The Descendents – [Live]

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Seeing The Descendents play sent me into an ecstatic orbit like only a few concerts have before. I had already been a fan of the band for a while by the time they reformed in 1996 and released Everything Sucks, but that record really connected with me; the band I started in high school covered a couple of songs from it, I made hand drawn T-shirts with the band's mascot on them and sang their praises to anyone who would listen. I was a super-fan – but I never had the chance to see them play live; that's why, when it was announced that The Descendents would be headlining a show at Yonge-Dundas Square with OFF! and Fucked Up supporting them, I knew where I'd be during the conference, without question. I finally had my chance to see them play.

Happily, my teenage heroes didn't let me down – they were just awesome. Even with Fucked Up and OFF! having set the bar pretty high with their performances earlier in the night, Descendents effortlessly walked out and took both stage and audience by storm from the moment the band opened their set with their namesake song. From there, rather than pausing to soak in a bit of adulation, the band just kept going with no slowing down; with no stage banter, no self-indulgent grandstanding and no bullshit, The Descendents proved that they came to play and they were playing for keeps. The images that had been burned into my memory from the few magazine articles I'd been able to find and pore over as a teenager – of Milo Aukerman nervously tugging at his own pant leg as he sang, of drummer Bill Stevenson breaking land-speed records on his drum kit with an ecstatic game face plastered all over his mug, of Karl Alvarez and Stephen Egerton stomping their feet as their fingers flew up fretboards – were all right there in front of me unfaded by time, and the sound they made was perfect. In twenty-two songs, the band covered every possible fan could expect them to; tracks including “Hope,” “Pervert,” “Clean Sheets,” “I Don't Want To Grow Up,” “I'm The One” and “Rotting Out” were all received with great appreciation by the very enthusiastic crowd, but equally well-received was the band's good humor as the set progressed and the band took a few minutes to have a few laughs. Longtime fans got a tingle as the band dusted off the seldom-played (and virtually unknown, really) B-Side “Lucky” in lieu of introducing a few new songs and laughed genuinely and cheered in support as Aukerman's young daughters appeared onstage to help their father deliver the band's manifesto, “All-O-Gistics” (and reminding fans to never commit adulthood under any circumstance). After that, the irony got amped up to palpable levels as the band rocked out “When I Get Old” and “I Don't Want To Grow Up” back-to-back for the audience's approval, but they were also as much a statement of intent as they were a fantastic pair of pop-punk songs; here, the lyrics weren't just lip service to a point, they were simply the fact of the matter with the chops to back the sentiments up.

After a set which lasted about forty-five minutes (give or take), The Descendents left the stage and audience to absorb what they had just seen, but one look into the eyes of any show-goer left no doubt that The Descendents' show was a success. Yes, it's true that the band was inactive for a while, but they remain strong in spite of the grey hair that the band members wear. On June 16, 2011, The Descendents proved (yet again) that they're back, are still going for greatness and can still rock like nervous, geeky beasts in their pursuit of ALL.


Further Reading:
Ground Control –
The Descendents Resume Their Quest For ALL – [feature article]


The Descendents will continue doing sporadic touring throughout the rest of the year. Click here for a regularly updated show listing.

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