What do you get when you put 55-year-old dreadlocked punk superhero Keith Morris (Circle Jerks/Black Flag), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides - wearing the “Ron” version of this Black Flag tribute t-shirt), Steve McDonald (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt) on a small stage in a hot nightclub for a free show? Chaos, cans being chucked, stages being dived, and a lot of wilting mohawks. Oh and OFF! – a punk supergroup designed to make you want to get more piercings and fuck shit up. Punk’s not dead. It’s just been resting, has awoken with a hangover and is now raging through 16 songs in about the same amount of minutes.
OFF! played Fortune Sound Club in Vancouver on April 25th to a rammed crowd who were working their Skates gear, old CJ patches, black chains and bullrings, and followed a three-pack of local punkers White Lung, Piggy and the Jolts. Before the show, I ran into Mario (we have a mutual friend), and we chatted about the LA Echoplex show where they played following Sebadoh’s set in February. We clinked beers and I overheard him say “Wow, that’s cool,” as I left. Likely because I recognized him. Not because I’m cool. Still, it was cool. But more for me, I’d wager.
Onstage, Morris paced and launched into an intro to the collective powerhaus on stage, including how Steve had attended Black Flag rehearsals when he was but a wee nipper. Where Morris was intense, the crowd was a bit feral and crotchety. I’m not entirely sure why you’d want to heckle a living legend (“you know, it’s a free show, we don’t have to be here,” Morris said at one point when a beer whizzed by his head, “and once more and we’ll get back into the van we came up on”), but it happened. Yet for the rest of the eager scum scrum it was like their AntiChrist-mases and birthdays had come all at once. Amps were shoved, bodies went flying, and Keith’s eyes bugged out through “Panic Attack”, “Jeffery Lee Pierce” and “I Don’t Belong”. It was a punk symphony.
Where was I? Screw the mosh pit in the front row, and so long pushed-and-shoved photogs! *Blows raspberry* I walked up to the side of the small riser, climbed two steps and stood behind the roadies sidestage…about three feet from Steve MacDonald (who fretted that we’d kick out the one plug that his amp was attached to), and next to all the action. I sweated buckets, slipped between amps, and took pics between gaps and over shoulders. ‘Cos that’s, like, punk rock. And nobody was gonna mess with this girl and her camera.
Enjoy, DESTROY! \m/
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