Sound: Fat Mike, El Hefe, Melvin and Smelly are back with a 'new' album. Fine, it's a live album, which can be considered to be about time considering the popularity of their last one with the fan base. The guitars are typically crunchy and complementary, and the listener tangibly gets to hear the dynamism of El Hefe and Melvin's dual guitar attack. The production is slick and shiny, perhaps not as raw as punk rock should be, but Nofx is not a first wave punk band in terms of their sound on record or live. They like to sound a little more refined production wise than the average punk band. Basically, Fat Mike's sloppy vocals manage to convince the listener of punk rock sloppiness, but many listeners will be able to hear that the production has shined things up. Perhaps what I have pinpointed as post live studio meddling is can put down to expert live recording instead, but I can't see how the production team hasn't altered the mix. This isn't a criticism as such, but perhaps on a live album, the band could have gone for nature of nurture.
They've Actually Gotten Worse Live captures Nofx at their best on tracks such as Franco Un-American, The Longest Line and Murder the Government for pure spontaneity and reworking. This live record captures Nofx in their element and one cannot fault it. // 8
Lyrics: Mike decides to start singing Green Day lyrics towards the end of The Longest Line, a hilarious take on Basket Case for a moment or two. He then proceeds to sing a birthday song to a girl named Amy in the audience, but he points out in the lyrics that We just want to embarrass you. Mike also alters the lyrics to Murder the Government, with a less than complementary stance on Dick Cheney's health.
Pivotal to the Nofx live experience is the abundance of humour throughout, with Mike talking about issues ranging from the size of Eric Melvin's penis to the guys in AFI. Also potent to the mix is the input from the other guys in the band, besides Mike, who harmonize his vocals and complement the jokes, of which Melvin tends to be the butt. // 8
Overall Impression: Despite my having grown out of Nofx a couple of years ago, one cannot fault their approach to recording this album. If Nofx were a political party, this would be their public relations campaign, managing to play a set list that does not include any songs from the last live album, but still manages to appeal to their supporters; this is a solid effort that will be a vital stop gap between Wolves in Wolves Clothing and the band's next record. Perhaps what goes against the band's favour is that they have avoided reworking popular songs such as Bob, Linoleum or The Brews. Despite this minor criticism, the audience did not seem to mind, and if you really want to hear those songs live, you should purchase I heard they Suck Live as well. Overall, a hardcore Nofx fan cannot really complain. // 8