The term “legend” gets thrown around too easily nowadays. But one band who has definitely earned the title is the Descendents. The band didn’t just pioneer the pop punk sound in 1982 with their full length debut Milo Goes to College – they perfected it. To this day, traces of the band’s poppy rhythms and distorted guitars backing mascot Milo’s tales of heartache and being an outcast can be found everywhere from your favorite local band to Blink’s comeback album.
The band would go through various stages of dormancy after College (mostly resulting in some vastly underappreciated ALL albums), but since 2017 they’ve been back in full. That means a new album and a full U.S. tour, which hit Vegas this past December almost a year since it was first announced and a full 21 years since the band last headlined a non-PRB show out here.
The band had a circle pit reminiscent of the 90s when they took the stage with two of their biggest hits – “Everything Sux” off their 90s comeback album aptly titled Everything Sucks and College highlight “Hope.” This diseconomy – their 80s debut and 90s comeback – would hold true for most of the night, with Sucks tracks like “I’m the One,” “Rotting Out,” and “Coffee Mug” resulting in as much fever as College favorites like “Myage,” “Suburban Home,” and “Hope.”
The band sounded pitch perfect, in large part to their number of years of festival shows between 2004’s Cool to Be You and 2017’s Hypercaffium Spazzinate. Not unpracticed, the aging punks played with the fever of musicians a quarter of their age, blistering through set highlights “Nothing With You” and “Victim of Me” from their respective post-Y2K discography.
I spent much of 2017 wondering who would open the Vegas show. Other dates on this multi-weekend tour included such personal favorites of Less Than Jake, the Get Up Kids, and the Ergs. For awhile it was a bigger mystery than the end of LOST, but in this case I was more than happy with what we got – the Flatliners and Pulley. These two bands represented the history of the Descendents post-reunion era – the Flatliners on Cool to Be You’s home Fat Wreck Chords and Pulley on Everything Sucks and Hypercaffium Spazzinate releasers Epitaph.
I’ve seen Descendents crowds absolutely annihilate openers in the past – Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at PRB a few years back and Modern Baseball in 2016 in LA come to mind – so as a fan of the openers I was dreading these sets. I just don’t want to see bands I love get heckled.
Thankfully, both received warm receptions from the crowd. The Flatliners in particular had a number of fans there specifically to see them, belting out the words to favorites like “Eulogy,” “Carry the Banner,” and “Caskets Full.”
Photos by Aaron Mattern | https://www.flickr.com/photos/akmofoto/