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POP MUSIC REVIEWS

Punk Meets Pop at the Roxy in Victorville's Face to Face

September 23, 1996|SARA SCRIBNER

Now that Green Day and the Offspring have brought the pop-punk revival into full bloom, a band that in less punkish times would be blowing the roof off of Inland Empire garage parties can pack the Roxy, which is what Face to Face did Friday night.

The Victorville-based punk group sounds like the Descendents, looks a little like Social Distortion and sings straightforward songs untouched by the era of Michael Stipe and the age of the cryptic lyric. Joined by its sinewy new bassist, Scott Shiflett, the outfit played a hyper-charged, muscle-bound set that was long enough to test the most athletic moshers' energy level.

Singer Trever Keith stuck with his goal of playing every song on his group's second major-label release, "Face to Face," but it proved to be a tiring task. Thirty minutes into a set of speedy buzz-saw guitar and primal drums, the crowd-surfers started to lag despite Keith's down-home charm and the edgy enthusiasm of the audience.

The set revealed some of the band's weaknesses, but mostly reveled in Face to Face's obvious strength: a knack for mixing the hard-core bash of punk with the tuneful bounce of pop. While the form is '70s old-school, suburban Cali-punk, the group burrowed full-force into the form, recapturing the spirit without ever sounding like a nostalgia act.

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