NOFX Need To Grow Up

Cover art for controversial Heavy Petting Zoo album.

Who would've guessed that somewhere in the world, there's a

factory that spends its time and resources on manufacturing not just any blow

up sex dolls, but blow up sheep in particular? The guys in NOFX would've

guessed it, and they've found the company that makes 'em. Several of these very

sheep were thrown at the audience during Tuesday (Feb. 27) night's show at the

Trocadero in Philadelphia.

The props tie in with the cover art for NOFX's

latest Epitaph release, Heavy Petting Zoo. The band shied away from

featuring the new album at the show, including just four songs from it in a one

hour set of almost two dozen numbers. The new songs they did choose to play

favored the album's least challenging pieces ("Hot Dog in a Hallway," "Release

the Hostages") over some of its more engaging works ("Philthy Phil

Philanthropist," "Freedom Like a Shopping Cart," "Love Story").

In the

midst of focusing on NOFX's five earlier albums for Epitaph, guitarist Hefe

played to the crowd's junior high sensibilities. Hefe is actually the band's

biggest asset. First of all, he plays a Telecaster (rather than the standard

punk issue Strat, Les Paul, or Gibson SG). More importantly, he adds the

harmony vocals, trumpet, and fancy footwork. Unfortunately, he also adds too

many fart jokes, mentions of cock, and getting laid. It all wears thin after

the first half dozen go rounds.

Far more interesting were the show's

openers, the Lunachicks. To tell the truth, the music was just fair to middlin'

punk rock; what was compelling was front woman Theo Kogan's interaction with

the audience and the reaction she elicited.

From the get go, Kogan, dressed

as a psycho Amazon nurse in platform boots, scared away the sweaty boys ruling

the front row. These were the same kids who, during the set of the other

opener, Snuff, had been all over the stage (in part because the band lacked any

stage presence, but that's a different story). For the first six songs or so,

the crowd was too dumbfounded by the Lunachicks and their crazy costumes to

even mosh in the middle of the hall.

In the balcony, several guys who had

sat silently through Snuff's harmless set felt threatened enough to yell at

Kogan, "Shut the fuck up!" and "Get the fuck off the stage!" after every song.

Or maybe they felt cheated rather than threatened. When the Lunachicks took the

stage, these same folks greeted the band with shouts of "Take your clothes off,

Courtney Love!" (Was the reference to Ms. Love an insult, or do these guys

brand all bleached blonde female rockers with that name?) Kogan and the band

responded with a totally self-confident set that squashed the sexual power mind

set that much of the mostly male audience had no doubt brought to the show. No

wonder that the sweaty boys were unhappy (and that some of those unhappy boys

were very sweaty).