NOFX at House of Blues, 12/13/2013
It's hard to believe that a whole 30 years have gone by since NOFX first started playing music together. I'm guessing the late-forties punkers are probably thinking the same thing. Consisting of the same core lineup of Fat Mike, Eric Melvin and Erik Sandin since 1983 (El Jefe joined in '91), these guys are the epitome of your DIY punk-rock band that was ever so popular in the 90's.
Surrounded by bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise, Rancid, Green Day and The Offspring, NOFX saw decent commercial success on a string of '90s albums, but really shone in the national spotlight with Punk In Drublic, now considered a classic in many circles. They've developed an impressive hardcore fanbase over the years, which was ever-so-present at their first Houston gig in nearly three years Friday to a packed House of Blues.
While many of my early years were spent listening to NOFX, I only had the chance to see them once when they played Warehouse Live back in 2008 -- long after my teenage affinity for the group had worn off. Still, seeing them was one of those bucket-list things for me, and had me shouting out "The Brews," "Don't Call Me White" and "Bob" among my many other favorites from their '90s best. This time was different. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in an "I already filled my nostalgia slot for this, and it's not as exciting the second time around" kind of way.
Thankfully, my roots run deep with NOFX, so it was still pretty damn cool to see them live again, and their playing didn't disappoint. They performed for a good hour and a half, which is a long-ass time with a catalog mostly consisting of sub-three-minute songs. And while they didn't play "Don't Call Me White" or "The Brews" this time, it was still packed with songs I used to bounce around my bedroom to at midnight on a Friday, allowing me to forget that my mom wouldn't let me stay out past curfew.
The crowd was rowdy, fueled by the band's shoutable anthems like "Bob" and "Perfect Government." It wasn't until after about five songs that the band finally stopped to say a few words. While they more than made up for it with a huge helping of stage banter throughout the night, they brought the energy from the get go with "60%," "Murder the Government" and "Franco Un-American."
But talk they did, about everything you'd expect NOFX to talk about. They let a young lady in the balcony know that everyone could see up her skirt, forcing her to quickly exit the situation (surrounded by jeers from the band). One kid in the front row was treated to a lesson in sexual situations throughout the course of the night, with Fat Mike and El Jefe teaching him the ever-so-charming Chili Dog, Pearl Necklace and Snow Ball. (Do yourself a favor, and don't Google those terms... or do; just know I warned you). After brandishing the terrible tag unto his parents, NOFX dedicated "Fuck the Kids" to the kid, as if the rest of the night wasn't lesson enough.
They touched on Christmas ("There really was no Jesus Christ... some Roman guy made him up... sorry to bum you out."), Houston ("We love your town... racism in America! Titties!"), Dallas ("You don't like Dallas because they're better than you") and lesbianism ("There's nothing wrong with a little cunnilingus every once in a while!"). They also didn't shy away from politics, religion or race, but I'll leave those at the show.
Review continues on the next page.