I had been looking forward to this gig ever since it was announced. NOFX don’t hit these shores that often and with the brilliance of The Skints as well as rising punks Bad Cop / Bad Cop, how could it fail?
The weather and the World Cup may have paid a part, as well as the first band being relatively unknown to many of the fans there tonight but there was plenty of space in the cavernous Brixton Academy when I arrived fashionably late. After the usual long queue at the bar I managed to catch just the last couple of songs by Bad Cop / Bad Cop which certainly showed they weren’t intimidated by the large stage and they certainly left with more fans than they started with.
The room was still a little empty but soon started filling up as The Skints’ laid-back reggae grooves caused bodies to sway instantly. I am a big fan of The Skints and rate Marcia’s voice as one of the most soulful on the ska/punk/reggae scene. I could close my eyes and drift off listening to her dulcet tones and the band were certainly on form tonight. The set leant heavily on the brilliant recent album, FM, punctuated with older songs and a few covers, including the Dawn Penn classic You Don’t Love Me (No No No). It was another cover though that was the first of many highlights as Ghost Town flowed straight in to Tazer Beam. The floor was vibrating with bass for Friends and Business and Eyes In The Back Of My Head, during which it was so heavy it felt like getting punched in the chest. London anthem This Town got an incredible reception along with old favourite Rub-a-dub and based on this form it won’t be long before The Skints are headlining this venue.
After the calmness of The Skints the room was ready for the chaos that is a live NOFX show. With the Time Warp playing on the intro tape, Fat Mike, complete in green dress, and the rest of the band walk on to the stage to a deafening cheer and launch into the ironic opening line of “I’m not here to entertain you” from 60% before the raucous frantic punk really kickstarts the show with Seeing Double At The Triple Rock. Six Years On Dope, from their most recent album follows before another deafening cheer and a shower of beers as they play the classic crowd pleasers Leave It Alone and Bob. It’s after this that Fat Mike addresses the recent Las Vegas incident where they made an inappropriate joke that backfired and apologises for it, although a rather tongue-in-cheek apology it was. Now I’m neither going to condone or condemn what happened suffice as to say that NOFX are renowned for being crude, inappropriate and often bad taste so expectations should be set accordingly.
Anyway, back to the music, and perhaps in response to the outrage they play an energised Idiots Are Taking Over followed by Murder The Government with the crowd singing along to every word, before slowing things down a little with the downbeat reggae of Eat The Meek as guitarist El Hefe switches to the trumpet. With a career spanning well over 30 years they have so many classics that almost every song is someone’s favourite, which is shown by the reactions to Dinosaurs Will Die and the political satire of Franco Un-American.
As the set starts to wind down there’s still time for a rowdy The Moron Brothers, their tribute to Tony Sly, I’m So Sorry Tony and the stone cold banger that is Linoleum, which caused another brief shower of beers from the heavens. The front rows had been an almost constant wave of bodies with moshers and crowd surfers throwing themselves around so the brief interlude before the encore was much needed, if only to gather breath before going again as NOFX delivered a masterclass in closing a show with an excellent run through of Bottles To The Ground, Whoops, I OD’d and Stickin’ In My Eye before eventually finishing with El Hefe on vocal duties for Kill All The White Man as the (slightly ironically) predominately white crowd sang along.