The Angels (Angel City): Face to Face

Nobody will deny that AC/DC's riffs can shatter concrete and that their boogie rocking blues makes for some good times, but if you're searching for something with lyrical content beyond songs about women's butts and groupies with the clap, Angel City is the band for you. Amazingly huge and known as the Angels in Australia, they had to adopt the moniker Angel City in America due to the dying glam band, Angel fronted by Greg Guiffria. This nomenclature schizophrenia would torment the band throughout it's existence, once forcing them to take up the unruly moniker of The Angels from Angel City. But don't let the name confusion steer you away from what they have to offer. No matter what they called themselves The Angles knew how to rock and Face to Face, a compilation of the best songs from their two prior mega-platinum Australian releases, is a great place to lose yourself in their particular brand of madness.

The key to Angel City (the Angels) were the bone crunching riffs of the Brewster brothers on guitar and the enigmatic, raving personality of the lead singer, Doc Neeson, who's vocals had more in common with Johnny Rotten than Bon Scott. In fact, Angel City comes across as the perfect combination of AC/DC get-down-boogie with the Sex Pistols edge and urgency. More often than not, it seems like Neeson is about to explode off the CD, his vocals barely contained within the framework of the song. And it's that energy and excitement that makes this Angel City album so damn much fun to listen to.

As a whole, the compositions are strong, with heart bursting riffs, thudding drums, and lyrics concentrating on Neeson's glaring paranoia and Orwellian view of the present. Couplets such as "Hold tight! Big brother/callin' in the name of liberty/Lot's stone take your place/Looks like it's comin' down on me" give you a peak through the keyhole into the scary place that is Neeson's mind.

"No Exit" reigns as the stellar track, with a stunning, hauntingly brutal riff, but every song has its merits including "Can't Shake it," later copied and bastardized by Great White. I have to give Great White credit though, in taking "Can't Shake it", and "Face the Day" from Angel City's second album, they showed that they had the where-with-all to steal some great rock and roll that was going largely unheard in America.

Face to Face
contains some of the Angels best known songs, including their own twisted version of a love song, "Am I Ever to See Your Face Again." Riffs such as those on "Take a Long Line" and "Marseilles," could rest comfortably on any AC/DC album, but what really made Angel City stand out was the range of material they created, from the Velvet Undergroundesque "Out of the Blue" to the raging punk of "Coming Down on Me". Think of them as AC/DC for those with a measurable IQ. -- Racer X

Buy here: Face to Face


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the review. I got the CD on the basis of the review.

I hid under my bed the first time I got this CD. The songs are insane but so intellegent and thought provoking.
How this band never became bigger than AC/DC or Green Day is beyond me. Guitar crunch , paranoid lyrics and great blues hard rock sing along.

Thanks for the review!
I got also got Darkroom and that is even more insane ....I love it!
Anonymous said…
Face to Face is one hard rockin' CD. You can hear as the article writer correctly states AC/DC mixed with Sex Pistols. Any Hard Rock fan who knows his music will have this in the collection. Guitar and vocal Intensity and drama rip on every track. The trademark Angel City fast strumming is most evident on this CD and less on each follow up.

Take a long Line sets the tone for guitars in punk overdrive. Awesome song.

Take me away to Marseilles one of the longer Angel City tracks steps into heavy blues rock territory & "Give me a Whiskey don't think twice"!

Shadow Boxer more catchy than a Saturday night bar room brawl. One can imagine a UFC fighter using this as motivational music pre fight.

Can't Shake it obvioulsy about something from the darker side of life. ZZ Top meets the Stones (Some may remember Great White covered this tack)

Waiting for The World. Personal favourite. The song is obviously written with someone in mind and is a hammerhead of sonic assault to the ear drum. Hard and fast.

In summary Face to Face is the sort of CD that makes you want to punch your fist in the air and grab a beer, yet then "start to ask the reason why?".

