The Faceless Blame Van Troubles for Bay Area Death Fest Fiasco

  • Axl Rosenberg

Last week’s Bay Area Death Fest headlining set by The Faceless is already the stuff of legend… and not in a good way. The band, you may recall, reportedly arrived at the venue more than ten hours late, and took an abnormally long amount of time to set up. As a result, while they were supposed to play their most-beloved album, Planetary Duality, in its entirety, they only had time for a truncated set of just half the album. To add insult to injury, video filmed at the concert shows the band’s mastermind, Michael Keene, giving a truly so-bad-it’s-funny performance.

Initially, the band seemed eager to address only this last part of the story, advising fans, “Don’t let one 15 second video mold your entire opinion on us” without addressing their tardiness. But now their manager, E.J. Shannon, has taken to Facebook to offer the following explanation:

“I’ll address what happened at BADF. The Faceless left to head to the show and 30 minutes into the drive their van broke down. I had to find a mechanic to come into his shop on a Sunday to fix the van. By the time the van got fixed, it was cutting it very close for The Faceless to make it to the show on time to play their set.

“At this point, a lot of bands would just cancel the show and move on to the next one. But we are really trying to turn The Faceless’ reputation around and make things right with the fans, so we decided to have the band rush up to Northern California and play their set, despite being extremely late.

“Once they got there, there were a few kinks that needed to be worked out with the laptop, so it took them a bit longer to set up than usual. It was the first day of tour, and they hadn’t gotten to sound check because they were so late due to the van breaking down. Lots of bands (not all, but lots) have issues on the first day of tour, but these are usually fixed during sound check. By the time they were able to get set up and start playing, they only had about 30 minutes before the venue had to cut them off due to a strict sound curfew. So they played what they could from Planetary Duality. As for the sloppy playing…would you play a perfect set after a stressful day like that?

“Michael Keene is working on bringing this band back to where it once was. The rest of the shows after BADF have been great, and so will all of the future shows. Shit happens, but The Faceless is moving forward.”

Shannon even included photos of the receipt from the auto mechanic who worked on The Faceless’ van:The Faceless Blame Van Troubles for Bay Area Death Fest Fiasco The Faceless Blame Van Troubles for Bay Area Death Fest Fiasco

In a separate correspondence, Shannon assured MetalSucks that the van had (mostly) passed inspection prior to the tour, with the mechanic telling them that the vehicle “would need to be fixed eventually but it wasn’t urgent.” So hopefully they gave whomever did that inspection a lousy review on Yelp.

Thing is, this explanation is only moderately helpful. Even if their van did break down, there are a ton of lingering questions here. Why didn’t anyone say anything until now? Why didn’t the band tell the poor crowd that had waited so patiently what had happened? Are we really meant to believe that the van problems, the laptop problems, and the Keene performance problems are all just unrelated coincidences?

Look: of course shit does happen, but the larger issue here is that shit seems to happen to Michael Keene and his bandmates a LOT, and as is the case with a certain other brilliant guitarist/vocalist/band leader, there always seems to be some excuse as to why he’s not to blame. So at a certain point, you have to wonder if there actually is a malevolent grey cloud following Michael Keene around, or if he does something to attract all this drama. I’m putting my money on the latter. You can make up your own mind.

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