NOFX Needs To Grow Up

Addicted To Noise

ATN Philadelphia correspondent Chris Nelson reports: Who would've guessed that somewhere in the world, there's a factory that spends its time and resources on manufacturing not just any blowup sex dolls, but blow up sheep in particular? The guys in NOFX would've guessed it, and they've found the company that makes 'em. Several of these very sheep were thrown at the audience during Tuesday (Feb. 27) night's show at the Trocadero in Philadelphia.

The props tie in with the cover art for NOFX's latest Epitaph release, Heavy Petting Zoo. The band shied away from featuring the new album at the show, including just four songs from it in a one hour set of almost two dozen numbers. The new songs they did choose to play favored the album's least challenging pieces (Hot Dog in a Hallway, Release the Hostages) over some of its more engaging works (Philthy Phil Philanthropist, Freedom Like a Shopping Cart, Love Story).

In the midst of focusing on NOFX's five earlier albums for Epitaph, guitarist Hefe played to the crowd's junior high sensibilities. Hefe is actually the band's biggest asset. First of all, he plays a Telecaster (rather than the standard punk issue Strat, Les Paul, or Gibson SG). More importantly, he adds the harmony vocals, trumpet, and fancy footwork. Unfortunately, he also adds too many fart jokes, mentions of cock, and getting laid. It all wears thin after the first half dozen go rounds.

Far more interesting were the show's openers, the Lunachicks. To tell the truth, the music was just fair to middlin' punk rock; what was compelling was front woman Theo Kogan's interaction with the audience and the reaction she elicited.

From the get go, Kogan, dressed as a psycho Amazon nurse in platform boots, scared away the sweaty boys ruling the front row. These were the same kids who, during the set of the other opener, Snuff, had been all over the stage (in part because the band lacked any stage presence, but that's a different story). For the first six songs or so, the crowd was too dumbfounded by the Lunachicks and their crazy costumes to even mosh in the middle of the hall.

In the balcony, several guys who had sat silently through Snuff's harmless set felt threatened enough to yell at Kogan, "Shut the fuck up!" and "Get the fuck off the stage!" after every song. Or maybe they felt cheated rather than threatened. When the Lunachicks took the stage, these same folks greeted the band with shouts of "Take your clothes off, Courtney Love!" (Was the reference to Ms. Love an insult, or do these guys brand all bleached blonde female rockers with that name?) Kogan and the band responded with a totally self-confident set that squashed the sexual power mindset that much of the mostly male audience had no doubt brought to the show. No wonder that the sweaty boys were unhappy (and that some of those unhappy boys were very sweaty).