Concert Review: Northern Faces rock the Maintenance Shop


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Northern Faces, a New York indie-rock band, performs a show at the M-shop on Sep. 2.

Emily Benda

Northern Faces and Modern Chemistry wowed the crowd in their first performance in Iowa at the Maintenance Shop Wednesday.

Starting off the night was punk rock band, Modern Chemistry. Lead singer, Joe Zorzi, warmed up the crowd with a couple of jokes between songs.

“Five people or 500, we’re here to have a good time, make friends and show people our music,” Zorzi said. “So if five people come and one person likes it, I think that’s a success.”

By the end of Modern Chemistry’s set, Zorzi and the rest of the band members were dripping sweat on stage. Although the crowd consisted of about 30 people, those in the audience seemed to enjoy the night’s entertainment. Most crowd members were bobbing their heads to the music and clapping along to the beat.

Amanda Evans, a junior at Johnston High School, was especially excited by Modern Chemistry’s performance.

“I have their CD and love them,” Evans said. “When I heard they were coming to Ames, I had to come [to the show].”

Northern Faces performed next and started their show with a hearty hello and multiple colorful spotlight effects. Their set list mostly consisted of their most recent album with songs such as, “Wait, Wait, Wait.”

Guitarist and singer, Bryan Shortell, said Northern Faces stands out in the broad genre of alternative rock because their songs are guitar-based.

“We’ve got some guitar stuff that kind of leans classic rock…you don’t hear a lot of that on the radio,” Shortell said. “We do three-part harmonies all the time; you don’t see that often anymore.”

Guitar solos by Marco Testa highlighted the night as Testa took center stage for his classic rock-influenced improvisations.

While Modern Chemisty’s style was more punk, Northern Faces’ music was similar to alternative rock bands like The 1975 and Twenty One Pilots.

After Northern Faces closed the show with “Cops Come,” the audience called out for an encore. The band declined, but encouraged the crowd to buy their merchandise if they wanted to hear more.

Northern Faces and Modern Chemistry members mingled with the crowd after the show to discuss the best parts of the night and the bands’ tour schedules. This is a common aspect of lesser-known bands, according to M-shop co-director, Jon Lazcniak.

“They’re in the process of getting their name out there and then in the future they potentially become these big bands,” Lazcniak said.

Whatever the future of Modern Chemistry and Northern Faces, the Ames audience has gotten a taste of East Coast-native alternative rock.