The speed and intensity of the strumming and crunching of the guitars paired with intelligent lyrics delivered by a madman singer ranks with anything released by any band in the last 30 years.
Anonymous said…
I agree with earlier comments any hard rock fan with a decent collection has this CD.Face to Face is a killer. It is one of the best representations of intellegent fast hard rock from this era. Darker than fellow Aussies AC/DC with added Pistols like punk wit & energy. Those who listern to classic rock FM will be familiar with "Take me away to Marseilles" or maybe even 'Take a Long Line".

Also look in the import bin or online under 'The Angels'.

3 other Angel City aka The Angels records worth adding to the collection.

Dark Room (see review on the Ripple Effect)

Two Minute Warning (can't seem to find this review so perhaps The Ripple Effect could do one?)

Beyond Salvation (check out Dogs are Talking)

*Footnote- these guys are back together 40 years later (in 2010 having sorted legal issues) touring Australia as true rock n roll Road Warriors.
Absolutely love to do a Two Minute Warning review. The Angels get pissed off! A great album. I do have Beyond Salvation as well, and agree, Dogs are Talking is a strong cut. Don't forget their amazing live double CD Liveline also.

I'll get some more Angels reviews up. Promise.
Anonymous said…
Face to Face rocks big time.

'Aussie Pub Rock' gave the world 3 legendary bands Angel City/The Angels , Rose Tattoo and of course the biggest of them all AC/DC.
Part of the reason they all had that FAT Aussie sound was same production and recording, Alberts in Sydney. With production handled by Vanda & Young(brother of AC/DC guitarists).

I flew out to Australia last year to see Angel City/The Angels on tour. It was funny to see other fans/nuts from Europe and the US who travelled half way around the world just to hear the 'Live by Request Tour' They played all the songs off Face to Face and most of the songs off Dark Room. The look on fans faces said it all- it was AMAZING. They may be old but they are still very loud. Make no mistake these guys are still huge in Australia. In a recent poll the big FM station had 4 songs in the Top 100 of all time.

After the gig at the bar all the band appeared for autograph signings. I spoke to Rick Brewster (the guitarist with shades who doesn't move). Really nice guy seemed interested in the bootleg DVD's I had of some of their gigs. Spoke to singer Doc Neeson in between him signing womens breasts.You can tell he's the smart cookie who wrote all those clever lyrics. And John Brewster who clashes with Doc constantly on and off stage. I got the feeling John still belives they could oneday break the US big. I told him someone will have a hit oneday when they cover Take a Long Line, it prime.

I love AC/DC but there is something a little more special and exclusive about Angel City. As your music taste matures you appriecate Angel City a little more. I've spoken to alot of the 80's metal bands GnR, AC/DC, Great White (covered 2 songs), Kiss, Aerosmith, Motley Crue will all tell you they admired Angel City.

Also Night Attack is worth a review?
Anonymous said…
Night Attack yes!
Anonymous said…
The reason Angel city didn't hit it big in Europe and the states was wrong place wrong time. Short hair yet playing heavy rock in the. 70's/ 80's didn't work. Although someone told me today he saw them support ac/dc in 1980 and thought they were better.
Gotta say, the response to our Angels (Angel City) posts has far surpassed my expectations. I'm jazzed that so many people remember the band so fondly.

I also gotta say, that this may be the first time that a review has been requested for Night Attack, Two Minute Warning and Live Line. I happen to think that Two Minute Warning destroys just about everything else out there. So nasty and violent.

So as soon as I get caught up with other Ripple stuff, I promise I'll get a Two Minute Warning review published. Night Attack to follow.

Then more . . . . if you want.

Thanks so much for reading us.

