Nofx, Birmingham Academy, 03/11/2007
By the time we arrived at the Venue "Tat" a London based band who I’d never heard of were just finishing their set.
This would usually annoy the hell out of me as I always try to watch the support bands. But I have to say, on this occasion I’m kinda glad we missed them, it’s not that they were that bad, but to me they kinda sounded like the "local" support band that supports every band coming through their town and that everyone has seen a million times. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I couldn’t hear anything that really made them stand out and grab my attention.
Above: The Loved Ones
Next up were The Loved Ones a band who I particularly wanted to see and from a personal point of view, they far exceeded my expectations. From the first chord of "Suture Self" it was obvious that The Loved Ones were as passionate and energetic live as they were on CD. Even though their sound wasn’t the obvious punk rock sound that the Nofx fans might have expected, they seemed to go down pretty well for a band that sound musically serious compared to some of the more comedic NOFX songs.
Above: The Loved Ones
Its was obvious that they just wanted to have a good time and give all the NOFX fans a good show. (I’m sure they gained a lot more fans by the time their set ended). The "fun" factor increased dramatically when the occasional plastic pint glass soared through the air splashing down onto the stage. Prompting Dave Hause, singer/guitarist to challenge the people in the crowd by saying "I bet you can’t hit me", of course you can guess what happened next... At this time some kid kept running in front of me with four or five glasses and continuously throwing them towards the stage. But it would end up being this annoying kid in front of me that would actually hit his target. As he landed one dead centre on Dave Hause’s chest... the crowd cheered and clapped with approval.
Above: The Loved Ones
From then on the aerial activities reduced and everyone could point their attention at this kick ass band. They temporarily slowed things down with "Sickening" before pounding out song after song of pure honest music. "Jane" concluded their set which had seemed to go by so fast, but in my opinion they saved the best til last and got the crowd adequately warmed up for the headlining band. Since seeing them live The Loved Ones has been pretty much all I have listened to.
Above: Crowd Watching NoFx
So to the Climax of the night, the band that the majority of people in this close to sold out venue were here to see... NOFX. After bursting onto the stage playing "Dinosaurs will die" Fat Mike informs the crowd that they were only going to play songs that they rarely play live, (or, songs "that aren’t as good as the ones we usually play - but are still good") explaining that they can’t play "Don’t call me white" every single night. After being around for as long as those guys have you can kind of understand where they were coming from.
The aftermath of plastic glasses was still apparent and as expected there were still a couple of over excited people that continued to throw them towards the stage. Unfortunately Fat Mike was hit by one. This only happened the one time as Fat Mike went on to explain that those glasses are actually quite hard, do hurt and if he is hit again, would take "Bob" off their set list. Needless to say nobody really threw anything after that. Continuing with the "songs we rarely play live", NOFX played a Rancid song from the NOFX/Rancid split and what I would think of as the highlight of their set "The Decline". Which I’m sure for those people who had heard it before, it was awesome to hear, but for those who hadn’t, it could have been a real chore considering it lasts the best part of 20 minutes and could take up as much as a third of your favourite band’s entire set! So, I guess it was quite a brave song for them to choose to play. But hey, this is NOFX, they do what they like.
As they continued I began to want more from them. Not in the way of more songs but, this is NOFX in front of me, I should have goose bumps all over my arms but for some reason I didn’t have. Don’t get me wrong they are an awesome band and great live but I just didn’t feel as bowled over by their live show as I thought I would. Maybe I was still in Loved Ones mode.
Of course they did end with "Bob" much to everyone’s delight seeing as the crowd had been good and not tried to kill them with plastic glasses. But they didn’t perform an encore. Considering they hadn’t played Birmingham in something like 4 years an encore would have been cool, but on the other hand, we did get "The decline" instead which I think more than evens it out.
Above: Fat Mike