The Summer Nationals tour is a tour years in the making. It is the Warped Tour that should be and a nostalgic tour for me. This major tour featured four punk bands that I have been listening to for years, The Vandals, Pennywise, Bad Religion, and The Offspring. Since never seeing any of these bands live before, I was in for a big surprise when after the show was over I would say this has to be one of my favorite shows of the year.
Opening the show was The Vandals. Without The Vandals, I would have never gotten into Kung Fu Records. This label was one of the labels that got me into punk rock music growing up along with Hopeless Records and Epitaph Records. The Vandals were very entertaining to see live. Playing some of my favorites like “It’s A Fact”, “Anarchy Burger”, and “My Girlfriend’s Dead”, I was bummed they had a short set. However the highlight of the show was the ending when guitarist Warren Fitzgerald took over vocals and sang Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Warren did an excellent job getting the crowd pumped by doing cart wheels and climbing around the stage making me believe that The Vandals are probably one the most entertaining bands around. I also believe The Vandals should tour a lot more often.
The next band was Pennywise and I was blown away by their performance. Jim is a perfect front man for he never stopped moving around. Like The Vandals, Pennywise went through their set with the crowd favorites including “Pennywise”, “Same Old Story”, “Bro Hymn”, a cover of The Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Minor Threat’s “Minor Threat”. Milo of the Descendents also came out to sing the song “All”. Pennywise’s performance proved their reunion with vocalist Jim Lingberg is going to be everlasting. This was my first time seeing Pennywise live, and I hope it isn’t the last.
The band that stole the show was Bad Religion. Again, a band I haven’t seen live but grew up listening to and I was blown away. This tour should’ve been a co-headliner tour with Offspring and Bad Religion sharing the spot light. Bad Religion went through a pretty extensive set list featuring “American Jesus”, “Generator”, and “Stranger Than Fiction”. Again without this band I wouldn’t have some of my favorite records or record label. Bad Religion is a band that I hope continues until I have kids.
The last band of the night was the main reason everyone was in attendance. Like half of the crowd, The Offspring was our gate way band into the punk world. For me, it was The Offspring and Green Day. Being a young kid with no idea what my future will be I picked up Green Day Dookie and The Offspring Smash with my allowance at the local record store. Little did I know both albums would change my way of life, from the bands I listen to, to my way of life. Never would’ve thought I’d be photographing bands that made me who I am today. If I didn’t get into The Offspring, I would’ve never known about the previous featured bands. This tour was a tour for The Offspring to play Smash from front to back for the 20th anniversary. Seeing this album being performed was like listening to it at home, The Offspring played it flawlessly. I would’ve thought they were playing this album for years. After Smash, they performed a quick set of other hits including “All I Want”, “Americana”, “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”, and “The Kids Aren’t Alright”. Growing up I was too young to see these bands live, but as I’ve gotten older I have been able to see and photograph them, something I never thought I’d do. Yet, even if I wasn’t typing about them today, I’d still know I wouldn’t be anywhere without these bands.