The Offs

Live at the Mabuhay Gardens

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The greatest thing about this San Francisco sextet when they would play Max's Kansas City (they lived in New York on Prince Street for part of each year, and even released a single on the Max's label) was how uncategorizable they were. Were they punk? New wave? Avant-garde? Art rock? No New York noise? A new strain of art jazz? Some odd form of mutant ska gone wrong with bleating sax? (Mostly.) You never knew what to tell people about what you'd seen. Like their U.K. contemporaries, Blurt, they were sort of all these things, and still others with names that haven't been invented. But what tied them to the punk community (caffeinated singer Don Vinil, who sadly died of a heroin overdose on Ninth St. in New York in 1983, was a close friend and friendly competitor of Jello Biafra in the old S.F. days when both bands started out together) was the basic burping energy to everything they did. These weren't a bunch of art school posers, they were smash-it-up party skanksters who wanted to do something fresh within an absolutely remarkably creative late-'70s Bay Area scene -- in cahoots with Crime, Nuns, Avengers, Negative Trend, Flipper, Pink Section, Tuxedomoon, Vktms, Mutants, Lewd, Dils, Zeros, and more. Tired of the same old same old? These guys didn't know what that was, and it really comes through again on this excellent quality radio broadcast.