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Off! At Echoplex, Saturday, March 17th, 2011

There are some bands who play without a setlist on paper, others who throw a tiny piece of paper on the floor with some unreadable song titles, and some others who are much more organized. Keith Morris, OFF! frontman, actually carefully duct taped the large black sharpied setlist on the floor, applying the tape all around the four sides! I did not see him looking at it during the show though…

OFF! was the special guest opening for Fucked Up at the Echoplex on Saturday night, and they put everyone in the mood in less than a minute. Actually each of their songs lasts probably around a minute, so they have to work them out fast and loud enough right away. At each start of a new song, Morris looked like an enraged small predator ready to jump at everyone’s throat, then howling his anger in the mic with bulging eyes, and expressive, sometimes comical, gestures.

Having seen them recently for the release of their First Four EPs at Vacation Vinyl, they were not a total surprise, they were loud and dangerous, definitively channeling Black Flag’s energy and anger, proving that this kind of thing has more to do with attitude than age,.. ‘I’m 55’ said Morris at one point, receiving a round of applause and a loud cheering from the crowd.

He was talking quite a lot between the short electroshock songs,… presenting his supergroup (a term he actually despises) ‘Steven Shane McDonald from Redd Kross, Dimitri Coats from the Burning Brides, Mario Rubalcaba from Hot Snakes … or venting about political issues like 911 as an excuse to kill more people, before embarking again into one of these seizure-like episodes, screaming about everything in ‘Darkness’, ‘Panic Attack’, or ‘Fuck people’, a song which made the crowd, already moshing and surfing, go even crazier… ironically, the Echoplex had posted ‘Absolutely no crowd surfing, no stage diving’ signs all over the place, probably out of despair.

OFF!’s fiercely brutal, straightforward and minimalist songs had built the place, and when they left the stage, it was all ready for the next band.

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