NOFX at The Tivoli 22/11/14 – the second coming

The guys from NOFX turned up with a different set list and a different attitude for their second Brisbane date this tour. It made for another great show in a messier fashion, at a rather full Tivoli theatre. Fat Mike was jovial and enjoying the vodka and sodas, with the crew keeping his mic-stand cup holder stocked. We said happy birthday to El Hefe’s wife Jennifer, whom he was missing back at home, and Melvin got to yell a lot. Lindsay McDougall, of Frenzal Rhomb, happily took Limo’s vacant spot at the keys tonight. I guess he’s bucking for a spot on their line up now he’s free of Triple J. Once the set got underway there was less talking as they focused on smashing through the tunes, with an appropriate amount of stuff-ups and departures from the set list – much to Hefe’s dismay. You got the sense they were kind of ready to go home, being the penultimate show and all, but still wanted to give the fans a kickarse time. And that they did.

Local supports Army of Champions were great again, and The Bennies laid down their bizarrely catchy mix of dance and punk good and tight this time around. Some of them watched from backstage as NOFX sent the Brisbane crowd into chaos once again with their hardcore melodies. For the repeat customers like myself it was a delight to see different songs being played, something which they have done pretty consistently throughout the tour. They kicked things off with Dinosaurs Will Die and pulled out vintage gems Green Corn and Bob – on which Hefe proved he can trumpet and scat with the best of them. We were also treated to It’s My Job to Keep Punk Rock Elite and Don’t Call Me White – songs Mike said they only do at the end of the tour because “they’re hard to sing and they fuck my voice up.” The crowd on the floor had become a sweaty, writhing mass by that point, with all sorts of thing being thrown onto the stage. Some guy, “with a collared shirt and no shoes,” had to jump over and collect his passport, and no one claimed a wallet Hefe pretended to flog money from. Mike scored a pair of sunnies too, which he wore for about half the night, looking less than fashionable.

Impressively, The Decline got an airing in all its 18-minute glory, with Mike making a non-apology for anyone who didn’t know it and was “tortured for a really long time.” While there was less talking at this show, the band still gave out a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek insults. Some girls on the balcony got called out for dressing slutty, one guy was singled out for having “huge hands,” and another guy was asked if he discovered NOFX in prison. When Hefe joked about Metallica and played the riff from The Four Horsemen, Mike told us NOFX were better than Slayer, and that it was official now that they’d sold 70 more tickets than them in LA. They also played Herb Alpert song What Now My Love again, this time in their usual fashion including made up lyrics – about how Victoria is better than Queensland.

As the night drew to a close the end the band brought out the down-tempo Reeko, which Mike and Melvin switched instruments for, and Hefe soloed like a champion. The surprise of the night was Mike throwing in their cover of Champs Elysées to the encore, apparently because Brisbanites love French people. More impressively, it sounded like he still knew the lyrics. The night ended, rather warm and with many ripped shirts and lost shoes, with The Brews and the chants rang out as Mike said “see you again in two to three years,” and The Hustler Store played over the speakers.

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