Tag Archives: NoFX

Concert Review: NOFX / Anti-Flag / Old Man Markley – House Of Blues – Cleveland, OH – 10/12/2011

There is nothing punk rock about the House of Blues at all.  Sure they sell PBRs in those big cans, but it is not the typical place for punk rock bands to take over on any given evening.  That’s not to say punk bands have never played there before, I am just saying when I think of a punk rock show playing a club, it is not HoB.  Hell, there’s even a bathroom attendant who will hand you a paper towel after you just pissed away said PBR.  I will say that the HoB is a clean, organized venue, a venue that hosts some kick ass shows at that.

Wednesday evening was the perfect example of this as the the place was filled to the rim of punk rockers of all types thanks to the popular independent godfathers of punk rock NOFX bringing their Eastcoaster Tour to town with special guests Anti-Flag, Old Man Markley and The Bombpops.

Thanks to an accident on Euclid Ave., it took me a moment to get parked and into the nearly sold-out HoB show.  Apparently someone felt they were ok to cut off one of those giant RTA futuristic train-looking busses.  Needless to say, there were lots of flashing lights and Cleveland’s finest Fire, Police, and EMT cleaning up the mess.  Because of this, I missed the opening act The Bombpops.  From what I heard, their female driven pop punk rock was actually pretty enjoyable not to mention the two ladies in the band are beyond cute.  I will be checking them out soon.

Punk / bluegrass act Old Man Markley took to the stage just before 9 p.m. and showed Cleveland just exactly what they were all about.  Having never been to Cleveland before, the band gave it their all while performing tracks from their Fat Wreck Chords debut Guts n’ Teeth. With seven members on stage playing their version of “Newgrass”, they proved Cleveland that they were not copying the likes of Flogging Molly or Gogol Bordello.

John Carey and Annie DeTemple took turns signing a whole slew of songs including “Do Me Like You Do”, ” Guts n’ Teeth” and the ever catchy “For Better For Worse”.  The crowd clearly was loving what that heard and for the first time ever I witnessed a square-dancing circle pit .  Ryan “Old Man” Markley played the absolute shit out of his washboard and Katie Weed (swoon) just about sawed her fiddle in half.  Then there was Joey Garibaldi and his homemade washtub upright bass – impressive.  The band decided to close their set with their unique rendition of Screeching Weasel’s “Science Of Myth”.

To say I was entertained by the band was an understatement.  I have been wanting to see OMM live since I first heard about them a year ago and can not wait to see them again next month when they play an after show at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin.  This band performing live was right up my alley.  I see good things happening with them in the years to come.

Up next was Pittsburgh’s pop political punk rockers Anti-Flag (and clean cut too) who welcomed to the stage by cheers and boos.  Apparently some Browns fans just can not shake the fact that if a band hails from the rival team’s city that they suck too.  I might as well admit that I am not the biggest Anti-Flag fan, or shall I say I have not been the biggest of fans for a while now, but these guys killed it on stage.  Their stage performance was well-done and they had the crowd obeying every command.  Playing what seemed a ton of songs with a few from 2006’s For Blood And Empire including “The Press Corpse”, “This Is The End” and “1 Trillion Dollar$”, the band rocked out throughout their entire set and played like the rock stars they have become.

At times it appeared that Justin Sane and Chris Barker were trying to outdo one another with stage kicks and jumps (Barker actually jumped from atop the bass drum at one time), but it was all in good fun for the foursome.  Barker made the comment that the Cleveland stop was the “second best” show that he had played on the current tour and left it up to Cleveland to make it the absolute best by starting a giant circle pit.  I think Cleveland earned the title of best show after they were just running in circles.

It was no surprise to me that the band started preaching politics and many of the young ears listened.  Speaking of the whole Occupy Wall Street amongst other current political affairs, the bad knew what they were preaching and hopefully inspired one or two folk in the crowd to learn a little more about what goes on in this crazy country we live in.  I was more interested in the rock and not the talk so once they started playing again I started paying attention again and good thing I did as they performed a cover of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” and nailed it.

