Off! brought their old school straight up 80’s hardcore sound to Salt Lake City on April 16, 2014. The Loading Dock is literally the loading dock attached to the end of the building that also contains the Lo-Fi Cafe. It is a small room with an elevated stage with the back open to the outside. No beverages are available at the venue but your hand stamp gets you access to the Lo-Fi Cafe allowing for a cold beer in between sets. It was great to see the old and young punks milling around outside before the show. The crowd spanned teenagers decked out in t-shirts and jean jackets with patches mostly from bands from over 30 years ago to some sixty year olds. Clearly punk’s not dead.
Unfortunately Cerebral Ballzy had to cancel at the last minute, moving original openers NASA Space Universe up on the bill. Salt Lake’s own Thunderfist filled in and opened the evening with a blistering set of punk, metal and rock and roll. Kevin Rhea led NASA Space Universe from the pit. The Loading Dock is an indoor/outdoor venue, yet Kevin conducted their onslaught clad in only cutoffs while the temperature dropped down into the 40’s by nightfall. They delivered an energetic set that more than warmed up the crowd for Off!, both figuratively and literally, with several people joining him for some tussling in the pit.
Off! are a punk supergroup formed by Circle Jerks and Black Flag singer Keith Morris, Burning Brides frontman Dimitri Coats, Redd Kross bassist Steven Shane McDonald, and Rocket From The Crypt drummer Mario Rubalcaba. They are touring in support of their new album Wasted Years and delivered everything I had hoped. The set was tight with songs delivered in rapid fire reminiscent of those shows of my youth but charged with the political discourse of today’s news.
Keith took time to tell some stories, comment on current events and deal with the typical heckler. There seems to always be one in every crowd who feels the need to challenge the angry punk on stage. Some kid asked him if he was wearing a dreadlock toupee to which Keith told the story about the punk rock comedian who was so sad when he came home to his family without any money for food because he was such a crappy comedian. I let the kids handle the moshing in the pit and worked the circle to keep them contained. As with any hardcore show it was all over before it began. Keith plopped himself down on a chair in the merch area and was cool enough to take a few selfies. The current tour ends in May with a few shows over the summer. @OffOfficial