One thing I want to make clear at the very top of this post is that I am a fan of Michael Keene and The Faceless. Planetary Duality is one of my all-time favorite death metal records and Keene's behavior and admission that he is a recovering addict has me concerned for his well-being. I hope he gets the help he needs.
But at the same time, I think he is doing a huge disservice to fans to continue touring. Moreso, he is doing a bigger disservice to himself. There always seems to be some reason he can't deliver on a promised performance, be it a cancelled tour due to airplane problems, stolen equipment and anything else they can think of.
The band was criticized last week for arriving super late for their headlining performance at the Bay Area Death Fest. They did not arrive at any point to set up merch. When they showed up, they had to rush to get to the stage to set up and took so long that they only ended up playing four songs of a set which promised to play Planetary Duality in full. Fans sent in reports that Keene was in no condition to perform. A short fifteen second clip of Keene showed him poorly performing one of the solos. The Faceless have begun clapping back.
It started with this tweet:
We are live streaming our set on Instagram RIGHT NOW!!! Don’t let one 15 second video mold your entire opinion on us. Watch our live stream.
— The Faceless (@THEFACELESSband) June 15, 2018
They also shared footage of The Faceless playing rather well:
Well, turns out some fans took that to heart and one Youtuber took the time to compile far more than 15 seconds of Keene flubbing some solos, in what looks like the same venue as the Bay Area Death Fest, giving further evidence to Keene being in poor condition to perform.
So, not the best look.
Meanwhile, the band's manager posted a detailed statement where he blamed the entire Bay Area debacle on van troubles:
“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.”
To prove the point, Shannon posted the receipts as well.
This just begs the question: why didn't they update fans via social media the day of, as this was happening. Why is this coming out nearly two weeks after the fact? Why does there always seem to be an excuse?
Once again, we think Michael Keene needs help. His manager, his friends, his family – somebody needs to step in here.