Concert Reviews

Face to Face with Champion Lover and Last Imprint at the Opera House

Photographs by Matt Forsythe. 

Mid-week and for some already more than one can handle in a lifetime, let alone a few days, so what better way to get the frustrations out with a night featuring a very solid triple bill of punk rock acts with a very tight knit punk rock family.

Supporting their ninth album, Protection, and 25 years together, Southern California punks Face To Face put on a much-needed energetic set that allowed the crowd of various ages a temporary escape from reality the day after the American election result.

For roughly 90 minutes, singer/guitarist Trever Keith and his three cohorts touched on almost all off the band’s albums with the most emphasis on Protection and 1991’s self-titled debut.

The packed crowd greeted the band with the reverence that punk audiences like to bestow on their legends.  The band fed off that energy, although did have to specify that any stage invaders would have to either execute a notable stage dive or simply know the words to the song following one invader’s inability to remember any words.

Just about finished a Canadian tour, Keith addressed the elephant in the room that was the previous night’s election result by voicing that the band might just stay north of the border.  But for the most part, the night was focused on good ole punk rock that was the perfect distraction from the current reality.  Many around my age just teleported back in time to when there was less grey on our heads.  The quick-to-get-sweaty crowd vented their frustrations shouting along in unison and offering up many crowd surfers.

Opening up the night were two local bands I hadn’t heard before but really glad I showed up early enough to be rewarded with a full night of impressive heavy tunes.

Champion Lover got the evening started with one of the most blisteringly loud sets I’ve heard from an opening act.  Never heard their tunes before but they gave me a Mudhoney meets Motorhead vibe with a heavy not to early Sonic Youth, all winning points in my books.  For half an hour the four-piece beat out glorious noise that would have been enough for me to go home happy.  

But I didn’t go home and was treated to half an hour of Last Imprint who were more aligned with the headliners’ brand of punk, but awfully quiet after Champion Lover.  Still they were impressive to watch and they managed to inspire an attempt to assemble a circle pit.  Even more impressive was Paddy on bass who was filling in for an absent member.  He learned his parts in 90 minutes and executed them like he was always part of them.

The lesson learned here kids is to try and catch all the bands on a bill.  It’s more bang for your buck, is a huge confidence booster for the bands playing and especially in the case of tonight, carry a great reward to your ears and eyes (I developed two new crushes).

About author

Concert reviewer at Live in Limbo.