They've Actually Gotten Worse Live

Written by: PP on 27/11/2007 05:53:14

*Crowd cheering* "Oh shit, time to go to work", the opening words of NOFX guitarist El Hefe on their aptly titled second live record "They've Actually Gotten Worse Live". This record has a lot to live up to considering how "I Heard They Suck Live" is widely considered to be among the all time best live albums. Knowing how retarded that album's in-between-song antics were, spinning the new one for the first time was like popping on a Pablo Sanchez show you haven't seen before - you just know it's gonna make you laugh out loud more than once. "Let me tell you this", says Fat Mike, "the first night, me and Eric played, we had a couple of drinks, that was it. It was bad. The second night, we got really drunk. Tonight, no no, we're fucked tonight" and by the sludgyness of his voice, he isn't joking, at all.

So based on that preposition, along with the guarantee that because of that tonight will be "the best show", you're supposedly in for a hilarious mix of humor and retardedly drunken fuck ups known as NOFX songs for the next hour or so. Not surprisingly, a preposterous number of different ideas, people, bands and beliefs are insulted during the process. I first attempted to write down everything they insult but it would've filled up the whole review, so here's just a brief outtake of things getting insulted: Christians, Jews, NRA, Muslims, God, George Bush, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Dick Cheney, Mexicans, Blink 182.. the list goes on and on. I'm not gonna lie, the guys are hilarious in between songs. Fat Mike finds out that some girl called Amy has her birthday in the crowd, and follows it up with "Happy Birthday You're Not Special", calling her a 'crack whore' and a 'big cunt' among other non-printable insults. There are plenty more of laughable moments scattered across the album, and the lack of legendary NOFX banter isn't the problem at all.

You see, Fat Mike really wasn't kidding that they were "fucked tonight". Many songs have incorrect chords, are played far too loosely and lyrics are changed to the point of annoyance. The guys are simply too drunk to deliver the same kind of awesome underground punk show we heard on "I Heard They Suck Live". Which leads me to think that the guys must have also been drunk when making important decisions about recording technique and song selection.

First of all, let me explain what I mean by recording technique, my single biggest grudge against this album: it sucks balls. Instead of recording one full show, which would've been the most sensible thing to do, the record is full of outtakes from three separate shows, albeit them all being in the same venue on consecutive nights. Needless to say, this breaks the flow of the show completely, and especially the short songs from track 10 "Monosyllabic Girl" through to track 17 "Juicehead" sound terrible given that they are recorded on three different nights. The worst part is around 47 minutes to the record, when Fat Mike pronounces "we've been playing an hour and 10 minutes, that's pretty good, Strike Anywhere only played for half hour, fucking pussies", and you as a listener are left wondering what happened to the 23 minutes that were cut out? I was willing to forgive this by the time I reached the encore at the end of "Stickin' In My Eye", which is followed by the beloved drum sequence of "The Decline", thinking that the band cut off some material from the middle to be able to fit in one of the best punk songs of all time into the end of the recording. But then the band betrays the listener, and fades out the song only a few minutes into it, ending the record at "merely" 59 minutes. A terrible manifestation of what a NOFX show really is like, given that they usually last well into two hours, especially when there's 14 minutes more space on the record. You can't help but be disappointed, especially when the band purposefully selected only songs that weren't on their previous live record, meaning no "Linoleum", "Soul Doubt", "You're Bleeding" or other classics. But even worse, newer classics like "Dinosaurs Will Die", "The Separation Of Church & Skate", "Seeing Double At The Triple Rock", "Clams Have Feelings Too", "180 Degrees", "Les Champs Elysees" and countless others are left out in favor of much less popular tracks like "Instant Crassic", "Can't Get The Stink Out" and "Whoops I OD'd".

So can you blame me for calling this a half assed effort? For me, the last drop on the glass before it flooded over was the fading out of "kill our fucking ********(President)" from "Franco Un-American". The outspoken government critic, punk voter owner, the inspiration for the leftist punk movement starts censoring his own releases? He even owns the record label so the blame cannot be passed on! Shameful. To end the review with the obligatory pun on the title, they really have gotten worse live, at least if you compare to "I Heard They Suck Live".

Download: The Longest Line, Scavenger Type, Stickin' In My Eye
For the fans of: NOFX, Bad Religion, Lagwagon
Listen: Myspace

Release date 20.11.2007
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