Punk’s Not Dead- Descendents, Circle Jerks, and Adolescents Prove It At The Palace Theatre


I always try to get my reviews done super early the morning after the show. Outside of a couple of notes that I take during shows, I like to only write about things that really stood out to me or stuck with me so waiting until the next morning gives me a chance to just relax and see what I can remember from the show. Life has been insane and due to a friend’s first triathlon of the season (she killed it by the way and I am so so stinking proud of her!) and a family barbecue, I didn’t have a chance to write my review of the Friday night show on Saturday morning. So here I am, having my Sunday morning coffee and thinking back on the magic that was Friday night.

Kicking the packed show off at The Palace Theatre in Saint Paul was California-based Adolescents. I had the honor of seeing these guys just last month out in Las Vegas at Punk Rock Bowling. I was uber impressed by their performance there and was so excited to see them in a bit more of an intimate venue (although The Palace Theatre is far from a small venue). Adolescents’ music is part punk and part hardcore. They have found the best elements of those two styles and have blended them into something that made for a perfect way to get the Friday night show started.

The Adolescents’ quick thirty-minute set sounded flawless, just as it had in Las Vegas, yet something was off. I felt like the energy on the stage just was not the same. Maybe that’s the difference between this band playing a giant festival rather than a standard theatre-styled venue. Although I thoroughly enjoyed listening to them blast through their set and definitely raised my first a few times during “Amoeba”, I just felt like the set lacked that punk energy that had the audience in Las Vegas running around and pushing and shoving their way through the set. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I noticed the audience had picked up their feet a little bit but the lack of energy from the stage plus the all-too-quick set and abrupt ending to the set made the set feel a bit lackluster to me.

Following the Adolescents’ set was The Circle Jerks. Just like the other two acts of the night, Circle Jerks is truly a legendary band. Frontman Keith Morris is a true idol of mine and many others. Does that name ring a bell? It should! I recently saw one of Keith’s other bands (OFF!) just last month at The Turf Club in Saint Paul. Seeing him perform in a venue as small as The Turf Club was a dream come true but I have always been a bigger fan of the music of Circle Jerks when compared to OFF! so I was stoked to finally hear those songs that really got me into this amazing human and musician.

Circle Jerks powered through a twenty-three-song set that seemed to span the entirety of the band’s legendary six-album career. Although I loved hearing the songs, it was the moments when Keith was talking to the audience that really had me hooked. One of my favorite little stories that the frontman told was how, up until recently, nobody in this band liked each other (other than drummer Joey Castillo– everyone loves Joey and Joey loves everyone). Keith went on to explain how the band worked through their differences to come together and start performing again after a multi-year hiatus. Although I don’t remember all of the details of the story (and, even if I did, I wouldn’t spoil them for you), I just really liked getting a little insight into what has been going on with this band. I also love the way that Keith talks. It’s very down-to-earth and honest. Being able to see that more vulnerable side of a musician that you have looked up to for decades is truly something special.

Closing out the stellar Friday night of music was another favorite of mine, the Descendents. Just like the previous two bands, it would take far too long for me to get into the history of this band that has been around since the late 1970s. I could go on and on about the reasons that I love this band from the fact that they are seemingly down-to-earth guys to the way their songs are quick and dirty with a sense of fun and power behind them. The list goes on and on but, the most important thing about this band is the fact that, although they have been doing this for nearly half a century, the band still sounds great and clearly loves what they are doing on stage.

The Descendents graced the packed audience with a lengthy set that was jam-packed with hits and b-sides. Right off the bat, the band started the performance with “Everything Sux” which definitely set the tone for the rest of the night. The audience, although rowdy throughout the night, seemed to really find their footing within the first few seconds of the Descendents; set creating a flurry of activity throughout the theatre which was just the icing on the cake to an amazing set.

I feel like I remember so much more than what I’ve already told you but I am also lost for words. Maybe that’s due to the time between the show and now or maybe just due to the fact that this show was exactly what I thought it would be. I have seen all three of these bands multiple times and have seen them all within the past year. That mixed with the fact that you always know what you’re going to get from these bands is making it hard to find new things to write about. That definitely does not mean it was a bad show. The music was flawless and, overall, the energy throughout the night was on point.

People always ask me if going to shows night after night and seeing the same bands multiple times gets old. The answer is always no but I will admit that it gets harder and harder to write about bands that I see multiple times because, like in the case on Friday night, there are some bands that don’t change over time. You always get the same flawless performance from them and that’s what keeps me coming back but definitely makes it hard to write these posts. Long story short, Friday night was an amazing night of music and friends– the way it was supposed to be– and it’s nights like that that are next to impossible for me to put into words.