Millencolin at San Diego’s Belly Up Tavern

Millencolin’s SOS World Tour graced San Diego with an unforgettable night, packed with early 2000s punk nostalgia. Old punk heads, like myself, moshed, crowd surfed and raged all night to howling guitars and snapping drum snares. The moment the pit started to swirl, it was like stepping out of a time machine and into the late summer of 1999, when I experienced my first mosh pit and I was home. 

SoCal horror rock band, The Twilight Creeps, opened with a bang. I was just as surprised as the folks at the bar, obviously here for the headliner, who quickly closed their tabs, grabbed their beers and made their way over to the floor to witness 45 minutes of pure punk rock. “Thank you, Solana Beach!” was quickly drowned out with cheers and roars of a pleasantly surprised crowd wanting more. 

The moment the pit started to swirl, it was like stepping out of a time machine and into the late summer of 1999…

Next up, MEST! I obviously hadn’t done my homework, because I was caught off guard when I saw lead singer, Tony Lovato, take the stage and introduce the band. Wow, talk about nostalgia. Tony, sporting his latest hospital admittance bracelet, let us all know he was in pain, he was there to support his family and ecstatic about all the old punk heads that came out tonight. And, to show his appreciation, he mashed our ear drums for 60 minutes, while the rest of us kicked each others asses in the pit. Man, that felt good and it was good to see Tony and the band still at it after all these years.

Here we go. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for — Millencolin! Yes! I can’t tell you how happy it made me feel: a 37-year-old man, once an angsty teen, seeing one of my favorite bands in such an intimate location play the Same Old Tunes (see what I did there?) along with new hits off SOS. “Fox”, “No Cigar” and an all out sing-along of “The Ballad”, that literally brought tears to my eyes, made this night one few can replace. These guys are the soundtrack to my teen years: the years that built the pillars of my life today and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photography by Chris Gomez

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