Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Photography by Zoe Shannon

A license to hate, Dad jokes and kick ass women. It was a line-up devised as much for the bands’ enjoyment as it was crowd pleasing.

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As this was the first of a 2-date pit stop in the UK this Summer it saw fans travel far and wide to be here. The moving forward of the door time sees the room three quarters full when Bad Cop Bad Cop take the stage accompanied by the sounds of Sublime’s ‘Rivers of Babylon’ cover.

No respectable supportive girl troop could start their set without a team hand stack and a scream to arms. Opening with ‘I’m done’ off last year’s ‘Warriors’ release, they charge forward with a traditional chugging riffed and punk beat number. Bassist Linh Li brings a sassy, unabashedly sexy and demanding energy as she blasts out their call for equality.

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The sweet toned harmonies cut through their grit; bringing a tinge of Doo-wop as they chorus ‘Hello’ into ‘Nightmare’. Sharing the lead vocals between 3 singers creates distinct tones best suited for each song. By the time they play ‘Broken’, with lead vocals from guitarist Jennie Cotterill, a skanking pit is in full effect and the hearts and minds of Birmingham are won over.

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The walking bass line of ‘Warriors’ firmly cements these women as deliverers of 90s punk rock in a way that wishes I was 13 again, listening to these ladies kick ass and inspiring me to take up the drums to be like Bad Cop’s Myra Gallarza and start a band. I never did learn to play the drums, I have the worst co-ordination, but still these are the role models you want for teenage girls.

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With a 45 minute set it was clear to see why the doors had been brought forward. Finishing the set with ‘Victoria’ and ‘Cheers’ these ladies continue to bring a rawness to proceedings, spraying beer across the crowd, inviting the throws of glasses to continue throughout the night whilst vocalist Stacy Dee remained unrelenting in her ballsy aggressive energy. These ladies came to be paid attention to and they certainly won a host of new fans in the process.

As Snuff take to the stage the wings are filled by NOFX’s Fat Mike, El Hefe and the Bad Cop Bad Cop ladies. The party atmosphere and high jinx was firmly set as Snuff called for a chant to usurp El Hefe from presumptuously tinkling their keys whilst the band faffed and bantered.

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“You didnt pay for this bit, don’t worry it doesnt come out of your money.” – Lee Batsford, guitar and backing vocals

The Dad jokes, banter and mucking around is what you come to expect from a Snuff show, the balance of songs to chat are always likely to err in favour of the chat. From proclaiming themselves the ‘Kings of Birmingham’s Grime Scene’ and dedicating tracks to Terry Wogan, the sound quality and speedy chat meant you were often lost in the all the twist and turns of their in jokes, old jokes and storytelling.

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Delivering a set that was a 50/50 mix of old versus new, they’ve put the finishing touches to latest album since 2012 only 2 weeks ago, their eagerness to share the new material was abundant.

“All we wanna do is new songs so to stop you being pissed off here another old one.” – Lee Batsford

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The new material fits perfectly against the old for a punk rock knees up as fast paced treats about million dollar boats spark a full-fledged pit and pints in the air, whilst NOFX incite a circle pit. Treating us with ‘Soul Limbo’ and ‘Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads’ brought Fat Mike up to the front to join in on the vocals of a raucous crowd sing-a-long.

Snuff are the consummate entertainers, after all they’ve been treating us to the epitome of British punk rock comedy since the 80s. A shout out for all the parents in the crowd resulted in call for a mum who may have been called Janet to show us her top, prompting Bad Cop Stacy Dee to flash keys and bassist Lee Murphy.

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Despite the lack of classic track ‘Martin’ there could only be one song to finish their set. Joined on guitars and bass by Fat Mike and Bad Cop’s Linh Li, Snuff’s dance party set closed with ‘Arsehole’ because every self-effacing Brit loves nothing better than an anthemic swearing chant!

After such a show stopper of a full hour set and full line-up party closing song it felt odd to be awaiting the headline act; made even more anti-climatic by the tiny ‘NOFX’ banner that drops in from on high. Walking on stage to the ‘Time Warp’ we were treated to a Fat Mike and El Hefe serenade of the full song as Eric was late to the party. Feeding off the crowd there was an incitement to hate inviting us to flip them the bird as they deliberately called upon ‘Manchester’ to set things off.

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Opening with ‘60%’ and blasting straight into ‘Seeing Double at the Triple Rock’ from 2006’s ‘Wolves In Wolves’ clothing’ back to back tracks were few and far between. Talking more than Snuff they balance the crowd participation and mockery perfectly against each 2-minute music blast. A front row mohawk was blasted about its floppy tendency from Fat Mike, rocking a lazy day floppy hawk himself, to the point where hair product is sought and passed on from backstage.

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The biggest sing-a-long will always be reserved for ‘Punk in Drublic’s’ ‘Leave it Alone’ followed by the classic ‘Walk the Line’.  As a political motivated band, there isn’t a better time to be singing along to classic NOFX tracks that have never seemed more relevant than right now and with little context needed. As soon as the opening bars of ‘Idiots are Taking Over’ blast out the supercharged energy after ‘Leave it Alone’ goes off. From crowd surfers in a full room pit, to the risk of dive bombing fans in the balcony as their excitement places them at risk of falling this punk rock show has hit a much-needed release from the current world climate.

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Fat Mike invites it all in; encouraging coins to be thrown as his Peaky Blinder commentary hits peak, even a pair of sunglasses bounce off his head. To quote the man himself “If you can’t make fun of your friends then they’re not your friends.”

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As one of only 2 UK dates they delivered a crowd pleaser of a set considering their back catalogue, treating us to ‘Murder the Government’, ‘Eat the meek’, ‘Bob’ and ‘Linoleum’ it was a classic NOFX compilation. No crowd participation show would have been complete without a ‘Fat Bastard’ chant to boot.

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Tonight, served as the perfect reminder that punk’s not dead, that the energy, passion and messages are wrapped in the perfect delivery mechanism of comedy and humour to continue to politically charge and activate the next generations.

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