By: Alex Distefano Ink N Iron Queen Mary Jun 9 , 2013 Sunday marked the third and final day of this year's Ink N Iron festival, a weekend event full of classic cars/ hot rods, tattoo artists, models and tons of punk and rockabilly bands. This year, closing the tenth annual event, were headliners NOFX and the Offspring.
Even though a good portion of crowd, which was about several thousand deep, were obviously drunk, hung over, or overdosed on sun, tobacco, and tattoo ink, it didn't stop the masses of fans from crowding around the giant stage set up in the parking lot in front of the iconic ship in the Port of Long Beach. By 7:15 p.m., as the sun began to set, NOFX took the stage and proceeded to shred as their images flashed on two huge monitors on the left and right side of the stage.
From the onset, it was clear that the legendary skate punk band (comprised of vocalist/bass player Fat Mike, guitarists Eric Melvin and El Jefe, and drummer Eric Sandin) didn't give a fuck who was offended with their foul-mouthed diatribes or satirical songs. It was good old fashioned 90s punk set of fast, up beat, energetic and semi melodic songs. The band also mixed in a bit of old-school 80s hardcore punk, skate punk, and even hints of surf rock and ska that NOFX is known for. The band pulverized through a set of hits ranging from songs off albums like Punk in Drublic, White Trash Two Heebs and a Bean, Heavy Petting Zoo, to more recent offerings such as 2009's Coaster or last year's Self Entitled.
"Now in all sincerity, I just have to say that we're the best band on this whole damn three-day fest," Fat Mike yelled to the crowd, his face sweaty and his mohwak collapsing. The crowd cheered from the center of two giant circle pits, with just 20 minutes left to go in the set. "I mean come on honesty is different than arrogance," Fat Mike said. "I just want people to know there is a camera focused on my drink," he said as the crowd applauded and laughed., as the band ripped through the final songs, "I Am An Alcoholic," and "Don't Call Me White."
NOFX might be known for their off-the-wall remarks and offensive humor but their music speaks for itself. The band has, in the past 20-plus years, earned a devoted fan base around the world, and steered clear of any major labels to this day. They've also kept a DIY approach to their recording and touring schedule. Most importantly, the band is not afraid to poke fun of and criticize or satirize such taboo topics as sex, racism, drug use, and the war on terror.
NOFX in concert is always a wild time, and this show was no exception. The pit was filled with tons of greasers, long hairs, hot girls, and nostalgic cholos and punkers all slam dancing under setting sun to their favorite songs.
As night fell over the crowd, it was like déjà vu. Was it the 90s? It seemed like it at times, as tons of long-haired flannel wearing grungy looking, and androgynous punks all bobbed their heard to bands like Social Distortion, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Weezer and Butthole Surfers. But there was also a good ratio of hipsters, bikers, people with their kids, and teenage stoners. Not to mention all the people roaming the inside of the ship for the tattoo Mecca that was The Queen Mary.
By 9:00 p.m. sharp, the Offspring (featuring singer/guitarist Dexter Holland, bassists Greg Kriesel, drummer Pete Parada and guitarist Noodles) came out and the lights were turned on super bright and it felt like a huge MTV type production. There was a huge crowd of thousands of people, all bobbing their heads jumping up and down with a bit of light 'moshing' as well. Based on the diversity of the crowd, one has to respect the Offpsring, for the simple fact that everywhere I looked, I saw people smiling, and truly getting into the music.
All the songs were hits, sing alongs and got the fans moving. Fan favorites included "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy," "The Kids Aren't Alright," and other hits like "Come Out and Play," " Gotta Get Away," and many more songs. Perhaps the Offspring make good music, and play great live concerts, because there are some smart people in the band(see Interesting Fact below). Or perhaps they just create certain chemistry while on stage, and write really catchy, good punk/rock songs.
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Even though the Offspring are what some might consider to be 'mainstream,' the band has stuck to its punk roots. But throughout the show, Noodles, and Dexter both changed and switched guitars quite a few times, which proved that although they are a punk band, they have evolved to a status of being able to play modern arena rock, such as Muse and the Foo Fighters, and they do it well The crowd went ape shit for the last song, "Self Esteem," and that was that. The 70-minute set was fitting farewell to this year's festivities at the tenth annual Ink N Iron Festival. The Offspring are one of the most successful selling punk bands, because they put on a great live show and make it look easy to sound that good. The Crowd: A crowd of thousands at least, very diverse. Ranging from younger and older punks, people with their kids, stoners, a never ending sea of mohawks, metal heads, tons of tattoos(OBVIOUSLY) and hordes of very beautiful ladies all throughout.
Interesting Fact/Critical Bias: Besides being the lead singer for the Offspring, Dexter Holland is also a scientist. We mean that literally. Holland has a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Molecular Biology from USC, and is currently researching the HIV virus.
Overheard at the show: When NOFX was screwing around between and during songs, making gay jokes, and poking fun at racism. At one point, Fat Mike yelled, the next song is about racism, you guys all hate Mexicans and Blacks in Long Beach, right?" To which many people yelled gasped or laughed but two bald headed tank top wearing tattooed Hispanic dudes smoking a blunt yelled back" Hey you won't say that shit if you go to County, puto! They'd tear your ass up there!"