I haven’t deeply explored what the Tucson music scene has to offer. Most of my discoveries of bands from Tucson occur when they play up here in Phoenix. That does not cover the huge breadth they have to offer. Thanks to the invitation to inFest Tucson this year, I got to continue expanding my discovery of the breadth of their scene. This was a mix of their offerings, most I had never seen, mixed with a couple touring acts out of Southern California and Texas. Add in that we had the Radolescents, made up of original and old school members of the Adolescents, to headline and you had the makings of a killer night of music for inFest Tucson.
Opening up were the younger guys of No Self. They were the first of our out of state bands, harkening from Anaheim. In addition, they started the trend of a night of musicians who loved to bounce around and move to their music.
No Self had a closer complimentary sound to our headliner’s brand of punk rock. Their energy was infectious, as a few of the punk crowd got a couple small pits going throughout the set. No Self was a blast to watch open up and set the trend of energized bands for the night.
First up in the other at the Rock would be another band out of California, Southpaw. They didn’t jump around as much as our openers, but they brought fast punk rock. The energy immediately inspired the pit right in front of them for the entire duration of the set.
At one point a member of the pit managed to crash over the monitor in front of them. Clearly they had the attention of the crowd tonight. Southpaw brought an awesome style of punk rock early into the night.
Then it went hardcore when Extremity, out of Texas. When unfamiliar with them going in and the first bands more leaning skater punk, the hardcore sound of Extremity immediately surprised me.
The passion and intensity of their lead vocalist, Count, brought me into their performance quickly. He moved around, leaned into and just gave it his all. The band members around him match that enthusiasm performing behind him on that stage. Extremity left me impressed by the end of it.
Following them was a band that was clearly established and well known down in Tucson, Blue Collar Criminals. There was a loud and excited bunch of people ready for them to play. It was a band that I could tell why the moment they started playing. Mike, on lead vocals, engages the crowd. He was going out as far as the cord would let him to sing with people who knew these lyrics by heart.
I’m shocked I have never seen them before because their brand of “Oi!” punk rock is excellent. However, I’m happy I now know about Blue Collar Criminals going forward because I hope to catch them live again.
Returning us to the hardcore punk was Blueprints for Destruction. This is another fantastic band out of Tucson. I may label them the ones who bounced around the most this side of our headliners. It is clear they didn’t stand still, finding members on different sides of that stage with regularity.
There is a clear embrace of the energy and sound of their songs. These guys had the audience’s attention so much they squeezed in an addition song into the tight time schedule of the festival. Blueprints for Destruction are another band that left a solid impression on me.
Next was a band I have managed to catch up in Phoenix, Bleach Party U.S.A. Their music sits closer to what most people associate with punk, but containing a little harder edge. It reminds me in ways of Guttermouth and D.I. They tossed out beach balls, living up to an aspect of their name, which bounced around alongside the bodies in the pit.
Their lead singer, Joe, has to be one of my favorite personalities whom performed in this loaded night of music. He brought humor, and he moved around getting others on the microphone to sing along. Plus, Travis, on guitar, is the man I must thank for putting together this killer festival of bands. Bleach Party, U.S.A. is a band I recommend to catch next time you are down in Tucson or they jump on another Phoenix show.
Speaking of Phoenix, our next band was the familiar faces of Scattered Guts. They were the sole metal band, but fit in perfectly with the hardcore stuff in this lineup. Even the aesthetics are perfect with every member’s hair made for a thrash metal band. They have the double bass drum and Ruben the perfect front man.
On top of all of it, their guitarist, Rich, was celebrating his birthday. All the makings of a party were here for their set. On par with that, by the last song they were inviting fans on stage to sing along and head bang alongside. As with the prior times I have caught Scattered Guts, they put on another superb set for their friends and fans in Tucson.
Last up in the side room was a band I had a few people tell me was one not to miss, Scar Eater. They were right. Amongst the metal of Scattered Guts and the few hardcore of the night, they made their mark for the hardest of them.
You could immediately see they were hometown favorites and why they came recommended from the people I met at this show. The pit was going hard for them, leaving me taking a few hits from the force of the pit to snap a couple pictures. Scare Eater was one superb lead in set to our headliners of the night.
Rounding out and headlining the fifth inFest Tucson were the familiar faces of the Radolescents. To further clarify what makes them so familiar, they are made up of founding Adolescents members, John O’Donovan and Rick Agnew, members of the Blue album line up, with Rikk and Casey Royer, and rounded out by one other alum in Dan Colburn. We get Frank Agnew Jr., son of another Blue Album alum, on the energized lead vocals.This is an exciting line up to any fans of the Adolescents and punk rock.
If any band the entire night was an example of exuding personality on that stage, it was the Radolescents. Rikk was enjoying his wireless guitar constantly going off stage during songs and found around the different corners of the Rock. At one point, Rick was sliding his guitar up and down the rail of a moving staircase in the back corner of the stage. His brother Frank on vocals everywhere, including on the ground. He was throwing the microphone in front of anyone who knew the lyrics to sing along. Casey, normally found these days singing lead in D.I., cracked jokes and sarcasm through the microphone setup for him on the drum kit. John and Dan smiles as they performed the entire time. The Radolescents set was an amazing cap on the well put together inFest Tucson. I plan to return next year to see what this annual Tucson festival has in store for me.