There once was a time when skateboarders and punk rock created something called “skate rock,” a type of punk rock that was wild, aggressive, and full of adrenaline and risk. Not to be confused with “skate punk” that would come later (baggy shorts and chain wallets singing about getting dumped again), skate rock was the real deal, and at the front of the pack was The Faction.
Coming out of San Jose in the early ‘80s, The Faction played a style of punk rock so unrelenting that it was impossible to maintain for a long time. The band released a couple of albums and a handful of EPs, and was gone before anyone knew what happened. For a while, that is. At some point around 2014 the band got back together to play some shows, culminating in this DVD which was filmed at guitarist (and legendary pro skater) Steve Caballero’s fiftieth birthday party.
Let’s start with the answer to the big question: yes, The Faction are every bit as amazing as they were thirty years ago! The musicianship these guys are putting forth is something to behold. Hell, the playing was damn near studio quality. The set list was one classic after another with a (great) new song thrown in near the end as an added bonus. Maybe a new record in the future? One can only hope.
I need to touch on a couple of issues I have with this DVD. First of all, what the hell is wrong with the crowd? They’re all standing around with their hands jammed in their pockets, unless one arm happens to be stretched skyward taking video with their phone. You’re seeing The Faction play live in a skatepark for Cab’s birthday! You should be going nuts! It was way too mellow down front. Another issue is some of the camera work. Mainly, it quite often would cut to a wider angle stationary camera that seems to have been sitting on top of one of the house speakers or something because it’s vibrating out of focus in time to the music. Nope, didn’t like that. Other than that, this is an amazing document featuring one of the best, unsung bands in West Coast hardcore history. It also comes with a live CD of the show, which rules as well. It’s time for me to take some arthritis meds so I can go for a skate! –Ty Stranglehold (Beer City, PO Box 1759, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1759)