SXSW Review: OFF!, March 17, East Side Drive-In

Austin – I seem to be seeing a lot of supergroups at SXSW.  First Mister Heavenly, then Wild Flag, and now OFF!  Of all of those bands, OFF! has the players with the the longest pedigree.  Singer Keith Morris has been playing since the ’70s, first as the original singer for Black Flag, then as the frontman for seminal hardcore band The Circle Jerks.  The rest of the band is made up of Steve McDonald of Redd Kross (McDonald started that band way back in 1980, when he was 13), Dmitri Coats of Burning Brides, and Mario Rubalcaba of Hot Snakes/Rocket From The Crypt fame.  The band was playing as part of Pitchfork’s #Offline festival, which I just stumbled across as I was heading in the direction of Fader Fort to see what was going on there. 

The band was pretty intense.  Morris is a wild man onstage, with more energy at 55 than some singers half his age.  They blasted through a fairly brief set that lasted maybe 20 minutes, but with pretty much all of their songs clocking in at under two minutes, they still fit in a lot of songs.  Their sound is pretty much old school hardcore punk, but despite the retro nature of their sound, Morris demonstrated that he’s not just living in the past by wearing a No Age shirt onstage and giving a shout out to John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, who was watching from sidestage. “That guy fucking rocks!” said Morris.  Many in the crowd were probably saying the same of Morris after this show. 

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest