NOFX spreads punk greatness in Phoenix

By Andrew Berenson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 16, 1996

As I ventured out to the Party Gardens, I was feeling really annoyed and pumped up at the same time. I was feeling annoyed because I was travelling in a huge van with my friend (not my editor) Noah and seven of his friends, and all they could think about was getting some Bacardi before the show and getting drunk. This need for alcohol made us late for the show and we missed the first band.

At the same time, I was excited about seeing the greatest band in the world: NOFX. When we arrived at the Party Gardens, I could not help but notice that there were many people from the UA there, and I thought that was pretty funky. I had a weird experience though. One guy recognized me from my dorm, and I had never seen him before, and I said "what's up" to a girl who I had seen around campus, but she had never seen me before. Well, anyway, it was cool seeing people who were into punk from the fraternity and jock-filled school named the University of Arizona. We went in right as the second band, Bracket, was beginning its set.

Bracket hail from San Francisco, and for some strange reason are one of Fat Mike's (of NOFX) favorite bands. I was expecting them to be pretty good because I actually liked a couple of their songs, but, to put it bluntly, they pretty much sucked. The problem was that they were really boring to watch. Most of their songs are slow Green Day wannabe songs that don't show too much originality. Besides, their crowd was getting really annoyed and started throwing anything they could at the band. This in turn was making Bracket angry, and they proceeded to slow down their songs and make the crowd even more pissed off. By the end of their set, when the band played what I think is their best song, "Rakoos," the crowd was in no mood to hear what they thought was crap, and Bracket left to the applause of many at the Gardens.

Next up on the bill were four lads who called themselves Snuff, and they definitely got the crowd moving. They played very fast-and-groovin' punk songs and added some organ and horns to give them an extra kick. They also had a couple of songs that were sort of Ska-ish, which made for an interesting variety. One thing that I noticed about this band was that they are all very talented. The one member of the band that stood out the most was the drummer, who seemed to sing with such grace and feeling while drumming at an intense speed. I found that quite remarkable. To summarize Snuff's set, I would not say the stupid Arizona saying "It was all good," but instead I would say Snuff's set was definitely not as ugly as a drunk fat frat guy puking on himself or one of his fat buddies (discuss that at your next kegger!)

NOFX hit the stage next and began talking for about five minutes about nothing in particular, and then blasted full tilt into their massive set list. They played songs from their early days up 'til their new album. This was the second time I had seen them live and they definitely had a lot more energy than the last time I saw them in Boston.

Fat Mike was his ever punk self, jumping up and down as NOFX played many of their classics. One thing that I noticed about Fat Mike was that he now has dreads, which I thought was strange. I don't know if his hair is a tribute to the passing of Jerry Garcia (almost definitely not!) or the massive hippie population in his hometown of San Francisco. Well, anyway, Fat Mike is still the man, and is the punkest guy I can think of, and he and his band can definitely play some kickin' tunes.

Some of the highlights were the hilarious "Together In the Sand" and "Johnny Appleseed" in which El Jefe described doing a deed that men often do in the privacy of their own home and when they are not with a woman. Even though this was pretty disgusting, it was hilarious to watch El Jefe talk about this in his Bugs Bunny meets Speedy Gonzales Loony Tunes voice.

After playing a good portion of their set NOFX took a one second break and then finished with a few encores, including the beautiful anthem "Buggly Eyes" that pays tribute to the great jazz cats of the past. After this, NOFX packed up and headed to Alburquerque on a mission to spread their punk greatness throughout the United States.

Overall, I don't think I have to say that this show was good, because it was one of, if not the, best punk show I have ever been to. And if you are not into NOFX, then who are you? So go see these guys live, and if you don't, well have fun at your next alternative, cheesy metal, or trendy Pearl Jam concert. I'll be having fun punking it up and living life, trying my best not to be a worthless slacker.