08.04.14 | The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise, The Vandals | Terminal 5

On a muggy summer night, Epitaph Records' Summer Nationals Tour brought four punk rock legends to Terminal 5. I was very much looking forward to this show, as it had been well over ten years since I had seen most of these bands.

The first band was The Vandals, formed in 1980 in California. They were probably the band I knew the least songs of going in to the show, but their set was one of the highlights of the show. Their high energy and humor got the crowd moving and soon the mosh pit was moving to songs like "Live Fast Diarrhea" and "People That Are Going to Hell". They also played a few of their most memorable songs like "My Girlfriend's Dead" and finished with a cover of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now".


Next up was Pennywise, first formed in 1988 and still going strong. They introduced the set with "Pennywise" and launched into other favorites from over the years including, "Same Old Story". At one point they paused to acknowledge all of the bands that have influenced them over the years, many of them featured on t-shirts throughout the crowd. This led them to a cover of The Ramones' "Blitzkreig Bop", a band whom they have shared the stage with before. They saved their best for last, finishing up their set with "Fuck Authority", "Society" and "Bro Hymn".


The longest-running band of the bunch, and the most visibly aged, were Bad Religion. Lead singer Greg Graffin (50!) looked like a punk rock grandpa on stage rocking out to "Stranger Than Fiction" and somewhat ironically, "21st Century Digital Boy". At one point he even misread one of the songs on the setlist and began eloquently giving his thanks to his fans in anticipation of playing "You" but instead it was "You Are the Government". An innocent mistake, but also a bit awkward. The rest of the performance was smooth and they played both newer songs like "True North" and classics like "Sorrow" and "American Jesus".


The occasion to be celebrating for this tour though, was the 20th anniversary of The Offspring's Smash which sold 20 million copies worldwide and set a record for the most albums sold from an independent label (Epitaph Records). To mark the occasion, they played the entire record from start to finish plus an encore performance of their hits from other albums. It was a unique performance to say the least, and a lot of fun. Though I was only eight years old when this album came out, the songs from this album, and their future albums, significantly shaped my adolescence. Though the bands are older, and the audience is too, the spirit and energy of youth and punk rock is still there waiting for the chance to be unleashed.









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