During the last song of their set there was some commotion on stage and suddenly Pat Thetic jumped in the crowd and was handed some of his drum set by Sane and Barker.  In a moment’s time, with help from the fans in the pit, Thetic assembled his set and started playing his drums with fans holding on to it preventing it from moving while the rest of the band played on.  I’m pretty sure they played “Power To The Peaceful” as the closer, but to be honest I was too busy jumping up on the barrier between the stage and crowd so I could take some pictures.  It was a pretty awesome site to witness.

Finally the band that everyone was waiting for all night was to take the stage.  The curtains rose and there was El Hefe standing there by himself admitting he had no idea where anyone else in the band was.  Smelly soon jumped behind his set and did not have a clue either where Fat Mike or Eric Melvin were.  11 minutes later the missing half stumbled onto the stage.  Fat Mike, sporting two drinks in hand, took a few moments to sip out of each cup and made faces that clearly proved whatever he was drinking could fuel a car.

Within the first two songs, the band signaled out a the-die wearing hippie dude in the crowd and started maxing fun of him.  The hippie dude took this opportunity to crowd surf to the front and Fat Mike yelled “dude, you don’t even shave your legs?”

I loved that they played one of my all time favs, “Linoleum”, as well as “Franko Unamerican” and even “Seeing Double At The Triple Rock”.  I also enjoyed hearing “Arming The Proletariat With Potato Guns” as well as watching the people dance around me during El Hefe’s horn playing.  Honestly that may have been more entertaining.  NOFX also played Rancid’s “Radio Radio”, a version I almost prefer more to the original.

During “Lori Myers”, the two girls from Bombpops came out to fill in for female vocal duty after El Hefe called their band “Kids-bop” and sang the part pretty much perfectly followed by a well deserved stage dive into the crowd.  As much I wanted NOFX to play “The Decline”, they did not as they played it at the HoB in 2006 (the only time I missed them), but they did play “Murder The Government”, “Don’t Call Me White” and “Dinosaurs Will Die”, a couple other favorites of mine.

15 years ago I got to see NOFX play a Warped Tour in a gravel parking lot and then later that year with the Bouncing Souls and Hi-Standard at the Agora.  In those 15 years, they have put out 6 albums and toured the world god knows how many times.  A lot of songs played that night spanned throughout their almost 30 year career but they played pretty much the same songs that they have the last two times I have caught them live.  I would have loved to have heard more songs off White Trash, 2 Heebs, and a Bean as well as Punk In Drublic, but I guess there is always next time.  El Hefe seemed to be the sober man of reason that night while Melvin was in his own little work of happiness and Fat Mike, who admitted he was not on pills to the crowd that night, was half way to black-out land.

For a band that never signed to a major label or ever has their songs played on commercial radio, they filled up the HoB with no problem.  It was a good night of music from all the bands on a Wednesday night.  People young and old were all over the place having a good time and sang along at every opportunity.  Based on the condition of the crowd by the end of the show, I am guessing many called off work the next morning or went in with a severe hangover.  That’s punk rock right?  Regardless it it was or not, it was tons of fun thanks to all of the bands played to Cleveland.

Album Review: Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies – Go Down Under

There is a huge difference between a gimmick and a good idea.  For Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies (Me First), a punk rock super-band of sorts, their idea of covering classic songs with a punk rock twist is far from a gimmick.

Featuring members from acts such as Swingin’ Utters, NOFX, Foo Fighters, and Lagwagon, Me First originally was just a side project with the members only wanting record cover songs to offer them up on compilations.  Soon after they were releasing singles followed by full length albums through Fat Wreck Chords that covered all sorts of genres from rock to country and to even showtunes.  16-years later the band is still pushing out cover songs that sometimes (who am I kidding – everytime) sound better than the original.

This time around, Me First has graced everyone with five Australian band covers on the Me First Go Down Under EP.   It’s a quick listen, but at the same time absolutely brilliant.  The band also made sure to drop the EP when they were touring in Australia. 

So what is it about hearing a punk version of  “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS that is so damn enjoyable?  Maybe because it is sped up, or perhaps because lead vocalist Spike just has a great singing voice.  I should admit that I may have liked that song growing up, but prefer the Me First version hands down – it sounds so much better.

