Childhood punk dreams

By Kris Kotarski

Imagine a fresh-faced know-it-all coming out of high school groovin’ to the likes of Snoop Doggy Dogg, Econoline Crush and Robbie Williams. One night, a good friend put on a NOFX CD in his truck and the ignorant little asshole opened up his mind to punk rock.

It’s a common story of a young suburbanite (in this case, me) changing his ways to become a more productive member of society.

It’s safe to say my circle of life came to an orgasmic conclusion Saturday night when NOFX in all their ass-smacking glory came to the MacEwan Hall Ballroom and played two sold-out shows. So how was the concert in the face of such high expectations from young fans like myself? Did NOFX get the crowd into a frenzy of punk-rock fun?

"I’m so fuckin’ dehydrated," said one fan on his way out of the ballroom last Saturday night. "This shit was awesome! I got to check on my sister. I think she got hit in the head in the mosh pit."

Despite his somewhat bloodied appearance, his ripped shirt and the broken glasses sticking out of his back-pocket, the fan hit it right on the nose. NOFX, with openers Rise Against and the Swingin’ Utters, mesmerized the crowd with high-energy music, their impressive showmanship and even a little obligatory Edmonton bashing.

Highlights of the show included the band giving a shout out to racial diversity in the Calgary area by playing "Don’t Call Me White" and "Kill All The White Men" back to back. They dedicated the songs to the one alleged black man living in our great metropolis.

How fitting is it when four Caucasian punk rockers commented on the social make-up of our city with such lyrics as: "The white man came to pillage my village / Now he tell me I have to bend over…"

Of course, the crowd cheered. I guess everyone was an expert.

At one point of the show, guitarist El Hefé started off a song with a trumpet and then quickly tossed it up in the air. A roadie (a very talented roadie) caught the trumpet before it could smash into the stage while El Hefé proceeded to rock out on his guitar. The roadie calmly put back the trumpet into its case and all this happened in the span of one bar. With this display of cunning musicianship El Hefé proved once again that "he’s not satanic–he’s one hip Hispanic."

NOFX played for a solid hour-and-a-half which wasn’t bad for the Rolling Stones of punk rock. It was, after all, their second consecutive night playing for the Calgary crowd. They even brought out an accordion to close out the evening. It’s safe to say they succeeded in sending a mob of half-naked, half beat up and even half drunk fans back to their suburban homes for a good night of rest.

Hell, the show was so good I even bought a T-shirt.

Completed with additional information from Jason Arab and Terry Babij.

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