The Dead Milkmen created a joyous atmosphere for the family crowd at the Timber! Outdoor Music Festival in Carnation Saturday, July 18.
When I was growing up in Portland, Ore., my father delighted in taking me to the Waterfront Blues Festival. It was the perfect summer distraction but, more importantly, it created a lifelong connection between family and live music.
A similar bond may have been forged for many Saturday (July 18) at the last day of the Timber! Outdoor Music Festival. Many of the 2,000 or so fans who descended on Tolt MacDonald Park in Carnation were young families — parents in their 30s and early 40s, and kids running the gamut from toddlers to teens.
You might worry with all the children on hand that Philadelphia punk band The Dead Milkmen could be a somewhat inappropriate headlining act.
“Hey, I work blue,” frontman Rodney Linderman said somewhat apologetically after realizing he’d probably introduced several naughty words into the vocabulary of local children.
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But that didn’t seem to bother anyone, probably because the Milkmen hooked the crowd almost immediately with “Tacoland,” a catchy, energetic explosion that got sun-fatigued revelers up and moving. “Tiny Town,” and “Methodist Coloring Book” gave the band a chance to get cranking and introduced a new generation to what old-school ‘80s punk rock sounds like.
I was concerned that the band would not live up to its legacy, but some of those old songs became new again. On Saturday, the band turned its biggest hit, “Punk Rock Girl,” into a joyous family anthem that had many in the crowd grabbing someone to dance with. The party was on.
Linderman slowed things down to rant about politics, which went over just fine with the adults but there were plenty of blank stares from younger audience members as he asked why there aren’t more angry bands these days.
What was apparent Saturday wasn’t anger, but joy. The band members looked like they were having a blast.
Seattle acts La Luz and Tacocat got the crowd warmed up for the headliner Linderman noted that both are fronted by women, and he encouraged more women to start bands.
Based on the smiles and laughter that permeated the day, it seems as if that message — and all the other ones — got through.