Musink has returned for its eleventh annual festivities and it was a blast! We kicked off the festival with opening band The Adolescents! This was soon followed by Strung Out, Fear and then headlining act Descendents.
Strung Out was the first act I was able to capture on stage. After seeing the first three songs I only had one question “Where has this band been all my life?” Given I don’t hang around punk bands as much as I probably should Strung Out may have just changed my mind for good. In terms of sound Strung Out has been known for their melodic punk/progressive rock roots that have allowed them to grow over the years since releasing their first record titled Another Day In Paradise back in ’94. As for the performance side of the show, the live stage show from this group was remarkable. Jason Cruz who has provided lead vocals for Strung Out since 1990 continues to put on a remarkable performance 28 years later and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Alongside Cruz stands longtime bandmates Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos on guitar & backing vocals. While Ramos provided a more standard performance approach Kiley interacted with the crowd as much as possible and would angle his guitar sky high while playing and do some picking which he seemed to have a blast with. Chris Aiken who joined the band a year after the original formation (taking over the position of bassist from Jim Cherry) seemed to have to most fun on stage as he bounced around and went down to the amps that stood between the audience and stage to get the crowd to participate in clapping and of course to play bass to his friends in audience! RJ Shankle was an excellent addition to the band as it appears that longtime drummer Jordan Burns was released from Strung Out. Legendary drummer Travis Barker wasn’t afraid to sit in with Strung Out during Nowheresville to warm up and showcase his skills before his own band Blink 182 took the stage the following night.
Newcomers may not recognize the band who took the stage next but old school fans made sure to let them know as this band dates back to 1977. Fun fact this band played SNL in 1981! The band I’m talking about is FEAR. This hardcore punk band is known for being one of the molders of hardcore punk for the California scene when they formed in Los Angeles all those years ago. Lee Ving who clings to the title of being the only original remaining member of Fear is the lead vocalist for the group as well as rhythm guitarist and at age 67 Ving is a representation that punk, hardcore, and rock music will never die. Fear has gone through a variety of musicians including Flea who now plays bass for the band Red Hot Chili Peppers. But since 2011 Fear has managed maintain their line up which consists of Andrew Jamiez on drums, Paul Lerma on bass and backing vocals, and Dave Stark on lead guitar and backing vocals as well. Special guests Philo Cramer took over on lead guitar and Spit Stix on drums during Lets Have A War and New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones which sent the audience into a large pop. As Fear played hits such as I Love Living In The City, Fuck You Let’s Rodeo, and I Don’t Care About You it’s hard to say the audience did not have an enjoyable time during the set.
The headlining act for the end of night one was as notable as the Misfits for their classic caricature logo of lead singer Milo Aukerman of the Descendents that was first used on the album Milo Goes To College back in 1982. Opening their set with Everything Sucks the crowd lit up like fireworks on the fourth of July and began jumping off the floor as they sang along. As expected most of the set came from the most recent album release titled Hypercaffium Spazzinate, as well as Milo Goes To College and Everything Sucks. The audience had a great mixture of fans from across the age spectrum. There was babies, kids, young teens, older teens, adults, and parents all together conjoined as one audience with one voice singing the words to all their favorite songs such as Suburban Home, My Dad Sucks, and Hope. With seven studio albums since the formation of the group in 1978, it’s obvious that this band is a having a fun time no matter where they are in their lives as long as their playing music and enjoying their time with the fans. As for the live performance as like the rest of the bands on the line up who come from the late 70’s and 80’s I’m surprised to see them still kicking in the door and drawing in a size worthy crowd. After all the backlash against rock music, and how it’s supposed to be on the decline and the hip-hop/rap game is supposed to be on the incline Descendents and Fear consistently put a halt to the nonsense and give the middle finger to the world as they showcase true professionalism and talent onstage. When it comes to positioning on the setlist I believe the Descendents were a great choice for a headlining act because they drew in the largest audience of the day and unlike Marilyn Manson now and days they played their entire thirty plus song set with ease and grace without missing a spot. Bravo and hats off to them.