Punk week continued and finished for Emma and I with a show at Shepherd's Bush Empire. This show featured Pennywise headlining an absolutely stacked bill with Face To Face, Good Riddance and Teenage Bottlerocket. If you're a fan of 90s punk rock then that line-up is an absolute dream! Normally you would have to pay a huge festival price to see that kind of line up. And tonight's price was only £25, admittedly more than we would usually pay for a gig but still - did I mention the line up?!
First up were Wyoming pop punks Teenage Bottlerocket. After a difficult time over the past couple of years following the tragic death of Bottlerocket drummer and guitarist Ray's twin brother Brandon, it was absolutely brilliant to see them back on stage. On a big stage that a band with such talent deserve to be playing on no less. Taking to the stage Ray, Kody, Miguel and new drummer Darren Chewka, from Canadian band Old Wives, unleashed a 30 minute pop punk assault. Beginning as always with Freak Out, Teenage Bottlerocket tore through a fourteen song set spanning tracks from their entire discography. Highlights for me were Radio, Stupid Games, Bigger Than Kiss, Skate Or Die and They Call Me Steve but let's be honest the whole set was really a highlight. I've seen Teenage Bottlerocket and their musical contemporaries many times over the years and I'm always so amazed at the speed they play with barely any rest, it's incredible.
Victorville, California's Face To Face were the next band to take to the stage and wasted no time in launching into the hits with You Done Nothing starting their set off with a bang. Unfortunately these legends only had a half an hour set, but they tried their best to pack as much into it as they could. When you've been a band for such a long time and have released so much music over the years you'll never be able to please everyone with your setlist so Face To Face stuck with a mainly old school set. As is the way, old stuff always goes down best - so this did please many people in Shepherd's Bush. Classics such as Blind, Disconnected and Walk The Walk were played as well as newer tracks such as Bent But Not Broken and Double Crossed, that also went down a treat. Face To Face are one of those bands I love but never listen to anywhere near enough. Live they were just fantastic, this show definitely eclipsed my previous time seeing them back in 2013. Trevor Keith is a great frontman and has a great vocal for live shows. He also told a nice story about being in Shepherd's Bush Empire in the past watching the late great Joe Strummer play and deciding that one day he also wanted to play here. Dreams do come true, even after being a band for 25 years.
What a great night it was. I'm not usually one who really enjoys going to bigger venues but I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable "bigger venue" shows I've been to in some time. All four bands were superb and the three supports could easily have been headline act in their own right. As much as I love new bands, it's great to sometimes take a trip down memory lane and remember the bands that got you where you are today.
This gig review was written by Colin Clark.