March 5th, 2012, 12:28 pm · · posted by KELLI SKYE FADROSKI, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
As the annual three-day Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival came to a close Sunday night, dozens of patrons hurried to get in their final appointments with what few world-renowned artists remained on site.
Numerous shops had packed up by late afternoon, but the frenzy of humming tattoo guns was still at full blast in the convention hangar. Some were simply getting final touches put on; others, like a young woman from Long Beach who had spent most of Saturday getting only the outline done from her ankle to her hip, were just getting started by the time the sun went down.
The music hangar seemed light, maybe only a quarter-full, for blink-and-you-missed-’em sets by L.A.-based rockers the Darlings and O.C. act Hell or Highwater, the new project from Atreyu anchor Brandon Saller. But the place filled in quickly for Against Me!’s performance. Dedicated fans roared along with fists high in the air as the Florida quartet put its all into “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” and “White People for Peace,” the first single off 2007 Butch Vig-produced breakthrough, New Wave.
Though roughly a dozen people decided to brave a tiny mosh pit directly in front of the stage, plus a couple who climbed their way up to be tossed around and eventually hurled toward security, the audience this time was mostly tame. Maybe that was because the three-day event had simply worn them out – people were previously doing shots of Sailor Jerry rum like it would soon be rationed – or it could have something to do with how many attendees were sporting strategically taped-on plastic wrap, protecting fresh ink.
Fans still pogoed away during “Don’t Lose Touch” and “Black Me Out,” though, and Against Me!’s set was start-to-finish strong, the band playing with cool-but-not-cocky confidence during radio hits “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” and an obvious crowd favorite, “Trash Unreal.”
Given such a stellar warm-up, the Illinois punks of Alkaline Trio had to step up their game – which they did by dusting off numerous older songs. The pace was set immediately when guitarist Matt Skiba, bassist Dan Andriano and drummer Derek Grant took the stage and dug into “Cringe,” the leadoff track from their 1998 debut Goddamnit. During the performance, Skiba took a moment to thank the crowd, Musink and Orange County before dedicating “Madam Me” to one of the band’s biggest influences (and now Epitaph labelmate), Social Distortion. Andriano also threw out a salute before “She Took Him to the Lake,” dedicating it to tattoo artist and the Dear & Departed frontman Dan Smith.
A bulk of the set came from Alkaline’s 2003 disc Good Mourning, including the sing-song “This Could Be Love,” “Emma” and “Continental,” of which Skiba shared matter-of-factly: “It’s about a car.” The audience seemed to dig the older cuts, but when the band played the title track from 2010’s This Addiction – among few newer tracks in the mix, along with “Calling All Skeletons” – what had been basic head nods and foot shuffles suddenly turned into screaming, hopping and full-on fist-pumping.
At the end, a fan waving a Chicago Bulls jersey caught Skiba’s eye; he pointed it out to Andriano, who was immediately excited. The fan threw the jersey on stage, and after deciding if it would fit him or not, Andriano stripped off his own shirt and proudly sported his team’s gear for the encore tunes, “Bleeder” and “’97.”
Photos by Trisha Lynch, for OrangeCounty.com.
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