Hearing Air Supply’s “All Out Of Love” made me wonder about the challenge this band endured while covering such a cheesy track.  As much as I despise this song I could not help but crack a smile while it played through and hold myself back from singing along.

“Friday On My Mind” by the Easybeats was entertaining but not as much as hearing the boys cover Olivia Newton-John’s “Have You Never Been Mellow”.  I used to hate that song but now have a new found love for it.  Thanks guys.  Ending the EP was a Rick Springfield cover of “I’ve Done Everything For You”.

It is very possible that Me First recorded this album in a weekend for kicks and giggles on their end as well as for their fans.  I am sure it was still a difficult task to learn the songs with a straight face as well as find some free time to get together.  After all, these guys have full time gigs in the music world.

Being that Me First is just a side project, the band members are all some pretty busy people with their actual bands.  It’s nice to see them keep up this fun little cover band, one that I have been a fan of since high school.  I hope for their sake and mine it continues for years to come. 

I still have yet to see this band live as somehow I missed them when they played the Warped Tour years ago in Cleveland.  I blame beer for that one because I know I was at that show.  Still, I am sure they will be back soon and maybe if I win the lottery anytime soon I can head to Vegas and see them play at the Punk Rock Bowling show on 05/29/2011.  That would be awesome.

I may have mentioned before that Me First is not a gimmick but also they are not to be taken seriously.  They are a group of great guys out there just having some fun reinventing classics into something much more tolerable to most folks’ ears.  Check out their latested EP, I guarantee you will enjoy it.  At just $8 for a 7″ or CD it is well worth the price for something fun to listen to.

Babble Blog: Spending My Friday Night w/ Grandma, NOFX, & Friends

So as many of you know last weekend I took Friday off of work and headed down to Cincinnati/Covington, KY with my pals to take in a NOFX show.  My previous post obviously is the review of the show itself but sometimes I feel the need to review my weekend for everyone’s entertainment.  After having an interesting yet busy week I was stoked to just get away even if it was for just one night.

After dropping of my dogs at my folks I headed to Columbus with my pal Kolb to pick up Pete and Mary Alice aka The Electric Grandmother and from there the trip would be in full effect.  Weeks earlier we agreed that it would be awesome to take a road trip to see NOFX, Tony Sly, and Teenage Bottlerocket.  Hang out with old friends and see one of my favorite punk bands?  Yes please.  To make matters even better I had just found out a couple days prior to the show that a band I recently became an instant fan of, The Menzingers, were opening!  I was just thrilled and could not wait for Friday night at the Madison Theater.

Before continuing our drive we of course had to stop at one of my favorite bars in Columbus to grab a late breakfast.  Granted I had only been to The Blue Danube once before I deemed it my favorite place for breakfast in Columbus after trying their vegetarian breakfast burrito.  I wish I would have taken a picture of it but my stomach was too quick and I devoured the huge burrito full of eggs, potatoes, and all sorts of veggies and cheese.  I took a chance eating that monster of a meal and getting trapped into a food coma but I lucked out and was fine.  Once we were all nice and full we hopped in the car and proceeded to Covington, KY to our hotel.

It was about 4pm when we got to our hotel and with time to kill we all decided to chill out for a bit.  I took the opportunity to check my email and discovered I was supposed to interview the Menzingers.  Although I did not have my gear for an interview I decided to give the band a call anyways and see what we could work out.  Man am I glad I called them.

Greg, the guitarist, answered the phone and after a couple of confusing seconds he realized I was not just some random person and we started chatting.  He sounded stressed out and I soon found out why when he said he and the band were running late on account of their drumming having what they thought was food poisoning.  From what I learned the drummer might have eaten some bad shellfish and was not in good shape causing multiple stops along the highway.  Greg did not know if he should take him to the hospital or just let him rest but he did know that he was having a tough time getting in touch with the tour managers and that the band was going to have to sit Friday night out.

Not wanting to take up too much more of their time I wished them luck and told him we could do an interview another time.  With all the hell going on Greg was super cool through the phone conversation and even texted me later in the evening letting me know that they were in fact not going to make it and were able to get a hold of Teenage Bottlerocket to let them know.  As bummed out as I was to not be able to see the Menzingers that night I was not about to be selfish about it and knew that health is way more important that rocking out.

