Better than…violent protest.
Hundreds of punks and demonstrators stood in solidarity at City Hall yesterday. After seven weeks of peacefully squatting, an order for their eviction was made by the city of Los Angeles earlier in the week — and by 12:01 last night they all had to skedaddle or be busted. (As of this morning, however, they showed no sign of leaving.) As a sort of farewell party, NOFX played a short and mellow free acoustic set.
The block party was only announced the day before, but word got around fast. Recently NOFX played Occupy San Francisco, and debuted their new song called “Wouldn't It Be Nice If Every Movement Had A Theme Song” that was exclusively written for the global situation, which they also played here..
The diverse crowd varied from Orange County bros to maybe half of East L.A.'s and South Central's punk scene. Punk rock elites like Shawn Stern of Youth Brigade and Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise showed their support too. Some local news channels covered the performance too. Police blockades were expected to be set up, after all.
The event was supposed to start at 3 p.m. but as NOFX set up their equipment and were about to start, a hip hop band from Long Beach decided to butt in and steal their thunder, launching into their own set nearby. Fat Mike was a little pissed, and a round of boos from the crowd — not to mention a handful of hurled projectiles — got under the rude group's skin, and they stopped after only one song.
Shortly after, NOFX finally started playing, the assembled group consisting of Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, and John Carey of Old Man Markley. Their compressed half hour set was played almost inaudibly soft and notably tempered down, it featured their more subtle, non-moshpit-inducing political ballads. It included “Franco-UnaAmerican” and an abridged version of “The Decline” as well as “Leaving Jesusland” and “Murder the Government.” They played “Wouldn't It Be Nice If Every Movement Had A Theme Song” twice. Everyone sang along to just about every single word of their songs.
Mike and co. didn't do much political rabble rousing on the mic, and the environment remained calm and peaceful. There was free food available, and not as many open alcoholic containers as a usual punk show, Everyone seemed to be somewhat peaceful, perhaps gearing up for the coming stand-off.
Critical bias: I wore deodorant and had showered the day before.
The crowd:Hippy-esque occupiers, punk rock inner city Latino youth and a few older bros.
Random notebook dump: Note to self, bring a witty as hell sign next time.