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Words by Brett Ensbey

Photography by Tam Schilling | @tamcamimages_

FULL GALLERY HERE

When you wake up in the morning, do you experience any of the following symptoms: Back pain, sore joints, a general feeling that the youth of today make no sense, or the overwhelming urge to refer to the years you grew up in as simpler times? If you answered yes to any of those, then chances are, like me, you grew up listening to NOFX, and if you did, then hopefully, also like me, you were at the Fortitude Music Hall last night to witness night one of their final two Brisbane shows.

Even if you had never been to the venue, it wouldn’t have taken you very long to figure out you were in the right place as soon as you hit Brunswick Street. The mall was filled with a mixture of mohawks, dreadlocks, tartan pants, battle jackets, and a sea of Tuesday afternoon office workers who had no idea what was going on as they tried to make their way through it all to get to the bus home from a long day at work. But before long, it was time to move off the Valley streets, and head inside to catch local favourites Flangipanis kicking the night off as only they can.

Firstly, before I say much else about their set, I have to get this out of the way. Anyone who has ever read one of my reviews will know that a long time ago I told Flange bass player Paulie D that any time I review them I’m going to find a way to call him a wanker in my review. Being that this was such a huge night for them and sharing the stage with NOFX is something that Paulie has dreamed of since he first picked up a guitar, I have decided to not insult him at all this time, wish me luck. 

OK, back to the gig. With a 30 minute set time to get the crowd warmed up, the band still took a moment to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, with Jodie reminding everyone that this upcoming weekend is time to be a lit cunt and not a shit cunt, before jumping straight into High, Drunk, Loose. From the very first note it was clear that the Brisbane crowd was ready to party, and honestly, who doesn’t love a good mosh pit at 6:30 on a Tuesday evening? Smashing through their set of old classics like Nice Haircut Dickhead, and new favourites like Good Little Taxpayer, the crowd was treated to the brief, but pleasant surprise of the one and only Grace Drummond of Something Something Explosion joining the band onstage and helping out on vocal duties for Phone, Keys, Smokes, Wallet. As always, the fans got their money’s worth, with the only real disappointment being when the band announced they wouldn’t be playing the obvious crowd favourite Orchie Bong, but more than made up for it by closing the set with the always fun, unofficial anthem of the Brisbane punk scene, I’m Drunk, So What, Fuck You. If ever there was a band that definitely should be signed to Fat Wreck Chords, it’s definitely Flangipanis. Oh, and one last thing…Paulie, you’re a wanker. Sorry, but we all knew I was lying about not insulting you.

A little while ago I was reading an article about Australiam music, and whoever wrote it said that Angus Young’s schoolboy outfit was the most iconic piece of imagery in the Australian music scene. All I could think when I read that was that the journalist in question must never have seen Jay Whalley’s dreadlocks, and honestly, that’s about the best segue you’re getting out of me today, but next up it was time for Australian punk rock royalty Frenzal Rhomb to grace the stage with their chaotic, hilarious and foulmouthed presence. I was stoked when I found out I’d be seeing Frenzal joining NOFX for their final Australian tour, and I was definitely not disappointed.

With 10 studio albums under their belt, and no shortage of songs to pick from I was lucky enough to hear them play one of my all time favourite Frenzal songs, I Went Out With a Hippie and Now I love Everyone Except For Her. The set was every bit as fast paced and energetic as you’d expect, and every song was well received by the enthusiastic Brisbane crowd, especially when Jay signed the singing duties over to the audience for Never Had So Much Fun, which apparently Fat Mike had trouble remembering the lyrics to in Sydney when he Joined the band on stage, but Brisbane definitely didn’t forget a single word.

I could sit here and name every song on the set list as a highlight, but I still have to get to the NOFX part of the night, but when Frenzal finished with Punch in the Face, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one there who wished they had a longer set. All I can say is, if you haven’t seen them live before, don’t miss them the next time they come to Brisbane.

1983-2024…41 years as a band, which in punk rock years is at least 100 years, but that’s how long NOFX have been delivering their brand of in your face, give no fucks music, and now, as with all good things, it’s time for it come to an end. Last night’s show was night one of their two night stop in Brisbane which saw them playing songs from the albums ‘Punk in Drublic’, ‘War on Errorism’ and ‘Wolves in Wolves Clothing’. This was definitely not my first NOFX rodeo but there was no way I was missing this. I’m sure anyone who was there will agree with me when I say if you thought the crowd was crazy for Flangipanis and Frenzal Rhomb, you were in for a surprise when NOFX got started.

Three songs in, the band played Leave it Alone and it was hard to find a place to stand that wasn’t part of the pit. I have to say, for a band that is responsible for albums like ‘I Heard They Suck Live’, they did anything but suck last night. Part one of the set was filled with so many of the songs we all wanted to hear, From Franco Un-American and the Idiots are Taking Over, to My Orphan Year and Six Years on Dope, but what really got the crowd going was hearing the band play the intro for the fan favourite She’s Nubs.

Rounding out part one of the night with their cover of the Rancid song Radio from the split album the bands did back in 2002, before finishing off with Linoleum, the band took a quick break before coming back on stage to play the second part of the show. Kicking this part of the night off with Pharmacist’s Daughter and Lori Myers, NOFX continued to deliver an awesome show.

In my opinion, the highlights of this part of the set came in the form of The Separation of Church and Skate, and Don’t Call Me White, but before long it was time for NOFX to finish up the second last set we would ever see them play in Brisbane, unless they decide to become the punk rock equivalent of KISS and do a few hundred reunion tours before turning themselves into avatars and continuing on as a virtual band like the Goriilaz didn’t think of that years prior, sorry, I got distracted. Where were we? Oh yeah, Whoops I OD’d followed by an awesome and slightly reworked version of Theme From A NOFX Album were the songs they left us with to say goodnight and goodbye to Brisbane. 

A friend and I were talking recently about how we know we’re getting old when all the bands we would listen to and go to see when we were younger are all starting to do their final tours and call it a day (Realising that I now have a daughter who is the age I was when I first discovered NOFX also helped me remember just how old I’m getting). NOFX were a huge part of the music that shaped my younger years and seeing them on this tour, knowing it will be the last time kinda sucked, but I’m glad I got to witness it. Those albums will continue to be something I play regularly, and I guess all that’s left to say to a band that has meant so much to so many people is so long and thanks for all the shows.

Thanks to Live Nation + Diamond Creative Services

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