Southern California’s premiere Tattoo festival once again returned to the OC Fairgrounds for another well organized weekend. The festival in it’s fifth year, while well organized appeared to struggle with attendance again this year. For the second straight year the event was held on the same weekend as the very popular OC Music Awards, and this year also conflicted with Cypress Hill’s Smokeout which drew large audiences to the NOS Center.

Although the attendance appeared lower than expected, the tattoo floor was packed all weekend. At one point on Saturday it was as crowded in the expo hall as a Wal Mart door way on the day after Christmas. The tattoo portion of the event consisted of some of the countries top artists happily working on customers from open to close. Walking through the halls, there were some artists working on the same amazing piece most of the time. Many event goers proudly walked around with their new ink, happily showing it off to anyone who asked.

The music portion of the festival was interesting to say the least. Friday consisted of Rockabilly bands, headlined by Tiger Army, and support by The Howlers and Guana Bats.Tiger Army brought their usual in your face, fun rockabilly style to a crowd which was relatively absent for the opening 2 acts. It appeared that most in attendance were there to see Nick 13 and company tear the venue down, which they happily obliged.

Saturday brought everyone back to their high-school days with music from New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Bayside, COR, and Kill The Complex. The day started off with Kill The Complex playing to a relatively small crowd who had arrived early to secure their spot for the headliners. The younger crowd was very receptive of the newcomers and were very engaged in dancing and enjoying the performance. Bayside and COR provided some powerful rock that warmed the crowd for the dual headliners Yellowcard and New Found Glory.

Sunday was more the pop-punk day which kicked off with the band Assuming we Survive, which won a contest to perform and put on an amazing show – I would keep an eye on this band as they were very good. 2011 Ernie Ball’s Battle of the Bands winners The Darlings were up next and delivered a nice in your face set which included their hit “Broken Heart Still Beating,” which is beginning to get great airplay on KROQ. Atreyu’s Brandon Saller brought his new project Hell or Highwater to the show, and put on a raucous performance. Warped Tour veterans Against Me! put on a nice long set which had the mosh pits flowing. Headlining the night was none other than Alkaline Trio. Vocalist Matt Skiba and company rocked through crowd favorites from their 2010 album “This Addiction” while keeping the crowd engaged during their lengthy set.

All in all Musink was another great event, the one major downfall would be that it continues to schedule itself with competing events in a very competitive Orange County market.

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