support Night Fever
author PP date 15/06/16 venue Den Grå Hal, Copenhagen, DEN

Eighteen years. That's the last time NOFX played a club show in Denmark. Sure, they visited Roskilde Festival a few years back in a triumphant blend of stand-up comedy satirizing the festival's anti-drug stance and punk rock classics that a packed Arena stage sang along to. But otherwise, Danish NOFX fans have been relegated to traveling to Swedish festivals (or the rare club performance at Lund recently), German festivals, or to Groezrock to catch a glimpse of the punk rock legends. And what better location than Christiania for a band that has been associated with drug-infused, drunken and disorderly behavior self-documented on their DVD. Not surprisingly, the 1000-capacity Den Grå Hal is sold out and despite being a midweek show, the spirits are high on the grass field right across from the venue while waiting for the support band to start. The whole scene is here: everyone seems to know everyone with folks both old and young exchanging memories of the last time they saw NOFX play at some foreign festival. The forever-classic "Fuck The Bridge" moment from West Coast Riot 2008 is eulogized frequently, but so are other memorable moments from NOFX's career. And there have been many; this writer is seeing the group for the 14th time tonight, giving a whole lot of perspective on how their show has changed over the years.

Night Fever

Night Fever

Night Fever's meteoric rise to the hearts of Danish punk fans has been entirely fueled by their pissed-off attitude and relentless d-beat expression that lends itself for a high-energy, in-your-face style live performance especially in smaller venues. Tonight, they're on a stage way too large for them with most of the crowd still chilling outside, exposing their monotone, single-song expression out bare for what it is: VolDbeat, as someone in the crowd suggested. As usual, Night Fever's vocalist Salomon starts the night wearing his leather jacket - but it's quickly thrown off and later reduced to a bare-chested expression, a feat which has in the past invited more crowd action in smaller venues than it does tonight. For a good 30 to 40 minutes, the band floor the pedal like there's no tomorrow but the vocals are still far too unvaried to leave a lasting expression. As a result, their set feels like one long song with barely any variety, save for one or two tracks that offer a bit of melody or tempo variation to stick out. Fat Mike may be watching from the side, and the audience is nodding in approval, but there's not enough going on for a higher rating. Also, I'll just never be a fan of a vocal style with zero variation like theirs, so understand this review with that in mind.


NOFX's Fat Mike


Never known for their flamboyance, NOFX usually show up with a tiny A2 or so-sized banner behind them no matter the stage. That's also the case tonight. And as tradition goes, they spend the first couple of minutes of the show talking shit before stating their intention tonight with "60%" straight away. Fat Mike has recently come out of rehab, so the iconic mic stand cup is noticeably missing, which means we're dealing with a sober Fat Mike tonight. That doesn't prevent him from ridiculing weed users for using drugs that put you to sleep throughout the night, considering we are in Christiania, but something is missing from his usual erratic, half-drunken and unpredictable stage persona. "Dinosaurs Will Die" is an early classic, but the sound is awful, leaving it hard to identify lyrics from the song, a feat not made any easier by Fat Mike mumbling the words in the process. "Heeey, two songs in a row", he shouts, symptomatic of every NOFX show ever and also tonight: it's gonna be stop-start between talking and a couple of songs stringed together, probably played sloppily yet with entertaining showmanship on stage. Jumps, monkey dances, gorilla moves, and all that. "Look at what a Mexican can do when you pay him well!?", Fat Mike shouts just before "Seeing Double At The Triple Rock", which contains one of the most piercing and technical riffs NOFX has written in their career.

NOFX's Eric Melvin

"72 Hookers" is dedicated to the Orlando victims in their usual crass manner, without drawing much of a laughter from the crowd at this point. "The Brews", on the other hand, draws out a huge sing along together with "Leave It Alone" where it feels like all of Christiania is singing along. The pits open and it feels like we're having a show despite terrible sound conditions. We're treated to a new song called "Six Years On Dope", which is apparently dedicated to their drummer who hasn't done heroin for 'fucking' 22 years now. "Excuse my French", guitarist El Hefe says, and then it's time for the French-sung "Champs Elysées". Echoing sing-alongs for this one. "Linoleum", predictably, earns tonight's biggest sing-along and most vivid pit action, before "Leaving Jesusland" displays the dark side of the sound quality tonight leaving its lyrics difficult to comprehend. We sing "Oh Christiania" during "What Now, Herb?" together, and of course the classic "Kill All The White Man" after the encore. "We just did Red Bull backstage", Fat Mike claims, and it's probably true. Tonight's set has been characterized by lackluster stop/start humor that's missing its usual edge and feels like it's on autopilot compared to what it's been in the past. That "Soul Doubt" and "Stickin' In My Eye" are both omitted from the setlist tonight despite being played in Würtzburg the night before is a bit of a bummer, but at least we got to hear "Idiots Are Taking Over" earlier. As usual, "Theme From A NOFX Album" closes the set with its accordion-driven "I'm playing way too long you can't stop me" where Eric Melvin is pulled off stage multiple times before he's done playing, but you can't help but feel a bit disappointed if you've seen the band in the past.

NOFX's El Hefe

First club show in Denmark in 16 years and they look like it's just another day in the business? Same jokes repeated for I don't know how manyeth time in a row now? Compared to some of the classic shows I mentioned earlier, tonight's NOFX show is a huge letdown. The vocals are inaudible at times due to bad sound, and despite a few jumps and other brief displays of movement, not much is happening on stage either. Of course, the crowd takes care of this one with the big sing-alongs, but can you compare this one to the 2008 "Fuck The Bridge" show or to Groezrock's glorious "Punk In Drublic" set some years ago? Hardly.

Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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