Concert review: NOFX live at the Fillmore
Posted on December 20, 2012
Get in the middle of any punk rock crowd and bring up NOFX and you’re likely to hear people say how much they like them or how much they hate them. But love them or hate them no one can deny the fact that after twenty five years they can still pack large venues, or the fact that they are one of the highest selling, most successful independent bands of all time selling over 6 million records worldwide without ever being signed to a major label. NOFX is obviously doing something right because their fans are fiercely loyal and will turn out in force to a show as they did at the Fillmore show in Denver.
If you follow NOFX you will more than likely know that they have a live album called “I Heard They Suck Live” and if you have never seen them live you will no doubt think that they probably do suck live just because of the name of that live album. But I have news for you……they don’t always suck live. In fact they tore it up at the Fillmore and I was more than just a little impressed with their musical prowess.
NOFX has never claimed to be virtuosos on their instruments, nor individually is there anything outstanding about the band members but when you get Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, Eric Sandin and El Hefe all on stage or in the studio together what usually happens is punk rock magic. So I sat back with a beer to watch the magic unfold as they took the stage.
True to the NOFX attitude of not following the herd they eschewed the usual gigantic, sometimes garish back drop in favor of a very small cardboard that simply read “NOFX”. The backdrop was not unfurled with a flourish, nor were curtains opened suddenly revealing the back drop. No, instead the backdrop was lowered slowly on strings holding it up from each side…..and with that the show began.
Most songs from NOFX are usually fast paced with a lot of choppy, hypersonic, racing guitar, double time drum beats, and bass lines that walk up and down the fret board, and as such their songs tend to be fairly short. Well, before we knew what was even happening NOFX flew through two or three songs before our brains could catch up and realize that the first song was already over. As they lit into the fourth song my brain finally caught up and I realized at that point they had played “We Called It America” and “Murder the Government” before I heard the familiar guitar strokes of “Linoleum” which has to be one of my favorite NOFX tunes.
Because the length of most of the songs are so short this gave the guys in NOFX plenty of time to poke fun at the crowd, at themselves and in general just chit chat a bit. And they still had time to knock out twenty six songs. I don’t know of any other concert you can go to and hear that many songs from one band in just over an hour. But it is not only the songs that got the crowd going, it was the banter as well.
NOFX is a punk band that by and far leans heavily on humor so the crowd didn’t take it to heart when Fat Mike called some people in the crowd idiots for throwing their shoes at the band members. “It’s cold out you idiots”, howled Fat Mike at the crowd. “Why would you throw your shoes on stage? Your feet are going to freeze!” And just about the time El Hefe remarked that at least no combat boots had been thrown on stage a combat boot went zinging through the air landing just to the left of El Hefe. Fat Mike swore that if any members of the band got hit with a shoe that they would definitely not play “Bob”……unless it hit El Hefe, because if it hit the Mexican it doesn’t count.
If you are easily offended by racial slurs and jokes a NOFX show is not where you want to be. They’re not racist, they’re the opposite of racist and they’re open about it. Why do you think they came out with an album called “White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean”? Because the band consists of one white guy, two Jews, and a Mexican and they are comfortable enough poking fun at each other’s ethnicity. For at least ten to fifteen minutes during the middle of the show they cracked racial jokes at each other, and if you can’t laugh at the jokes……again, you don’t belong there.
The guys in NOFX don’t take themselves too seriously and neither should you. Just show up to a show and have fun. That is what a NOFX show is…..fun! And if you can’t have fun at a NOFX show chances are you’re one of those people
that can’t have fun regardless of what it is you’re doing. Aside from a few political remarks (and songs) a NOFX show is pure, unadulterated entertainment, and I’m sorry but that’s the way I like my punk rock shows.
I do have one small complaint and it’s not even really that much of a complaint. I would have liked to hear more songs from the earlier albums. As it was, they played “Linoleum”, “Leave It Alone”, and “Perfect Government” from “Punk In Drublic”, “Stickin’ In My Eye” from “White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean”, and “El Lay” from “Ribbed”. But that’s only five songs out of twenty six that were released before “Heavy Petting Zoo”. They did rip out a couple of the more reggae flavored songs like “Eat The Meek” and “Kill All The White Man” and they sounded great, but I was completely in the mood for “Don’t Call Me white”, “Liza and Louise”, “Mean People Suck”, or “The Brews”.
All in all it was still a great show, Fat Mike’s voice was in top notch shape and even El Hefe threw out some killer vocals on “Eat the Meek”. Face it…..after 25 years these guys still kick some major ass and play some of the catchiest, fastest punk rock music around.
Even though every song in the set sounded awesome there were a few that stood out for me. These are my picks for best songs of the night:
“Eat The Meek”
“Arming The Proletariat with Potato Guns”
“Radio” (Rancid cover)
“I’m Telling Tim”
Oh……and they never did play “Bob”……
For more info on NOFX please visit:
All Photos Copyright © 2012 Interstatelive.com
NOFX on stage at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO. Photo by Paul Edmisson
Fat Mike and Eric Melvin of NOFX. Photo by Paul Edmisson
El Hefe of NOFX. Photo by Paul Edmisson
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