Tag Archives: Strung Out

Concert Review: Face To Face / Strung Out – Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH – 05/10/2011

Last night was a blast to the past, specifically 1996, thanks to punk legends Face To Face and Strung Out who made a stop in Cleveland at Peabody’s.  The fact that the show landed on a Tuesday night meant nothing to all who filled up the venue to almost sold out proportions.  Fans generally were a little older at the show seeing how the main bands playing ruled the punk scene in the mid-nineties.  It was actually refreshing to be surrounded by such a crowd as I was in their company 15-years ago at random shows.  There were so many familiar faces, it was like a punk rock reunion of sorts.

The Artist Life opened the show but I did not get into the venue in time to see them.  My friends really did not have much to say about them, but after checking out their MySpace profile, I would not have mind to have taken them in.  The Toronto foursome kind of reminds me of a mix of some of the newer punk acts I have been digging recently like Menzingers mixed with AM Taxi.

Long Beach, CA’s The Darlings took the stage to a full crowd and did their best to impress.  The crowd was just not into them at all.  They did not heckle the band or anything, but there was not that much cheering or crowd response at all.  In fact, the old time the band got the crowd riled up was not when they played a Misfits cover, but when they played “Cruel World”

Strung Out, on the other hand, had no problem what so ever getting the crowd going.  Taking the stage, the band dropped into “Too Close To See” and  basically just hammered through an impressive set.  Fans went wild when they played “Firecracker” followed by “Mind Of My Own” with Jason Cruz sounding better than ever on vocals.

During “In Harms Way” the band decided to reline the 90s a little more and did a nice little breakdown of Pantera’s “Walk” to which the fans all sang along to.  Even though they were all hard at work, Strung Out also decided to do a live audition for a new guitarist for all to see and invited Jim Blowers from Pulley to fill in on a “Speedball”.  Needless to say, Blowers proved he has what it takes to play in Strung Out.

My pal Chewy said it best about Strung Out’s set when he turned to me while we both took in the show and said that “this is one of those bands you listen to on CD thinking – wow, I wonder if they sound this awesome live?”  He paused, turned his head to watch the show for a couple more seconds and looked back at me with a huge grin on his face and happily said “yup.”

He was right.  Strung Out is one of the more technical punk rock acts out there and even though the band is going on 20 years, they sounded amazing if not better since the last time I saw them.  Rocking through tracks old and new, the band finally thanked Cleveland for allowing them to play for them and finished off their set with “Bring Out Your Dead” and “Matchbook”.  The crowd of course wanted more, and I am sure the band wanted to play more, but everyone knew they would have to wait till the next time they rolled through town.

The headliners of the night, Face To Face, finally took the stage to an adoring crowd.  The band was all smiles as they broke into “You Lied”, a punk rock classic followed by “You’ve Done Nothing”.  About four songs into the set, Trevor Keith announced that his voice was finally coming back and without hesitation started throwing out snark remarks to the crowd in good fun.  The crowd took it well and realizing that he had everyone’s attention, Keith announced that the band would be playing a new track titled “It’s Not All About You”.

I am not sure the crowd really was into the new track played, but I can tell you that the following three songs the band played including “Ordinary”, “I Won’t Lie Down”, and “Blind” was a whole different story.   Everyone, including myself, had their eyes on the stage and sang along every single lyric to those songs.  Keith and company looked impressed and Keith even mentioned hoe he was feeling an “old school punk rock vibe” in the venue and liked how there was not a line of bouncers in front of the stage.

He continued how he wanted everyone to have a fun time and wished for no one to get hurt.  He invited fans on stage one to two people at a time as they played and told them to do their thing and jump back in the crowd, just like the good old days.  Keith also warned that anyone acting like an ass would have to face the bouncers located on both sides of the stage.  After noticing some of the smaller folk in the crowd he even went so far as to inviting a handful of girls to watch the show on the side of the stage.  Keith was looking out for the fans last night, that is for sure.

After laying down the rules, the band continued with “Pastel”, another new track titled “All For Nothing”, and one of my favorites “A-OK”.  Honestly this might have been the best performance I have ever seen by Face To Face.  They looked so happy to be playing on stage again after being on hiatus for about 8 years (minus last year’s 30 minute Warped Tour set).

