The Descendents

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shots

Fun Fun Fun Fest Live Shots
Photo by Sandy Carson

The Descendents

Waterloo Park, Nov. 7

"I'm actually relieved I can still do it," grinned Milo Aukerman, almost to himself, as the Descendents settled back onstage for a three-song encore, which included one-second "magnum opus" and life concept "All." That the Reagan-era SoCal punk institution, all but dormant since a mid-1990s reunion and remaining so even after 2004's Cool To Be You, had just barraged the crowd with more than two dozen genre classics in less than 50 minutes left not one single steel punk stud of a doubt as to the real-life biochemist's continuing efficacy. Punk rock's Drew Carey had just had his bespectacled way with Fun Fun Fun Fest's headline finale. "We filled in for Devo," nodded Aukerman, alluding to the seemingly catastrophic last-minute cancellation that turned into FFFF promoters Transmission Entertainment's ultimate booking coup. (The local music concern had been after the Descendents since day one.) What followed was the single most delirious performance of the entire balmy, dust-bowl weekend: Aukerman, drummer Bill Stevenson, and stringers Stephen Egerton and Karl Alvarez covering their Akron, Ohio, precursors' lead-off track on 1977 debut Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! Insanity, thy name is "Uncontrollable Urge." "Weird Al" Yankovic, who'd headlined Friday and included a Devo set-piece, had been bested by honest-to-God DIY transcendence. "Weinerschnitzel," "Sour Grapes," "She Don't Care," and "I'm the One" came before it in a tommy gun spray so crisp and clean as to call into question any working band. Maybe playing one's greatest hits night after night for decades on end doesn't actually keep a punk act fresh. The Descendents' Marines-like charge might have forced a begrudging scowl of approval from Sgt. Johnny Ramone himself. During "I Don't Want To Grow Up," the guitar tandem from the Hold Steady, which riled up the other half of the Orange stage before the Descendents, raised their fists and mouthed every word along with a sea of Red River locals. "I Like Food," "Clean Sheets," "Silly Girl," "Everything Sucks," and main set closer "I'm Not a Loser" drove the capital city's eternal youth into a white-hot froth. At the crossroads of the Descendents and Devo, though, the Milo Aukerman of 1982 game-changer Milo Goes to College schooled Austin in a manner 127 years of UT couldn't touch.

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