NOFX @ 170 Russell

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I’m always a bit cautious when it comes to gigs early in the week. Mondays in particular, people have work, are still recovering from the weekend and there’s an overall daunting vibe in having the whole week to face before the fun can begin again. NOFX though; who was going to hold themselves together for them? The Californian outfit have been tearing up the music world with their unique brand of melodic punk rock since 1983 and are still going hard at it. The mohawks were gelled, the tickets printed by dysfunctional printers and the shirt sleeves torn off. With supports from local party legends The Bennies and the most honest and solid punk-rock you could hope for from Bodyjar, this wasn’t just a normal Monday night.

Opening up, it was time to party with The Bennies. I first saw the hairy foursome at a temporary bar in St Kilda about six months ago and was blown away by their energy, hilarious lyrics and unique blend of sounds. Playing a mixture of old and new, including “Anywhere You Want To Go” and the new single “Heavy Disco”, The Bennies delivered once again. When a band sings a lot about fucking themselves up and hanging out with mates, nothing could seem more appropriate to listen to when you’re hanging out with mates and fucking yourself up at a NOFX show. Top stuff.

Following this, Bodyjar played an impressive set that really illustrated how well they’ve nailed the pop-punk-rock sound. After a few years off, 2013 saw the band return to glory and as seen on Monday, their playing is as good as ever. Their set was again one drawing from all over their discography, with “Not The Same” serving as a particular highlight. Also, congrats Cam for the baby.

And so came the time we had all been waiting for. Like a post-work cigarette. Like Christmas. Like that kebab at 2:30 in the morning. Fat Mike walks onto stage and starts talking shit like a punk-rock prophet and so begins the fun. The set itself contained all of their most popular songs without departing from the newer stuff in such a way that didn’t make them feel like a cover band of themselves. The crowd was about as sweaty and drunk as they possibly could be. Everyone was itching for that line in “Franco Un-American”, “I want to head north and be a Canadian/or hang down low with the nice Australians” and of course, the room exploded when “Linoleum” began. There was a burst of about nine old-school-style tracks including “Monosyllabic Girl” flowing into one another that acted as a nod to their roots in hardcore punk. El Hefe even whipped out the trumpet in several songs which was a nice/hilarious touch to the show. The only disappointment I had was that they didn’t play “Wore Out The Soles Of My Party Boots” or “Drugs Are Good” but with such a massive discography to choose songs from, that was to be expected. Regardless, it was impressive to see the four dudes from California maintaining such a high standard of playing and obviously enjoying every moment of the tour. Even though they’re all old. And gross.

Monday was indeed funday, with a couple of very memorable acts opening up for the reigning kings of melodic-punk, and the image of Fat Mike with his pink mohawk and god-awful shants will remain with me so long as I continue to enjoy live music.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: San Francisco/Los Angeles.
Latest EP: Stoke Extinguisher EP, released November 26, 2013.
Sounds like: Pennywise, Descendants
Say what?
NOFX’s first demo was recorded back in the 80s by Germs drummer Don Bolles in exchange for a tank of petrol.

Deaf, cold and drunk, Leo signing off.

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