Last Night: The Descendents at Free Press Summer Fest

More FPSF 2012 Coverage:Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
FPSF: The Bands from Sunday

The Descendents Free Press Summer Fest, Eleanor Tinsley Park June 3, 2012

The Descendents stood out like a sore thumb in comparison to a lot of the other main-stage acts at this year's Summer Fest -- and that's a good thing. On a day that was long with bands playing the big stages that never quite rocked out full-tilt, it was great to see a band hit the stage and go full throttle.

There's nothing wrong with spectacle in rock, but sometimes you need a band with no aesthetics to show up and rock out.

It's even more impressive when it comes in the form of a band that was founded 34 years ago and has an average member age of 48. But don't be mistaken -- the guys in the band may be old, but the music they played is timeless.

"Hope" was the second song of their set, and after 30 years of other bands chasing them, it still remains the best pop punk song of all time. Live, without the production work that dates the song, it feels like something that could have been written any time in the last three decades and still been current.

There lies the difference between the Descendents and your average nostalgia acts.

Other bands can go out and play their songs and do it well, but you'll be aware that they're songs of a different era. At their poppiest, the Descendents don't have that problem. Sure, no one is going to mistake the hardcore hot dog order of "Wienerschnitzel" for something in the '10s era, but tracks like "Clean Sheets" and "Silly Girl" sound like they could have come from the pop punk MTV era of the mid-'00s.

For those fans who only know singer Milo Aukerman from the doodles that adorn the band's album covers, seeing him in the flesh a bit older and gray around the edges might have been a bit of a shock. While most of the set was a straight-ahead, no bullshit, "jam as many songs into our set as possible" affair, Milo addressed their age in his one big talking moment.

"We do this for one reason, and one reason only: We do this to stay young."

What really separates the Descendents from the other bands of their era is this: Milo always made the adult decision. He went to college. He got a degree. He got a job. He decided not to spend his life on the road playing in bars and halls across the country. He grew up.

Or did he?

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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia