Fun Fun Fun Fest: NOFX

Fuck the punks

“I wrote this next song,” NOFX bassist/vocalist/mastermind Fat Mike announced midway through the California punk outfit’s Saturday night Fun Fun Fun Fest set, “before they named this festival.”

Photo by Shelley Hiam

Only a complete asshole would make such a pronouncement in the hometown of the Big Boys, whose song “Fun Fun Fun” inspired the gathering’s moniker. But NOFX made a career of being size 12 dicks. It’s their schtick.

That might explain why they received one of the worst sound mixes of the weekend, with little of Fat Mike’s bass present, more of drummer Erik Sandlin’s floor tom than necessary, and vocals rendered almost an afterthought. Not that those gathered before the Black stage cared. Hits like “The Moron Brothers” and “Fuck the Kids” had the throng gleefully crowdsurfing and shouting along tunelessly.

Ironic, that, since tunefulness remains one of the 32-year-old band’s strong suits.

NOFX is tuneful like Blink 182. That’s the problem: Virtually anything wrong with punk’s commercial end can be laid at their feet. This is punk minus all threat and aggression, melody a nagging “nyah-nyah-nyah!” Punk’s supposed to be obnoxious, but NOFX defines obnoxious same as frat boys on a bender in Juarez.

That made it all the more tragic when guitarist El Hefe stepped forward to sing the set’s true highlight, “Eat the Meek,” a punky reggae anthem that’d make the Clash proud. “Why must we stay where we don’t belong?” he asked in the plaintive refrain. Then another ridiculous punk-pop tune got uncorked lest we think NOFX might have substance after all.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

My Little Red Book
NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories
The punk equivalent to Mötley Crüe's debauched autobiography The Dirt

Tim Stegall, June 17, 2016

More by Tim Stegall
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

May 14, 2021

The Table Ed Ward Built
The Table Ed Ward Built
Pioneering music journalist (1948-2021) wrote rock & roll history

May 5, 2021


NOFX, Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015, Fat Mike, El Jefe, Erik Sandlin, Big Boys, the Dicks, Clash, Blink-182

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle