NOFX Punches Kansas City In The Gut

NOFX’s Tour Manager, Kent, told me it was, “a crap-shoot,” when I asked him if the show was going to be as good as I hoped, but it turned out that Punk Rock was at it’s very best on Sunday when NOFX’s Fermented And Flailing 2010 Tour stopped by the Beaumont Club.  It had only been two years since the band played the very same venue and there were concerns that they hadn’t waited long enough to come back; that the crowd wouldn’t be as big as they had hoped for.  However, I’m proud to say that Punk Rock fans in the area did not disappoint – by the time the music started, The Beaumont had filled up nicely.  The temperature quickly rose from the crowded bodies, and with it, the pure energy of a true punk show began to appear.

This time through, NOFX brought their friends, The Menzingers, Tony Sly, and Teenage Bottlerocket to open for them.  The line-up was solid and I could feel it building up the crowd’s anticipation for the headliners – “the Rolling Stones of Punk Rock,” – NOFX.

Up and comers, The Menzingers were up first.  They took the stage and tore right in to the crowd with their brand of super-catchy, melodic, Power Punk.  The band is a four piece with a sound in much the same vein as another band that is very close to my heart, Dillinger Four.  I don’t think many people knew The Menzingers very well, but they obviously had some die-hard fans in the audience. Here and there were excited punks chanting the words and pumping their fists in unison with the band.  By the end of their set, I was a fan and pumping my fist too – along with most everyone else in the room.

The solo acoustic act, Tony Sly, followed, and he stated as he stepped into the single spotlight shining on his microphone, “Hi, I’m Tony Sly.  I’m here to interrupt the punk show for about twenty-five minutes.”

A member of West Coast punkers No Use For A Name, Tony has taken a different direction with his solo project.  He’s shifted to a singer/songwriter format and taken to writing songs with lyrics that could still be found in any number of Punk songs and combined them with a sound that is more brooding and laden with dark emotion.  I could certainly hear Mike Ness and Social Distortion’s influence on his work as he played for us.  Tony’s songs felt punk to me, but the way he chose to compose and perform them gave me a chance to soak in what he was feeling and what he wanted me – and the audience – to feel.  For just an interruption, I thought Tony Sly was damn good – definitely worth checking out if you’re feeling slightly less-than-thrash.

As Tony Sly finished his set and the house music came back up, the crowd seemed to push forward, rather than disperse for drinks or bathrooms, in anticipation for the next band, Teenage Bottlerocket.  Originally formed by Brandon and Ray Ray Carlisle in Laramie, Wyoming, TBR picked up Kody Templeman, a founder of the Screeching Weasel-esque band and punk staple, The Lillingtons in 2004.  Along with bass player Miggy, they formed the four-piece that ROCKED me on Sunday night.

I had the pleasure of talking with the band before the show and honestly, they were one of the nicest bands I’ve ever talked with.  Here’s just one example: I told Ray Ray I was covering the show for Lost In Reviews and he offered to write out their set list for the night, by hand, in my notebook.  Obviously, I let him!

Here’s a link to check it out: Set list

So yeah, the guys in the band were cool.  Now, you’re probably wondering if the show was any good, right?  Well, to put it simply, Teenage Bottlerocket puts on a Punk Show like it’s supposed to be done.  Ray Ray and Kody’s vocals were top notch, the sound was fantastic, and the set list would have satisfied any fan.  They played at least fifteen songs and didn’t ever stop between to bullshit or schmooze the crowd.  They came on, said hello, then gave their fans as much music as they could in the time they were allotted.  Every time a song would end, Ray Ray would just look back at Brandon – who was already playing the beat for the next one – then turn back around, and with the rest of the band, dive headfirst straight into the next number.  We barely had a chance to catch our breath and that’s how they wanted it to be.

I wish you could’ve seen it yourselves, because you might not believe me, but when TBR finished their set, it was like the crowd got down to business.  NOFX was coming on next and it was time to prepare.  Some people rushed to get one last beer or smoke.  Most went straight to the front and attempted to stake their claim on the piece of dance floor they were going to try and hold onto during the storm that was rapidly approaching.  NOFX was coming!

Now, I have to confess.  I’ve been listening to this band since I was sixteen, I’ve seen them three times, and meeting Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, and Kent the Tour Manager was like a dream come true.  Almost every aspect of my life has been affected in one way or another by their music.  NOFX is my favorite band of all time – without a doubt.  That being the case, I would never blame one for thinking that my review might be biased.  However, I would like to make a solemn promise, that if I were disappointed or let down in any way by this show, I swear on all that is Holy and Punk that I would tell you.  I’m saying here and now: I was NOT disappointed.

Truly, after certain pre-show occurrences, I had my doubts, just as Kent did, as to how good the show would actually be, but when NOFX took the stage and saw how excited Kansas City was to have them back, all doubt was cast aside.  The relief on Fat Mike’s face was visible and that trade-mark mischievous grin slashed across his previously uncertain face.

As they began to play, it became clear that the band was in top form, though Fat Mike stated, several times with his trade-mark sarcasm, that he was only in such a good mood because of the Ecstasy he had taken.  Their twenty-two song set list was composed of older fan favorites, like “Linoleum,” and “Leave It Alone,” as well as new hits like, “Cokie the Clown,” and “We Called It America.”  They played songs like, “Seeing Double At The Triple Rock,” and “The Separation Of Church And Skate,” just to get the kids going.  They even surprised us and played, “The Decline,” in its entirety, complete with Smelly playing El Hefe’s guitar while he was busy playing the trombone and Brandon from TBR sitting in on drums at the end!  According to Fat Mike, they had to play, “The Decline,” at least once in each city and this was the first time Smelly had ever played guitar during it – Mike was very excited about it.  Maybe it was the Ecstasy pill he said he took.  I don’t know if it’s true, but I like to think so – not the pill, but that he was excited.

I was able to score one of the set lists from the stage.  Here’s a link to check out the set list for “Kansas Shitty”: Pt1 Pt2

The entire night was nothing short of amazing.  The truth is, good Punk Rock brings fans together and that is what happened on Sunday night at the Fermented And Flailing 2010 Tour.   I met a family who drove from Arkansas to bring their six and nine year old children to a once-in-a-lifetime show – a concert that would show them what Punk Rock was all about – fun and friendship through crudely composed and performed music.  That is exactly what they got.  Except for one A-Hole – and I know this is going to sound like I’m on a soapbox or something, but this has to be said – one jerk didn’t get it at all and decided to take it out on Fat Mike.  After the show, Mike was being good to his fans and taking pictures with them when out of nowhere, some meathead on a rager sucker-punched him in the gut.  I just want to let that guy know that he is a shitty person and I hope he gets what is coming to him.  Getting punched at a Punk Rock show is part of the game, but punching a legend like Fat Mike and screwing over the other fans he was probably going to hang out with is foul and uncool.  I really hope it doesn’t deter them from returning in the next two years because the Bible Belt needs them.

I give the whole show 5 “Punches to the Gut” out of 5.

by Ian O. Fordyce

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Named after the 2003 film Lost in Translation, Lost in Reviews set out to embody the philosophy of this film in a website. Discouraged with the lack of passion in modern day criticism, founders Angela Davis and Ryan Davis created the entertainment review site in 2009. The idea being that, this would be the go-to place for people to find that something that was missing in their life through film or music.

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