With minimal breaks between songs, the bad kept moving on with “Velocity” and “Complicated”, perhaps my favorite Face To Face track ever.  Hearing it live just made me love it even more.

When fans threw beers towards the stage, Keith avoided acting like a Weasel and laughed saying “I Don’t Want That!”  He was having a good time and that made the show that much more entertaining.  Just for kicks, the band decided to play a country song, more specifically “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” by the Georgia Satellites.  Keith was amazed when the entire crowd sang the chorus in unison and admitted that he thought Cleveland was amazing.

Putting an end to the night, the bad played “Big Choice” and treated everyone to “Disconnected”, perhaps the band’s most commercially friendly song.  Popular or not, I loved hearing it live and practically lost my voice singing along with.  The band thanked everyone for coming out and exited the stage only to return for a two song encore, one new track, and one old track.

Seeing Face To Face and Strung Out play live together in one night was a dream come true.  I felt like a kid all over again seeing both of the 90s acts take the stage.  I was impressed with how both bands sounded live and how excited they were to be performing to the crowd.  They were both top notch throughout and I could not ask for a better punk rock show.

Face To Face & Strung Out To Play Cleveland!!!

Excitement is just one of the thousands of words that describe the way I am feeling right now. 

I just learned that Face To Face AND Strung Out are playing a show at Peabody’s in Cleveland on May 10th.

In support of their upcoming release titled Laugh Now…Laugh Later, 90’s punk rockers Face To Face will embark on a multi-city tour with special guests Strung Out who are currently working on their upcoming retrospective album.

This may not be a big deal to you, but it is for me seeing how these are two of my favorite bands of all time.  I am going to be there especially seeing how it is going to be a small club show. 

I caught Face To Face last year at the Warped Tour and remember telling myself how much I wished they would just play a regular show in Cleveland.  Not enough kids there appreciated them like my friends and I did.  I remember how pissed I was when I turned around and saw all the little guppie punk kids sitting on the ground while they played their set…  Well, I guess Face To Face can read minds. 

I have not seen Strung Out in years and missed seeing them play the Agora the night it shut down.  Years ago I got to see them back to back in Cleveland and Cincinnati thanks to an ex who had ins with a guitar tech.  Those were the days.

Who:  Face To Face w/ Strung Out & The Darlings
When:  05/10/11 – Cleveland, OH
Where:  Peabodys Down Under
How Much:  $19.00
Buy Tickets Here

Tour Dates for Strung Out w/ Face To Face (taken from Fatwreck.com):
04/27/11 Vancouver, BC Canada Commodore Ballroom Face to Face, The Darlings
04/28/11 Kelowna, BC Canada Rutland Centennial Hall w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
04/29/11 Edmonton, AL Canada The Starlight Ballroom w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
04/30/11 Calgary, AL Canada Macewan Hall Ballroom w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/01/11 Saskatoon, SK Canada Louis Pub w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/02/11 Winnipeg, MB Canada West End Cultural Center w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/04/11 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/05/11 Chicago, IL The Bottom Lounge w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/06/11 Milwaukee, WI The Rave w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/07/11 Covington , KY Madison Theatre w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/08/11 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/10/11 Cleveland, OH Peabodys Down Under w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/11/11 Buffalo, NY The Town Ballroom w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/12/11 Toronto, ON Canada Phoenix Concert Theatre w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/13/11 Montreal, ON Canada Olympia Theatre w/ Face to Face, The Darlings
05/14/11 Boston , MA The Paradise w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/15/11 Portland, ME Part City Music Hall w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/17/11 Providence , RI Lupos Heartbreak Hotel w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/18/11 New York City, NY Best Buy Theatre w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/19/11 New Haven, CT Toad’s Place w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/20/11 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/22/11 Baltimore, MD Rams Head Live w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/23/11 Washington , DC Black Cat w/ Face to Face, Cerebral Ballzy
05/24/11 Norfolk, VA The Norva w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
05/25/11 Ashville, NC The Orange Peel w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
05/26/11 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
05/27/11 Lake Buena Vista, FL House of Blues w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
05/28/11 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
05/29/11 St. Petersburg, FL State Theatre w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
06/01/11 New Orleans, LA House of Blues w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
06/02/11 Houston, TX Warehouse Live w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
06/04/11 San Antonio, TX White Rabbit w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid
06/05/11 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre w/ Face to Face, Blitzkid

