I had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual Musink Fest in Costa Mesa, CA--a festival blending live music and an appreciation for tattoo art--hosted by LA Ink star, Kat Von D. It would be my first time attending the So-Cal fest, and I was excited for the experience. They get two thumbs up from me on parking alone--charging a mere 5 bucks. I entered the gate with just enough time to gather in the sights before Gainesville's, Against Me!, took the stage. Most of the festivities took place between two buildings. One with an abundance of tattoo booths and the other for the performance. Between the two buildings you could watch skaters flipping tricks on a small skatepark setup. One thing that always gets on my good side, is when everything follows a strict schedule. Against Me! were to take the stage at 7:30, and they walked out right on time. The band opened with their latest title track, "White Crosses." While the crowd was excited--it wasn't until they jumped into classics like "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong" and "Cliche Guevara" that the room lost it. The crowd's voices carried to the front of the room while the crowd's hands carried people (in one instance, a person with a skateboard). Due to the strict schedule, the band did away with banter and breaks--never taking a moment for themselves to even take a swig of a cool beverage. At times you could catch someone pouring water down Weinberg's mouth in the middle of playing. They managed to sneak in some newer tracks from the sixth studio album they've just begun recording. They closed the set with--in my opinion, one of the best show closers any band has to offer--"We Laugh At Danger (And Break All the Rules)." Just when you think the audience is tired out, you find yourself having trouble trying to keep your balance. It was a great set both the fans and the band enjoyed--judging from the smiles they were giving off. While the fest's closer, Alkaine Trio, were setting up, I was able to walk around the show room. A nice highlight that sets this festival apart from others. In the adjacent building, it's a whole nother atmosphere. One filled with focused artists at work. It's a pretty awesome being around so many talented artists from all over the world. Some of the tattoo booths have different things to offer. Some had artwork for sale while others had tools or clothing. The rest were there to do what they do best. The clock was ticking and after cooling off, I was ready to heat up again with Alkaline Trio. The band had been touring through California playing all of their sophomore album, Maybe I'll Catch Fire. Unfortunately, that wouldn't be the case tonight. The band opened with "Cringe" from their debut album, Goddammit. They didn't completely ignore the album though, they dedicated "She Took Him to the Lake" to Dear & Departed's, Dan Smith, while "Madam Me" went out to Social Distorion--who pushed the band into playing the festival in the first place. They also filled the set with track's from 2003's, Good Mourning, like "Continental," "Emma." and "This Could Be Love" before walking off the stage. They came back to close the night out with oldies, "Bleeder" and "97." I don't particularly like festivals, but this one was a completely different experience. It's definitely a show I'd like to attend again. Fortunately, weather isn't much of an issue as it's primarily indoors, and it's not really crowded. Food and drink prices are still high but no more than you'll find at any other festival. Lastly, they consistently get good bands to play. I had a good time and I hope to have another.