DS Photo Gallery & Show Review: Musink Fest 2017 – Day 1 (Costa Mesa CA, 3/17)

Warren Fitzgerald of The Vandals

While Musink Fest may not be mentioned among the top tier festivals, the three day SoCal punk rock fest and tattoo convention (and car show!) which is the brainchild of Blink 182‘s Travis Barker, has been gaining in popularity lately with that band lineups getting better and better every Spring. This year, the festival celebrated it’s 10th anniversary with what was arguably the best overall lineup in it’s history. So good in fact, that we called in our best coyote to smuggle AnarchoPunk across the southern border into Orange County just to cover it. Check out his review and photo gallery of Day One acts NOFX, The Vandals, Lagwagon and A Wilhelm Scream below!

I avoid OC like the plague. From the weird gutter lines freeways, to the pristine, meticulously manicured neighborhoods, to the overt bigotry, Orange County is Anarchopunk kryponite. It would take a near miracle for me to voluntarily travel down there for a show/festival. Well, Travis Barker produced such a miracle with this year’s Musink lineup. To give you an idea of how good the weekend’s roster was, the opening night acts were comprised of NOFX, The Vandals, Lagwagon, and A Wilhelm Scream. So, I scheduled an appointment with my favorite tattoo artist, grabbed the Nikon and hopped the 170 to the 134 to the 5 to the 710 to the 605 to the 405 (seriously, Google?) on down to Costa Mesa!

As I made my way through security, I realized the Boston melodic hardcore phenoms A Wilhelm Scream were just about ready to kick things off so I beat feet to “The Hanger” wherein the main stage lies and made it just in time to set up as the quartet took the stage. Being St. Patty’s day, the early crowd was pretty thin and in the vastness of the concrete and steel entombed performance area, it looked even more paltry than it really was. Despite that, the boys from Beantown set the perfect tone with their violent energy as they played through favorites like “The Horse”, “Boat Builders” and “The King is Dead”. No deep cuts but the selection was just what was needed to get the crowd primed. Not long into the set a decent little circle pit opened up and not much longer after that, a fight broke out. Happy Patrick’s Day indeed! Before leaving the stage, frontman Nuño Pereira humbly thanked the crowd for the support, as he always does. 

Next up was Lagwagon who hit the stage with an alacrity usually reserved for younger men. These geezers came to work! They immediately started into their set which bounced around the band’s enormous catalog of hits. From earlier stuff like “Violins”, “May 18th” and “Alien 8” to newer gems like “Cog in the Machine” from their most recent LP. “Rifle” seemed to be a crowd pleaser (although it may have just been the simplicity of the chorus) with almost everyone in the venue joining in and drowning out Caper on a few occasions . If I’m honest, after my three song limit in the photo pit (booooo!), I took the rest of the set off and just leaned up against the loser wall in the back to enjoy the rest of their performance.

By this time the crowd had swelled and the throng had waited long enough. They were ready for their hometown heroes, The Vandals to step up to the stage. When the finally did, The Hanger exploded with cheers. The OC natives, played a frantic, yet flawless set (which ended up being the best set of the weekend for me) engaging with the crowd between songs. Although they’re getting up there in age, they haven’t lost their signature hysterical, nervous energy. They ripped through the forty five minute performance, touching on all of the milestones “The New You”, “Take it Back” and my personal favorite “Happy Birthday to Me”. Near the end of their allotted time, Warren donned a green leprechaun hat in celebration of Irish Day and preached of love “I love the shit out of love!” he bellowed before taking over vocals for “I have a Date”. You don’t hear their names among the legends of punk but there’s no reason for them not to be there.

NOFX sauntered on stage promptly at 9pm, minus guitarist Eric Melvin who was off having twins. Playing his role for the evening was the equally dreadlocked Roger Lima from Less Than Jake. As the quartet took their places, Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “The Time Warp” blasted over the house speakers. Without much fanfare the boys started their set which was blatantly political, both in the song selection as well as in the banter between songs. “Leaving Jesusland”, “The Man I killed” and “Perfect Government” were broken up by strongly worded anti-establishment messages from the portly lead man. Never too serious the guys did keep things light by engaging in their normal hijinks in their famously casual style. They also played plenty of less polarizing songs like “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock” and the classic “Moron Brothers”. The highlight was probably when Hefe busted his ass mid song and Mike made sure to call him out afterwards literally pointing and laughing at his misfortune like a school kid. In true Fat Mike fashion he got in one last jab, slowly walking off the stage to end Day One muttering “Can you believe George Bush sounds like a reasonable man right now?”

*Keep an eye out for Day Two coverage featuring Story of the Year, Goldfinger, Glassjaw and The Used. 

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