Orange County Fairgrounds
March 20, 2015
Musink is always a killer event, filled with amazing tattoo artists and fun live music, but this year was possibly the best set up of Musink in my experience. The new digs in the ‘Hangar’ were larger, more open, and produced better sound than the buildings used in years past and the venue made full use of the open courtyard at the Orange County Fairgrounds to keep the food and alcohol flowing. In previous years sound has been an issue at Musink, but not this year. The sound was great and the music could be heard, and appreciated, from the entire courtyard area; a huge improvement from previous years (remember the brilliant stage performance of the Vandals last year that was severely hindered by the worst sound management imaginable? That was painful!) With the doors wide open on the ‘Hangar’, even the pit felt open, cool, and comfortable and the scene in the courtyard was inclusive, relaxed, and filled with enthusiastic patrons. Musink, this is your stage set up from now on… don’t change a thing!
Interrupters – Its Called “SKA” and Its Back!
L.A. based Ska throwback, The Interrupters, took the stage on Friday night for an impressive crowd of fans who braved the Southern California Friday rush hour traffic to catch every moment of Musink, 2015. The Interrupters set the tone for the three days of punk infusion with a set of songs and stage presence that was fun, fun, fun! How could this band disappoint? The Interrupters are a favorite pet project of an impressive group of punk originals including, Tim Armstrong (Rancid, Operation Ivy, and Transplants) and his label, Hellcats Records along with Travis Barker (Blink 182) who have thrown their support behind this new band, securing their opening spot in an impressive string of punk lineups over the past year.
I first saw The Interrupters in March, 2014 at the House of Blues, Anaheim as the opening act for Devil Brigade. In that year this band has made noteworthy advances in their stage show. The Madness inspired styling’s of the Bivona brothers have found their comfort zone, ramping up their stage performance to add showmanship and fraternal banter with the fans that separates new acts from seasoned professionals. Gotta love it when a new band is confident enough to tease their fans with comments like, “This pit is like the toilets in Australia, running the wrong direction; it’s clockwise guys!” Joan Jett inspired lead singer, Aimee Interrupter’s, unique sound and positive attitude make The Interrupters an upbeat and entertaining act. If you saw them in an earlier show, try them out again; The Interrupters have refined their look, sound, and stage presence and they have potential to go big.
Among the featured songs at Musink, were a set of tracks that inspire family and friend loyalty. The Interrupters are good time, party music about taking care of your crew; a positive message for today’s “me generation”. Among the highlights of the evening were the Operation Ivy cover, “Sound System” and my personal favorites, “Take Back the Power”, “White Noise”, and “My Family” (Interrupters, We Are the Interrupters. Hellcat Records, 2014). With relatable lyrics like, “This is my family. My one crazy family. Whatever the plan be, they stand beside me, this is my family” (who can’t relate to this?!). No wonder people are jumping on the bandwagon to get behind this Ska phenomenon. They are motivating, young, and promise to raise a new generation of followers. BTW people… clockwise. It’s always supposed to go clockwise!
Sick of It All
This was my first time seeing Sick of It All and I have to be honest, I’m not sure how I’ve missed them all of these years. They definitely have a following of dedicated fans and I can see why. A New York based hard-core punk band that has been touring since 1986, Sick of It All combined classic 80’s hard-core sound and energy with motivated and driving riffs. Their performance is rowdy, their pit is rowdy, and their lyrics are, well, rowdy.
Sick of It All’s set included, “Machete” (Death to Tyrants, 2006), “Scratch the Surface” (Scratch the Surface, 1994), “Injustice System” (Blood, Sweat, and No Tears, 1989), and the fan favorite, “Step Down” (Scratch the Surface, 1994); setting the stage for a weekend of raucous energy on the floor of the O.C. Fairgrounds ‘Hangar’.
And Out Come the Wolves
Rancid’s Masterpiece Album Turn Twenty
My favorite Monday morning water cooler question, “Who’d you see this weekend?” And, my favorite response, simply “Rancid”… I feel like that’s all I ever need to say about this band’s live performance. As my eight-year-old put it, “Rancid was cool. No, awesome. No, outstanding! That’s what they were!” If you’ve seen Rancid live, you know what I mean. After an impressive twenty-four year career, Rancid is still one of the best live punk shows around and on Friday night they did not disappoint!
2015 marks the twentieth anniversary of the band’s epic album, And Out Come the Wolves (Epitaph Records, 1995). To commemorate their landmark third album, Rancid played the majority of the album’s songs, hitting all of the favorites including, “Roots Radical”, “Radio”, “Old Friend”, “Time Bomb”, and “Olympia, Wa.”.
The band peppered in classics from other projects including “Fall Back Down” (Indestructible, 2003) and new songs from their Honor is All We Know release (2014) with finesse, keeping the focus on the 20th anniversary of arguably their most popular album. The boys of Rancid are like a fine wine, they get better with age and their fans, a little older and more seasoned; continue to inspire one of the funnest pits in punk. Like Rancid’s lyrics, the fans bring an air of brotherhood, experience, and dedication to living life to its fullest.
With their new album, Honor is All We Know release last year, the band resisted the temptation to use Musink to over plug their new material and stuck to the band’s time-tested favorites; and the crowd responded with appreciation and enthusiasm. That said, if you have not checked out Honor is All We Know, do it now. It is a tried and true representation of Rancid and a must own addition to any alternative collection. Honor is All We Know is an accurate reflection of the evolution of one of punk’s classic bands and proof of their talent as musicians and songwriters. The album is political, teaming with killer bass lines (Matt Freeman is a God), and features that trademark sound that Rancid is famous for.
Thank you Rancid, for being the perfect opener to a perfect weekend event. In the twenty years that I’ve been seeing your shows live, you have never once disappointed your fans. And, as I walked my own two children to the floor to find a spot at the stage barrier, I had no doubt that Rancid would take care of them from the stage and that the brotherhood of Rancid fans would take care of them from the floor.
Sarah Tonin –
13 Stitches Magazine Reviewer