Anonymous said…
I only know this band as The Angels very popular in Australia.I own all the CD's but Face To Face, No Exit, Darkroom,Two Minute Warning,Liveline, Beyond Salvation & Skin & Bone have neen my favourites. Also if you liked Face to Face you should probably get a hold of 'Live at Narrara' DVD from 1983. It captures the band at one of it's peaks. Many of the songs from Face to Face are captured in front of a huge nighttime audience. But to really have appriciated The Angels you had to have seen them live. Very good note perfect muso's yet with a stage show centred around the live wire frontman Doc Neeson. Man could that guy move and shake in his prime with a slightly demented, paranoid, demonic viewpoint on the world. You get the feeling they were more intellegent, mature, witty and stylish than the other heavy rock bands of this era. And Looking back on the clips on Youtube they don't look so dated. Probably why they are so fondly remembered and revered to this day.
Anonymous said…
What would be interesting was if the Ripple Effect did an interview with Angel city aka The Angels and asked them to reflect on their anthemic CD's and tour experiences in the US? I was looking on Billboard to grossing US concerts from 1985 and interstingly one of them is listed as Triumph/Angel City ...I think it was LA/SF! Bet you Triumph didn't share the money.
Anonymous said…
Probably why people talk about them is because Airbourne always talk about them interviews.
Anonymous said…
Me too that's how I heard of the angels -Airbourne always talk about Ausie Pub Rock sound and the bands who made it famous ac/dc ,rose tattoo and the Angels . So I looked the up and found this forum.
Anonymous said…
Yes I agree Face to Face is just a fantastic record , not one bad song on it.Someone suggested Green Day cover take a long line which I think would be interesting. LA Guns covered Marseilles from Face to Face as did Guns n Roses Live on occassion. Dark Room was different and with more textures but also fantastic.

But Two Minute Warning was the heaviest and best- Two Minute Warning is a brutal and thought provoking concept Albumn - post nuclear war devastation.

Underground the lead single a forgotten FM classic with a very Mad Max like video. It was Angel City's last serious play in the US and recived high rotation for a few weeks in 1985.Maybe this CD was to heavy, dark and brutal for it's time? Maybe the record company bailed to early? But it sure stacks up when played loud today.
A interesting footnote was some months after Two Minute Warning was released in 1985 MTV broadcast the Australian leg of Live Aid featuring INXS, Angel City, LRB & Men at Work. All thoses bands became household names in the states but one. And anyone reading this will know Angel City deserved much better.
Anonymous said…
Face to face was popular in the us when it was released. Both face to face and darkroom charted in 1980 but something never clicked with the greater us public. Part record company, management, part pigeon hole issues with a band part heavy rock, part punk & and very individual. Why they never clicked in the US will remain a mystery as the relics they left behind on some classic rocking cd's will lay testament to the original and creative talent that went to waste on the greater public. A terrible shame.
Anonymous said…
Slash is launching MTV Classic in Australia to day and was being interviewed saying how he grew loving Angel City/ The Angels and the sound and attitude!
Anonymous said…
Face to Face - Darkroom were great.
Night Attack was poor. Then Angel City sort of dissappeared until Two Minute Warning flashed up on the radar for a few brief seconds....never to be heard of again until now.

Mystery surrounds.
Anonymous said…
These boys blasted their through 1980 . FAce to face was very talked about and played. Rumors abounded most common was singer Doc Neeson died of throat cancer as to why they were never heard of again.
Anonymous said…
Angel City aka the Angels still tour in Australia with the classic Face to Face line up.I just checked their website

It would be great if they put a tour to to the states together. Marsellies still finds it's way to classic rock playlists and many others know Face the Day from Darkroom. Although most mistakenly think Great White wrote and recorded it first.
Anonymous said…
Give me the sound of a rolling dice
Give me a whiskey- don't think twice
Give me the card that takes my blues away
Take me away to marseilles
Anonymous said…
Forget the beer. Take a Long Line
Anonymous said…
Don't forget Night Attack record has some cool tunes Long Night, City out of Control and Fashion and Fame. The cover art was interesting. I don't think Epic ever put this out on CD?
Anonymous said…

Found this on Youtube Marsellies 2010
In the three years we've been ripplin', we've received more comments about this band (this post and the Face to Face post . . . go check it out) than any other band.

And I love it!

I'll champion The Angels to anyone who'll listen.

Thanks to your requests, we've got lots more Angels coming. I got reviews of Night Attack, Liveline, and Two Minute Warning coming. Plus I've picked up some great rarities on vinyl, singles, live ep's etc.

Someone get me in touch with the band. Love to interview them!

