After attending the show last night I realized just how much acoustic punk shows rule. I mean, I saw Tony Sly open for NOFX last year and while he was amazing, it just wasn't the same. It was a bigger venue and of course, the other two bands that night weren't performing solo. This time the crowd was small, but everyone was stoked to be there. There was pretty much no wait times between sets, the show went from 9:30 to 12:30 with very small breaks in between. And best of all, it felt like we were just hanging out at someone's house, talking and listening to awesome music. I seriously don't think shows can get more intimate than they were last night.
First up was Greg Rekus. It took me forever, but eventually I realized he's in a local punk band called High Five Drive. And he was pretty good! He demanded the audience's attention, was incredibly energetic and covered "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" by The Ramones. He also played the kazoo.
Mikey Erg wasn't as lively, but it suited his style well. I'm honestly not as familiar with him as I should be. But I think he summed it up best when he opened up his set by saying "I never thought I'd be in Winnipeg." I don't think I ever expected him to tour here. But I'm glad he did, I like his vocals and will make a point of checking his stuff out further. He was also the only one who wasn't performing acoustically, he used a plugged in electric guitar. And for the last two songs, Dave Hause came up to join him. They both ended with "Books About Miles Davis" by his old band The Ergs!
And then Dave Hause took over completely, kicking off with "Time Will Tell" and playing other songs from his solo record Resolutions like "Pray for Tuscon." He played some Loved Ones songs and talked a lot with the crowd when he was finished playing. Like he asked us what shows we were going to see next, about where to eat in the city and stuff like that. He also made a Travis Barker joke when he caught a girl yawning near the front, haha. It really added to the show in my opinion and it was really cool to experience. And then Mikey Erg came back up to play some songs with him. The best was probably their Weakerthans cover. And someone (who was obviously standing near me, thank you) captured the whole thing so I'm just going to post it here:
Not going to lie, it's pretty hard to top that. But Tony Sly did a good job. He brought a friend of his along to play some acoustic parts, but it was mostly just him, his guitar and a little bit of harmonica on one song. He played some No Use For a Name songs, like a really awesome acoustic version of "Dumb Reminders." "Not Your Saviour" and "Justified Black Eye" were tossed in as well. And of course, he played a number of songs off of 12 Song Program. He was also pretty talkative with the crowd, but not nearly as talkative as Dave. And he mentioned on stage that a No Use For a Name record is coming, but he's going to release another solo one first. He said September 30, but that's not a Tuesday so I don't know if that's really the case. Excited to hear it though.
P.S. Thanks to Dave for the shout-out on stage. I was not expecting it and you totally made my night. So thank you!
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.