When We Were Young, Day 2: Descendents, and their descendents, hit the mark

Descendents at When We Were Young (Photo by Jazz Shademan)
Descendents at When We Were Young (Photo by Jazz Shademan)

Punk-rock legends the Descendents formed 40 years ago, so you’d think any festival called When We Were Young would be all about bands like them.

But Day 2 of the weekend bash Observatory was just as much, if not more, about the currently young. While veteran bands matched the kids riff for riff, much of the day was tailored for a young Orange County crowd starving for musical outlets. Fresh-faced acts such as FIDLAR, Foxygen and the Buttertones delivered the goods as WWWY offered chances aplenty for audience members the chance to scratch their unique itch, whether it be an old favorite or guilty pleasure from their youth or the dynamic acts from today.

The standout performances were given by Foxygen and the Buttertones, whose sounds didn’t quite fit anywhere on this lineup and were better for that. Foxygen played a whimsical and ’60s- and ’70s-reminiscent set with lineup for new faces who are accompanying the duo on tour and giving them a much fuller sound. The Buttertones could not be better lit by anything other than disco ball while giving their darker version of a surf boogie.

||| Photos by Jazz Shademan

Rowdy performances were turned in by Together Pangea, the Frights and FIDLAR, who drew similar crowds all thirsting for the mosh pit. Their songs adhered to the time-honored themes of growing up and becoming your own person; their catharsis was felt amid the banging boies.

Groups that were true “throwbacks” began with two bands nearing the end of their second decade — San Diego indie-rockers Pinback and Silver Lake alt-rockers Silversun Pickups. The latter ended their dramatic set satisfyingly with “Panic Switch.” Taking Back Sunday repped emo with a rousing and bombastic performance between humorous and humble banter. Concert-goers belted out several songs throughout the set and might’ve been having almost as good a time as frontman John Nolan. Reunited ’90s ska-punks Choking Victim drew a sizable crowd.

And closing it all down were the Descendents, who had fans running to catch the beginning of their set. They brought the punk rock and adolescent attitudes of the Æ80s right back in front of our eyes.

Lastly, despite past so-so reviews of Observatory festivals, this one seemed to hit the mark. The only major flub was some rearrangement of the schedule causing most fans to miss critically acclaimed group, Mount Eerie. Everything else ran with pretty efficiently.