Saturday Night: NOFX At House Of Blues

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NOFX House of Blues January 22, 2011

See lots of pics of NOFX and friends in our slideshow.

NOFX has been the Fisher-Price My First Real Punk Band of the past 25 years, with Green Day sadly coming in a close second with Bad Religion and, yes, Blink-182 bringing up the rear. Hehe, rear. See what we did there? What? It's a NOFX review, not a Decemberists show.

Now closing in on 30 years of existence, bassist/lead singer "Fat Mike" Burkett, drummer Erik "Smelly" Sandin, and guitarists El Hefe and Eric Melvin have gleefully shown no signs of maturity, save for a few politically motivated albums and a few discourses on death. But overall, the band is heading into their middle-age years without giving a shit.

And that's why we keep coming back, because we should stop giving a shit so much. Role models.

Saturday night's House of Blues gig was maybe Houston's third or fourth punk-rock reunion in the past couple of months, counting Social Distortion, Agent Orange, and the Adolescents. NOFX brings out the snotty, politically incorrect, drunk kid in you.

With openers like veteran heroes Bouncing Souls, new-school punks of Cobra Skulls, and the bluegrass holler of Old Man Markley, the nearly sold-out HOB crowd had more than enough time to prime the pump (see "Overheard In the Crowd") before NOFX hit the stage around 11 p.m.

The blue-haired smirk of Fat Mike and the band arrived onstage to a barrage of beer cups and other assorted crowd-spawned flotsam, launched toward the front of the house in the most loving manner possible. Save for a random gray Converse shoe, it was all tame, unless you are offended by someone throwing a prime piece of weed at the stage.

A NOFX appearance has more of a variety-show feel than anything these days, sliding in classics like the opener "Stickin' In My Eye," the Oi! of "The Brews," and "Leave It Alone" for good measure in between long discourses on race, drinking, exotic and disheartening sexual practices like felching, and the foibles of Houston crowds.

For our money, watching those four guys fall around the stage is still one of our favorite sights, and we've seen Iggy Pop whip his dick out onstage with the Stooges behind him.

We got to hear "The Bag" from 1992's White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean for the first time ever on Saturday, according to Fat Mike's Twitter account.

The best thing about a NOFX show is that as much as it doesn't mean anything on the surface, it really means everything. Nothing is serious - it's communal, idiotic, and you end up laughing at off-color jokes that you just end up repeating for weeks to shock your friends.

The only qualm we can see about Saturday night's show is that they didn't play "See Her Pee." Real talk.

Personal Bias: One of the first punk-rock compilations we ever bought was the first edition of Epitaph's Punk-O-Rama series in 1996, and it featured two NOFX songs, Rancid, Bad Religion, and one cut from some guy named Wayne Kramer who, upon further research in our local library, was in a pretty cool band in the '60s.

The Crowd: It was a class reunion for punks from Houston and the surroundings, at least the ones who haven't grown out of Fat Mike's onstage antics and '90s pop-punk. If you are still on-board, you saw at least a dozen people you have known since you bought your first pair of Converse.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Let's buy more beer to throw at the stage."

Random Notebook Dump: This band turns 30 in 2013, and we can't even remember a time without their being a NOFX shirt in our closet.

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