OFF!, The Spits, and Double Negative @ The Middle East, Cambridge MA on Sunday, October 21, 2012.
More than any other band out there, OFF! tap deep into the roots of punk rock, so it’s no surprise that the band is led by ex-pats of that world in Keith Morris and Steve McDonald. Their roots in the SoCal scene via Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Redd Kross are the key to discovering the map to this hallowed land, and they play it meaner, faster and more convincing than the rest. Dmitri Coats (guitar) and Mario Rubalcaba (drums) aren’t of that vintage, but they’ve cut their teeth with bands formed on the same principles of that era. Tonight’s the fourth time I’ve seen them, and while the delivery remains consistent (50 second salvos of punk rock fury in rapid succession, with a periodic break of Keith musing about some topic of the day, or also in tonight’s case handing back someone’s cell phone that somehow landed on stage), the effect is as fresh as ever. This is one band that fires on all cylinders all of the time.
The support acts were likewise well chosen. Double Negative played a decent version of hardcore for the kids of today, but it was The Spits who really impressed with their take on the classic late 70s UK punk sound. The gear they used looked like it was swiped curbside on trash pickup day; the drum set was barebones (kick, snare, crash, high-hat) and Sean Wood’s guitar was missing a pickup and plugged directly into his amp, with no need for any pedals, even a tuning pedal. That certainly didn’t get in the way of punk rock done right.