Strung out/No use for a name news and reviews by underground

In light of the announcement that Californian punk heavyweights No use for a name and Strung out are making their way to New Zealand and Australia in June, I reviewed the bands’ latest releases, Strung out’s “Blackhawks over Los Angeles” and No use for a name’s “The feel good record of the year”. This is a show that punk fans should not miss, as both these bands are amazing live.

Strung out

Strung out is not just a punk band. Influenced by metal, the band are arguably the most musically technical of any punk band. Strung out formed in 1992 and have had a few changes in personal over their time. The current line up of Jason Cruz (vocals), Jake Kiley (guitar), Rob Ramos (guitar), Chris Aitken (bass) and Jordan Burns (drums) have been together for the past three full-length albums. The band released “Blackhawks over Los Angeles” their seventh or eighth full-length album (depending on whether you count “Skinny years”) in June 2007.

This album captures that signature Strung out sound. Guitarists Jake and Rob with their complimentary talents, their supersonic palm muted riffs, ear achingly high pinch harmonics and those blistering solos. Jason’s passion, angst, anger, compassion, honesty and heartfelt lyrics delivered with coarse yet smooth vocals. Jordan proves once again why he is the best drummer in punk, with more creative, obliterating quick beats. Chris’s bass efforts certainly take a step up here, as he provides some impressive and complementary bass lines throughout the album. Musically, the album was arguably their most technical of all their releases, in particular the guitar. I can’t play a single song on this album, and I can play most of “Twisted by design”! The album is certainly not as dark as the preceding release, “Exile in oblivion”. There are the typically difficult guitar solos and intros, but additionally the guitarists have opted to go ape shit over the verses and chorus as well. They really have really stepped up big time.

The first single from the album “Calling” provides the soundtrack to one of the bands best music videos to date. In typical fashion the pair of guitarists make the toughest riffs look easy. As a guitarist it is a joy to watch. I would imagine drummers would feel similar watching Jordan’s playing. One thing I did not expect to hear was a drum machine intro into final track “Diver”. Why would the band with undeniably the best punk drummer in the world opt to use a drum machine?

Stand out tracks: This is a hard one. Can I name 12 songs? I don’t think there is a filler or a song you’d skip on this album. So the best? “Calling”, “All the nations”, “A war called home, “Orchid”, “Mission statement”. But the rest are incredible too. Best guitar solo? “Orchid”. Or maybe “Downtown” The guitar over the chorus of “a war called home” is mind blowing. The double kick under the solo of “Orchid” makes the guitar seem slow!

Rating: 9.5/10 (I’d give “Twisted by design” 10!)

Live review: I’ve seen the band in Auckland five times now. I’ve got a lot of respect for a band that comes out of their way to visit New Zealand, on an unprofitable tour. Their fans certainly appreciate it, and their crowds have progressively become larger. Their live performance has progressively improved and they are now a tight performing unit. Having a front man not playing an instrument does help get the crowd into the mood, especially when Jason is particularly in the crowd. Typically play long sets, with songs from each album, although expect to hear a lot of Blackhawks when they play here in June.

Live rating: 8.5/10

To get in the mood for the show: “Live in a Dive” (#4 in Fat wreck live series)

No use for a name

Nufan band has been around a long time. I was three when they formed in 1987. The band has gone through many members, most notably Chris Shiflet who joined the Foo fighters. The current line up is fronted the legendary Tony Sly who sings and plays rhythm guitar and is joined by Dave Nassie on lead, Matt Riddle on bass, and Rory Koff on the drums.

Don’t let the following review put you off this band. Albums like “Making friends” and “Leche con carne” ensure that No use for a name are one of the most popular independent punk bands in the world. However perhaps the band is guilty of resting on their laurels, particularly over the last two albums. “Keep them confused” had its moments, however all too often the album came up lacking. Nufan’s latest “The feel good record of the year” was definitely an improvement, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly, a little bit, kind of disappointed.

Credit where credits due, the opening two tracks on this album are awesome, possibly two of my favourite Nufan songs to date, “The biggest lie” and “I want to be wrong”. These two songs were available for download on the Fat wreck chords website before the album was released, and perhaps I had unrealistic expectations for the remaining songs on the album. For me many songs don’t have the urgency that the first two do, but that’s not to say that its completely downhill from track three onwards. I’m probably being unfair, because the “The biggest lie” is so good. There are many good songs, a few below par, but nothing that gets close to the opening track. Then again, Nufan has always been a ‘hit and miss’ band to me, sometimes they hit a bulls-eye, and other times they miss the board. “Kill the rich” sounds like Travis. I wasn’t ready for that!

In the end, it really is a great album; perhaps I am being too hard on this record. Most the songs are really good, one song is incredible, and two or three are a bit average. Certainly worth purchasing if you’re a fan.

Standout tracks: There are certainly songs on this album that stand above the others. “The biggest lie” is the top song and I hope to hear it at the show. Other standouts include “I want to be wrong”, “Domino”, “The feel good song of the year”, “The trumpet player”, “Pacific standard, “The dregs of sobriety”, and “Take it home”.

Rating: 7/10

Live review: I have only seen them once before (Kings Arms November 2005), but to be honest, Nufan are arguably the best live band I have ever seen. I can’t exactly say why, perhaps I was in exactly the right mood after exactly the right amount of beers, but they went off. They played a good length set, were really enthusiastic, and you could tell they really wanted to be there. You’d be surprised by how many bands are not enthusiastic about playing in NZ; perhaps the flight takes a lot of the energy out of them, which is understandable. Nufan had energy to burn! They played a variety of old and new songs, their set list closely resembled their live album only with additional newer songs. And even the songs off “Keep them confused” were incredible live.