AC/DC meets the Pistols indeed.
Anonymous said…
The youtube link above is from a 1997 TV special. They split in 1998. Reformed in 2008. More recent live version of Marseilles can be found at
Anonymous said…
I don't care what anybody says this was the best version of Marseilles- It form a DVD Live at Narrara, I think INXS were support to the Angels that night.
Anonymous said…
I'm also a fan of Angel City.Take A Long Line- the late Mick Ronson(Bowies Ziggy era guitarist) did a cover of this song with Joe Elliot (Def Lepard) on backing vocals. Agree would suit Green Day or Axl Rose.
Anonymous said…
Angel City shone bright in the night sky for a few minutes and then vanished leaving a few very hard to find classic rock diamond artifacts.
As The Angels in Australia they are solid gold rock gods.
Anonymous said…
the late 70's produced some great music. heavy rock with punk. Face to Face was just one of the records that captured this. Just watching the runaways movie and I can hear this punk/rock mix also. An interesting time.
Anonymous said…
Found this interesting blog comment

How The Angels Helped Create Grunge

By Darryl Mason

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, in an interview with Kathy McCabe, praises The Angels :

I grew up on (The Angels albums) No Exit and Night Attack...That is the Australian music that meant so much to me, maybe because me and my friends were the only ones who knew them."

When I was interviewing about a dozen young American and UK bands a month for the music press in the early 90s, I had a standard question which went like this :

"Did you hear much Australian rock when you were growing up? Are there Australian bands you count as an influence or inspiration?"

Obviously, AC/DC was an obvious, often answer to that question, and bands like The Scientists, The Birthday Party, The Go-Betweens, The Saints and Radio Birdman were also occasionally cited, but I was always surprised at how many bands listed The Angels for both influence and inspiration. And not just flat-out hard rock bands like Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue.

I'd have to dig through a bunch of boxes to find the article, but I'm pretty sure it was a member of The Melvins who told me that The Angels' 1983 schizophrenic, heavily jammed Watch The Red album and No Exit were something like foundation stones of American grunge. That might sound a little mind-blowing, but you only have to listen to the first albums of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Green River to hear the obvious influence The Angels had on these bands, and the grunge sound in general, which, listening back now, really does basically sound like loud cranking 1970s Australian pub rock.
Anonymous said…
How long do we have to wait for a Night Attack and Two Minute Warning review?
Anonymous said…
Also waiting to read about Night Attack?
Anonymous said…
Looks like Guns n Roses old manager is set to sue The Angels/ Angel City (he also managed The Angels briefly). Read it in Classic Rock MAgazine for yourself
Anonymous said…
I read the court papers and it's interesting to note Alan Niven rated Angel City's/The Angels Rick Brewster as a shit hot guitarist. Guess he would know having managed Guns n Roses and Great White.
Seems more than a chance of luck as the Angels finiancial fortunes have improved on the back of they reunion tours down under they get sued.
Anonymous said…
Terrible band - can't stand angel city - sound like a jack hammer going off
Anonymous said…
Your an idiot - Angel City had a sound of thunder dripping in sarcastic realism. Get a life you fool.Face to Face rocks!
Anonymous said…
Just booked 'Feelgood pit' tickets for Motley Crue and Doc Neesons Angels. Waiting a long time for this tour!
Anonymous said…
A new Angels Live CD was released a few weeks ago in Australia featuring many of the songs from Face to Face it is called The Angels Greatest Hits LIVE.
Anonymous said…
Here's a very interesting Max Music special on the Angels
Anonymous said…
Rose Tattoo another great Aussie band from this era
Anonymous said…
Their best song was not on Face to Face but the heavy n fast Two Minute Warning - it was the epic Underground
Anonymous said…
axl rose was recently interviewed by Eddie Trunk and asked axl what he was listening to right now. He said rose tattoo and Angel City .......Poor Eddie Trunk looked perplexed he had never heard of either band . Time to start learning some of the hard rock classics Eddie!
Anonymous said…
Eddie Trunk 'That Metal Show' has no idea whats going on unless you are talking about pop metal bands like Kiss or Metallica .

