Live: NOFX/No Use For A Name/The Flatliners/Latch Key Kids

NOFX pic #15
NOFX: Fat Mike. Photo by Dwayne Cathey.

WAREHOUSE LIVE -- 2/26/08: It's been a while since I've been to a real punk rock show. There was that Misfits 25th anniversary debacle a while back, and then I saw X with the Rollins Band, but by and large, it seemed as if my punk days were firmly behind me. Like most 31-year olds, I had kind of gravitated away from snotty three-chord diatribes somewhere in my mid-to-late 20s. I think the only "punk" bands I listen to on a regular basis these days are Black Flag, Bad Religion, and the Ramones. But back in the day, I was a pretty big fan of both NOFX and No Use For A Name, so I figured what the hell -- I'll take a little stroll down Memory Lane.
It turned out to be a mosh down Memory Lane, as well as one of the best shows I'd seen in a while.
Reconstituted H-Town punk luminaries the Latch Key Kids opened up the show, and damned if they don't sound 10 times better eight years later. The guys are obviously older (and less hairy -- seeing Tim Guerinot sans dreads took a little getting used to, for me), but the old-school energy of a LKK show is still in full effect. I was immediately taken back to 1994 or so; the effect was so complete that I half-expected CrazyKilledMingus to come out and play next. I hear the Kids are writing new material, so keep an eye out. It seems like it will be pretty bad-ass.
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NOFX: El Hefe. Photo by D. Cathey.

Next up were The Flatliners, from Toronto. They kicked out some energetic punk with the occasional foray into ska, hardcore, reggae, and straight-up rock. Their set didn't really set my world on fire, but they weren't bad either, bringing to mind everyone from Rancid to A Wilhelm Scream. I'll probably check out one of their albums in the future. This time around, I think The Flatliners were just suffering from Second Band To Play-itis.
When No Use For A Name hit the stage, it was back to 1994 again. Between 1994 and 1998 or so, I probably saw that band 15 times. I played the living shit out of their albums. I knew most of their songs on guitar. But, like I mentioned earlier, the sands of time are a cruel mistress. I kinda let my NUFAN CDs gather dust. And here I was, watching them tear it up onstage 10 years later as if no time had passed at all. It helped that NUFAN's set was mostly older material -- "Soulmate," "Justified Black Eye," and "The Answer Is Still No" all popped up. No "Feeding The Fire," unfortunately, but I'll let them slide on that. The newer No Use songs sounded great as well...as a result, I'm actually anticipating their new album (The Feel Good Record of the Year, due sometime in 2008) now.
And then, the main event. NOFX practically exploded onto the stage and didn't let up for an hour and a half. The show was what we've come to expect from the guys -- abrasive, snotty yet melodic songs with reggae and dub flourishes here and there, and lots of stage banter and off-color jokes. NOFX killed on all fronts. The songs sounded better and tighter than I had ever heard them, El Hefe ripped on leads and horns, Fat Mike's jokes were the funniest they'd ever been, and Eric Melvin's dreads were especially dread-y.
But seriously, they played a killer set that pretty much ran the gamut of their entire career -- "Bob," "Linoleum," "The Brews," "Parmacists Daughter," "Lori Meyers," and "The Separation of Church and Skate" all immediately spring to mind. The crowd never stopped moving from the moment that NOFX hit the stage; it was nuts. As usual, Fat Mike spent a lot of time unloading on the government, religion, and racism, openly stating that he was going to talk shit "because that's what punk rock is about." Fuck, yeah. I also personally saw five fights break out during the show. Ah, the good old days...
NOFX pic #6
NOFX: (l to r) El Hefe, Fat Mike, & Erik "Smelly" Sandin. Photo by D. Cathey.

At one point during the show, Fat Mike mentioned that it was awesome that most of the crowd looked like the band -- i.e., dudes in their mid-to-late 30s and early 40s. He then asked for a show of hands to see who in the audience wasn't even born when the band formed in 1983. There were quite a few people that raised their hands, of course, but it was awesome to be at a high-energy show like that with a bunch of people mostly my age. NOFX closed with "Kill All The White Man," so I was duty-bound to get my old ass in the pit and smack around some youngsters. If NOFX can throw down like that 25 years into their career, then damnit, I owe them that much. END