Short, sharp and to the point
Off! - Live at XOYO

Hardcore found an unlikely home in East London’s XOYO. The usual loitering of sharp haircuts and ambiguous clothing was replaced by a far more menacing bunch of tattoos, brooding intensity and more than a little hint of adolescent anticipation from those that had thought all of that had passed. Youthful, stark and spouting frantic lyrical tornados, Brooklyn’s Cerebral Ballzy threw beer, goaded the crowd into coming closer and spat out tales of Pizza, Skateboarding and riding the Underground. As one punter dangling from the rafters like an uncertain punk chimpanzee, the mood had been set.

Stage times had been moved and moments before Off! took to the stage, bodies piled in and the temperature rose a couple of degrees. Although diminutive, the highly commanding and dreadlocked figure of Keith Morris drew out some of hardcore’s most infatuated fans. The original lead singer of Black Flag, but more remembered for Circle Jerks, he slowly stalked the stage glaring at the audience. Screaming into the microphone with his arm flailing, he growls through the short throat shredding ‘Darkness’, ‘Full Of Shit’ and ‘I Don’t Belong’.

Having caught his breath, he turns to bassist Steven Shane McDonald and explains that having known him since he was a child: “I am your father.” It’s like Beavis and Butthead reenacting Star Wars. Retracting the comment, he gets on with what he does best, hitting the songs hard and fast dedicating ‘Jeffrey Lee Pierce’ as a Eulogy to his friend from The Gun Club. Short, sharp and to the point, it’s exactly what was hoped for.

Words by Lee Puddefoot

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