Axl Rose was was putting Eddie Truck in his place by mentioning these bands (Angel City & Rose Tattoo)because Eddie Trunk is just a music industry tool. He knew Eddie Trunk and his co host flunky's what look about as bright as Bart Simpson at Yale when he dropped these bands names in conversation. I bet Eddie Trunk couldn't name an Angel City or Rose Tattoo song.

I personally rate Angel City's Face to Face as one of the best records ever released.
NeverSoLive said…
Hi everyone,

So nice to hear some overseas fans of The Angels. I would recommend that you all try and get the original Australian version of Face to face and the follow up album No Exit. These are excellent albums and, like most Angels fans, I think it is a pity that they were not released in the US as they were here. What you got here was essentially a best of collection up to that point but the albums in their original state are classics and you are missing excellent tracks such as "Outcast", "Dawn is Breaking" and others. These albums have been digitally remastered and sound great.

Also try and get the live DVD "Live at Latrobe 1979" which was just prior to the band going to the US for the first time. There is no better live band than these guys!

Other albums to try are "Howling" "Liveline 99" and 'Skin and Bone" - all excellent, yet different albums.

You can order them online through the following sites:

These are big stores here in Australia so you will have no worries getting them.

I am a lifelong fan, having seen them live about 12 or so times and i think one of the comments on here is quite right in that overseas nobody really understood a short haired, hard rock band with deep, cryptic lyrics. These guys were intentionally different to most hard rock bands and I think the great respect they command reflects how far ahead of their time they really were.

Also check out Youtube under "The Angels" to see their clips. Enjoy!!
Anonymous said…
Just heard they recorded a new record without Doc Neeson. Couple of the new songs are on YouTube. Verdict - very interesting - Brewster twin guitar attack still solid new vocalist no Doc but not bad
Anonymous said…
Amazing TV footage! -Infamous new year's eve concert-Angel City-Sydney Opera House 100,000 fans & drunk hooligans Australia 12/31/79.

Drunk hooligans toss beer bottles hitting singer Doc Neeson directly in back of his skull and bassist Chris Bailey with a broken bottle in the face during "Marseilles". The show ends very abruptly as Doc and Chris are carried off the stage. This event aired live on Australian TV.
Anonymous said…
cool riffs
Anonymous said…
R.I.P Doc Neeson of The Angels/ Angel City -what a great Live rock band and awesome frontman. Should, could have been bigger than AC/DC. Maybe just a little ahead of their time with look and sound. And maybe a little more promotion and tour support would have helped.
Still a great body of work to draw from.

I would highly recommend the DVD Live at Narara.
Does it get any better than this?- Marsellies from Live at Narara
Whew. Your post made me lose my breath. So sorry to hear of his passing, and thanks so much for sharing with me and passing on the video. I just wrote a quick Ripple obituary for the man, who I never knew, but touched me so deeply.

Anonymous said…
I am 11 years old and have been loyal Angels fan since my dad played those awesome songs in the car.
My favourite song is Take a long line!

R.I.P Doc.
Anonymous said…
Guns N' Roses have paid tribute to Doc Neeson with a special performance of the Angels' classic "Marseilles".

Axl Rose and the band covered the song midway through their set on Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

"This one's for Doc. From the Angels to the angels," Axl said towards the end of the song.
Here's the video
Anonymous said…
Come on you Poms wanna see a real rock band in your own back yard. Just saw this link posted on The Angels website.

Legendary Aussie rock groupThe Angels/ Angel City are set to play London at the Garage June 3rd, 2015. Then The Sweden Rock Festival shortly thereafter.

You think AC/DC rock wait until you have your eardrums assaulted by The Angels.
Daniel said…
I'm not sure about The Angels' renaming in the USA being due to Greg Giuffra's 'Angel'. There was a girl group called The Angels who had a hit in the Sixties called 'My Boyfriend's back', which may have caused the rebranding.

Anyway, the Australian band is superb - in the 80s/90s, I bought so many of their LPs at ruinous import prices, and after much searching too.

It was a shame they split with such animosity, and now Doc Neeson's gone, they'll never be the same again.