Seeing The Descendents Live In 2017 Was Beyond Worth It

Descendents are a band that shouldn’t still exist in 2017. But lucky for us, they do, and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. They gave us one of last year’s best rock albums — their first recorded effort in twelve years, mind you — with Hypercaffium Spazzinate and are currently on a world tour in support. Though their Friday night stop at the Fillmore in Detroit didn’t draw a sell-out crowd, the energy of those that were in attendance made up for those who weren’t.

Among the crowd were college students, mild-mannered adults sporting the band’s classic logo tee, right alongside spiked leather jacket-wearing punks with tall, pink mohawks and seasoned “old-timers,” who spent the entire night slurring their speech and swinging punches at anyone that dared to stand near them. There was even a kid who couldn’t have been older than eight standing in front of me. Behind me, two men discussed their history with the band. One compared seeing Descendents to seeing a comet: You only get the chance once in a blue moon. To counter this hyperbole, his friend bragged about his finding and adding Milo as a connection on LinkedIn (he hasn’t accepted yet).

This is not my first time seeing Descendents, but I was still nervous that the band wouldn’t live up to my expectations. It’s been more than twenty years since Everything Sucks, 35 since the legendary Milo Goes To College. But time has only helped the quartet. Despite having spent the years during which I was discovering punk rock on hiatus, the band’s age did not serve as anything of an impediment to their performance… if anything, it made everything all the more impressive.

After a short delay from technical difficulties, frontman Milo Aukerman, drummer Bill Stevenson, bassist Karl Alvarez, and guitarist Stephen Egerton took the stage to roars of approval from the diverse crowd punks. Aukerman was in full “dad mode” as he pranced around the stage, surveying the crowd in a button-down short sleeve shirt and cargo shorts, wearing a Camelback with the water dispenser slung over his shoulder. The band quickly launched into the classic “Everything Sux,” and before long, they had jammed nearly forty songs into their hour-long set, including the ultra-fast “Coffee Mug” and the society-challenging “Suburban Home.”

Descendents are a band that knows what their audience wants to hear, and only sprinkled in tracks from Hypercaffium Spazzinate among an otherwise classic set that spanned almost as many songs as years the band has been active. Depending on where you were looking in the crowd at any given moment, you could see any type of person gliding along raised hands as they crowd-surfed their way toward the stage, screaming every word back at Milo.

It’s not every day that you get to see an aging band play new songs to the excitement of the crowd. As they have been from the start, Descendents are an outlier. They can still play the classics like they did in their prime, but also give new songs the same energy that they deserve.

If you’ve ever been a fan of Descendents’ scrappy brand of punk rock, definitely don’t miss them on tour. For all you know, this could be your last chance.

Descendents set list:
1. “Everything Sux”
2. “Hope”
3. “Rotting Out”
4. “Full Circle”
5. “I Wanna Be A Bear”
6. “Nothing With You”
7. “My Dad Sucks”
8. “On Paper”
9. “Pervert”
10. “Clean Sheets”
11. “Testosterone”
12. “Silly Girl”
13. “Victim Of Me”
14. “Suburban Home”
15. “Talking”
16. “Coffee Mug”
17. “Without Love”
18. “Myage”
19. “Weinerschnitzel”
20. “No! All!”
21. “Get The Time”
22. “Human Being”
23. “I Don’t Want To Grow Up”
24. “Van”
25. “Shameless Halo”
26. “I Like Food”
27. “When I Get Old”
28. “Coolidge”
29. “Thank You”
30. “Descendents”
31. “Feel This”
32. “I’m The One”
33. “Bikeage”
34. “Smile”
35. “Catalina”
36. “No Fat Burger”
37. “Spineless And Scarlet Red”