Descendents Unstoppable At Playstation Theater, NYC 10-8-16

Descendents Unstoppable At Playstation Theater, NYC 10-8-16

The reality is, the older one gets, the more challenging life can be. However, some manage to rebel against this logic, breaking all of the standard rules. California Punk Rockers the Descendents are a prime example of such. Having spent nearly forty years creating music, after a long twelve-year wait, on July 29, 2016, they released their new album, Hypercaffium Spazzinate, via Epitaph Records. Their seventh overall studio record, and first since 2004’s Cool to Be You, to celebrate Hypercaffium Spazzinate, Descendents kicked off an extended US tour that started at Denver Colorado’s Riot Fest and is set to conclude on November 12th out in Portland, Oregon. Reaching the halfway mark of the run, they came to New York City on Saturday, October 8th, to host the Playstation Theater in Time Square. The high traffic pedestrian hub of the city, support came from special guests Fucked Up and Night Birds as Descendents set out to bring Punk Rock to a sold out crowd.

As the venue started to fill up with fans, the time quickly arrived for New Jersey Punk Rock act Night Birds. Consisting of Joe Keller (bass), Brian Gorsegner (vocals), PJ Russo (guitar), and Darick Sater (drums), Night Birds are known to throw out an immense amount of energy on the stage. Signed to Fat Wreck Chords, they recently released Who Killed Mike Hunchback?, a compilation that includes older tunes while Mike Hunchback was originally with the group, it is also a follow-up to 2015’s Mutiny At Muscle Beach.

Wasting no time, and following no rules, they ran onto the stage, blasting into the music. There was continuous movement as they performed songs such as “Born to Die in Suburbia,” “Born of Man and Woman,” “The Other Side of Darkness,” and “Midnight Movies,” before closing with The Kinks’ track, “King Kong.” Possessing a youthful spirit, Night Birds awakened the audience who eagerly awaited more. While their time with Descendents is concluded, they have a few dates lined up for the rest of the year, including a show out at the Amityville Music Hall on Long Island December 17th.

Shifting from an energetic run around to a more intimate interactive setting, it was time for Canada’s Fucked Up. A Punk Rock band through and through, Vocalist Damian Abraham, Drummer Jonah Falco, Bassist Sandy Miranda, along with Guitarists Josh Zucker, Mike Haliechuk, and Ben Cook, the group has been together for over a decade now. Recently surprising fans with the double track album The Mother Forever on September 29th including just two songs – a fifteen-minute tune called “This Mother Forever” followed by the thirty minute B-side song of “Our Own Blood” – simply exemplified their unique way.  However, on this evening, the Hardcore-Punk Rock act had a different set of tricks than directly promoting new material.

Disregarding policies, agendas, and personal space, Frontman Damian Abraham moved directly into the crowd practically the entire set. Abraham is no stranger to being up close and personal with his friends, and judging by his on/off stage demeanor, he seems to be fearless. As songs continued to progress, such as “Queen of Hearts,” “David Comes to Life,” and “Baiting the Public,” so did the stage antics. Abraham went from rolling into the audience to grabbing the microphone wire and wrapping it around his head, along with biting it with his teeth. He was hungry to shock the audience, and everyone loved it as the band continued with “Under My Nose,” “Black Albino Bones,” Manqueller Man,” “I Hate Summer,” “Police,” and “Turn the Season.” Closing with “Crusades,” their intensity had everyone geared up for Descendents.

Now visibly packed from front to back, there was barely any room for people to wiggle around the venue as all seemed to have found their place awaiting the headliners. Keeping a steady lineup for around 30 years, including Drummer Bill Stevenson, Bassist Karl Alvarez, Vocalist Milo Aukerman, and Guitarist Stephen Egerton, they have never cared about popularity, growing up, nor following the rules. Fighting mediocracy, along with not following any mainstream antics, Punk Rock in itself is known for marching to a different drum, and true to form, Descendents have never been afraid to speak their minds on just about anything. That said, the diverse aged audience was pumped up to embrace this careless attitude as the band was set to begin.

Wearing a Statue of Liberty hat in honor of New York, Aukerman briefly joked about American Politics and other conflicting issues, seamlessly segueing into “Everything Sux.” Provoking many to dance around, select veteran fans glued their eyes to the stage with minimal movement as the band dished out “Hope,” “Rotting Out,” “Pervert,” “Victim of Me,” and “Silly Girl.” Continuing to weave in and out of tracks recorded throughout their career, including 1982’s “I Wanna Be a Bear, as the room began to pile with sweat and body heat, no one seemed to care as other favorites followed such as “Nothing With You,” “My Dad Sucks,” and “Clean Sheets.”

Taking a moment to interact with the audience,  Aukerman refereed to Hypercaffium Spazzinate by introducing the new song “On Paper.” Out of breath from the continuous movement, the audience devoured “Suburban Home,” “Without Love,” “Coffee Mug,” “Bikeage,” and “Weinerschnitzel.” Blasting to the past, older songs such “No! All!,” “Talking,” “Myage,” and “Get the Time” also made appearances to the audience’s delight, and Aukerman added childish desires to the platform as they went into the classic song “I Don’t Want to Grow Up,” followed by “Shameless Halo.”

As the temperature in the room remained steamy and sweaty, everyone must have been building a bit of an appetite, especially when “I Like Food” began to close the night out. However, Descendents had quite a few songs left such as “I’m the One,” “Testosterone,” “When I Get Old,” and “Coolidge.” Continuous music with little breaks, despite being around for forty years, many have wondered how the band sustains such energy. Officially winding down, they went into “Thank You” before closing with “Descendents” as Aukerman praised the city and fans for coming out.

With Descendents now off the stage, everyone chanted for an encore as loud clapping filled the air. Eventually returning, Aukerman showed how gracious he was for the crowd’s energy as they went into “Feel This,” “Van,” and “Smile.” Assuming the night was over, Descendents returned for a second encore where everyone sang along with “Sour Grapes,” followed by “Spineless and Scarlet Red”  and “Catalina,” which was an epic conclusion to fantastic evening.

Staying true to their rebellious attitude, Descendents pleased their followers in every way possible. It was an evening to leave all of the rules, order, and conduct to the side. Now on a short break, Descendents pick up their final four North American dates of 2016 come mid November before heading down to South America in December. Three of the four headlining gigs for this tour cycle, they are all sold out, speaking volumes for Descendents relevance all these years later.

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Zenae Zukowski
[email protected]

Zenae has been working in the Entertainment industry since she graduated The School of Visual Arts in 2006 with a BFA in Film. Managing to keep herself busy and glued to the city that never sleeps in NYC with the multiple media facets such as Advertising, Film, Broadcast, and Music, the scene has led her to be a well-rounded content creator focusing in writing, photography, and post production. Taking the industry a step further as a travel enthusiast, she would one day love to afford to fly out to several Music and Film festivals. When she is not working or at a Metal show, she spends her free time with her fur-babies.

1Comment
  • Jason R
    Posted at 02:07h, 10 May Reply

    Awesome write up and photos man. I was there and it’s cool to have the concert documented.

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