When I heard that Rancid and NOFX would be playing a series of shows in Southern California, I was ecstatic. For one, it's not often that you get the opportunity to see two bands of this magnitude tour together in a small club setting. And secondly, let's face it, other than last year's tour with AFI and the Warped Tour, how often does Rancid go on tour? The answer to that is not often. So, without hesitation, I purchased 5 tickets to one show in Anaheim (The Grove), 3 shows in L.A. (House of Blues) and one show in Pomona (Glass House) to see my favorite band (Rancid) tear through nearly a ten year history of incredible punk rock anthems. Instead of reviewing all five shows (which so happened to all be fucking incredible), the following review will cover the first show, which took place at the Grove, in Anaheim,CA.
With great anticipation and excitement, I stepped into the Grove to see F-Minus open up the night's show. F-Minus tore through their set with a series of hardcore songs that seemed to resonate with many kids, but also seemed to escape many of the listeners at the venue. While most of the crowd simply viewded the hardcore stylings of F-Minus from a stagnant distance, some of the more hardcore kids in the crowd started a small pit and danced to the So Cal thrash that F-Minus put forth for all to enjoy. Brad Logan went off and so did the rest of his band, as they shredded from one song to the next. While I do not consider myself a big fan of F-Minus (maybe I'm not punk enough), I can truly appreciate their passion and energy that they put forth into their set.
Next up was a band called the Real McKenzies. Before this night's show, I had never seen, nor heard of the Real McKenzies. Was I ever in for a pleasant surprise. At first, as I watched the Real McKenzies take the stage, I could only think of one thing: DropKick Murphy's rip offs. Dressed in Scottish Kilts, and opening the night's set with their bagpipes player, I was extremely skeptical. Before long, I was converted into a genuine fan. With tremendous energy and passion, the Real Mckenzies oppened their set with a song called "Nessie", a Scottish song about none other than the Lochness Monster. Following that song, came other songs that detailed heartbreak, the bitch Queen of England, and of course, the McKenzies favorite topic, Scotch Whiskey. All in all, I was extremely impressed with the Real McKenzies. Watching their lead singer beat the shit out of their bagpipes player, and watching their guitar players tear through a series of songs was pure entertainment. Definitely a band that you feel fortunate to see open up a show that you are already excited to see. After their set I wasted no time in purchasing their new CD,"Loch'd and Loaded," and would recommend it for all who like a fun CD to listen to now and again.
Next up for the night's show was NOFX. What can you say about these guys? I love NOFX and I love the energy that they bring to a punk rock show. Playing such songs as Bob, Stickin in My Eye, Linoleum, Fuck the Kids, the Brews, Six Pack Girls and countless others, NOFX set the fucking place off as everyone started to pit to their sounds that have influenced countless numbers of punk rock bands. From their stage pressence, to their endless bullshitting and joke cracking on stage, NOFX entertained all as they played years and years worth of fucking punk rock classics. El Hefe shredded on guitar as Fat Mike ripped through his bass lines while the entire crowd danced in a frenzy and pitted to songs that only NOFX could be known for. Much credit goes out to Erik Melvin as he closed out the set with his accordian solo that accompanied the NOFX theme song. I was extremely impressed by the set that NOFX put on. I've always found NOFX to be a fun band to watch live, but something was different this time. Maybe it was the shear amount of songs that NOFX covered spanning their history as a band, or maybe it was their chemistry on stage as a band, but I left this show with the feeling that NOFX was a band that I would always respect and hold close as being one of my favorites.
Next up was the band that I honestly came to see all along.......RANCID. I won't lie, Rancid has been my favorite band for approximately 10 years and the excitement that I felt in regards to seeing them this night is basically unexplainable. Coming out onto the stage, I felt the excitement and energy of the crowd as I watched Tim, Brett, Matt and Lars take the stage. Wasting no time, they tore into "Radio, Radio, Radio," and the crowd went fucking nuts. Watching Tim fly off speakers, Matt master the bass, Brett pound the drums and Lars belt out song after song was nearly more than I could take, as I found myself winded and ready to pass out after so much singing and dancing. Truly an incredible night, I listened in awe as Rancid played songs such as Nihilism, Old Friend, Side Kick, Jimmy and Johnny, The Wars End, Time Bomb, It's Quite Alright, Loki, Hyena (old school motherfucker), Rejected, Roots and Radicals, St. Mary and countless others. A special highlight of the night had to be Rancid playing "Seven Years Down", a song that they claimed they had never plalyed before, and a song that I have waited eight years to hear them play live. Words truely can't explain the performance that Rancid put on at this night at the Grove. With very little talk between each song that they played, Rancid destroyed the Grove with pure punk rock passion and agression. Bodies flew recklessly around the pit, kids sang the songs together in unity and others just nodded and smiled as one of punk's great bands ripped through song after song that chronicled their 5 album history. As for me, I danced, I sang, I gasped and I watched as my favorite band displayed the emotion, excitement, passion and enthusiasm that drew me to them so many years ago. Looking back, I'm thankful that I was able to attend so many shows of this tour, because it was incredible. To steal a quote, I'd like to sign off by saying "When I got the music, I got a place to go." What a great tour.