NOFX plus Alkaline Trio, Lagwagon and Gnarwolves
Venue: Brixton Academy
Date: 4th July 2015
Fat Mike and co are back in the UK to cause some carnage!
NOFX have teamed up with Alkaline Trio and Lagwagon on an 8 date tour hitting Birmingham twice, Newcastle, Nottingham, Leeds Twice, and London Twice. Saturday night was the first of two London shows at the O2 Brixton Academy, with Gnarwolves opening the show for this night only out of the London dates.
Brighton lads Gnarwolves took to the stage clearly very excited to be there, having only played Leeds with NOFX the night before. After joking that the bill was very “Warped Tour” circa 2001, the 3-piece followed suit in trying to emulate the chirpy punk rock sound that was influenced by bands on the early Warped Tour compilations. Gnarwolves provided the crowd with high energy, catchy hooks and fast beats that were well balanced out by some very early Taking Back Sunday-esque emotional melodies. Gnarwolves are continuously getting more popular and, based on their performance, they really gave it their all but something tells me Brixton was just a bit too soon for them. Surprisingly there was not a great crowd response considering how much hype the Brighton lads receive on social media – more was to be expected from their set. There are signs of promise but they have a lot to prove to be supporting punk heavyweights like NOFX on a more regular basis.
Lagwagon followed Gnarwolves with a very surprisingly tame set. Considering how manic their performance was in March and how great the crowd was for them at the Islington Academy, you’d expect a similar response – especially on a bill with NOFX – anyone would assume that Lagwagon were sure favourites for this tour. Sadly this was not the case. You cannot fault the punk veterans outstanding performance, however, the crowd just seemed somewhat dull and unresponsive. The Californians powered through a mix of old and new songs, including classics like ‘Violins’ and everyone’s favourite skate song ‘May 16’ which received the biggest crowd reception of their entire set as the words “UNINVITED” rang around the Brixton Academy. Never the less, Joey Cape and the lads seemed to have fun. We can only hope that next time Lagwagon get the response they deserve.
With so many people there to see Alkaline Trio, a great crowd reaction was to be expected and, funnily enough, as soon as the Illinois punks kicked off with ‘Private Eye‘ the mosh pits at the front were relentless with no real end. Following that they played ‘I’m Only Here To Disappoint‘, which in all honesty says all things about their setlist. Considering Trio were to play the entirety of ‘From Here to the Infirmary’ the following night at the same venue, the 3-piece ignored the rest of their masterpiece album for the remainder of their Saturday night set, including very popular songs ‘Stupid Kid‘ and ‘Armageddon‘, leaving a lot of fans feeling a tad bitter. Something about Alkaline Trio shouted fatigue and lacklustre as they performed a lot of one off tracks from various albums in their vast catalogue. What did seem to save them was the opposite case for Lagwagon; while Lagwagon’s performance possibly carried their set, Trio’s fan base certainly carried theirs as they sang back the words for the majority of the set. It was a set designed for diehard fans and not the average listener who may have been expecting something of a “greatest hits” set, and while some fans clearly loved it, others were less convinced.
Finally the punk rock kings NOFX saved the day as Fat Mike took to the stage in a bright pink sleek dress, black leather boots and a bright pink Mohawk! The Fat Wreck Chords veterans joked about for a few minutes before opening their set with ‘60%’ and everyone in the venue begun singing along. As soon as the faster beats kicked in, the pits were wild with people pushing and shoving with very little room to manoeuvre. The chaotic scenes didn’t give up as ‘60%’ lead straight into punk classic ‘Dinosaurs Will Die’. NOFX were definitely out to have some fun as the jokes rolled out fluently between most tracks, about fans and security guards, ripping into the Queen and of course jokes about each other. With 12 studio albums and a vast amount of extra songs in their extensive catalogue, there is only so much a band can fit in their one hour long set. NOFX still managed to cram in 27 songs, including countless classics like ‘Bob’, ‘Eat The Meek’, ‘Linoleum’ and more, along with a few covers including Rancid’s ‘Radio’ and Tony Sly’s ‘The Shortest Pier’ in memory of the late No Use For A Name member. Without a doubt the Californians stole the show, which was in danger of becoming a waste of nearly £30. NOFX made their set worth every penny whilst at the same time making every other band on the bill look shit and rather disappointing in comparison.