The Austin Chronicle

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shot: Descendents

By Greg Beets, November 10, 2013, 10:04am, Earache!

Returning to Fun Fun Fun Fest for the first time since filling in for Devo at the last minute in 2010, Descendents summoned Saturday night pop-punk deliverance at a breakneck pace that more than held its own against the band’s adolescent legacy.

From opener “Everything Sucks” onward, the area in front of the Black stage became a sea of hands and feet. A man in a wheelchair crowd-surfed. There were even stage dives during the between-song banter, prompting guitarist Stephen Egerton to make note of a stageside view that was all “ass cracks and backpacks.”

Vocalist Milo Aukerman may be a gray-haired college professor now, but he takes you right back to the warts-and-all world of young, awkward maledom with the one-two punch of “Silly Girl” and “Pervert” from 1985’s I Don’t Want to Grow Up. Drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez were locked tight, nailing each fill and dimestop tempo change with a ferocity that gave middle age a single-digit salute.

There’s still no better song to epitomize the life of a young, threadbare touring band than “Van,” which almost qualifies as prog if you take out the lyrics about farting. 1981’s Fat got its due with “I Like Food” and “Weinerschnitzel,” which still don’t add up to a minute when taken together.

As the 35-year-old Descendents roared into “When I Get Old,” the song’s debt to the Beach Boys’ “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)” flickered into focus. In the realm of actually aging gracefully, though, it’s Milo over Mike Love in a landslide.

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