By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Rancid have never been all that great a cover bandcf. the live "Harder They Come" from the Tibetan Freedom Concertsprobably because they've always come across as a cover of the Clash themselves. But freed of the need to prove themselves, they let rip here. They don't take many liberties, and they don't have to: The internal-combustion dynamics of Lars Frederiksen and Tim Armstrong's guitar and vocal trade-offs add even more juice to the already speedy "Moron Bros" and "Bob" (the latter replacing NOFX's lazy, Specials-like trombone solo with flashy rockabilly guitar).
NOFX are craftier, switching "Corazon de Oro" from organ-driven skank to a straight-chugging charger, and doing the opposite for "Radio," which Rancid recorded as a very very fast rock song and NOFX reclaim as outlandishly swinging ska that sounds like the great lost single of 1995. But as Freeman's "Don't Call Me White" demonstrates, the most effective differences here are vocal. It's one thing for gutter-hipster Armstrong to sneer, "Let California fall into the fucking ocean" in "Antennas"; it's something else in Fat Mike's ur-mall drawl. If Frederiksen can't do the same with "Don't ever take away from me my pornography""Vanilla Sex" 's rallying cryit's only because Mike sounds like he consumes more of it.
NOFX play Irving Plaza March 15 and 16.