Live rating: 9.5/10

To get in the mood for the show: “Live in a dive” (#1 in Fat wreck live series)

Strung out and No use for a name “Strangers in the outback” NZ and OZ tour June 2008.

Friday 27th June San Francisco Bathhouse, Wellington NZ
Tix from www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 & Real Groovy 04 385 2020

Saturday 28th June Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland NZ
Tix from www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 & Real Groovy 09 302 3940

Wed 2nd July Live on Light Square Adelaide
Tix from www.venuetix.com.au 08 8225 8888 & www.oztix.com

Thu 3rd July Prince of Wales Bunbury
Tix from the venue 08 97212016 & www.heatseeker.com.au

Fri 4th July Players Bar Mandurah
Tix from the venue 08 9582 8333 www.bocsticketing.com.au
www.moshtix.com.au, Jumbo Ent Bicton 08 9339 3244, Mills Fremantle 08 9335 1945, Planet Mt Lawley 08 9328 7464, Rockeby Recs
Subiaco 08 9381 5126

Sat 5th July Capitol Perth
Tix from the venue, www.bocsticketing.com.au, www.78records.com.au & www.moshtix.com.au, Jumbo Ent Bicton 08 9339 3244, Mills Fremantle 08 9335 1945, Planet Mt Lawley 08 9328 7464, Rockeby Recs Subiaco 08 9381 5126

Sun 6th July Newport Fremantle
Tix from the venue, www.bocsticketing.com.au, www.78records.com.au, www.moshtix.com.au Jumbo Ent Bicton 08 9339 3244, Mills Fremantle 08 9335 1945, Planet Mt Lawley 08 9328 7464, Rockeby Recs Subiaco 08 9381 5126

Wed 9th July Barwon Club Geelong
Tix from the venue 0352214584 www.moshtix.com.au and Capricorn leading edge 03 5229 1999

Thu 10th July Peninsula Lounge Moorooduc
Tix from the venue 475 Moorooduc Hwy (Cnr Eramosa rd) 03 5978 8717, www.peninsulalounge.com.au

Fri 11th July Billboard The Venue Melbourne
Tix from www.billboardthevenue.com.au, www.moshtix.com.au Missing Link 03 9670 8208 and ticketek 132849 www.ticketek.com.au

Sat 12th July Uni of Tasmania Hobart
Tix from Uni contact centre Hobart 03 6226 2495 & Launceston 03 6324 3757, Ruffcut Records 03 6234 8600, Mojo Music Launceston 03 6334 5677
Red Hot CDs Devonport 03 6424 9816

Sun 13th July ANU Canberra
Tix from www.ticketek.com.au 132849

Tue 15th July Unibar, Uni of Wollongong
Tix from the Unishop 02 4221 8050, Redback Music 02 4229 6169, www.moshtix.com.au and www.bigtix.com.au

Wed 16th July Metro Sydney
Tickets from www.ticketek.com.au and The Metro 02 9550 3666

Thu 17th July Bar on the Hill, Uni of Newcastle
Tix from the venue 02 49683717, Rock Shop 02 4929 1856 www.moshtix.com.au and www.bigtix.com.au

Fri 18th July Coolangatta Hotel Gold Coast
Tickets available at venue thecoolyhotel.com.au 07 5536 9311, Sunflower Pacific Fair 07 5538 1850, Music Mania Southport 07 5591 1665, Great Northern Byron 02 02 6685 6454, www.oztix.com.au & all Oztix outlets 1300 762 545

Sat 19th July Arena Brisbane
Tix from Rockinghorse 07 3229 5360, Music Mania, Kill the Music 07 3012 7751, www.arenaonline.com.au 1300 762 545 & Ticketek 132849 www.ticketek.com.au

Sun 20th July Sands Tavern Maroochydore
Tix from from the venue 07 54437944, Mosh Pit, www.oztix.com.au & all Oztix outlets, www.moshtix.com.au & all Moshtix outlets

Tue 22nd July Seven Nightclub Hervey Bay
Tix from from the Irish Fiddler 07 074124 8300, www.oztix.com.au & www.moshtix.com.au

Wed 23rd July Great Western Hotel Rockhampton
Tix from from the venue 07 4922 3888, www.oztix.com.au & www.moshtix.com.au

Thu 24th July McGuires Mackay
Tix from from the venue 07 4957 7464, www.oztix.com.au & www.moshtix.com.au

Fri 25th July Bombay Rock Townsville
Tix from from the venue 07 4724 2800, www.oztix.com.au & www.moshtix.com.au

Sat 26th July Brothers Leagues Club Cairns
Tix from from the venue 07 4053 1053, www.oztix.com.au & www.moshtix.com.au

Wed 30th July Station Resort Jindabyne

Tix from the venue 02 6451 4800, Time2ride 02 6456 1924, Perisher tickets Jindabyne 02 6456 1659, Guest Services Perisher 02 6459 4421


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I am on the verge of totally rocking out!

Just bought my ticket (only $47) and I’m stoked for this one.

See you all in the pit!!!

Comment by undergroundnetwork

Seems as though most people who end up on this page are after setlists for either Strung Out or Nufan. I’ve had a look online myself, and I can’t find anything. Anyone out there who has one for any of their shows, please comment here. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Auckland shows, what was the cover SO played?

Comment by undergroundnetwork

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