The first time I saw Off With Their Heads was when they played at a punk dive bar in Denver. I was living in Boulder at the time, but didn’t have a car. I had lost my driver’s license months before, and without a car, I had no real motivation to get a new one. I left work early to take my bike on the bus and rode the last few miles from the bus station to the bar down Broadway to the show.
As it turned out, he bouncer wouldn’t let me in without an ID, despite being 33 years old and having more facial hair than would probably be legal for a 21 year old to have. I was about to leave and go home dejected for having come all this way, gotten so close to seeing my new favorite band, and turned away for something stupid. As I was unlocking my bike, I saw Ryan walking up. I told him my situation and that I was leaving. “Fuck that, come with me,” he replied. We found an emergency exit in the back, and he had Robbie push it open from the inside, allowing me to sneak in. I “staffed” the merch table until it was time for Off With Their Heads to play.
I’ll never ever forget that night, nor will I ever forget my ID when I go to a show at a new venue I’ve not been to before. Thanks, Ryan.
Local Denver band St. Fall Apart opened for OWTH. I’d never heard of them before, but they were great. There were several other openers whose names escape me but they were pretty horrible and strangely mismatched for an Off With Their Heads show. At one point St. Fall Apart played what I thought was a cover of Spindle by Plow United. By the time I recognized it, they had gone on to another song.
After the show, I went up to Joel, and asked him if it was indeed a Plow cover. He looked at me, and said “Plow United? You know about Plow United? No one I know knows about them. No, we don’t play any Plow covers. Wait. Holy shit. I did totally steal that riff from them, didn’t I?” Instant pop punk bond. (Side note: Vic Ferro from St. Fall Apart has played, toured, with Off With Their Heads. The warm dulcet tones of his voice can even be heard on Home.)
A few months later, Off With Their Heads was on tour. (Again? Still? 6 tours later? All of the above?) Joel got in touch and wanted to set up a Boulder show. I was working at a non-profit bike shop there, and we had a warehouse type space which would be perfect for a diy show. In an industrial area so everything was pretty much closed at night, no neighbors close by, I had keys to the place.
The Achievement (originally from San Jose but now disbanded and all living in Boulder, if my facts are correct,) were added last minute, so don’t appear on the flier. I really wish I’d gotten to see them more than the once, and/or as the full 3-piece.
The show was a benefit for the Community Cycles Youth Earn-A-Bike program, which is/was a free 4-week class any kids age 10-16 could attend, learn bike mechanics, and walk out of with a bike that they had built or refurbished.
Below is the set from that night at the bike shop. This was recorded on a $30 handheld digital recorder so the sound isn’t board quality, but it’s a pretty decent recording given the minimalist effort I took in recording it. The only time I’ve ever seen them when they didn’t play Die Today.
Posted with permission from Ryan, in case anyone’s wondering and/or still reading.
1. I Am You
2. 1612 Havenhurst
3. Go On Git Now
4. Your Child Is Dead
5. Terrorist Attack
6. Hard To Admit
7. Sleeping In Carrie’s Car
8. Heroin In NYC
9. Until The Day