OFF! | NYC | Review

By: Ron Hart

OFF! :: 10.22.10 :: Generation Records :: New York, NY

OFF!'s debut, The First Four EPs, is out digitally worldwide. iTunes has the exclusive bonus track "Zero Hour" and eMusic has the exclusive bonus track "Sexy Capitalists." The vinyl box set and cassette versions of The First Four EPs will be released on December 14th.

OFF! by Dan Monick
For a guy who collects vinyl, having to wait in line for a show in the basement of one of your favorite record shops instead of thumbing through the racks is a practice in restraint no crate digger worth his weight in wax should be required to endure. But when the concert you are waiting to see is an intimate performance from former Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontman Keith Morris' new California punkcore supergroup OFF!, it is well worth the torture.

Formed by Morris in 2009 and rounded out by guitarist Dimitri Coats of Burning Brides, Rocket from the Crypt drummer Mario Rubalcaba and Steven McDonald of Red Kross fame on bass guitar, the band is a total throwback to the days when punk rock was a bloodsport, a time that Morris fondly recalled several times over the course of OFF!’s half-hour set.

In fact, right when we walked down the steps of Generation Records’ nugget-rich used section that comprises the basement, Morris was in the middle of a yarn about his old bandmate in Black Flag, Robo, making extra money in the old days allegedly digging ditches for a snuff film operation before OFF! tore into an uncompromising mini-set that featured select tunes from the band’s excellently brief 7-inch box set The First Four EPs. As records by Iggy Pop, AC/DC, David Bowie and The Who adorned the wall behind them, the quartet played loud, fast and fearless, tearing through minute-long songs like "Darkness," "Killing Away" and "Fuck People" with the tenacity of a far younger band, interspersed with Morris musing on everything from the capitalist practices of his former peers on the L.A. scene like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gwen Stefani to meeting guitarist McDonald when he was just an 11-year-old Black Flag fan who used to sneak into shows.

However, the most poignant moment of the evening came when Morris performed a stirring, ferocious tribute to his old pal, the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce of western punk icons The Gun Club, and with whom Keith was in the early stages of working on a musical collaboration before Pierce tragically succumbed to a brain hemorrhage in 1996.

And nothing was cooler than seeing this whole thing go down at Generation, a place where so many NYC punk fans discovered the dreadlocked trail of inspiration, influence and energy Keith Morris has blazed for over 30 years and continues to do so as a 55-year-old creating some of the most incendiary sounds of the 21st century.

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[Published on: 12/6/10]

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