Three cheers for NOFX

“If you think that punk rock doesn’t mix with politics; you’re totally wrong.” But if you think that it’s hard to write about NOFX without mentioning politics, you’d also be mistaken as the two are inextricably linked.

The San Francisco political punk rockers have been stalwarts of the US Punk scene for over 25 years now and have made quite a name for themselves in their native home and throughout the world during that time. Although at first they appeared to be just a comedy troupe playing punk rock songs but have become the inspiration for a slew of bands and perhaps, more importantly, one of the guiding voices in political punk.

Although live albums are often hit or miss, but let’s face it they are more often a miss, NOFX have triumphed here. With on stage banter that is both self deprecating and funny; they let their songs speak for themselves and avoid any lengthy diatribes into their meanings and how you should listen intently, which often happens during these live recordings. The whole NOFX ethos seems to be to have fun but have a conscience, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

They are skilfully managing to tow that very narrow line of being earnest whilst not being overly sincere to the point which you switch off. Many kids go to NOFX for their pop sensibilities, but they stay for the hugely impassioned ideas behind this seemingly fun-time band and this live CD is a complete testament to their likability.

In regards to the musical wealth contained within, NOFX aficionados will be pleased to hear that none of the songs on 'I Heard They Sucked Live', their previous live album, has been repeated here. The only sticking point is that for the encore the frankly amazing 'The Decline' was played but faded out before its end. The mega fan among you will know that that particular song was released as an EP and lasted over twenty minutes and its cutting short causes a fair degree of annoyance.

When we look back in twenty years time and look at epoch defining bands, NOFX will surely be one of those that not only represent the social and political tumultuous times, but a band that goes all out to rail against the machines behind power. With the painfully earnest types like the Bono’s, Bob Geldof’s and Chris Martin’s of this world preaching their messages through the news, it is bands like NOFX that are bringing those messages home: they are in the bedrooms, in the heads and hearts of the people that listen to them.