Review: NOFX at Shepherds Bush Empire
By Elin Berta
Tuesday June 19, 2012
Saturday nights gig at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire make me think about all the different types of punk rock.
When I arrived at the venue, UK hardcore punks The Varukers had already started their set. It was a joy to see these legends on stage, however the crowd was surprisingly quiet as they looked passively at the band completely rocking out on stage.
The explanation was that the crowd had come to see the American punk rockers NOFX, who are classed as punk legends, but of quite a different type.
Although the crowd was mixed, as always at the Empire, there were more skaters than old punk rockers with colourful mohawks. And once NOFX entered the stage the Empire and its four levels were packed, and the crowd wasn’t that quiet anymore.
This was probably the first time I just wanted the band to shut up and just play their music. Usually, it’s the small talk inbetween songs that adds up to a great show, that gives you that extra bit of joy you don’t get from listening to an album.
Although the band are infamous for doing whatever they can to piss off as many people as they can, there is a fine line between a good sense of humour and stupidity. A line who singer Fat Mike and the rest of the band constantly crossed, well past the line of stupidity!
Not too long ago, I went to a punk-festival in Belgium. There were all different types of bands playing; skatepunk, hardcore, ska, poltical punk, pop-punk. But they all had one thing in common; they all spoke about the importance of looking after one another. They spoke about the punk scene as a caring community. At several gigs I went to there were quite heavy moshpits going on and a few times bands would stop playing in order to make sure everyone was ok.
NOFX gave quite a contrast to that. I guess for some people punk is more about being against everything, always finding a way to upset or get some kind of reaction. Why you would want to mock your fans is something I can't understand though. Instead of having an attitude like the bands in Belgium, where the crowd was encouraged to pick people up from the ground, singer Fat Mike encouraged 12-14 people to lift up one single boy making nasty remarks about his weight.
If I was more like Fat Mike I would probably write comments here about his beerbelly, his ridiculous clothes and badly-raised mohawk. But I’m not, so I won’t. [I think you just did... -Ed]
But when NOFX shut up, got down to work and played their hearts out, they had everyone on their side. Even the security guards seemed to be enjoying it, and fair enough - that’s a sight I have never seen before. In any country!