Seeing Double at ... Myth: Jen Paulson Reviews NOFX

NOFX Myth Nightclub March 9, 2009 Review by Jen Paulson

The old shoe store that became the Myth Nightclub over two years ago was already packed before the show itself even started. Plastic cups filled with beer, punk t-shirts, devil horns and impressive Mohawks abounded. After opening sets by Toronto-based upstarts The Flatliners and melodic punk holdouts No Use For a Name, NOFX would take the stage in all their brash, immature (even after almost 25 years as a band) glory. Tonight was the last night of this leg of the tour for all three bands, and they were determined to go out with a bang.

The young Canadian punk-metallers would add some fresh meat to the mix, but the sound for this set was cranked up so high that even with earplugs it was not only hard to make out what they were yelling about, but it muddied up their sound while separate hurricanes of early mosh pits formed on the floor. As the sound quality improved, No Use For a Name almost outshined NOFX. Their set was tight – well crafted, melodic punk that sounds a million times better live than recorded, as they also threw in covers of Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song” and “I Turned Into A Martian” by The Misfits.

NOFX hasn’t changed at all, and by all accounts, they are still living the dream. Frontman Fat Mike, dressed in a red and white striped polo and purposely mismatched plaid shorts and golf hat, managed to play bass with a broken wrist, and made mention that after their show in Chicago the night before they stayed up partying until 8 a.m., and explained that was why his voice was all raspy and torn up, as if it were always clear as a bell. According to him, this would be the biggest turnout of the whole tour.

“If you have any drugs, throw them on stage!” – Fat Mike

Full of wise-ass quips, at one point he shared his view that if you believed in God, you’re too stupid to be at a punk show – and while it could have bordered on offensive, it was enthusiastically greeted with cheers from the crowd. But hey – this is the freedom of punk rock, outspokenness and ability to speak one's mind in whatever way possible. The band traded comedic abuse with the crowd along with faux-racist remarks pointed at their loveable Guitarist and Horn player El Hefe and of course, the occasional concertgoer.

At times it was almost impossible to focus on the action onstage while the eye focused on the huge mosh pit, complete with its massive amounts of crowd-surfers as the security guards acted as air traffic controllers as they grabbed people, set them down and made sure that they were briskly swooped out of the way to filter back into the crowd.

When they proclaimed that there were only “five good songs left” that didn’t necessarily mean that they were going to only do five more songs, but nevertheless it was a non-stop barrage of manic, politically-undertoned punk rawk as local genre royalty Paddy Costello of Dillinger Four watched from the balcony and from the stage, as the band played ‘Lori Meyers” at his personal request. Insanity ensued as both guitarists and the bassist from No Use For A Name ran around on stage in a four-man ax extravaganza. Coming back for the encore, they played the opening strains of “Oops, I OD’ed” as the obviously intoxicated man in front of me that had been downing Jim Beam all night turned around to make sure I knew that’s what they were playing. But the night wouldn’t be complete, even if we were on the other side of town from the landmark in question, without a performance of their Minneapolis ode, “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock.” Fat Mike noted that they would be at the West Bank club that night, but “instead of being downstairs drinking cheap beer…” they would be upstairs doing the good drugs.

No need to grow up guys, just keep on with your timeless schtick and the crowds will keep coming. -- Jen Paulson

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