Review: Descendents and Clowns

Review: Descendents and Clowns

In 1982 the world of Californian punk was transformed forever; the 15 tracks and just over 22 minutes of pop-inspired-punk which made up the notorious album known as Milo Goes To College had an immeasurable impact on rock’n’roll history.

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Friday February 16th 2017

If the treasured Governor Hindmarsh had a theme for the brilliant bands they were hosting this week it would have to be “reconciliation”. For the very first time, Adelaide would be regaled with the practical royalty of pop-punk known as The Descendents – this unquestionably had the punk population of South Australia livid at the prospect of seeing these legends of the genre make their debut appearance in our city. To place extra icing on the cake, the quartet were performing in support of their new album Hypercaffium Spazzinate, their first in 12 years to celebrate their regrouping. As aforementioned, just one night prior The Gov treated SA with the recently reunited post-metalcore darlings Underoath; it would seem that historical Irish statesman and parliament member Edmund Burke still maintains his relevance with his infamous quote: “You can never plan the future by the past”. Just over five years ago, the likelihood of both events ever happening would have been unfeasible, salutations Mr. Burke.

Melbourne’s Clowns were invited to start the punk rock party with their skate-hardcore-thrash-punk formula and did so, once again, with pure finesse. In retrospect, the quintet were possibly a little too heavy in comparison to the headliner, but this facet was a strength, not a detriment; understandably the five-piece used this weapon as the catalyst to instigate disorder in the best possible way. Vocalist Stevie Williams is an amazing antagonist, interacting with the audience on ground level to a nearly disturbing value but with remarkable sentiment all the same. Figure It Out was rabid and radical, new song Dropped My Brain in fact dropped jaws instead and closer Destroy The Evidence left a permanent stain on the willing audience in the best way possible. From the outset it is clear that the stage is the “happy place” for Clowns and this was cemented by Mr. Williams constantly gleefully waving to the crowd, thanking them and revelling in the sanctuary that is playing live. With a new album just on the horizon, superbly the world will get to bask in the glory of Clowns live for quite some time yet. This was an explosive initiation and essentially required for what lay ahead.

In 1982 the world of Californian punk was transformed forever; the 15 tracks and just over 22 minutes of pop-inspired-punk which made up the notorious album known as Milo Goes To College had an immeasurable impact on rock’n’roll history. It spawned a movement of SoCal punk that to this day has unfathomable relevance and adoration on a global scale. Incredibly the record was released 35 years ago and on this night, Adelaide were privileged to witness the band who paved this historic pathway for the first time.

With an average age of nearly 53 years, four Californian gentlemen took to the stage to delight South Australia, the quartet have walked these steps countless times before but never in this locale. Vocalist Milo Aukerman introduced the beginning of their set with a political anecdote referencing the current embarrassment that is President Trump, stating he: “wakes up in the morning to realise that EVERYTHING SUCKS!” – the starting shot had been fired and the four-piece launched into Everything Sux. This was to be in a practical sense, the most conversation the band would have with the audience; the four self-professed and proud nerds of punk had a job to do and they were not going to waste anytime in executing the task set before them. Hope 13, Rotting Out, Pervert, Testosterone, Shameless Halo, Silly Girl, Victim Of Me, Nothing With You, Sour Grapes, Without Love, I Don’t Want To Grow Up, On Paper, Get The Time, Talking, When I Get Old, Coolidge, Thank You, Descendents and an encore which included Sour Grapes, Feel This, I’m The One, Bikeage and Smile made up most of the set-list. But frankly, their entire discography received very respectable attention.

Whilst the quartet are not the energised maniacs of their former caffeinated days, they still demand attention as well as they did in their heyday and it was astonishing to witness in all sincerity.

In Coolidge Milo stated that he wasn’t cool and neither was the rest of his brilliant band, well Descendents, Adelaide assures you that you are, infinitely, and we thank you.

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