NOFX Rocks a Sold-Out Crowd at The Ritz Ybor
Almost twenty years ago, I was introduced to one of my favorite albums of all time. So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes (1997) was the seventh studio release by LA punk rock legends NOFX. At the time, the meaning behind the title was a complete mystery to me, and my naïve seventeen-year-old self just assumed that it probably had something to do with shoe sponsorships. Little did I know, as NOFX took the stage at their sold-out show at the Ritz Ybor in the historic Ybor City district of Tampa FL, on April 21, I was quickly going to find out what that title actually meant.
NOFX is currently touring the US and simultaneously promoting their autobiography, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, which recently made The New York Times Best Seller list at #9. The band is making appearances at bookstores during the day, playing shows by night, and plans continue at this pace until the end of April, before heading to Europe during the summer.
As NOFX took the stage, before the anxious and rowdy crowd, the number of flying clothing items quickly became part of the show. The band’s sound was loud and powerful, and the crowd was engaged and energetic. Everything came together in a beautiful form of chaos. The moment was truly reminiscent of the mid-’90s when punk rock was in resurgence and concerts were about the experience and not about missing everything while taking bad quality video with a cellphone. As things got more intense, I was hit with a flying object. I looked to the ground to quickly realize that it was sock, soaking wet in god knows what. At that time, I also noticed a great number of shoes inside the press pit and some crowd surfers without them. It took me a few seconds, but it was at that moment I realized the meaning behind that album title from nineteen years ago.
Fat Mike’s (lead singer) constant commentary and sarcasm made for a very personal show for the fans. During “Franco Un-American,” Fat Mike stopped mid-song after a fan signaled him with “thumbs down.” He then said, “You don’t like it… you give me a thumbs down… I say ok. We’ll give you another song… I don’t wanna get beat up by you. This is fucking anarchy; I do whatever the fuck I want.” Immediately after his somewhat sarcastic rant, they jumped right into “The Moron Brothers,” and the place transformed into a gigantic mosh pit. The show continued with a solid set of about 25 songs, spanning the band’s 30-plus-year career, and culminated in one of the most explosive punk rock shows I have ever seen.
In an era where books and records sales continue to dwindle, NOFX continues to defy to odds. As they continue to sell out shows and their book earns accolades such as “New York Times Bestseller,” they prove that they belong in their own category of success. For a band that has never been part of a major label and was once mocked as “no talent” by Howard Stern, NOFX has enough evidence to prove that they have earned their keep, the hard way.
The Set List:
- 72 Hookers
- Seeing Double at the Triple Rock
- Perfect Government
- Murder the Government
- Leave It Alone
- Eat the Meek
- Stickin’ in My Eye
- What’s the Matter With Parents Today?
- Franco Un-American (cut short)
- The Moron Brothers
- We March to the Beat of Indifferent Drum
- I Believe in Goddess
- I’m Telling Tim
- I’m Sorry Tony
- Six Years On Dope
- Fuck the Kids
- Dinosaurs Will Die
- Bottles to the Ground
- The Brews
- I Wanna Be an Alcoholic