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NOFX at the Henry Fonda Theater 2/5/09

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"Dude, are those earplugs?! What kind of pussy are you?" mocked Fat Mike of NOFX from atop the stage at the Henry Fonda Theater last Thursday. "Holy shit and they're orange!" an observation that probably made the unfortunate soul in the front row blush to the roots of his mohawk. This weekend was NOFX's triumphant 25 plus year reunion gigs. What was once a fringe band on the Los Angeles punk scene have emerged as legends of their time. Mostly because they've lasted for so long, a theme that was rehashed frequently over the course of the night. "Is there anyone here under 21? Because you can get the fuck out! Leave! You don't belong here! Punk rock is not for kids" Mike grinned. "I am 42 years old and I am the youngest dude on this stage. I've done the math and there is a combined 650 years of punk rock on this stage right now."

They weren't the only ones feeling old. Looking down from the gallery at the circle pit, I realized what a huge wuss I had become. There was a time when I would have been down there, probably trying to impress some guy with how tough I was, getting mashed to pieces. Now I can't imagine what I had been thinking. The circle pit that night was the biggest I've ever seen. It was like a three lane highway compared to the tiny alley sized circle pits I knew at a teenager. Seriously, there were kids in there just dancing around without being shoved. It was incredible. Do I miss the violence and the adrenaline that comes with the possibility that I could be crushed to death by an unruly mob? A little, but as I started talking to the woman next to me, I realized that I had made the right choice. "I crushed my knee in the pit," she said proudly. "Now whenever I hear Youth Brigade's Madame Boom it twinges a little." Which made me stare and my perfect knees and thank God I quit while I was ahead.