NOFX, Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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NOFX, Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards


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The big story on this year's Warped Tour: heavy emo pop in, sunny pop punk out. With New Found Glory fading and breakout kids Yellowcard barely keeping pace with Franz Ferdinand, the future belongs to the epic apologetics of Taking Back Sunday and that jumble of study-hall neuroses and Rush tablatures known as Coheed and Cambria. Along with this new seriousness comes the return of punk politics, though events have energized the aging punkocracy more thoroughly than their descendents (small d, please). Last year the smart-asses in NOFX released The War on Errorism (Fat Wreck Chords), which targeted such diverse threats to the republic as punk bands "singing songs about girls and love" and "A nation of God-fearing pregnant nationalists / Who feel it's their duty to populate the homeland." It takes a certain kind of paranoia to conflate the religious right with Blink-182, but Fat Mike and crew have a sense of humor: The War on Errorism is never as doctrinaire as tourmates Bad Religion's The Empire Strikes First or Anti-Flag's "When You Don't Control Your Government People Want to Kill You," and its confusion at least seems honest. Lars Frederiksen has also done honesty, along with sensitivity and sentimentality. But maybe his boys started questioning his hard-assness after Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards, because on his follow-up, Viking, the Rancid guitarist sets out to convince any doubters that he's just, he's just Lars from the block. Frederiksen jettisons the class consciousness that fueled choruses like "I don't wanna be poor no more" in favor of cliches about guzzling 40s, flicking switchblades, and making time with "every hooker from here to Toledo." But as far as street sociopaths go, I'll take him over Lloyd Banks--Frederiksen may have weaker rhymes, but his beats sure are fresher. For the full lineup of the Warped Tour, see the Concerts listings under Rock, Pop, Etc. $26.50. Saturday, July 24, 1 PM, Tweeter Center, I-80 & Harlem, Tinley Park; 708-614-1616 or 312-559-1212.

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