Nerf Herder - Pub Rock, Scottsdale - 4/26/2013

Nerf Herder
Pub Rock, Scottsdale
April 26, 2013

What the heck have geek rockers Nerf Herder been up to since their last trip to Phoenix in 2002? It's been a full 11 years since the band co-headlined a show with Guttermouth at Club Rio. At the time, the band's third full-length album, American Cheese, had just come out. They went on a two-year hiatus and released another full-length album in 2008, but that was about it.

Last night felt like a flashback to 2002, complete with fans sporting old NOFX and No Use For a Name t-shirts. The crowd still knew all the words, and some fans feebly tried moshing to "Sorry," while others just leaned against the barricade to shout "Sorry I had sex with your sister" along with the band.

Nerf Herder's song selection also made the show feel like a time capsule -- not a single song they played was released after 2002. The band's transition from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song -- which they wrote, thanks to Alyson Hannigan suggesting the band to Joss Whedon -- to "Sorry" showed Nerf Herder at it's best; this is a band that is kind of gross (see the masturbation shame in "Feeling Bad"), super geeky (isn't "Mr. Spock" every girls' dream man?), and, most of all, hilarious.

And Nerf Herder hasn't lost its edge. Singer Parry Gripp was very animated throughout, and got a little lewd while describing the Hole singer's sagging breasts in "Courtney Love." He invited "the fan with the tattoo" on stage for the band's closing song, "Golf Shirt," as a male fan lifted up his shirt and proudly displayed a tramp stamp that displayed the club rules outlined in the song.

Gripp seemed humbled that fans still care so much about Nerf Herder. "This is really fun. We haven't been here in like 10 years. We still have it, man," he said, adding later, "I'm usually in bed by now. My wife doesn't know what I'm doing!"

The band played a solid selection of 17 songs spanning its first three records, but the crowd was fairly disappointed that they didn't play its ode to threesomes, "Love Sandwich."

"There's only one kind of love sandwich," said Gripp, "and that's a one bread, one meat sandwich, no three or four bread sandwiches."

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Fans probably held out to hear "Love Sandwich" in the encore, but the band left the stage right after "Golf Shirt" and didn't play one. It's clear that Nerf Herder's devoted fan base missed the band, so hopefully the group will return to Phoenix soon -- preferably in less than a decade -- if only to perform "Love Sandwich" and "Pantera Fans in Love."

Setlist and more photos available after the jump.

Defending the Faith
Down on Haley
5,000 Ways to Die
Mr. Spock
Welcome to my World
High Five Anxiety
Nose Ring Girl
Feeling Bad
Courtney Love
Lamer than Lame
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme Song
Van Halen
Golf Shirt

Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Nerf Herder at Pub Rock. Personal Bias: The self-titled record was my main soundtrack while playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I also lost my first pair of glasses at a concert at the aforementioned Club Rio show. The Crowd: Early-30-something punks. Overheard in the Crowd: "Sacrifice the puppy" in a heavy metal growl by bassist Ben Pringle any time Parry Gripp mentioned Puppy Land, the pet store next door. Random Notebook Dump: The drummer flipped me off during my test shot, Parry pointed at me during the "without you" line in "Welcome to my World" and poked my nose, and then struck a dramatic pose for the sake of "hey, you've got a camera!" There was a girl wearing a Spock costume. This show is awesome.

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