They could have skipped us, especially since they totally skipped Saskatchewan, but NOFX returned to Winnipeg for another show yesterday. Last April, I was just excited to finally see them play, but this time I was more interested in seeing how this show would compare to the last. Because let's face it, some bands have pretty rehearsed sets. Especially if it's only been 14 months since their last show.
Instead of getting Tony Sly to open, they chose Old Man Markley, one of the newer bands on Fat. At first the crowd wasn't so sure what to make of them, but by the end of their set everyone was cheering and they totally won everyone over. People were even starting to mosh near the end, which I found rather amusing. The band sounded great and they're the only band I've ever seen with a washboard player. They performed their cover of Screeching Weasel's "The Science of Myth" and tunes off of their debut. I don't think they're a band I'll ever listen to regularly, but they're decent live.
Teenage Bottlerocket brought the pogo party with them again. Their set also seemed shorter this time, but maybe it's just me. They opened with "Skate or Die" but after they launched into "Radio" instead and followed that with "Bigger Than Kiss." Ray remembered the kid from last April, the kid who was standing on someone's shoulders, pumping his fists and rocking out the entire time. One difference was they played all the songs off of their new 7" Mutilate Me. Ultimately, I wish I could see TBR in a more intimate venue. I think it's hard to truly experience them in a large theatre with plush red seats. Especially when a good chunk of the crowd can't be bothered to show up early and watch their set anyway.
NOFX walked onstage and talked to the crowd for a few minutes before actually shutting up and playing a song. I still think they're one of the only bands who do that, but I actually like it. Some of it was similar, Fat Mike acknowledged that kid again and decided to mention felching before starting to call out other people standing in front. As the set wore on, he talked about Winnipeg, obviously mentioning Kent and Limo. But he also mentioned Chris Hannah from Propagandhi because apparently he was at the show somewhere. And much like Face to Face last month, he praised the "older" people in the crowd for still liking punk music and going to shows.
They definitely switched up their set a little bit. "Seeing Double at the Triple Rock," "Linoleum," Creeping Out Sara," and "Mattersville" popped up again, but they dusted off other songs too. "The Pharmacist's Daughter," "Perfect Government," "The Man I Killed," and "Herojuana" weren't part of last year's tour. But perhaps the best was when Fat Mike said they were going to do a Dropkick Murphys cover and played Rancid's "Radio" instead. Really stoked we got to hear that. They also played "My Orphan Year" and Fat Mike began to paraphrase his Cokie the Clown SXSW story about his mother's death. They ended before the encore with "The Separation of Church and Skate," a song I was hoping they'd play last time, but they didn't. Old Man Markley returned with them to play "Door Nails." And they ended their set with "Kill All The White Man" before "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" came on. The band did their little dance again, which is a lot more amusing than just walking off stage abruptly.
Pretty much the only downside was the crowd. Last year I had no problems, everyone was cool. This year it was like Blink-182 all over again with tons of annoying dudes who were super drunk and/or high. Yeah, not my crowd at all, but whatever. The bands ruled.
Before I begin, I just want to say I didn’t get to sit down with Tony Sly after all due to time constraints so if you saw this post and cared, I’m sorry.
Anyway, wearing all black, Tony Sly hit the stage for 20 minutes and opened with “Via Munich” then went straight into “Already Won.” Of course, most of the songs came from his debut solo record 12 Song Program and they sounded great in a live setting, especially one like the Burton Cummings Theatre. Filled with red, plush seats, it’s not the typical place you’d expect to see a punk show, but it worked well for his set.
I’m sure he was expecting to get heckled for No Use For a Name songs, which he did. “I’m just here to make the other guys more punk,” he said before launching into an acoustic version of “Justified Black Eye” off of Leche Con Carne, giving them what they wanted. Earlier on in his set he played “Soulmate,” which is one of my personal favourites from NUFAN. His voice sounded amazing as always and with nothing more than his acoustic guitar, he proved he really is one of punk’s better vocalists that night.
Next up were Teenage Bottlerocket, one of Fat’s newer bands and they killed it when they opened with “Skate or Die,” a song that will get stuck in your head with just one listen. Their bassist Miguel was banging his head throughout most of the set just like he does in the video for that song. Ray nearly did the splits a few times while strumming away at his guitar too.
Then they played “Radio,” which might remind you just a bit of the Ramones. After playing “Forbidden Planet” the band stopped to acknowledge Winnipeg’s own Propagandhi and attempted to cover one of their songs in honour of them. They went through an impressive amount of tunes like “Welcome to the Nuthouse,” “Blood Bath at Burger King,” and “On My Own,” but when you specialize in 2 minute pop-punk songs, it's not surprising they squeezed a lot in. Just like their records, it seems like it was over just as it began, not that it’s a bad thing though. And despite the seats, they got a little pogo-party going.
The headliners of the night were none other than NOFX and I have to say they put on one of the more entertaining shows I’ve ever seen. Forget the phrase "less talk, more rock" because they love to talk and I think it’s great. While there are a few bands that can pull off the silent treatment, shows are usually a lot more fun when you get the interaction bands like NOFX give. If I just wanted to listen to their songs, I’d probably just stay home.
And not to anyone’s surprise, Fat Mike started off the set by talking, not playing a song. The stage set-up was pretty bare, but it didn't matter because they didn't need anything flashy to start the show off. He decided to tell the crowd what felching was and acknowledged this 11-year-old kid who was right up front, dancing like crazy and just having a blast before heading into “Dinosaurs Will Die.”
I was impressed with all their Winnipeg banter. I’m not too sure if they know this much about every city they play, or if it’s just because Kent and Limo apparently used to live here, but it was awesome. Bif Naked, Stretch Marks, The Royal Albert Arms, mosquito jokes, these guys knew their stuff. In fact, the longest they ever kept quiet was when they launched into the NOFX classic “The Decline.” El Hefe played the trombone and the crowd’s energy was insane.
For “Reeko,” Fat Mike started playing guitar instead of bass and then they played another off of Punk in Drublic called “Leave It Alone.” Between songs Fat Mike put a bra on Melvin and religious beliefs were made fun of before “Leaving Jesusland.” El Hefe brought out his trumpet after and then the guys began making fun of each other on stage with jokes like: “What did the Mexican kid get for Christmas? My bike.” for "Arming the Proletariat with Potato Guns." Not the funniest perhaps, but it proves just how eager they are to make lame jokes about themselves.
For the encore, Melvin started singing a bit of that Black Eyed Peas “I Got a Feeling” song and got booed. Fat Mike gave his lecture of the night when he said don’t do drugs until you’re 30 or a millionaire. Then they said they’d be back in 3 years, El Hefe brought out his trumpet again and they played “Kill All The White Man.” But even that wasn’t it since “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” started playing. It was hilarious to watch Fat Mike try to dance and El Hefe did a cartwheel. It was a fun way to end an already entertaining show and you could tell they were having a blast too, which is just as awesome.