Babble Blog: Random Nothings So You Care

BHP back in business? Well not completely but we are getting there…

I am still waiting to find out about my hard drive and it’s killing me to hear the answer. It’s not the end of the world by any means and if I do happen to lose everything I will live. It just sucks to have to be in the predicament when I have the means of backing up everything yet I do not for stupid reasons.

Thanks to good friends at work I was able to get another laptop used for low cost. My financial situation as of late is not at a place where I can drop some $$$ on a brand new laptop. The one I have will do for now and is just a little bit older than my deceased one. It’s nice to have a laptop again. Nothing against my desktop, but I prefer mobility over sitting in the office. I still love you old Dell desktop.

I am so hoping to hearing that my data was recovered. I should find out tomorrow. I took some really cool pictures at the roller derby I attended last weekend and I would love to be able to share them along with the interview I did with select members of the team. I also have a ton of music on there that never made it to the desktop. (Keeping fingers crossed)

The weekend is coming up and I am off to Cincinnati to visit one of my best friends. I am sure the weekend will include a lot of beers including Arrogant Bastard Ale and of course Guinness. It’ll be nice to get away for the weekend. I’ll be sure to make a stop at Shake It Records while I am there and tell Matt how awesome of a store it is…

So I have been listening to the new Converge and all I have to say about that is – WOW. That is one hell of a hardcore metal CD. Not for the faint of heart at all. I’ll be posting something about the CD here soon as well as a review of the show I was at earlier this week.

Have you seen the video off their new single? Holy hell. I’ll post it again for you all:

From one music spectrum to the other now… The Avett Brothers. I have listened to I & Love & You over 40 times since it’s release. No joke. I have not listened to a CD like that in years where I just can’t get enough of it. They are truly a talented band and I really like the path that they are going musically. I am excited to see them again when they return to Cleveland in February. This time I will be recruiting as many friends as possible to join me.

So is everyone enjoying my babble blog of sorts?

Well I am not done yet.

I have been fighting the H1N1 swine flu poison epidemic that has been attacking many in the area for over a week now. I did not have severe symptoms but I was not feeling well at all last week and had to skip out of the Mike Doughty show that I really wanted to go to. You know I am sick when I skip out on a show. I think it was a good idea though. In fact I think I was in bed by 8pm.

Couple other CDs I have been digging and will be writing something up soon about:

Bless The FallWitness
Strung OutAgents Of The Underground

Upcoming shows I am attending:

Mae w/ Jenny Owen Youngs – Oct 30th at Musica
The Whigs – Oct 31st at Musica
Gallows / Wreck Havoc – Nov 8th at the Grog Shop

Is anyone listening to anything amazing as of late that you would like to share? You know I do take comments on BHP… I am always looking for w stuff to listen to.

Finally who has seen Zombieland? Honestly that movie is now one of my favs when it comes to horror comedies… I’m not going to say anything yet about the movie in case you have not seen it yet and want to…

Well that is all I have going on right now. See you next time!

Strung Out – Prototypes and Painkillers – CD Review

Californian punkers Strung Out have recently released a b-side and rarities CD full of material that spans their 18-year career as a hardworking, independent punk rock band. The CD, titled Prototypes and Painkillers, is full of songs that are unreleased, not found on studio albums, or were previously out of print, making for a nice find for any Strung Out fan. This is actually the band’s second compilation; the first was titled The Skinny Years… Before We Got Fat.

Released by Fat Wreck Chords, the new CD, according to drummer Jordan Burns, is “for the fans.” The cardboard foldout includes short descriptions of each song, and the band shares when they recorded each song and what album, if any, it was left off of. The band also mentions that “over the last 18 years or so” they “recorded over 120 songs, many of which never saw a proper release.” I guess it is safe to say this is now the proper release that these amazing songs belong on; now true fans of Strung Out need not search endlessly on the internet for these gems.