I am just glad I checked my email when I did.

At around 5:30 we regrouped and headed over to my favorite Irish pub in Covington, Molly Malone’s.  Grabbing some dinner and a couple pints we just relaxed for a bit and talked about what we thought we would expect during the night.  I can tell you this, if you are ever in Covington, KY go to Molly Malone’s and get a pint of Guinness.  They pour it perfectly and even embed a shamrock on the head of the beer.  The food is pretty damn delicious too.

Deciding to hoof it to the Madison Theater we made it there in no time.  The place was like the Agora but with less isles to access the standing areas.  I already wrote about the show so if you missed it click HERE and read away.  Sadly I did not take a lot of photos at this venue but the couple I did are enough to remind me of the awesome evening.

Towards the end of the show a girl who sat by us in the balcony invited us to the Mad Hatter for a Loudmouth after party.  They were the band that started off the concert that night in case you missed my review of the show.  She kept saying NOFX was going there too but honestly I was not sure if that was really going to happen.  She was cool as hell to talk to and very nice but after talking with my gang we decided to skip it after we saw people handing fliers out for it.  I doubted my self a couple of times throughout the rest of the night but honestly I was happy with our decision to head back to Molly Malone’s for $1 Killians.

As we walked back to Molly Malone’s we kept talking smack to one another and bragged how much Killians we were each going to drink. As we rounded the corner we ran into a sketchy looking fellow who started talking to us about the Mad Hatter.  He kept eying up my camera I had in my hand and looked to size up Kolb.  For a brief moment I thought that there might have been an incident brewing up but soon realized the kid was just hammered and so was his friend who was pissing in the alley.

Molly Malone’s was packed when we got there.  I bought the first round and as we drank our tiny little plastic cupped Killians we realized we would rather just go back to the hotel.  Good thing we did because they closed the patio as we were finishing up and I really did not want to listen to the cover band that was playing in the pub.

Me and Pete with special guest Kolb in the back...

Did you know that in Kentucky they stop selling alcohol at 1am at most gas stations and stores?  We didn’t.  We found that our rather quickly and chose to try and find a bar within walking distance to have a couple more drinks.  While doing so we met up with these two guys who said they saw NOFX too.  We all thought we found a sports bar but it was closed.  The two guys pointed down the street to another bar they said they just came from and told us they would meet us there.  After a failed attempt at buying beer at a BP we decided to head over there.  The place was called Joy’s and it was DEAD.

For about an hour we sat and had drinks and started talking about 9/11 of all things.  Funny what alcohol does to bring back those memories you try and not think of often.  Still, it was good conversation with some of my favorite people in the world.  Joy finally asked us to leave around 2:30 in the morning so we thanked her for letting us hang out at her bar and were going to call it a night – or so we thought.

Late night hunger crept up on us all.  Kolb decided to go back to BP for snacks and the rest of us were going to try and fight the urge until we saw there was a White Castle right in front of our freaking hotel.  We must have waited 10 minutes before we came to our senses and got out of there.  During that 10 minutes we made fun of drunks who were passed out at various tables including one guy who was old enough to be my grandfather.  We were not that drunk and we sure did not need stomach aches so back to the hotel we went and we grabbed some overpriced snacks at the front desk.  Yum…Combos.

Saturday morning came way too soon but as much as I wanted to sleep in I knew I had to get up and start the day.  What better way to start the day than an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet???  Let’s just say there is nothing like a giant Belgian waffle, a made-to-order omelette, and a pot of coffee to get your day started.  I did not eat nearly as someone else who’s name I will not mention did but lets just say a dozen eggs may have been used up rather quickly…

Pete and Mary Alice wanted to check out some place called the Creation Museum that was about 20 minutes away.  I will be sure to put a link RIGHT HERE once they post something on their blog about this place.  From what they told me later on this place believed dinosaurs and humans coexisted and Earth was only 4000 years old.  Now I am not that religious but I studied my ass off in science and history classes and spite what my folks think paid attention in Sunday school…  I was not having it and did not want to go.  Plus I heard they take their beliefs very seriously and if you make a mockery out of them the place will ask you to leave.  I am not about to pay money only to be thrown out after three minutes from laughing my ass off.

