Tuesday, Jan. 24
King Cat Theater
NOFX are famous for a lot of things, and though their humor, politics and independence may spring to>"/>
Tuesday, Jan. 24 King Cat Theater
Tuesday, Jan. 24
King Cat Theater
NOFX are famous for a lot of things, and though their humor, politics and independence may spring to mind first, their penchant for partying is also legendary. Over the course of their nearly 30 years together, the band has become world class at playing gigs fucked up. This, of course, is no great revelation in the world of rock & roll, but for a band who play as fast and as furious as NOFX does, they really shouldn't pull it off as well as they do, gig after gig, year after year, decade after decade.
The band was sloppy at times during last night's set at the King Cat Theater, the last date of their West Coast run, but the NOFX loyalists didn't care. That's part of the fun of a NOFX show. "There's no barricade tonight," singer and bassist Fat Mike told the sold out crowd as it began. "So be sure not to spill my drink." Though this proved impossible, the band's crew was quick to replace the spilled beverage each time, and Mike remained well-lubricated for the entirety of the 90-minute set.
NOFX zig-zagged through their set playing staples like "Linoleum," "Moron Brothers" and "Don't Call Me White," most of them without mistakes, as well as less-common selections like "Pimps and Hookers" and their reggae version of "Radio," from the band's 2002 split EP with Rancid, in which the two bands play each other's songs. Fans pumped their fists throughout and bombarded the stage with the requisite shoes and any other stray articles of clothing that fell victim to the pit.
The band's songs are only half the fun of a NOFX show, however. The between song banter fills nearly as much time as the music, and because three-fourths of the band likes to party, the same three-fourths that have microphones in front of them (drummer Erik Sandin is sober), you never know exactly what might happen during song breaks. "We're a good band," Fat Mike said, half joking, after completing a particularly dexterous run of songs. "We're like the Breaking Bad of punk bands." "We're like the Dallas of punk bands," guitarist Erik Melvin added, "From the '80s, and should have stayed there." Later in the show, the band antagonized a few audience members, one for having long hair, one for looking like "a racist cop" and another for passing a half-full bag of weed onto the stage. "You're giving us weed?" Fat Mike asked incredulously. "Do we look like we smoke pot? Next time bring me an 8-ball!" Then he handed the baggie to the previously-heckled longhair.
The well-worn King Cat Theater was stuffed to maximum capacity with every nook and cranny crawling with sweaty punks. The lack of barricade between band and crowd meant that venue security and the band's crew had to work overtime to keep microphones upright and people off of the stage. Though both the lighting and ambiance left something to be desired, it seemed befitting of NOFX, who played their entire set underneath the world's tiniest NOFX banner, as if in tribute to Spinal Tap. "We've played here before," guitarist El Hefe said. "And it's just as terrible as it was then."
After a long encore break, the band was joined by members of openers Old Man Markley for the show's one moment of sincerity, an acoustic version of "Doornails," a tribute to the band's friends who have passed away, which includes a lyric about Seattle punk Stefanie Sargent from Seven Year Bitch, who Mike eulogized. Two songs later, the band left the stage after "Theme from a NOFX Album," a song that espouses the virtues of partying and playing in a punk band, which presumably was followed by copious amounts of cocaine, ending their tour on a high note -- and a high.
Unlikeliest entrance music: NOFX took the stage to the sounds of "Schadenfreude" from the Broadway musical Avenue Q.
BTW: Portland punks Poison Idea supported, and Fat Mike said the band saw NOFX play back in 1985 but hadn't ever had the chance to play together until the final two dates of the tour.