Top Five Must-See Punk/Hardcore Bands at Fun Fun Fun Fest

This year's Fun Fun Fun Fest lineup is arguably one of the better offerings since its induction, eight years ago -- with a particularly keen sample of musical nostalgia for punk and hardcore lovers of the '80s and '90s. And since I am neither of those things but my talented and knowledgeable husband is...

Here are five must-see FFFF bands, as told by Houston scene alum Gilbert Alfaro (of Spain Colored Orange, Blueprint, Refuse to Fall, etc. etc.)

5. Descendents Anyone who knows early melodic punk music from early 80s, knows who the Descendents are... And if you don't, you need to. If you're not familiar with this band and enjoy melodic punk (now less accurately dubbed, "pop-punk"), I would recommend giving the album Milo Goes To College a few listens before seeing them at the festival. It's a classic and all-time favorite of mine--well loved by any true punk-fanatic.

4. Slayer Reign In Blood and South of Heaven--need I say more? If you were into punk rock, heavy metal, thrash metal or anything of the like as young kid, you had to hear and see Slayer. It didn't matter what your mom and dad thought...

I remember seeing promo pictures of these guys in metal magazines and thinking, "Whoa!" So, I caught the bus to the nearest record store, bought Reign In Blood on cassette, threw it in my Walkman (no iPods back in the golden age...) and gave it a listen. Being a young teenager and listening to "Angel of Death" for the first time... I can't really describe it, but my mind was blown. Everything a teenage boy needed was there: insanely fast thrash, almost punk-like music, check; over-the-top satanic lyrics, check; screaming and growling vocals, check; album cover that freaks you out but you love regardless, check; (most importantly) your mom & dad HATE it, check... I've seen Slayer five times live and have never, ever been disappointed. This is an absolute must-see at FFF Fest.

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3. Quicksand Not too many people are familiar with Quicksand, but they should be. I think Quicksand is one of those rock bands that were a little ahead of their time. It's kind of hard to describe -- think rock but with very choppy guitar riffs and catchy vocal melodies. I've seen them once back in the '90s at the Abyss, and they were awesome!

Quicksand was like an all-star band to East Coast hardcore lovers. The lineup consisted of Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today, combined with members of Bold & Burn. If you were in the straightedge scene in the late '80s early '90s, you knew who Quicksand was. If you're not familiar with the band and want to take a listen, get the Slip LP and prepare to fall hard (no pun intended...).

List continues on the next page.

2. Flag Flag? It's really strange how much legal bullshit is going on between legendary punk rock bands these days -- not very punk rock at all and probably quite expensive. So, apparently we have two versions of Black Flag touring these days... There's Black Flag with Ron Reyes on vocals and Greg Ginn on guitar (not playing FFF Fest); and then we have Flag with Keith Morris' vocals and Stephen Egerton (Decendents/ALL) playing lead (performing at FFF Fest).

Apparently, both "Flags" are going through some legal battle over the name -- or who is more punk rock. Bottom line: it doesn't matter. Being a fan of all versions of the "Flags," the performance, I'm sure, will be amazing. Keith Morris being one of the original singers for Black Flag (also, Circle Jerks) makes it definitely worth catching this particular version's set. I can only hope that "TV Party," "Gimme Gimme Gimme," and my all-time favorite, "Wasted," are all on the set list. And hey, maybe when he gets done filming his latest cable-TV venture, Rollins will join in on (il)legal fun and tour with "Flag Black"!

1. Misfits See: Flag... I feel the same way about these guys -- one of my all-time favorite punk bands but tired of hearing about the legal battle. And no offense, but if Glenn Danzig isn't singing, it's not the Misfits. Maybe catching their set and closing my eyes will help... But I doubt it.


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