So I dropped Pete and Mary Alice off at the Creation Museum and headed to Newport, KY with Kolb to catch a movie while they learned about dinosaurs and bibles.  Kolb and I caught The Losers (I thought it was great in case you were wondering) on the big screen and then returned to the Creation Museum to pick up the happy couple.  I kept my fingers crossed that they would not be in white robes waiting for me outside the establishment.  Luckily they were not brainwashed when I picked them up and even bought me a bumper sticker!

Time was speeding by so we canceled our trip to Ikea and Shake-It Records in favor of having dinner with a very close friend of mine and his soon to be new family.  We opted to have Thai at some mom and pop place down the street from his house.  The place was frigging amazing.  That might have been the best pad thai with tofu I had ever had in my life.  Their sushi was less than desirable but the main encore was perfect.

I really wish we had more time to kill as we were all enjoying ourselves at dinner but we all had to head home after dinner.  We said our goodbyes and headed back to Columbus.  We said goodbye to Pete and Mary Alice and continued home.

It was the quickest day in history if you ask me and before I knew it the sun was setting and I was just getting on to I-76 about to get back to reality.  It was a great hangout with friends that included a great punk show.  I needed that…

I am already thinking about my next road trip.  Gaslight Anthem in Detroit or Columbus this July anyone?

The Fermented & Flailing Tour Featuring NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, & Tony Sly – Madison Theater – Covington, KY – 04/30/2010 – Concert Review

Punk rockers of all shapes, sizes, and age filled up the Madison Theater last Friday night to see the Fermented & Flailing Tour in Covington, KY.  The tour, featuring long time independent punkers NOFX with special guests Teenage Bottlerocket as well as Tony Sly of No Use For A Name (NUFAN), did not make it to Northern Ohio during this tour as much as I would have like it to have, but I did the next best thing and drove 4 hours to the tour and do not regret it one bit.

I was highly bummed out when I arrived to Covington in the afternoon as I found out first hand that another band that has been touring with them, The Menzingers, were cancelling their performance that night due to food poisoning.  I was actually on the phone with Greg, the guitarist of the band, trying to set up an interview with them before the show when he informed me that they were behind in schedule and considering going to a hospital as their drummer, and friend, was not in good shape.  As much as I wished I could have seen this amazing up and coming band I understood the situation and wish them luck.  There is always a next time.

The Madison Theater was packed by the time I got there and after scoping out the area and seeing how inconvenient the photo area was I decided to forfeit the idea of getting up close and snapping some shots of the bands.  As much as I wanted to it just was not a good idea.  The stage overlapped the sectioned off area and there was hardly enough room for the bouncers to stand there and do their thing.  Not to mention this venue did not have adequate isles or areas where people could move freely around the sides.  I made my choice and was ok with it.  I was still able to snap off a couple shots but more importantly I still was going to enjoy the show.

Locals Loudmouth opened the night with their impressive 90’s inspired pop punk / ska sounds.  There were a ton of fans in the house that were very aware of who this act was who hail from the Cincinnati / Covington areas.  Their lead singer admitted that he had “whiskey hawk” in between songs and pointed at the green mat of hair on his head promising that he tried to get it up over and over.  The band clearly was stoked to be sharing the stage with members of the Fat Wreck Chords family and put forth a great set.  I am kicking myself still as I missed their merch table after the show but I plan on looking into these guys some more very soon.

Tony Sly, seasoned punk rocker and front man of NUFAN, took the stage with his acoustic guitar in hand and informed the crowd he wanted to play some songs.  The response some of the crowd gave him was disrespectful as they booed him.  Sly did not let that bother him and played songs off this new album such as “Keira” and “Already Won”.  I know I was excited to hear “Toaster In The Bathtub” and “Soulmate”, a NUFAN cover that I could not help but sing along with.

I cannot say that everyone in house was rude to him but there were enough drunk fools around where I was that just went overboard making fun of him to make my blood boil.  Perhaps an acoustic set was not what those concert goers were looking for that night but I think what pissed me off the most was that all the folk who were mocking and booing him literally had no idea who he was.  This guy helped pave the punk rock road that these kids were standing on and they had no idea who he was – I guess I just wish those coming to early conclusions could have been a little more educated.

