Seaside Park; Ventura, CA; 07/09/03
Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton
Having never been to the Warped Tour, I decided this year I would make it a point to check it out.
I'll be going back every year from now on. What a blast!
The Warped Tour is just a huge rock'n'roll festival, no matter what kind of music is playing onstage at the moment. In the past, it may have been just punk rock and, these days, it's still mostly punk rock. But there are metal, death metal and other genres making plenty of appearances at Warped Tour every year and, surprisingly, it all still works.
There's no way you can see every band that plays at your particular Warped Tour date, so don't even try. Snidermann and I stumbled across the secret to the Warped Tour anyway, and we're pleased to present it to RoughEdge readers here:
That's it. That's all you have to do. If you keep walking in a big lazy circle around the entire Warped Tour venue, you'll see more than if you just crowd around the two big stages or if you spend too much time in the booth / merchandise areas. You've got to keep moving and you'll be amazed at what you discover.
One of the things we discovered was FL the band. I'm not sure that FL is a great name for a band - even their new CD is entitled "What Does That Stand For?" - but the band themselves were incredible. Not punk rock, not metal but an interesting combination of the two, FL played lively rock'n'roll that kicked your ass, made you laugh and - most importantly - was a hell of a lot of fun. A review is forthcoming of their CD and we'll keep you posted on the band's news. FL is awesome!
After hearing S.T.U.N.'s CD, "Evolution of Energy," we had to check out the band live and they were everything we expected. As sharp as the music sounds on the CD, the live performance simply blew us away. I'm not much for politically charged music and S.T.U.N. leans a little too heavily in that direction as far as I'm concerned (thankfully, not as far as others) but their live show - like their CD - is definitely worth checking out.
We also stumbled across a British punk rock band called "The Fight." Of course, we were drawn to the stage because we were hoping it might be the former members of Rob Halford's band, "Fight." (Yeah, right). Instead, we found a female-fronted punk rock band that delivered their music with a crushing, rough-edged punk rock fist. Sadly, they were too close to the beer garden and most of the fans there simply stood, slack-jawed and watched the band wear themselves out while they drained their six dollar beers.
Since I don't drink beer, I thought the band was incredible. Thank God Warped Tour doesn't have a tequila booth.
We also had to check out "Shocker" because Jennifer of L7 is in the band. Shocker was cool, too, and, again, seemed to be a band having fun. In fact, that's what was the coolest thing about the Warped Tour - everyone, the bands, the fans, seemed to be having a great time. Later, the members of Shocker hung out in their booth and signed autographs. In fact, most of the bands performing there did the same.
Of course, we had to spend some time near the main stage. We saw Sum 41, who were pretty good and got a great response. We saw Dropkick Murphys who dropkicked some serious ass. We saw Less Than Jake who were way better live than they have any right to be judging from their spongerocky studio material.
Finally, as the evening drew to a close, Snidermann decided to get ballsy. "I'm going in," he told me, as Andrew W.K. prepared to take the stage. He stuffed his wallet and checkbook deep into his pockets and - as Andrew W.K. flew onto the stage to a maddened fan frenzy - I saw Snidermann sucked into the human vortex of the mosh pit. "Do the circle!" W.K. screamed, "Go on, do the circle."
I hated to leave a friend and staff writer behind but he had already been sucked into the pit. He was gone.
Later, after Andrew W.K. had left the stage, having stirred the crowd up like they were a big vat of human whipped cream (and playing some new material from his upcoming CD), I stood near a t-shirt vendor and searched for Snidermann. Finally, he came limping out, a crooked smile on his face.
"Dude, that was the most fun I've ever fucking had." he said.
His back hasn't been the same since.
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.