The songs are in no chronological order. “Don’t Look Back” starts off the CD. The song was a limited edition 2001 recording that was included in the first 10,000 copies of An American Paradox, the band’s fourth release. The song is sick, in a good way, with trademark Strung Out technical guitar work.

The original recording of “Novacain” sounds to me better than the version found on the Fat Wreck Chords comp Live Fat, Die Young. Catchy as hell, it is a good track many fans may not have heard before. The song was actually supposed to be on the band’s 2000 EP The Element of Sonic Defiance but was instead contributed to Fat Wreck Chords, as they had asked for an exclusive track for their compilation.

The cover of the Descendants’ “I’m Not A Loser” is a great rendition. I had had no doubts that Strung Out could not hammer this classic punk song out. Previously only available on iTunes, “Novella” was a track that I feel should not have been left off the band’s recent release Blackhawks Over Los Angeles. The song is a little heavier and a whole lot catchier than some other tracks on the CD. The band mentions in the notes that it was a tough call keeping the track off the CD.

“This is definitely the most popular song we’ve never had on an album” they say in the notes for “Lost Motel.” The studio version may never had made it onto An American Paradox but it was released on the members only Fat Club 7”. Having only the live version on the Live In a Dive CD, I can see why so many fans request it at the band’s shows. Without a doubt this track is one of my favorites on the entire CD.

Speaking of favorites, the cover of “Bark At The Moon”, an Ozzy Osbourne classic, blew me away. Strung Out adds their own style and nails the song that appeared on the Punk Goes Metal compilation. I always tell people how I have heard a lot of bad covers, but this in no way will ever fall into that category. If there is one track on this CD you need to listen to first, here it is.

You can tell how long ago “Sinner Or Coward” was recorded from the moment you start listening to it. A bit of trivia about this song is that Rob Ramos played all the original instruments, including drums. Jim Cherry, one-time bassist for Strung Out, also contributed a guitar solo.

Another track that was recorded for a Fat Wreck Chords compilation, “Your Worst Mistake,” appeared on Uncontrollable Fatulance. Full of great guitar licks and solos, this is a killer track, with Jason Cruz singing his heart out. The bonus track “More Than Words,” originally on Blackhawks Over Los Angeles, sounds a lot more punk-poppy than the other tracks. It caught my ear in a good way and has endless singalong possibilities.

Strung Out says in their notes on “Wrong Side Of The Tracks” that Josh Freese (The Vandals, NIN, A Perfect Circle) charged the band a 12-pack of beer to fill in for an injured Jordan Burns on drums. The song was recorded for a Fearless Records 7” and the band had no time to waste, hence they had asked Freese for help. The drumming on this track is a lot more technical throughout, and the notes mention that Freese was actually stumped while trying to learning the opening drum beat. Just by listening to it I can understand why.

The acoustic version of “Velvet Alley” that was re-recorded for Punk Goes Acoustic is another track I really got into. I have heard this version as well as the original found on An American Paradox, and while both versions are amazing, the acoustic take stands out more.

Closing the disc is a demo from 1992, a few of which are included. The first song entirely written by guitarist Jake Kiley, “Forever Is Today” is a track full of young punk rock ambition and sounds. This track was, according to the band, never re-recorded or released until now. As a Strung Out fan, I found it very satisfying to hear this track and see how far this band has come along.

The band, having wanted to create this rarities CD for quite some time, is actually in the process of recording its eighth studio album, following their 2007 release Blackhawks Over Los Angeles. Full of material I had forgotten about or simply not had the opportunity to hear until now, I have no complaints about this CD and think it is the perfect collection. Prototypes and Painkillers should tide over any fan, old or new, until the next studio album. It is filled with exceptional covers, alternative takes on prior hit tracks, and of course the material that never made it to a CD until now.

-Check out Strung Out on their MySpace page

-DOWNLOAD THIS! – Strung Out “Wrong Side of the Tracks”

-Strung Out is on tour.  Click HERE for tour dates and more information!

-Here is a fun little overdub of my favorite track off the entire CD: