NOFX

support No Use For A Name + Boysetsfire + Bouncing Souls + Atlas Losing Grip
author PP date 22/08/11 venue Malmö Festival, Malmö, SWE

I'll be honest. The last time Malmö Festival had a lineup worth checking out was back in 2005 when Darkest Hour, Beecher, Susperia and Entombed all played on the same date. Sure, bands like Pennywise and Dropkick Murphys among others have stopped by in the years in between, but usually the names have been so spread out between the festival days that it just wasn't worth the hassle of travelling to Malmö and back just to see one band. This all changed for 2011, however, when the festival went all punk-mode on us and booked Atlas Losing Grip, The Bouncing Souls, No Use For A Name, Boysetsfire and NOFX to perform all on the same day one after each other. And suddenly there was no question about paying the 164 DKK return ticket for the train ride, given that the festival itself is completely free-of-charge. Turns out we weren't the only ones feeling this year's lineup; within the 3000-4000 strong audience (rough estimate) I overheard numerous different languages and stories of people travelling from all over the country because the lineup was so strong. Oh, and did I mention it was right at the city-center of Malmö? Which meant that bringing your own beverages and/or food for the evening was perfectly fine, although arguably illegal according to Swedish law (public drinking is not allowed). Awesome.

Atlas Losing Grip

Fronted by Rodrigo from legendary Swedish skate punkers Satanic Surfers, drawing parallels between the two bands is unavoidable in any review given how closely his vocals match in both bands. As I've mentioned before, however, the Atlas Losing Grip songs owe more to melodic hardcore than to anything else, following the Rise Against / Authority Zero school of thought when it comes to song structures. It's an anthemic and melodic sound, one that the band perfected on their latest album, and it's also songs from this album that receive the most positive reaction from the surprisingly large crowd that's already gathered on a late Monday afternoon. "Different Hearts, Different Minds" and "All In A Days Work" all sound brilliant today, and underscore why the critical acclaim directed at this band has been momentous as of late. Still, one can't help but notice how little movement the band offers on stage. Vocalist Rodrigo practically never moves when he delivers his vocals, opting for a standstill pose while grabbing the mic with both hands in front of his face. It might be an issue with the technical skill required to sing as well and anthemically as he does, but it certainly takes a lot away from their show. The rest of the band is happy doing a few scissor jumps here and there, but they, too, appear a little too static for my liking. So there's a clear focus on playing songs rather than putting on an impressive performance. Good thing then that they are exceptionally strong on that department, because you don't mind the lack of effort when the band has as impressive repertoire of great songs as they already do.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Logic
  • 2. Face To Face
  • 3. Nothing Has Changed
  • 4. Heartbeat
  • 5. All In A Days Work
  • 6. All In Vain
  • 7. Different Hearts, Different Minds
  • 8. Numb
  • 9. Shut The World Out
  • 10. Unrest
  • 11. Contemplation
  • 12. Bitter Blood
  • 13. Slow Down

The Bouncing Souls

A brief ten minute pause, and The Bouncing Souls were on the bigger stage placed directly opposite the small stage. Having seen them at Hevy Music Festival a little over two weeks ago, I can testify that the set carried all the same characteristics at Malmö as it in the UK. The singer still looks and feels really awkward with his formal attire next to heavily tattooed punk rock veterans, but he does so on purpose and his trademark casual stroll on a sunny afternoon way of carrying himself on stage is always a pleasure to watch live. It adds an element of light-heartedness and fun to any Bouncing Souls set, and combined with the quintessential joyous two minute punches of melodic punk, they're just a band that's extremely difficult not to like. The setlist, too, followed the same thread as before, with an awesome display of energy and sing-along anthems in the start, an ok middle where they played some of their less famous material, and a great final twenty minutes which resulted in a sing-a-long fest with songs like "Lean On Sheena", "Never Say Die", "True Believers" and "Here We Go!" taking the prize home as the best moments of the show. That didn't go unnoticed with vocalist Greg Attonito, who carefully descended down from the rather high stage to spend some time near the barrier for the last couple of songs. A solid set, always a laugh, though featuring a little less humour versus the show two weeks ago.

Boysetsfire

There's absolutely no question that Boysetsfire was the band with the most energy here tonight. The moment the band tore into "Release The Dogs", the members transformed the stage into a sea of chaos and passionate performance all around. Explosive jumps, crashes, attempts at ripping own shirt off, kneeling down screaming, rolling on the floor, smashing mic down in an abrupt moment of pissed off anger...you name it, it was there. This is exactly how bands need to look live, with an element of surprise and a crazy amount of energy that didn't diminish even though the crowd was almost completely dead and thinning (after all, most people came here for the melodic punk bands and NOFX). The singer, in particular, seemed to live through each song live on stage, going mental in the heavier screamed sections (and hitting the spot on, by the way), practically bouncing off the sides of the stage, and holding his hand emotionally on his heart for the softer ballad-type sections in a manner that can only be described as believable. Or perhaps passionate is the right word, because passion is exactly what the band depict on stage. Pure, unadulterated passion and conviction for their songs, which is all the more impressive considering they are a reunion-band, having taken a hiatus that lasted almost five years. Tonight, it looked like Boysetsfire had just been formed, looking exactly how I'd imagine a re-ignited and re-energized band to look like with complete and unwavering faith in their own material.

And who can blame them? The setlist tonight is absolutely amazing, more or less consisting of the Christmas wishlist for a Boysetsfire fan, featuring almost every single masterpiece the band has written and then some. It certainly reminded this scribe what a great and seriously underrated band Boysetsfire have been throughout their career. And apparently the audience started becoming convinced. At first look like they've never heard a single Boysetsfire song, and by the end of the set people were going crazy in the pit, and everywhere you looked people were nodding along in a sign of approval. Perhaps the contrast between the emotional songs and the light-hearted humour (ripping shirt off, making a Creed reference and singing a part of "With Arms Wide Open", for instance) had something to do with it as well. In any case, it takes much from a band to win over a crowd, but that's exactly what Boysetsfire did tonight, only to get their grand finale ruined due to a power failure halfway through "Handful Of Redemption" which lasted long enough to force the band to skip at least one full song before finally being able to finish with "After The Eulogy". The band takes it with impressive humour and a good attitude, though, reflecting the fact that with a better crowd from the get go and no power cut, this would've likely been a 8½ show at a club venue at the very least, if not better.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Release the Dogs
  • 2. Eviction Article
  • 3. Cavity
  • 4. Walk Astray
  • 5. Empire
  • 6. Pure
  • 7. The Force Majeure
  • 8. White Wedding Dress
  • 9. Requiem
  • 10. The Misery Index
  • 11. My Life in the Knife Trade
  • 12. Falling Out Theme
  • 13. Handful of Redemption
  • 14. After the Eulogy

No Use For A Name

No breathing room allowed: NUFAN began their set virtually the very second that "After The Eulogy" finished. The sound problems seemed to carry over, unfortunately, and for the first couple of songs you couldn't hear anything but the vocals from the speakers: the rest of the band had to succumb to the monitors only. Though the quality improved somewhat as the set went along, it never reached an optimal mix and the vocals/guitars were unbalanced in the mix throughout their set. Really annoying as NUFAN songs aren't exactly the most varied tracks out there - and this coming from a longtime fan - so they sounded even more samey than they usually do. The bright vocal melodies and crunchy guitars never made it into their own, reducing the effectiveness of their songs significantly. And then there's the notion that NUFAN's sets, both in terms of stage energy and the ambition found within the songs, is far better suited for small, sweaty basement venues, or alternatively, festivals with a tent, which at least simulates the community feeling that the band is able to sometimes muster. Today, the sound problems and a completely stand-still stage show wasn't enough to convince me, though it should be noted that a huge circle pit existed in the middle of the crowd pretty much from start to finish. A decent performance, but not much more than that, although it begs the question to be asked: was the fantastic Boysetsfire show immediately prior a contrast too stark for NUFAN to live up to?

7

NOFX

My sixth time seeing NOFX, and my fifth time wondering whether the band becomes worse and worse live as the years progress. They're always good, don't get me wrong, and deliver a hilarious and extremely offensive (borderline racist) show of what I consider 'internet humour standard' where no target is too sacred to be pissed on, but going to a NOFX show used to be a staple for seeing a quintessential punk rock show, a completely unpredictable event where you had no idea what was going to happen next. It's not like that anymore. In a manner that feels scripted and unnatural, the band plow through their usual pre-written comedy of announcing "What Now, Herb?" as the new Swedish national anthem, tell the same jokes in "Arming The Proletariat With Potato Guns" as they always do (the whole grandfather fell of the watch tower at the concentration camp stuff), and finish their set with either an overlong accordion solo where Eric Melvin gets dragged off stage or with the 'everyones a little bit racist' dance set. None of this should happen because it's pre-planned. It should happen randomly and out-of-the-blue. Are the band getting lazy, old, or both perhaps?

It's a shame because the first six or seven songs are some of the best NOFX performance I've seen in a long time. The set starts auspiciously with Fat Mike slowly but with a sense of determination placing his classic straw into his cup of what is most certainly a deadly mix of alcohol, pronouncing that the band hasn't done drugs or drinking in four days. This is probably an outright lie, but it's funny nonetheless as the rest of the band is introduced on stage all sporting and drinking a bottle of alcohol in the process. "We're gonna talk a lot, and we're gonna play some songs", Fat Mike proclaims, before asking whether we're in Denmark to the hilarity of us Danes in the crowd. "Dinosaurs Will Die" receives a huge sing along, and let me tell you, there's something unique and special having 4,000 people singing along in unison to a punk rock classic right at the central square of Malmö, surrounded by buildings on all sides. It's a free festival, so there's a whole bunch of regular Malmö folk around here as well, for sure, so calling it a back-chilling moment isn't too far off. The seven second "Fuck The Kids Part II" follows, and sounds hilarious, and "Mattersville", "Leave It Alone", and "Bob" make sure there's more chant-along from the crowd, before Fat Mike jokingly (presumably) says "I'd like to see Bouncing souls do this", and has El Hefe fire into the ripping lead riff of "We Called It America". At this point, I'm convinced this is going to be an amazing show worthy of a 9/10 rating at th every least, but about halfway through the set things start spiralling downhill with the aforementioned predictable events taking place in their usual order. Though hearing "Fuck The Kids" at three separate occasions during the night was pretty funny, I must admit.

Another thing to note is that the setlist choices from here onwards were questionable at times, but that's just what happens at a NOFX show. They are renowned for changing their setlist significantly every single night, so whether you get an awesome group of songs will depend solely on luck. Tonight, we're out of luck, and instead get too many 'just solid' songs instead of a boatload of 'amazing'. But in the end, a NOFX show is always a good show, if for nothing else than it's daring humour and the notion that this band has very few (if any) bad songs written in the last twenty years.

Setlist:

  • 1. Dinosaurs Will Die
  • 2. Fuck The Kids Part II
  • 3. Mattersville
  • 4. Leave It Alone
  • 5. Bob
  • 6. Eat the Meek
  • 7. We Called It America
  • 8. Murder the Government
  • 9. Champs Elysées
  • 10. Herojuana
  • 11. Creeping Out Sara
  • 12. Seeing Double at the Triple Rock
  • 13. What Now Herb?
  • 14. Leaving Jesusland
  • 15. Radio (Rancid cover)
  • 16. Fuck the Kids (Revisited)
  • 17. Linoleum
  • 18. Franco Un-American
  • 19. Arming the Proletariat With Potato Guns
  • 20. I Wanna Be an Alcoholic
  • 21. Fuck the Kids
  • 22. Your Hubcaps Cost More Than My Car
  • 23. It's My Job to Keep Punk Rock Elite
  • 24. Bottles to the Ground
  • 25. Stickin' in My Eye
  • 26. Kill All The White Man

Check out a TON of photos over at Lykke Nielsen's Flickr account.

Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Legal

© Copyright MMXIX Rockfreaks.net.