Better than… a keg party at Ian McKaye's house.
Somewhere between a rock and roll history lesson and a lock-in at the Punk Rock Rec Center, Keith Morris and his supergroup Off! reminded a sold out crowd last night exactly how much fun loud raucous music can be. Following up bands Fidlar and Spider Fever, they celebrated the release of their first record to an all ages swarm. A variety of grown-up alt-kids and aging outcasts thrashed, bumped and shoved to Off!'s riff-heavy rage blasts.
The capacity crowd of 500+ defied Whisky's “No Mosh” policy (who could enforce such a thing, anyhow?) and formed a circle pit unlike anything this side of the Clinton administration. While Morris bellowed his politically charged lyrics, sweaty bald guys and mustachioed hipsters braved the rotating rampage before him.
During a break someone shrieked “Punk roooooock!” and Morris politely corrected him, “Can't a guy just be angry and play really aggressive music?”
Of course. The corporate-looking dude in pressed khakis who shoved around guys twice his size needed no such acknowledgement, as he had as much steam to blow of as the teenagers he knocked out of the way, maybe even more. From the looks of it, he probably pulled something that won't heal.
Under Morris' manic theatrics and guitarist Dimitri Coats' thrashing, the congenial riot kept pace for merely forty minutes — including breaks for “Uncle Keith's” stories of trash fires and youthful mayhem. He even went through a laundry list of bands he'd seen at Whisky and times he played there, which barely slowed-down the crowd's woots and waves of triumphant fist pumps.
At about a minute a song, Off! tended towards passion over profound substance. No one had time to gaze longingly at their own shoes and catch vibes — they were too busy pogo-ing or avoiding windmilling pit crazies. Oh, and no, there were absolutely no Circle Jerk, Black Flag, or Burning Brides tunes, just pure Off! and that was enough for everyone.
In a decidedly old-school gesture, they blew off a real encore — just a promise from the man himself, “That was your encore.” Awesome. How's that bumper sticker go? Punk's in remission.
Personal bias: As a teenager, this reviewer was once unceremoniously dumped by a die-hard Circle Jerks fan for not being “punk enough.” Who's the coolkid now, huh?
The crowd: Dudes. Lots and lots of dudes. There were beardos, weirdos, punks, drunks, bros, dudebros, beanie-caps, scally caps, gnarly punks, gutter punks, crust punks, Skrillex lookalikes, neck tatts and, yes, even a guy in a Sublime t-shirt. A bajillion punk points to the guy in the pristine G.G. Allin / Scumfucks cutoff; you, sir, outpunked us all.
Random notebook dump:
Guys at the bar vehemently debating some unintelligible nerdy music point had to hold together their own heads upon overhearing the following exchange: “MCA just died you know.” “That guy from the Beastie Boys?” “Yeah.” “Really? Woah, I gotta start reading the internet more.”
Minimum number of visible Black Flag logos: 24
Frontman's response to a “Freebird” request: “Y'know, I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd play “Freebird” here. And it fucking rocked.”
Set list below…
I Don't Belong
Borrow and Bomb
Now I'm Pissed
J. L. Pierce
Feelings Are Meant to Be Hurt
King Kong Brigade
I'Ve Got News For You
Peace in Hermosa