With a blend of heavy distorted guitars and lyrical maturity, California punk rock group Descendents has played a key role in the popularity of underground music since the late 1970s.
After 40 years of making music, the group is preparing for a four-night tour, beginning with a stop at Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre this Thursday.
Descendents began as a three-piece, consisting only of guitarist Frank Navetta, bassist Tony Lombardo and Bill Stevenson on the drums. This trio added vocalist Milo Aukerman, transforming Descendents into a primitive piece of the punk rock formation in 1982.
Although its lineup has changed over the years, Descendents’ show at the Bourbon will showcase Stevenson and Aukerman alongside bass guitarist Karl Alvarez and guitarist Stephen Egerton who both joined the group in 1995.
The band made a name for itself in the underground punk scene with the release of its first album “Milo Goes to College” in 1982. The record established the gang's presence in the southern California hardcore punk movement with its the short, fast and lyrically aggressive songs.
With songs like “Kabuki Girl” from the album “Milo Goes to College,” released in 1982, the group was one of the first to fuse together pop punk melodic hardcore. This blend is sprinkled through the rest of its discography, with songs like “Days Are Blood” from its 1986 release “Enjoy!,” that shows a darker hardcore side of the band, to songs like “Silly Girl” from “I Don’t Want To Grow Up,” released in 1985, that shows the poppy, more upbeat side of the band.
Throughout its years, Descendents has experienced band members coming and going. However, regardless of the lineup, the group has kept an unwavering and unprecedented sound.
At the beginning of its career, Descendents were passed around different record labels because of its experimental sound. This label jumping came to a halt when the band landed a deal with Epitaph Records (A Day to Remember, Bring Me The Horizon, La Dispute) in 1995, where it has remained since.
The Descendents’ previously unexampled brew of pop rock and heavy metal left a mark on other bands such as Blink-182, Green Day and Rise Against.
After almost a half-decade run in the music industry, Descendents will be found the Bourbon Theatre Thursday night with California indie punk band Joyce Manor and New Jersey’s hardcore punk group Night Birds.
Joyce Manor’s story resembles the Descendents as it has with only two original members and bounced around record labels before landing at Epitaph Records. Although there are parallels in the bands’ journeys, Joyce Manor’s sound is far from that of the Descendents.
While Joyce Manor may have been influenced by the Descendents skate punk and heavy metal combination, it has cultivated its own fusion of soft indie lyrics with harder, moshable drumlines, in songs such as the 2011 release “Constant Headache” off its album “S/T.”
The two join forces with Night Birds to give the show more of the surf/punk rock vibe, more similar to Descendants. Night Birds’s song “Born to Die in Suburbia” off its 2013 record “Born to Die in Suburbia” brought the band into the spotlight with rapid drums and heavy distorted guitar.
With music coming from both coasts, the three bands meet right in the heart of America at the Bourbon Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. with music beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door on the day of the show.