The brave Sly continued through his set and thanked everyone for listening to him.  An intimate performance down the street at Molly Malone’s may have been more appropriate for his set but honestly I was not complaining and was thrilled to have finally seen him live on his own.  Still I could not believe how many so-called punk rockers booed him…

Power pop punks Teenage Bottlerocket (TBR) delivered a killer set opening with “Skate Or Die” and pretty much did not  break until their last song.  Their punk rock thrash assault on the crowd had the tightly packed venue going insane with tracks like “Bigger Than Kiss”, “I Don’t Wanna Go” and of course brought more calamity when they announced they were going to play “30 Seconds Of Rad” and commanded all to a pogo throw-down.  Their set was fun, fast, and just what was needed to get the fans ready for the headliner.  Most folk there that night may have solely came to see NOFX but I am positive that they left glad they were there in time to see Teenage Bottlerocket do their thing.

The venue seemed much warmer once TBR left the stage and was filled with smoke from cigarettes and other substances.  I decided to head up to the balcony area and I did so just in time as NOFX emerged on stage.  The foursome clearly was pre-gaming it a bit before performing that night but did not hesitate to play for all who paid to see them.  Greeting the crowd Fat Mike noticed a fan in a wheelchair and asked her to be brought onto stage.  After words were exchanged between band and bouncer the girl finally emerged to the left of the stage and had the best seat in the house.  The band said they had a song they were going to play her later as she reminded them of someone they once wrote a song for.  Fans all over cheered in approval.

The rest of the night was just a blur of NOFX tracks from their lengthy catalog, insults from the band to the crowd, and just overall madness.  At one brief moment Fat Mike hinted that the band was thinking about playing “The Decline” but a fan in the crowd told him that he played it last time they were in Covington so not wanting to repeat himself Fat Mike said never mind and then joked that the band was thinking of playing Heavy Petting Zoo in it’s entirety.  Sadly that did not happen either and I was rather  bummed out as I have always wanted to hear “The Decline” live.

Poking fun at the crowd, they yelled at fans for waving erratically at them and even pointed out a couple ICP Juggalos who apparently were not ashamed to show up in painted faces.  The fans took the insults just fine and some chose to throw their drinks on stage soaking Fat Mike more than once.

The band did play tons of tracks including “Bob”, “Linoleum”, “Murder The Government” and even “Cokie The Clown” with Eric Melvin lending his pipes.  At one moment El Hefe picked up his trumpet and started playing the opening notes to “Arming The Proletariant With Potato Guns” and I honestly felt privileged as this was the second time I had seen NOFX play the song in less than a year.  They may have had a hard time getting through the jokes this time around but it was still hilarious.

Other tracks the band played included “Kill All The White Man”, “Franco Un-American”, the tear jerking “My Orphan Year”, “Bottles To The Ground”, and even “The Brews” which was the perfect sing along for a Friday night punk rock show.  After a quick encore which included the highly anticipated “She’s Nubs” dedication to the girl who had been on stage all evening the band slowly left the stage while Eric Melvin serenaded the crowd with his accordion skills.  Dodging their stagehand/keyboardist Melvin kept playing songs to everyone for what felt like ten minutes before finally giving up his instrument and calling it a night.

The band may have screwed up on a lot of their songs, were off key more than once, and did not look entirely thrilled to be playing that night but I would never expect anything else.  It was NOFX, they can do whatever the hell they want to do during their show and I would leave satisfied.  Having seen them tons of times in span of 15+ years I know what to expect from the foursome who just do what they want and don’t care what you think.  I can admit that as long as they continue to tour I will be making my best effort to see them live because a NOFX show is just that damn entertaining.

Road Trip: Fermented & Flailing Tour Feat. NOFX – Covington, KY

I will be embarking on my first road trip of the year with my good pals this weekend to see NOFX, Tony Sly, Teenage Bottlerocket, and The Menzingers play at the Madison Theater. 

Fat Mike is not looking so fat as of late...

I am beyond stoked to see such a line up and will be covering it so expect a full review of the shows and my personal shenanigans before, after, and during.

Until then, have a good one!