NOFX: Live in a Dive: Ribbed: CD

It seems to have caught some NOFX fans by surprise that the band chose Ribbed as the album to perform in its entirety, no less as a live album. They’ve been doing Punk in Drublic live in full for some time, but while that may have been the obvious choice, I couldn’t have been happier they picked Ribbed in the end. Ribbed has always been my favorite NOFX record, for a number a reasons. This was a pinnacle era for the band. Their previous effort, 1989’s S&M Airlines, showcased a group in the midst of their growth: less intense/gruff than Liberal Animation, but still leaning towards a crossover metal sound. People forget, but this was an era when band like DRI still topped the charts for this genre, and its influence shows. With Ribbed, the band evolved further, but some of those undertones are still prevalent. Ribbed was recorded with their previous guitarist Steve—just a hair before El Hefe joined the band—and the RKL-style guitar licks are really what gives the album some of its charm (and what eventually molded into NOFX’s classic sound). The humor factor is also taken up a notch, which is again another step towards what NOFX is famously known for. On this live album, Mike can be heard throughout it in between songs, referencing how hard some of them are to play and how they’re going to fuck them up, and he isn’t full of shit. Ribbed documented a young band at one of their technical peaks, an album that is slightly more unique and challenging than their later efforts. That almost makes it sound experimental, which isn’t the case. It’s just a band writing catchy songs and blazing through fourteen songs in thirty minutes while doing so. They pull of off spectacularly on this record as well. –Steve Adamyk (Fat, fatwreck.com)