Now the night didn’t get off to the best of starts for yours truly as 10 minutes after arriving I managed to break my pen, trying to take notes was going to be a touch more difficult than I thought. But fear not reader (s) one of the advantages of being mates with someone who works in a school is that they ALWAYS have a pen! So pull up a chair and gather round as I bring to you my take on Face Of A Stranger live at the Boars Head.By the time the opening chords of the opening track ricocheted around the room a good crowd had assembled and there was a real buzz in the air. If those gathered were unsure of what to expect, they weren’t unsure for long. Opener ‘Swallowing Grenades’ was hard, fast and in your face, the tone had well and truly been set.
But that’s not to say that that’s all the band has got in their locker. ‘The Road’ was next and this track finds the band in a more serious deep thinking mode. You can actually find the link to this track on the blog I wrote about the band earlier on in the week. ‘Shutting Me Down’ is what I’d say was a typical FOAS type track, with lead singer Mitch’s powerful vocal really coming to the fore. But the main thing that struck me here was the sound. Having only seen the band at a tiny venue previously the sound here was so much better, everything was cleaner and more crisp and this coupled with the structure of the song really gave guitarists Joe and Josh a chance to showcase their talents.The up temp hard hitting ‘Dysphasia’ followed and this is quickly becoming one of my highlights of the bands set. Personally I think this could be a single. Not that its soft, far from it, but I think that with the recent Black Sabbath revival and the public rediscovering their love for big rock tracks there could well be an appetite out there for something like this. The crowd were really into the performance but we were all in need of a breather. And what was this I could hear? A ballad? Surely not? No, I was right, it wasn’t. ‘Violet’ is a real triumph for quality song writing and thoughtful melodies. The 1st part of the song is slow and thoughtful, but then you’re hit in the face with a musical brick, Luke beats the hell out of his drum kit and the guitars go into overdrive. I’m knackered just listening to it.
As the set drew towards a conclusion we were apparently going to be treated to a song that the band hadn’t actually performed live before, but what a great surprise it was. ‘Live Your Life’ is a lot softer than anything else they played tonight but I fell in love with it. They seemed reluctant to play it but there really shouldn’t have worried. I’d describe it as a heavier and more broody version of the Oasis classic ‘Live Forever.’ Rock and even some mainstream radio would love this record.But the band were determined to go out with a bang. ‘In My Veins’ is hard rock at its finest but the bridge/interlude part way through really shows the bands dexterity. Nearly everything drops out leaving Slater pretty much alone playing what is quite a haunting bass riff as the song once more builds to a crashing crescendo.
Sat here looking back at the night, what we were treated to was showcase of big, loud, high powered rock music at its best. Before they started I was a little worried that they wouldn’t sound as good as I remembered but I really should learn to trust my judgment. They may have been together less than a year but they have the potential to go far, how far who knows but I know that I for one will be watching them enjoy the ride.Anyone for a cheese toasty?