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The OFFS "Live at the Mabuhay NOV 7 1980" Reviews

Shredding Paper Vol. #9

Offs "Live at the Mabuhay Gardens" CD 18/67:04 *

There's no point in arguing over who originated Ska-punk, since the first Specials single, and the first Offs single came out the same week. There's no point in arguing though because the Clash was the first punk band to fuse Jamaican music into the punk scene. That said, The Offs were a much greater band than The Specials by far. Specials did the Ska thing and then, like their label mates faded as their bag of tricks proved empty and their ambition proved mainstream. The Offs kept innovating, and produced some of the most original hybrids to come out of the American punk scene of the late '70's. This raw live recording made in 1980 shows how this unique band were able to punkify funk, soul, R&B, ska, and reggae, and make it all their own. The Velvet Underground cover ( Sweet Jane / Heroin medley ) is interesting to say the least. Talk about having a load of influences. Mel

Web Zine : Blank Generation

The Offs "Live at the Mabuhay Gardens Nov 7 1980 ; in San Francisco California as it was....when it began" CD.

Now I have ran across mentions of the Offs and pictures of Don Vinil in just about every punk book I have come across,but,it was this disc that introduced me to their sound.

The Offs are working with alot of different shit in their bag...including straight up punk-rock ( with the dash ) but,expanding to reggae, art-punk ,ala Wire,and I suppose,most importantly,Ska-Punk.but this was ska-punk before there was ska-punk. I don't even mind it either.I'm not calling it ska-punk,or anything,I listen to this disc and appreciate what I hear.

To be honest,the Offs sound like they were trying to rip off Black Randy and the Metrosquad,but,with less funk and more ska.Take it or leave it. Fuck you.

The Offs also appear to be one of the few bands that utilised Saxomophones to their fullest extent.Once again, fuck you.

You got your raging punk rockers with tracks like " Black Sun ",the minimal set topper " 624803 ", " 100 Dollar Limo ", " The Pusher " ( it's downright scary when he sez " I wanna go out and get me a gun " ) and " A Million to One "...

You got your Black Randy type punk-funk with their hits " Everyone's a Bigot ", " You Fascinate Me ", and " Funk It Honey "

You got your Reggae-punk explosions like " Die Babylon ", " which I played three times in a row after listening to it the first time,because it was a fucking rager !

You got your ska-punk pick ' em ups ( except they say that a total of ZERO times in their performance ) that make Operation Ivy look like the wanna be's they were,like " My World. "

The Offs also manage to pull off several covers like " Heroin ", " Sweet Jane ", and " I Got the Handle " to mention a few...They add a twist to their originals and make them sound like originals which is what a band covering songs is supposed to do. They take James Brown's " Think " and really make it sound unique.

Since this is all Live, let me dispell any preconceived notions of poor sound quality. It's not bad, on a scale of 1-10,I would give it an 8,which is very suitable for me...

So you got this Vampir Records which this disc is released's some guy named Terry Hammer who was a part of the Mab scene back in the day,but,now,lives in the Empire of Ohio,and is finding a use for all those tapes he made of bands BACK IN THE DAY....

He's done something by the Lewd,and now the Offs. I like what I'm hearing.more,more, (more) ! ( SAB )

Vampir Records 37 Western Ave. Mansfield,OH 44906-2624 email :

The Big Takeover :issue #48

The Offs Live at the Mabuhay Gardens,Nov 7 1980 ( Vampir )

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 we haven't invented names for . but, what tied them to the punk community ( caffeinated singer Don Vinil, who sadly died of a heroin overdose here on 9th St. 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 evereything 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.

( 37 Western Ave., Mansfield,OH 44906-2624 ; )

Maximum RockNRoll May 2001 issue #216

THE OFFS - "Live At The Mabuhay Gardens 11/7/80" CD

The OFFS never did much for me but sure, I'll grant that they were early proponents of reggae / ska flavored punk and therefore historically important for better or worse. Their 45's ( especially the third and last ) were ( still are , last I checked which was five minutes ago ) rather New Wavey, but this live recording is considerably more raw and energetic ( although I could use a lot less saxaphone ) . And the chutzpah of doing a breakneck version of "Johnny Too Bad " despite a lack of vocal prowess but not caring still comes across as pretty...well, punk. Includes a pretty remark version of the VELVETS' "Heroin" which clocks in at just over two minutes. (DD)
( Vampir. 37 Western Ave., Mansfield,OH 44906-2624, )

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