The best way to sum up tonight’s gig is to live in the moments just after tonight’s headliners have left the stage. The Exchange’s walls are not dripping sweat they are running with it, like the venue had just sprung a leak (thank heavens we aren’t on the Thekla eh?), the stage too looks like it’s just held a heavyweight boxing match that’s gone the full 12 rounds, and all around me my fellow punters look positively shell shocked as we amble out into the cold night air.

There was part of me that wanted to send RPM pics of the sodden stage and drenched walls and leave it at that, but then you wouldn’t get the context, and with OFF! it’s always all about the context.

But let’s start at the beginning, and Washington D.C based duo Teen Mortgage who are opening for OFF! on this short run of UK shows. They’ve also just been announced as the opening act for Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer’s 2024 enormodome tour here in the UK, so they are obviously a band going places. And to my ears at least, that place is somewhere around the dawn of the 1990s, as their fuzzed-out brand of sub pop draws on equal parts Sabbath and the Stooges just like most of the US bands that graced the cover of the NME and Sounds did back then. Teen Mortgage’s members weren’t even born back then though, so it’s probably only older bastards like me who will feel the need to make these comparisons, and to their credit they do quickly turn The Exchange’s (at the time) ice-cold live room into one that is at least warm enough for me to take my beanie off. It’s just I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen this done many times before and it all kind of reminded me of noughties UK trio The Zico Chain, only they had more instantly memorable songs. Perhaps it was the prospect of what was about to follow that meant Teen Mortgage caught me with my gig guard fully up tonight, but I do wish them well, whatever happens next for them.

My guard was up because with OFF! you can never really predict anything; I mean who would have ever thought that after three jaw stinging LPs packed full of short sharp punk rock punches that their fourth record, released just over a year ago now, would not only contain some of the heaviest music known to humanity, but also free form jazz segues? And whilst the latter (in its truest sense) is nowhere to be found tonight, as the band quietly amble onto the stage and frontman Keith Morris unfurls a set list that extends the full height of the PA’s side fills and to his left guitarist Dimitri Coats begins to unleash some truly bizarre sounds from a box of electronic tricks he has tucked away side stage whilst bassist Autry Fulbright II and (returning) drummer Mario Rubalcaba start to limber up by tinkering away of their respective instruments, you do get the feeling that the sense of musical adventure contained within that record is still very much alive within this most exhilarating of punk rock bands.

It’s only when the full force of ‘Slice Up The Pie’ hits me straight in the chest that the gig really takes off though and for the next hour or so we are all taken on a whirlwind adventure, initially through the pysch punk delights of the aforementioned ‘Free LSD’ LP before a selection of (I think) nine older songs really do take the roof off the place. It’s intense and mind bending at times, especially during album number four’s title track, but by equal measure tracks from that record like ‘War Above Los Angeles’ and ‘Worst Is Yet To Come’ stand as some of Dimitri Coats and Keith Morris’ best work to date. Yes, I’d have loved to have seen Justin Brown working his drum magic on said tunes tonight but make no mistake, Mario totally owns these twisted beauties too. Likewise, during the older songs played tonight, the looming lanky presence of one Steven McDonald is always going to be missed on the bass, but once again my beanie is off for what Autry does whilst playing these brutal beasts with his fingers and not a plectrum. Insanely talented each and every one of them.

At times you could be forgiven for thinking that someone on OFF!’s crew has half-inched one of the Concorde engines from the nearby Patchway museum, hotwired it and stuck a microphone straight into its boom, such is the transonic quality of the band in the here and now. It’s no easy night out that’s for sure but isn’t that really what has always been at the heart of what punk rock has always been about?

See what I mean about context now? Tonight was totally OFF! the scale, make no mistakes.

Author: Johnny Hayward

Seemingly not content with having already released one of the contenders for albums of the year in 2022 via his superb debut solo effort ‘Ride The Wild Wind’, the astoundingly talented John Reis is back to once again rock the RPM block, this time with the turbocharged ‘Plosivs’, the debut ten tracker from an all new supergroup, featuring singer/guitarist Rob Crow (Pinback), drummer Atom Willard (Against Me!, Rocket From the Crypt) and bassist Jordan Clark (Mrs. Magician) alongside Mr Reis on guitar.

Opener ‘Hit The Breaks’ sets the tone perfectly for what is about to follow over the next 30 odd minutes, and if you are a fan of Reis’s other non-RFTC bands, like Night Marchers, Hot Snakes or The Sultans, then this baby really is going to right up your Strasse. The guitars of Reis and Crow scorch the earth whilst the rhythm section of Clark and Willard send sonic shockwaves through the galaxy, yet it’s the soaring whilst still quite understated and very melodic vocals of Crow that actually first make me sit up and really take notice. There’s a huge slab of early 90s alt rock influence within his vocal tone that honestly had me checking the sleeve notes to make sure Jon Auer hadn’t been working under a pseudonym post the very public (and totally understandable) break-up of The Posies.

The boogie-tastic ‘Rose Waterfall’ is another joyous overload of melody, whilst the almost schizophrenic ‘Thrown Clear’ takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride of time changes and multiple vocal hooks that really shouldn’t work…but boy does it.

‘Never Likely’ is where the aforementioned Posies refence point is perhaps at its closest as it recalls a very special time in my life when ‘Frosting On The Beater’ was indeed perhaps the greatest thing I’d ever heard. 

