The Best and Worst of MusInk 2014

OC Fairgrounds

Every spring, OC's diehard tattoo enthusiasts gather for a weekend of music, moshing and ink-slinging better known as the MusInk Tattoo and Music Festival at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. This year's fest, presented by drummer Travis Barker, promised another buzz worthy installment featuring over 50 renowned tattoo artists, vintage car shows, a half-naked Miss MusInk contest and performances by The Vandals, Descendents, The Transplants, Gorilla Biscuits and more. This year's fest definitely left a mark. Firmly embedded in the cavalcade of rockabilly tough guys, punks, hardcore straight edge types and beautiful women, we made our trek through the madness to report on the good, the band and the ugly. Here's a quick recap of the Best and Worst of MusInk 2014. (Nate Jackson)

See also: Travis Barker Says Getting a Head Tattoo Really Isn't That Bad


The Best

The Ink on That Synthetic Hand: Cruising up and down the convention hall aisles and leafing through photo albums filled with artist's tattoos is interesting, but admiring their work on a disturbingly life-like synthetic hand is cool as shit. The guys at A Pound of Flesh create tattoo-able limbs for artists to use as portable portfolios or for apprentice practice. Given co-founder Abraham Cobaxin's background in special effects and the experience of his tattooist partner, Shaun Miller, their products look and feel incredibly authentic. Remember The Addams Family? These synthetic hands look like Thing's punk rock cousins. (Heidi Darby)

Little Kids with Tattoos: Parents proudly walked with their kids dressed in punk attire and sporting temporary tattoos. Kids looked proud when other attendees stopped them to ask about their tattoos. (Priscella Vega)

Descendents: It wasn't surprising seeing majority of attendees wearing Descendents shirts–I'm pretty sure we were all there for the same reason. The Descendents ripped through 26 tracks, playing songs from their entire catalogue and ending their set with X's “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene.” After all the hype, the band was nothing short of delivering a wild set. (Prisella Vega)

See also: The Descendents Guitarist Was a Fan of the Band Before He Joined. These Are His Favorite Songs.

The Transplants: Considering Travis Barker presented the festival this year, expectations for The Transplants performance were high -and the rap rock punks delivered. In a whirlwind of alternating guest appearances, the group powered through a set that felt like a raucous basement party. Rapper Paul Wall jumped onstage for an additional punch of hip-hop flair, and Rancid bassist Matt Freeman popped in for a fist pumping version of “Diamonds and Guns.” By the time front man Tim Armstrong announced that Sen Dog from Cypress Hill was in the house, the dizzying parade of special appearances had the crowd in a frenzy. But none of the guest performers had as much charm as The Transplant's first surprise singer of the night, Barker's son. Rock on, little dude. (Heidi Darby)

$5 Pizza: There was chicken and beef rice bowls, Mexican food, pupusas and a bunch of other sweets, but sometimes the simplest foods taste best. A large slice of pizza, similar to Coscto's kind, had the perfect amount of pepperonis and melted cheese. A fair deal for the size and price. (Priscella Vega)

The Arrival of Hip-Hop: Travis Barker has been extremely outspoken about his views regarding the lack of hip-hop in the world of tattooing, and the drummer stepped up and delivered two acts for night two of the festival. Kansas City speed rapper Tech N9ne headlined the Saturday bill, supported by opening act Rittz. Bonus points awarded to Rittz for making time to get some ink on the hangar floor after his show. (Heidi Darby)

Hardcore Stage Diving: The stage on Sunday was crowded with bands and their bearded, tattooed entourages. But what they really needed up there were a few Olympic judges scoring the high-flying acrobatics of stage divers when Judge plugged in to perform, followed by headliners Gorilla Biscuits. Front flips, cannon balls, bicycle kicks, you name it–they were doing it. The tough, barking lyrics of songs like Judge's “Warriors” or “Degredation” by Gorilla Biscuits were the perfect soundtrack to this amateur stunt work. Props to the front of the crowd had to have been tough as nails in order to survive that all night long. We only saw a few people get dropped hard, most of them being giant whale-looking motherfuckers who nobody had any business catching. (Nate Jackson)

Walter White Tattoo: Five hours well spent, my friend. (Nate Jackson)

Next: The Worst of MusInk
The Worst

Pardon Me, Your Mohawk's in My Eye: Hawk-rockers are a wondrous part of punk-rock culture. But if you're in a two-foot radius of extreme hair product and lengthy locks, think about slipping on some sunglasses. One particularly impressive interpretation came courtesy of a girl who had several hair spikes jutting out of her head from every direction (think finger in a light socket). This variation was interesting to look at early in the day, but being gouged in the face on her path to the stage later in the night was an unpleasant surprise. (Heidi Darby)

Poor Sound Quality: Chances are the sound quality didn't matter to many who went to MusInk, but it would have made a huge difference for the Descendents' set. Songs were a mesh of extremely loud guitar riffs and drum beats overshadowing Milo's vocals but thankfully, the sound cleared up after the first few songs. (Priscella Vega)

Shirtless Guy Who Got Kicked Out Minutes Before Descendents: These types of dudes are almost always guaranteed at shows. Shirtless guy was trying to shove his way up to the front and ended up grabbing another guy by the throat, threatening him for not moving. Another guy intercepted and calmed shirtless guy down, but still got kicked out by security. The crazy thing is I recognized the guy from middle school and his pompous personality definitely hasn't changed. (Priscella Vega)

See also: The Vandals in Illustrated Form

Awkward Moshing During Tech N9ne: The mosh pits during The Transplants performance were expected, but the angry elbows and awkward slam dancing during Tech's set were a bit bizarre. The moshers themselves seemed confused, and the weird energy coming from the pit was a distracting buzz kill. However, the rapper and co-founder of Strange Music wasn't deterred. In a haze bra flinging and rapid-fire lyrics, he pulled the crowd's attention back towards the stage and thankfully the misguided pits eventually dissipated. (Heidi Darby)

$6 Coffee: When you're at the cusp of 21, coffee is the next best beverage to beer. It just sucks when you don't walk into Starbucks and still have to pay $6 for a cup of joe. (Priscella Vega)

Guy Farting on Stage During Gorilla Biscuits: What's the main the drawback of having so many people crowding the stage to support you when you play? One of them is bound to have really bad gas. That's something Gorilla Biscuits frontman Anthony “Civ” Civarelli found out the smelly way when he was forced to stop mid set and acknowledge that one of his crew had just dropped an air biscuit on stage before launching into “No Reason Why” off their self-titled album. “One of these cool guys just farted on stage. I think it was this guy,” Civ said–pointing out a guy with a devilish smile on his face. “Not cool dude. You definitely have to go to the bathroom.” (Nate Jackson)

Ruining Your Child's Hearing: Speaking from experience, being exposed to live music at an early age can be life altering and unforgettable (thanks, Mom and Dad!). That being said, if you're going to pack up the fam and head to a festival try and avoid standing directly in front of the speakers with your toddler's ears unprotected. Christ on a cracker, think it through next time! (Heidi Darby)

See also:
25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List
20 Greatest OC Albums of All Time
Best OC Musicians By Genre

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