I had the great privilege of driving punk band OFF! around Brisbane during the locale leg of their first Australian tour. OFF! comprises four of the better known indie punk musicians on the planet in Keith Morris (co-founder of Black Flag), Steve McDonald, Dimitri Coats and Mario Rubalcaba. They’re also the most respectful artists I’ve worked with.
As soon as all four members of OFF! arrived on-stage … not a single thing else mattered. Black Thoughts flew past in a blur of screeched vocals, buzzsaw guitar and a mass of flying bodies leaping from the stage, while Darkness did exactly the same with literally milliseconds of stopover time between the two. Chaos was inevitable from the get-go, but the intensity levels were beyond boiling point as the crowd surged, spilled out and slammed about the venue like they would never attend another punk rock show.
The performance was that perfect balance of unhinged raw energy and the kind of cohesive precision that can only come with the wear-and-tear of veteran status. Although the four musicians that make up OFF! have all spent countless years in countless bands, it’s clear that they have collectively invested in something that they all love, excited by its freshness and the new take on a vintage sound. OFF! is, at its core, a passion project of the highest order.
OFF! have a few shows in Melbourne remaining on this tour, including a stint at the Meredith Music Festival. If you love raw, Californian punk, OFF! is an absolute must see.
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