NOFX arrive in Liverpool for the last date of the UK leg of their globetrotting tour and unsurprisingly find themselves facing a capacity crowd at the Academy. Playing in front of what's probably the smallest back drop ever to grace this stage it's a good five minutes from arriving on stage (to wild applause) to actually playing a song as Fat Mike (who incidentally is not so fat these days), El Hefe and Eric Melvin indulge in the usual amusing NOFX banter. Nobody minds though as this is all part of the appeal, there's absolutely zero pretence about NOFX, being at one of their gigs is like hanging out with your mates, no posturing, no bullshit, it's all on the level; This is part of what keeps people coming back time after time, I've seen them playing to 40 people in a pokey upstairs room & I've seen them on the main stage at Leeds Festival and it's always been that way.
Tonight's set is not without the odd hiccup, towards the end of the first song Melvin's amp packs up so they stop & we get an impromptu version of 'Straight Edge' whilst Melvin gets sorted out & when he's ready they pick up the first song from exactly where it left off. The crowd love it and engage in constant interaction with the band, admittedly they could have played another ten songs in the time they spend talking but no one's complaining. The set list draws from their whole back catalogue including 'Bob', 'Leave It Alone', 'Linoleum', 'Lori Meyers' and an excellent rendition of the full 18 minutes of 'The Decline'. Much is made of the humour surrounding NOFX and it's true that this is a large part of what they do but at times it's overlooked just what a damn fine band they are! They might give the impression of being haphazard but when all is said and done they are a really tight and impressive unit.
Highlights tonight come with 'Liza and Louise', dedicated to two girls that get engaged on stage immediately before the song. Immediately after it Mike discusses the finer points of fisting with them! It's totally over the top but funny as fuck all the same. By this point the majority of the crowd are dripping with sweat due in no small part to the venue being an absolute sauna. For fans of the older material there are a couple of great moments with 'Green Corn', which sounds as great today as it ever did and 'Kill All the White Man'. They finish with a mass sing along to 'The Brews' and despite the absence of crowd favourites 'Stickin' in My Eye' and 'Don't Call Me White' nobody leaves disappointed. NOFX have proved yet again just why they're at the forefront of melodic hardcore punk, the years haven't changed them and they remain as relevant now as they were when they started out 20 odd years ago.