Friday, March 16, 2018
This year was the second year in a row I have had the pleasure of attending the Musink Tattoo and Punk Fest at the Orange County Fairgrounds. I had pretty substantial expectations for this year since last year the Vandals’ vocalist was doing cartwheels while singing and NOFX played until the Hangar’s power was shut off. Incredibly, my high expectations were surpassed. This year the Friday lineup was truly something special. Consisting of genuine, classic, California punk bands, the performers were a real treat. The first band of the night to come on was Adolescents who have been going strong since they formed in here in Fullerton in 1980. The biggest mosh pit I have ever seen occured when they played their biggest hit Amoeba. It must have been well over 20 feet in diameter. It was a truly incredible sight to see all sorts of folks running around, pushing, shoving, and yelling the lyrics to a song about a single celled organism.
After the Adolescents, Strung Out came on. Unfortunately, in my opinion, they aren’t quite in the same echelon as the other bands of the night. During their performance I went out to explore the vendors and artists in the exhibition halls and areas in front of the hangar. Through it all, there were tons of pins, buttons, posters, shirts, jewelry, and all sorts of other cool trinkets; without a doubt enough to satisfy any punk looking to add to their collection. One of the best deals I found was at the official merch booth where the Adolescents were selling their first album on colored vinyl for only $10.
After exploring the wonders of tattoo artists, lowriders, free samples, and products for sale, it was time for the next band: Fear. It was a dream come true to see them perform live, given that they are one of the first hardcore punk bands and the first band to be banned on SNL in 1981. Lee Ving, lead vocalist and founder, talked about how amazing it had been to have played in Fear for over 40 years. He then invited the original drummer, Spit Stix, and original guitarist, Philo Cramer, to come on and play together for the first time in 23 years. Despite their ages, each member still had all the raw energy they did when they were just starting out in the late 70s. For me personally, this was the highlight of the show, seeing the original lineup come back together. I then decided it was time for me to run in the pit. It was brutally tiring, and I was out of breath after 4 songs, afterwards enjoying Fear from the walls of the pit. Regardless it was great to get all that energy out.
Although I am more partial to Fear and Adolescents, the real headliner unquestionably was Descendents. This was absolutely when the audience was most alive. Everyone there was united in this one act. I saw a 10 year old crowd surfing, a very silver, old man running (or rather jogging) in the pit, and everyone in between screaming the lyrics in unison. The audience was so thrilled to see Milo and the rest rocking out, having a blast on stage. Overall, I can assure you that punk is far from dead and is very much alive in the world today, especially at Musink. This year’s show was one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had. If you get the chance, I highly encourage attending next year where, hopefully, I will see you there with more surprises and more fantastic lineups.