Could you ask for a better lineup? As opener we have the Loved Ones, one of the best pop-punk bands to surface in years. Following them, one of the most popular punk bands around right now, the Lawrence Arms…and headlining, the legendary NOFX. When I got a ticket for this show, I knew I was in for a treat, but little did I know that NOFX had a little more planned for this show than anyone could have ever guessed.
The Loved Ones kicked off the night to a roaring start with “Suture Self.” Unfortunately, I’d only gotten into this band a few days before, so I didn’t know all their songs. They had a surprisingly large number of fans in the audience, screaming out lyrics with fists in the air. I don’t remember the entire set list, but I recall them playing the aforementioned Keep Your Heart opener, followed by (in no particular order): "100k," "Chicken," "Jane," "Hurry Up and Wait," "Sickening," another song or two that I didn’t know, and closing with "Player Hater Anthem" (I think!). Dave had some pretty funny things to say between songs, and made the first of many digs to be made throughout the night against the Dropkick Murphys, who were playing a few blocks away at a much larger venue (Nokia Theatre). Their set was incredible; these guys really know how to put on a show. Needless to say, this band is going to be huge.
Next up were the Lawrence Arms, another band I’m only mildly familiar with (-10 punknews.org points!!). I knew three, possibly four of the songs that they played: "Porno and Snuff Films," "Cut It Up" (new song, they announced it), "Necrotism..." (set closer), and I think "Navigating the Windward Passage." They were absolutely incredible though, and I definitely plan on picking up their new record and looking into their back catalog. They talked a little, but mostly they were just blazing through songs. I wish had more to say about these guys, but I…don’t.
After a short wait, an amusing keyboard intro started up and the boys of NOFX strutted onto stage. Fat Mike was visibly completely wasted, stumbling all over the stage. The rest of the band, however, seemed sober enough to perform at a top-notch level, so overall it was pretty incredible. Now, if it had just been a regular NOFX show, I would’ve been pretty happy. I mean, NOFX was one of the first punk bands I ever got into, so being able to see them live was just super exciting. The thing is, they pulled out a trump card that no one in the crowd saw coming.
They opened with "The Decline.”
Yeah, that’s right. “The Decline.” All eighteen minutes of it. It was one of the most incredible moments I’ve ever experienced at a show. The entire crowd went fucking nuts, with everyone screaming along to every word. Everything was there -- El Hefe’s trombone part, all the little tempo and mood changes, and even though he was drunk, Fat Mike handled his bass-lines pretty well. For the outro to the song, Dave Hause came out to assist on guitar while El Hefe rocked the trombone. It was truly chilling, getting to see this epic song performed live. I gotta say I never would have expected it, ever.
After “The Decline,” they played a decent mix of songs from all their albums. I wasn’t able to grab a set list, but I remember most of what they played. I was a little disappointed they didn’t play old favorites like “The Brews” or “Moron Bros,” but I really can’t complain. They did three-or-so new songs that sounded pretty good, and two covers. The first was a cover of Rancid’s “Radio,” from the split they did with them a few years back. The second cover was the second best moment of the night.
In attendance of the show were a number of relatively well-known members of the punk community, one of which was Bad Religion’s Greg Hetson. Fat Mike spotted him out in the corner, and after a few minutes of verbal prodding, they coaxed him into coming onstage for an impromptu Bad Religion cover. They kicked into “We’re Only Gonna Die,” and it was awesome. Greg Hetson is so much fun to watch; he looks like this little lemming, but he just shreds that guitar.
After closing out the set with “Idiot Son of an Asshole,” they came back onstage for a couple encores…a pair of thirty-second encores, that is. In true assholish NOFX fashion, they played “I Wanna Be an Alcoholic” and “Six-Pack Girls.”
The between-song banter was as funny as would be expected, with Fat Mike rambling on about religion, Dropkick Murphys, punk rock in general and other drunken randomness. El Hefe would randomly sing songs that I’d never heard before (but sounded like pop ballads) and Fat Mike consistently disappeared from stage, only to come back stumbling with a drink in his hand. Also, being Ash Wednesday, the band all came out with black crosses on their foreheads. Fat Mike made hardcore fun of Catholicism, visibly pissing off a couple security guards...that was pretty amusing. The crowd’s energy was incredible throughout the entire show, with everyone singing their hearts out and moshing and crowd-surfing. Hopefully NOFX will do a proper U.S. tour soon for everyone not on the East coast…'cause this show fucking owned.
Now, don’t lynch me if I forget a couple songs from the set list, I’m really racking my brain to remember everything.
Set list (not in order):
- The Decline
- Scavenger Type
- Perfect Government
- I’m Telling Tim
- She’s Nubs
- There’s No Fun in Fundamentalism
- Franco Un-American
- Radio (Rancid cover)
- Dinosaurs Will Die
- Stickin’ in My Eye
- You’re Wrong
- Bottles to the Ground
- We’re Only Gonna Die (Bad Religion cover w/ Greg Hetson)
- Murder the Government
- Lori Meyers
- Idiot Son of an Asshole
- I Wanna Be an Alcoholic (encore)
- Six-Pack Girls (encore)