks like “Devil Strut” had some Motörhead influence coupled with a very punky/rock n’ roll sound. All those years of drumming paid off for Dustin as he played super tight. I wanted to see more movement coming out of Kate as she stood still on the right of the stage most of the set but her bass riffs were held well with the band. Vince’s random sick guitar solos that jumped in along with his head bobbing and crazy body shakes almost mistaking for a modern Ian Curtis.
The band threw in Misfits cover “Hybrid Moments” and they totally made it their own with Elvis’ gnarly vocals. Highlight for me was when the band played “CKZM.fm”. I absolutely love this track. This is the track I see making it big as a first single. The keys Dan played were much more apparent during the performance of this song as I could barely hear them in the other tracks. At some point in the song there is a small breakdown of organs and chants then the guitar poppy riffs kick in. It just puts me in the best mood. The lyrics are super catchy and once these guys make it a little further in their careers it’ll be a blast to sing “Cowboy Kungfu Zombie Monsters!” along to this one.