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OFF!, The Spits, and Double Negative @ The First Unitarian Church.

October 22, 2012

Text by Brian Wilensky. Images by Mike Bucher.

Imagine getting hit by a brick in the teeth. Then imagine getting hit by a brick between the eyes.

Now you have an idea what two songs from OFF!’s set at the First Unitarian Church were like Friday night. The intensity they pounded into the crowd made their return to Philly a circle-pitted massacre. But a band with a lineup like Burning Brides’ Dimitri Coats on guitar, drummer Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes, Red Kross’ Steven McDonald holding down the bass and original Black Flag singer but best known for fronting Circle Jerks, Keith Morris, these guys are quite familiar with such a scene. That said, let’s stop calling them a supergroup. That shit’s lame.

And since Morris is who he is, he thinks it’s acceptable to rant about politics between songs and even before they started. He doesn’t want anyone to vote for anyone in particular, just vote. Then he got pissed off when someone heckled for going on his rant about voting.

“Voting is important!” he yelled back. “This isn’t Rock the Vote or something. You need to take this seriously.”

Listen, Keith, I’m with that guy. Take it somewhere else. No one goes to punk shows to listen to your opinion about, well, anything. ***

OFF! plowed through most of their material from both of their albums, 2010’s First Four EPs and from their recent self-titled album. “Vaporized,” “Jeffrey Lee Pierce,” and “Blast” especially went off like an incendiary grenade. Toward the end of their roughly hour and a half set, the crowd lost when OFF! played their  flagship “Black Thoughts.”

The night’s only moment of comedy was when a chick found herself on stage without the cojones to stage dive. OFF!’s song ended and she stood there in front of Coats looking like a deer in the headlights.

Morris then explained, “We have a three second rule and we’re not looking for any new band members either. You come up here and you have three seconds to jump off. Don’t know where? Just jump on your closest friend you see.”

“I want to get back in the crowd but not be treated like an animal,” she replied as it was faintly picked up in Morris’ mic.

Morris got her to step up and take the dive as they burst into their next song.

Before OFF!, The Spits played their stripped-down garage punk. They opened with “Live in a Van,” and with nearly no time between songs blasted through some of their classics “Sk8,” I H8 Pussies” and “Dropout.” They satisfied multiple calls back to the stage as the crowd wouldn’t stop chanting their name.

Due to some issues at the door, I missed Raleigh’s Double Negative. But from outside it sounded heavy and brutal.

Okay, I’m done writing. I have a bangover to nurse.

*** EDITOR’S NOTE: Punk without opinion is pure crap. Keep preaching, dudes.

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