The record’s lead track (and video) ‘Broken Eyes’ marks the album’s mid-point in a way that made me also recall a time when music that was called “Indie” really was just that, and most all, it was also exhilarating and fresh, whilst the other thing that strikes me about ‘Plosivs’ is that as it progresses it actually gets better and better.

I really don’t want to spoil the delights that wait for you when discovering this record for yourselves, but if you like Cheap Trick played by The Pixies then check out ‘Pines’ or if you just want to hear what a more melodic Hot Snakes might sound like then album closer ‘Bright’ is where you need to direct your attentions.

Everything about ‘Plosivs’ just sounds right, its one of those albums that when you first play it, it all just clicks into place, and thanks to the stellar sonics of Ben Moore (who also worked on Reiss’s ‘‘Ride The Wild Wind’) you also get a record that totally destroys everything in its path.

This really is essential stuff!

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Author: Johnny Hayward

It was only the other day that I was listening to Rocket From The Crypt in the car. Shortly after, who should recommend the new solo album by Speedo/John Reis but our very own Mr Hayward. After listening on Spotify, I duly ordered the vinyl (no CD yet). It’s a no-brainer to any RFTC fans that this is a worthy purchase. From the first song, I was hooked. There’s a Liamesque delivery to the title track, but Mr Gallagher can’t hold a candle to these tunes. And, believe me, this album is packed with tunes.

‘I Ain’t Your Pawn’ struts like Jim Jones with guitar and piano hammering out the riff. It would be a shame if Reis didn’t play some gigs to support this release. ‘Do You Still Wanna Make Out?’, with its “shoo-wop” backing vocals and insistent rhythm would give Giuda a run for their money.

‘When I Kicked Him In The Face’ starts with a picked riff reminiscent of Elliott Smith, before launching into more familiar territory. ‘Days Of Auld Lang Syne’ ends side one with a breezy piano led tune with a reflective lyric.

‘I Hate My Neighbours In The Yellow House’ starts with a synth before the guitars kick in. While there’s a variety of songs here, it always sounds reassuringly like John Reis. ‘Vape In The Dark Alone’ is more akin to ‘Group Sounds’ with its sinister melody.

‘Rip From The Bone’ is killer, it makes you want to pick up the guitar and play along, head nodding. Simple and devastatingly effective. “We don’t see eye to eye, said the spider to the fly”. ‘We Broke The News’ is equally addictive, and ‘Keeper Of The Plains’ is a classy note to end on. As you’d expect. And it’s on transparent, mouthwash green vinyl. What are you waiting for?

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Author: Martin Chamarette

Wow just wow.  As far as tribute albums go there have been plenty of duds and a few decent ones but when I saw the track list for this one I couldn’t believe how amazing this compilation is and how in times of need the Rock and Roll world can pull together and help out a brother when hard times come a knocking.

IF you don’t know the background to this one then you simply have to click on the links to read Sonny’s story and then you can see just why we need to pick up a copy of this and if you can’t buy one then why not share this review and post it on your facebook page or other social media so it gets maximum exposure and maybe your friends will pick up a copy because this compilation is three discs deep and choc-o-bloc with amazing bands offering up songs to help Sonny and his family.  Coming from the UK I can’t quite get my head around a country that doesn’t want to help its people when they most need it but like I said I’m not here to give my view I’m here to play this CD and give a convincing load of words as to why you should invest in your copy.

Seventy-Six songs over three CD’s Yup I did say 76 you’ve not misread that and all for the price of a few drinks or corporate coffees it might go a long way to help Sonny out. There are a bunch of no brainers going on here like the Amazing Jeff Dahl, James Williamson, Flaming Groovies, The Boys, Corpse Grinders, Pagans, Streetwalkin Cheetahs, RFTC and a whole load more besides.  These legends are pitted next to lesser known bands and singers but not lesser in quality there are plenty of bands I’ve obviously heard of whilst there were more than a few I’m hearing for the first time and I’m blown away by the sheer quality of it all.

Rough Kids ‘Lights Out’ bookends the fantastic The Dogs Riff-a-rama of ‘Call My Name’ with the other side being Richard Duguay with the sublime ‘Fuck You Fame Whore’.  Damn The Viletones ‘Screaming Fist’ makes way for The Candy Snatchers for god’s sake how good do you want this to be? If it was just the one CD it would be mightily impressive but three CD’s is almost overwhelming.  I’m almost embarrassed handing over my $35 and that includes shipping Europe folk seriously!


This could go down as the longest review in history if I were too big up everyone who contributed and I’m still looking for my favourite songs that I wasn’t already familiar with. Some much kudos to the bands from across the globe who’ve given up tracks for this it must be humbling to know that so many want to support Cayden and his continued recovery.  Sonny, you should get a cut off each new sale these bands pick up my discogs finger is getting twitchy. The B Girls ‘Mystery’ is such a cool song and its great to hear bands like the Kopek Millionaires next to the Carbonas next to the Testors next to the Barracudas  I love it all!  there are exclusives and some from long since deleted records or not available on CD its a breathtaking project and done to such an amazing standard.

I can’t stress enough why you should support this CD release lets give a family a break and to get something in return is super cool.  Let’s do this for one courageous kid and his family do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Author: Dom Daley

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76 amazing bands support Sonny to help support Cayden’s recovery. Including James Williamson (Stooges), Refused, Black Lips, The Dogs, Flamin’ Groovies and many more.  Please share

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