Piers 30 - 32; San Francisco, CA; 07/12/03

Reviewed by Paco

I had soooooooo much fun at the Van's Warped Tour. I'm a little bruised, sprained and sunburned, but it was all well worth it. I got into the show right as it opened, for once. The lineup sheets weren't ready yet, so I aimlessly wandered around for awhile, finally stopping in front of the Volcom stage, where Rufio (www.rufiomusic.com) was playing. They were decent and worth checking out. From there, it was band after band, almost non-stop for more than 6 hours:

1208 (www.1208music.com): They come from the same area that spawned Pennywise and the Deviates and Pennywise's Fletcher has had a hand in producing them. They are young but very good and they put on a good show, too.

Tsunami Bomb (www.tsunamibomb.com): Punk rock chick lead singer. Their best songs are great, everything else is mediocre. Fortunately, they're getting better and better as they age. Again, a good show. NorCal punks do a great job of supporting their hometown bands.

Dropkick Murphys (www.dropkickmurphys.com): Hands down, the most intense pit I've ever been in. Tons of crowd surfing (some by people who are really too big to be surfing). I lost my hat and sunglasses twice, but somehow managed to recover them both times. All the crowd surfing made it kind of hard to actually enjoy the band. I was too busy pushing backs, arms, legs and butts off my head. I really want to see DKM again, but where I can enjoy it more.

After being mostly unable to breath for half an hour, I needed some place to just breathe and dry off a bit. The Mad Caddies provided the background music for this quest.

Mad Caddies (www.madcaddies.com): It was very good, kind of mellow, kind of hard punk-ska with a great horn section. They have a new album that came out earlier in the year that I'll have to check out.

Body Count (www.bodycount.com): Next was a previously unannounced special guest: Body Count with Ice mofo T. I don't know who introduced them, but it was a white guy (maybe, possibly Jello Biafra?) who got pelted by water bottles and a smoke bomb by a small number of audience members as he said, "No one has done more to piss on the graves of all those who died on Sept. 11 than George W. Bush ..." and then proceeded to provide commentary on the PATRIOT act and other things that have happened since the terrorist attack. Then Ice-T and Body Count came on and reinforced that message. I haven't listened to that CD in a long time, but was still able to sing along pretty well, as did most of the crowd. Ice-T did a great job of adding a political message to almost each song and getting the crowd riled up.

Rancid (www.rancidrancid.com): Another intense pit. This was a little better than the DKM pit. Lots of crowd surfing, but I was still able to enjoy lots of the set. Lots of jumping up and down and shouting along. A new Rancid album comes out soon.

Suicide Machines (www.hollywoodrecords.go.com/suicidemachines): One of my favorites to see live. I saw them a couple years ago and they were great again this time. A great pit and they worked the crowd real well: split the pit in two, then had us charge each other, "Braveheart" style. Later, they split the pit again, and had those of us in the center charge those who were "safely" off to the side. The music was great, too. Lots of singing along and jumping.

After this, I spent about an hour wandering around, picking up merch and resting up for the end and highlight of the show. I saw bits and pieces of unknown bands from the Volcom stage. Bands really need to make sure they say who they are before they end their set. One of them was pretty good, but I don't know who they were.

Pennywise (www.pennywisdom.com): There are lots of reasons why Pennywise is my favorite band and they were all reinforced in their 30 minute set. The pit was great. There was some crowd surfing, but mostly just singing along and jumping around. The music was great. They played a lot from "Land of the Free" which is holding up to be a great album. A few prime older cuts, too ("Perfect People," "Homesick," "Pennywise" and, of course, the closing "Bro Hymn" and a track called "God Bless the USA" from their upcoming album. Their new album comes out August 9. Guitarist Fletcher asked the crowd, "How many of you are going to buy it?" About 80% of the crowd raised their fists. Then he asked "How many of you are going to download it off the internet?" There were loud cheers and about the same number of raised arms. Then he asked, "How many of you are going to buy it, then beat the shit out of those whole stole it?" Which got cheers from about the half the crowd. Fletcher added, "We really don't care how you get it, just get it and enjoy it."

There were a few bands I heard only in passing or from a distance: Sum41 (who played their cover of Metallica's "Master of Puppets"), The Ataris, The Used and Face to Face.

As usual, it was a great show and well worth the few minor injuries.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.