What more could you ask for during the credit
crunch than 5 punk acts for the price of 1? That’s
exactly what the Academy offered us tonight, and
it’s a travesty that the show wasn’t
sold out. (Fat) Mike Burkett’s influence
on the evening’s proceeds is clear, with
4 out of the 5 bands on the bill being signed
to his label, Fat Wreck Chords.
Section 13, the first act up, is the only exception.
Led by ageing frontman Ian (who reminds me a little
of Frank Gallagher of Shameless fame), the lads
from Leamington Spa put on an admirable show,
but it’s a little melodically challenged
for my liking. As the only non-Fat Wreck Chords
band, they stand out like a sore thumb.
Next up is the first of the Fat bands. Everything
about Pour Habit is fast. Lead vocalist Chuck
runs about the stage in fast forward, jumping
into the crowd, teetering on the edge of the stage,
and pulling faces at the cameras. They have their
own unique brand of melodic hardcore mixed with
good old-fashioned punk, but unfortunately it’s
all a bit repetitive.
The evening picks up with the arrival of The
Flatliners on stage. Named after a trippy Keifer
Sutherland film about near-death experiences,
the young band burst with energy and catchy punk
riffs. Unfortunately, the crowd is still warming
up so they don’t get the reception they
deserve, but they still manage to conjure up a
decent circle pit towards the end of their set.
Check out our pre-show interview with The Flatliners
in the interview section.
After a short wait, Snuff take to the stage.
It’s clear that a good chunk of the crowd
is here to see the notorious British punk rockers.
It’s an interesting change to see the drummer
take lead vocals, even if it does take me a while
to work out where his voice is coming from. Their
second track, ‘Caught In Session’
is my favourite, with a catchy trombone riff which
gets everyone dancing and encourages a few crowd
surfers. The rest of their set seems little dated
and tired, with the exception of the great ‘Nick
Northern’, but it’s still great to
see the legends at work.
NOFX are up next, and the lighting engineers
seem to be toying with the audience. They dim
the lights gradually over the course of about
20 minutes, while playing several songs from the
Avenue Q soundtrack, before NOFX eventually take
to the stage in their typically casual style and
dive head first into their set.
They deliver their two minute, energy fuelled
ska/ punk classics with precision. They’re
notoriously political, and aren’t afraid
to let their opinions be heard, especially in
a particularly scathing song dedicated to the
Queen.Unfortunately, their set is diluted with
meandering banter and choreographed jokes, meaning
that in their 90 minute set, we only get about
20 songs. I’m all for crowd interaction,
but not when it takes the focus away from the
music, which is why we’re here after all.
When they do play though, it’s magic to
watch, and every single person has a smile on
What I like most about NOFX is their variety,
and their ability to switch from fast punk songs
to reggae-tinged songs like ‘Eat The Meek’
and ‘Radio’. Guitarist and trumpter,
El Hefe carries most of ‘Eat The Meek’
by himself, and pulls off the haunting vocals
It’s unbelievable that these guys are into
their forties and have been touring like this
since 1983. While their act might not be the freshest
it ever has been, they still have great enthusiasm
for what they do and for their fans. We can all
rest assured that when NOFX do finally retire,
Fat Wreck Chords will provide another fantastic
generation of punk rockers, who will hold up the
standards set for them by the great NOFX.
Section 13 - 2/5
Pour Habit - 3/5
The Flatliners - 4/5
Snuff – 3/5
NOFX – 4/5
Review By Helen Williams