OFF, Cerebral Ballzy, Nasa Space Universe Live In Philadelphia (5/16/14)

I’ve been listening to OFF! since their inception nearly 5 years ago, and have never got the chance to see them.  I’ve seen energetic Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks) live when he came around touring with Flag, but was stoked to finally catch him with OFF.  The fact they were playing the intimate (albeit insanely hot) First Unitarian Church just made it even sweeter.

NASA Space Universe:
NSU

I got there in the middle of California’s NASA Space Universe’s set, but holy shit the half that I caught made me a fan.  Playing aggressive experimental noisy punk/hardcore which reminded me a bit of An Albatross or Converge, the band had a huge presence, with the singer leaving the stage to scream on the floor the entire time.  I picked up their CD they were selling that has a few different albums on it, so expect a review up of that sometime in the near(ish) future.

Cerebral Ballzy:
cerebral-300x297
It honestly surprises me how big these Brooklyn punks have gotten.  Somehow signed to Cartoon Network’s (yes you read that correctly) music label, a lot of people throw all their “punk cred” out the window right there.  I however, couldn’t give a shit about that and have seen these guys go from my friend’s living room, dirty basements and shitty bars 5 years ago to opening for both OFF and Flag.

Last time I saw them with Flag though, I was one of the few in the crowd who knew them at all… this time around they had a lot of younger kids shouting along all the words, stage diving, and circle pitting.  Damn.

They put on a solid enjoyable set, playing of songs mostly off of their Self Titled (and I guess their older releases as well since a lot of S/T were rerecorded older songs).  Even without playing “Causing Havoc”, they put on a fun set, and easily won over some new fans that night.  Sure, they may always have that stigma of being what I heard referred to as “those Brooklyn hipsters who are signed to Cartoon Network”, but if you’re avoiding them based on some pigeon holing, you’re missing out on some good old fashioned 80s influenced punk rock.

Highlights:
On The Run
Don’t Tell Me What To Do
Insufficient Fare
Drug Myself Dumb
Puke Song
Sk8 All Day
Cutting Class

OFF!:

Photo by Lindsey Byrnes
Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Finally, the main reason I came to this sweaty basement of a church on a Friday night to begin with (well, Cerebral Ballzy too).  The band and crowd was in high energy mode as they took the stage and blasted into opening track “Void You Out” off of their latest Wasted Years (post coming, but spoiler alert: it’s sick).  Pits and stage dives immediately broke out with the guitarist jumping on top of the crowd and Keith running around the stage… and for a man pushing his 60s, Keith has more anger and energy than most bands just a fraction of his age.

A blistering set, Keith took plenty of jabs at the crowd in his snarky form: “Did anyone here read the punk rock manual?  No, not the one by Sid Vicious.  Rule #1, don’t look like Sid Vicious.  Rule #2, when you come on stage… 3 second rule.  Come on, dance a bit, and get the fuck off.  We’ve seen it all before, unless you do a triple back flip from the speakers, you’re not impressing anyone.”

He took jabs at himself and his other projects too: “No, we’re not playing Rise Against, Rise Above, or whatever the fuck that song is called.  Nor are we playing Wild in the Streets.  You’re going to have to wait for punk rock karaoke to come around again”

The band played a blistering set playing songs off all of their releases with the majority off of the First Four EPs.  High energy, OFF put on a hell of a set, and these guys even with their age and other projects have not lost an ounce of their aggression.  Young bands take note, you can learn a thing or two from these veterans.

Setlist:
Void You Out
Black ThoughtsBorrow And Bomb
Hypnotized
Now I’m Pissed
No Easy Escape
Poison City
King Kong Brigade
Rat Trap
Red White And Black
I Got News For You
Legion Of Evil
Blast
Crawl
Darkness
Wrong
Over Our Heads
Jeffrey Lee Pierce
Wiped Out
Panic Attack
I Don’t Belong
Upside Down

MP3:
Cerebral Ballzy – Puke Song
OFF – I Got News For You

More:
OFF! – Self Titled
OFF! – First Four EPS
Cerebral Ballzy – Self Titled
Cerebral Ballzy – You’re Idle EP

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