Off! Live review from Rebellion punk festival
Blackpool Rebellion Punk Festival
There’s whirling dervish on the stage, a dreadlocked, hyperactive punk rock freak in his mid fifties who is a powder keg of high octane excitement. Off! are in top gear and giving a glimpse of the molten moment of when American hardcore was forged.
The band built around original Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman, Keith Morris, are a back to the roots, back to basics stripped down assault on the senses. After years of meandering in various projects from Red Kross to RFTC the various musicians that make up Off! have returned to the white heat of what forged them in the first place and gone back to the short, sharp shocks of Hardcore. A hardcore that is a long way removed from the metal influenced modern version.
This is the hardcore of the glorious triumphate who patented the form way back in the early eighties…Black Flag, Bad Brains and Minor Threat- that stripped down yet packed with passion and ideas take on British punk that has become so influential over the years. The speed thrills playing and the esoteric other influences from free jazz to psychedelia are show crammed in there as well, this was always a music with a smarts and high IQ and a brutal, life affirming intensity.
You would think that thirty odd years later it would be almost impossible to recreate but somehow they have pulled it off. The set is a machine gun of short fast songs that make their point with Morris’s brilliant whiney brat voice set to maximum. He can say everything in 20 words and then move onto another idea whilst the band play with a raw power and focus so often missing from modern rock music.
No one can fuck with Off! Remarkably these veterans from the punk rock wars are one of the most vital rock bands of 2011. Tonight they demolished the venue.