Show reviews: Vandals and Descendents at Musink, Channel Three at The Redwood

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It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was having lunch with my friend Joe, telling him that I bought a ticket to his band’s upcoming show with the Descendents. He asked if I was bringing my daughter Eloise and I said no way! I’d want to be in front where it’s packed with all these big sweaty gross guys. And then he said something like, “No, I’ll get you onstage where all the families and friends of the bands hang out. Wendy can come, too! I’ll put them on the list.”

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Usually I buy tickets to support my friends’ bands. But how could I say no? When would Eloise have that chance again? When would I have that chance again? Sure enough, when the band came out of the dressing room and headed up the stairs to the stage, Joe said, “The baby comes onstage with us.” How freakishly nice is he?

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There were sound issues during the older songs-leaning set, prompting the singer Dave to reprise “Anarchy Burger” during the set because he wasn’t feeling it as the opener. But Eloise didn’t care. I thought she’d dance around but instead she had a stunned look of awe and happiness the entire time. The Bad Religion-inspired breakdown of “Supercalifragilisticespialidocious” and Warren’s so-you-think-you-can-dance moved during “I Have a Date” really made an impression on her. Me, too. Thanks, Joe! Every show will be a letdown for Eloise from now on…

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I’ve been lucky enough to catch The Descendents before Milo Went Back To College and multiple times during the first reunion (with Epitaph) as well as the second one (on Fat). This was the first time seeing The Descendents since the documentary came out, and it seems as if they appreciate being onstage like no other time. Survivors of multiple false starts and various life-threatening conditions, the South Bay band plays every punk classic from “Hope” to “Suburban Home” as if it might be the last time. No mailing it in. Going for ALL. Some kids are obsessed with One Direction and Katy Perry songs, but I’m stoked Eloise is singing “Get The Time” and “I Have a Date.”

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The next evening’s show was too old for Eloise (even a fake ID wouldn’t work for her at The Redwood) and too late for Wendy (I was struggling to stay up until the set started at 1:00 a.m.). But I couldn’t miss Channel Three playing an $8 show just five minutes from my house. Besides my being a massive fan of their Posh Boy-era punk–as well as their Enigma-era rock ‘n’ roll and their latest songs and singles–they just played a Save Music in Chinatown benefit for Wendy, Eloise, and me!

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After much screwing around with borrowed amps, the crew from Cerritos blasted into a blown-out set filled with original members, guest appearances, and cool covers–sometimes all at once, as in the case of “Brand New Cadillac.” I love how they always bring their spouses, childhood friends, and co-conspirators like a big family. Who cares if the vocals are totally lost when everyone is singing along? “Manzanar,” “I Got a Gun,” “Indian Summer”–it was all there. Nothing like waking up a late after a great show, but then to get messages like “Dude, sorry we didn’t get to talk much” and “Thanks for coming”? Seriously, the raddest guys ever.

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Channel Three is playing every chance they get, and I can’t wait to see them (and get their new release) at Left of The Dial on Record Store Day. Vegas and the Midwest are lined up, too. The Vandals? They also have a new LP in the works and are hitting Canada and the East Coast soon. The few, the pround, the Descendents will be at Punk Rock Bowling with another new show-specific shirt by Chris Shary. Maybe the bandana that I slept on at the merch booth, too. Someone get one for me!

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