By Matt Oakes
I love the smell of punk. The asphyxiating fragrance of tobacco and pot mixed with the fantastic aroma of beer-drenched body odour is enough to get the heart of any punk rock fan beating.
On Oct. 31, to the delight of the sold-out gathering, Face to Face and opening acts Gob and Saves the Day whipped the MacEwan Hall Ballroom into a frenzied blend of good old sweaty and smelly punk rock.
In town to promote their latest album Reactionary, Face to Face continues to use the same no-nonsense live formula that characterizes their decade-long career. Like the other great punk acts of our generation, Face to Face feels it does not have to entertain the crowd with senseless dialogue and silly antics. The crowd came to hear track after track of in-your-face punk rock–not a theatrical presentation.
Nevertheless, if a night on Broadway is what you are looking for, then Gob is the right medicine for your affliction. On stage for a solid hour, Gob entertained the capacity crowd with a merging of chit-chat, ’80s covers and hard-hitting punk rock. Dressed for the occasion as a band of swashbuckling pirates, the Langley, B.C. quartet began the show with a rendition of Metallica’s "Master of Puppets" and began their tracks and filled their interludes with retro gems such as Bon Jovi’s "Livin’ on a Prayer," Guns N’ Roses’ "Sweet Child O’ Mine," and The Bee Gees’ "Stayin’ Alive."
Although they did get around to playing their more popular numbers, one of the finer moments happened when Captain Ahab cried out, "Throw me some joints you fucking hippies!" The fans screamed their approval, yet no joints were thrown.
Earlier, up and coming New Jersey group Saves the Day began the night with an energizing set.
Shortly after Gob’s performance, the ballroom collective found itself face to face with the headlining act and were immediately subjected to three merciless tracks from the new album. Along the way, the trio satisfied the invigorated mob with versions of all the hits and standards.
There’s nothing like good punk rock. Take a deep breath–you gotta love that smell.