Fat Mike Eric Melvin of NOFX with John Carey at Occupy LA – at City Hall – Los Angeles, CA

November 27, 2011

Fat Mike Eric Melvin of NOFX with John Carey at Occupy LA - at City Hall - Los Angeles, CA - November 27, 2011For the past two months, news coverage has largely been concerned with the Occupy movement, which consists of groups around the nation protesting the power elite and the claim that 1% of Americans essentially control the government via finances and wealth. These separate groups all maintain that the rest of us compose the 99%, or, the percentage of peoplewho are neglected and taken advantage of by our government. This modern day class war has sparked heavy debate around the country and world, with the most prominent issue being whether or not the movement maintains any validity. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that by 12:01 a.m. Monday Nov 28, members of Occupy LA must be cleared out of the city hall area. What the mayor caused through these words instead, was an immense surge of people migrating to the area, among them, Eric Melvin and Fat Mike of NOFX.

Last week on November 20, Fat Mike and Eric Melvin played a set of NOFX songs for Occupy San Francisco, and earlier this week via Twitter, Fat Mike wrote that he planned on repeating the event in Los Angeles. Fat Mike gave a date and time, and suddenly, the tweets and Facebook updates began. Word was getting around that "NOFX" was going to be playing Occupy LA, though really, only half the band was going to be there.

In the Sunday afternoon of what was supposedly going to be the last day of Occupy LA, the area outside city hall was full of tents, booths, posters, and people. It was easy to distinguish those who were with the Occupy movement and those just there for the show, yet despite this, everyone seemed to be having positive interactions. Before Eric Melvin and Fat Mike played, The Hashishans, a Reggae/Ska influenced band, played their melodic songs for the group, causing some of the protesters to move to the center of the floor and dance. The band provided groovy beats for 20-25 minutes, then cleared the way for the anticipated arrival of Fat Mike and Melvin.

When Fat Mike and Melvin began moving into the area where all the equipment was set up, the crowds of people began moving in unbelievably fast on them, prompting the people setting up the equipment to do some crowd control. When Fat Mike and Eric Melvin situated themselves and had their instruments ready, they introduced John Carey from Old Man Markley and stated he would be joining the performance. The first song performed was "Perfect Government," causing the crowd to sing along loudly and with enthusiasm.

Fat Mike then made the comment, "Wouldn't it be nice if every movement had a theme song?" This prompted the next song to be performed, which Fat Mike specifically wrote for the movement. While playing the song, he encouraged everyone to sing the chorus out loud, consisting of only the word, "Occupy!"

The set being short, NOFX songs "Leaving Jesusland," "We Called it America," "Franco Un-American," "Murder The Government," and the last 2 minutes of "The Decline" were performed. When the excerpt from "The Decline" was over, a few people in the crowd yelled variances of "One more song!" Fat Mike wondered out loud what song should be played, and then he decided to play the "Occupy" song again. The song was performed a little sloppier than the first time, but fans and protesters both cheered on and sang along. When the song was over, Fat Mike thanked everyone, and began to take pictures with fans and sign autographs. Eric Melvin did the same, and soon both individuals faded out and disappeared.

The area outside city hall became noticeably smaller in crowd size, but nevertheless, a DJ continued to play music and protesters danced around the encampment. Closer to 8pm, the crowd became larger again, ultimately demonstrating the anticipation towards the midnight clearing. According to the Los Angeles Times however, Occupy is still encamped, with police unsure of what action to take next.

Pushing aside politics, Fat Mike and Eric Melvin's performance(with John Carey) brought a lot of spirit into the Occupy movement. All the songs performed at the encampment were full of satire and political criticism. Overall, the songs were compatible with the agenda of the movement. In truth, being surrounded by both NOFX fans and protesters brought a sense of unity over all of us, and made the conflict between the proletariat and bourgeoisie come to life, rather than remain a conflict further depicted on television. The performance was moving, enlightening, and an overall treat to both fans and protesters; Occupy The Decline!

-Stephanie M.-

Big Wheel Senior Staff Reporter


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