Words & Photos by Scott Murry
Fresh on the bondage leather boot heels of their New York Times best-selling autobiography NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, NOFX brought their miraculous punk rock dog and pony show through Boston last Thursday night. With lead vocalist/debaucherist “Fat” Mike Burkett having been born in Newton, Massachusetts, you could call it a hometown show. Maybe not … I don’t think they care about the Red Sox or writing Boston Globe stereo speaker reviews like their friends Dropkick Murphys. NOFX are known for their time on the other coast, the urine-soaked history of their upbringing is outlined in the book. Burkett offered unique charm for his birthplace however, declaring that “Boston hardcore is way better than DC.” He then took the statement a step further, “Do you know how much better Boston hardcore is that New York hardcore? Roger is a cool dude … but seriously! Ok, I’m getting beat up tomorrow … and not by my wife in latex.”
Burkett commented obsessively about his BDSM lifestyle, describing nipple clamps, as well as rope around his balls. He has been open about these interests in recent years, so it has become common knowledge within the NOFX fan base. Lead guitar savant, Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta frequently cut off Burkett’s sexploits, “No one cares, Mike.” As stories went on, Abeyta questioned, “Who’s bored?” Half the band’s hands went up, including manager Kent Jamieson’s up in the sound booth. It’s all fun and games as the gents of NOFX love stage banter and shock value. Prodding at the fresh death of musician Prince certainly didn’t go over too well.
The biggest booing and dance with disaster came during the encore after the crowd-pleasing “Linoleum.” A fan with long locks became overly rowdy, and according to security he was pulled out of the audience. Things heated up quickly as both parties applied excessive force on each other’s faces. A sweaty, hot mob mentality broke out with other fans clawing at the Schwarzenegger-like bouncer’s shirt. Burkett intervened and the show stopped as tensions were tamed. Abeyta joked about steroids from his mic as Mike and crew assessed the damage with the shirtless hulk and fans.
The parties involved dispersed, and NOFX broke into an unreleased new track “Oxymoronic.” This would often be huge, but the mood was still as awkward to catching your parents having sex. Burkett acknowledged the sour tone, calling for a minute of awkward silence. After two failed attempts, guitarist Eric Melvin and drummer Erik “Smelly” Sandin broke the silence to keep the energy going. “Boston is the most awkward place in the world!” Burkett shouted in concession.
Abeyta acknowledged fights aren’t common at a NOFX show, “This isn’t the eighties … that doesn’t really happen anymore.” Strangely, the outbreak fit this tour, as their new book is full of memories of rabid and far grittier times during the early punk scene. The ridiculous energy even prompted Burkett to jump into the crowd for the closing song “Kill All The White Men.” It’s a rarity for him to leave the stage like that, so clearly the nostalgic energy stirred something in him more than a cock ring typically does at a show. Good job, Boston, you gave Fat Mike a chub.