Last week, punk veterans T.S.O.L. and Descendents re-opened the legendary music venue Soma, which has been dormant due to the pandemic.
I have to say it was pretty emotional. The first indoor show for me since the pandemic started, and to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure the day would ever come. Even standing in line to get inside the venue was pretty magical. Hearing the excitement of the fans that literally spanned across generations was heartwarming. A couple from Long Beach was sharing the night with both their kids, an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl. One group traveled from Arizona, and another drove down from Berkeley.
It seemed everyone had a story to tell, each slightly different, but all expressing the same overwhelming joy they felt in finally being able to see a non-socially distanced show and experiencing live music again.
With more than four decades of music making under each of their belts, T.S.O.L. and Descendents were able to gift fans a night of unforgettable raw power that kept the pit going from the opening tune to the last.
T.S.O.L took the stage and delivered a stunning set of 10 classic tunes that they performed flawlessly. The songs were highlighted by Jack Grisham’s recounter-like comedic storytelling, which is as timeless as his musical deliverance.
My favorite moments were “Property is Theft,” “The Triangle,” and “Abolish the Government/ Silent Majority.” The only downfall of the set… It left me wanting to see more of them.
Luckily the changeover time was minimal and Descendents took the stage quickly enough that the room’s energy never faded. In fact, it reached the full boiling point during their 32-song set that made Soma’s walls rattle. A full explosion of punk history that served as a memoir of a 40-year career span that redefined punk music both on the local SoCal scene, as well as on the national front.
What made their iconic performance even more perfect was the continuous sing-a-long of screaming, moshing fans that were captured by each verse. From classic punk anthems like “Everything Sux” to the sweeter more melodic “Silly Girl,” from “My Dad Sux” to “Bikeage,” which brought down the house so to speak.
Even the encore was timeless; “’Merican” (which is one of my favorite Descendents tunes because I find its narrative is always current no matter the year), “Good Good Things” (off the “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” album), and the surpise “Baby Dontcha Know” (which was performed for the third time ever, making it a live “first” for me).
All I can say in the end is that there is really no other band that can keep the crowd so engaged for the entire duration of the show. No matter how many times I see them live, I always leave the show a bigger fan. They truly are a timeless gift to the music scene.
It was a great night for music in San Diego. Descendents have a few more shows coming up, so check them out when they come to your neck of the woods.