Photos by Scott Murry
The day after Thanksgiving, Boston found what it is collectively grateful for in NOFX at the House of Blues. The drunken anticipation leading up to the show was amplified with guitarist Melvin leaking big set list plans earlier in the day. “The Decline,” NOFX’s 18 minute punk opus evaluating politics of America. Along with other rarities, it would be performed for the first time live in Boston.
During our interview prior in the week, Mike suggested that the show would be a party. They’re well-trained in the punk rock circuit with their 30+ years as a band though, so being on the road is maxed out at 3 weeks long to avoid complete liver failure and a Metallica-esque burnout. Boston was their first night of this tour, however, and thus began their re-tox.
The band took stage as the audience slung drinks in the air with gruff, inebriated chanting, “NOFX, NOFX.” It was an all-ages show, but the median age hovered around 20-35. Quick to notice that Boston had a drinking problem, Mike poked fun that our city is unable to afford good drugs, so we rely on shitty beers and whisky. This prompted a rainbow arch of beer cans from the masses to the stage that perpetuated throughout the night.
Getting into “The Decline,” El Hefé hoaxed an inability to remember chords or melodies, suddenly nixing the banter and jumping into the precise rhythm and sound needed. For a band that likes to claim no cares or abilities in what they do, they are one of the tightest live bands, period. This especially was true in the complex, government-bashing “Church and Skate.” I’ve been waiting to hear that song live for a decade, and it was as powerful and lush as I’d always envisioned—full of technical riffs and berating harmonies.
Mike continued his heckling of the crowd. He’s akin to a low-budget comedian, warming up the crowd between songs. Hassling the beards (or “prison pussy”) and vaguely homeless-looking members of the audience he inevitably was the target of many more cheap beers, with one full can clocking him across the left cheek. Being a consummate professional, however, he laughed, drank the crooked can and went about the show. With a well-rounded collection of their catalog, they finished with “Kill All the White Men.” It was a perfect start to the tour for these jackals.