Seaside Park; Ventura, CA; 07/03/05

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As it is every year, Van’s Warped Tour 2005 proved to be an event where you could catch up with some of the great bands you know and love, while at the same time discovering some of the best up’n’coming talent.

A few years ago, I learned that the best way to experience Warped Tour is to keep moving. Check out a band on one stage, then immediately head to the next. Stay with the smaller stages but always keep the bigger stages in mind. As much fun as it is to discover new bands, it’s no fun at all to miss your favorite bigger names.

We started off at the Ernie Ball Stage (where we wound up spending most of our time), where In Memory had just taken the stage. A driving hardcore-based band, In Memory got our blood pumping for the start of the day. Scary Kids Scaring Kids were up next and, although we’d heard a lot about the band, we were stunned to see the incredible energy they delivered in their live show. This band’s combined energy wouldn’t be matched for the rest of the day.

We heard great things about Strike Anywhere and headed over to catch the last of their show but got sidelined by the crowd surrounding Plain White T’s who were playing the Volcom Stage. Plain White T’s played a solid set, bringing to mind a live performance by The Knack. Before you consider that a dig, remember that The Knack are one of my favorite bands and that Plain White Ts put on a hell of a show.

We meandered back to the Ernie Ball stage where we caught the last of a performance by rock veterans Mike Watt (Firehose, Minutemen) and Peter Distafano (Porno For Pyros) who rocked a little more soundly than did the younger punk and alternative bands before and after.

Then it was back to the Volcom stage for Riverboat Gamblers who delivered the single most entertaining performance of the day, especially lead vocalist Teko who climbed all over the Volcom stage as though he were Gollum from "Lord of the Rings." The band’s energetic performance gave their music more oomph and made me remember how much I enjoyed their CD (reviewed here). There’s always one standout highlight on each year’s Warped Tour and this year it was the Riverboat Gamblers.

We left the Gamblers to clean up the destruction left by their set and headed over to see Bleed the Dream, a band who had sent a CD to Rough Edge Radio for airplay and whom we were pretty impressed with to begin with. Their set was surprisingly heavy and extreme but measured with moments of genuine emotion and tenderness. A final song, “Broken Wings,” was dedicated to a bandmember who had died of cancer after a long battle and the dedication and the performance was appropriately poignant.

After the great set by Bleed the Dream we headed over to the big stage where Atreyu was about halfway through their set. The band delivered a tight, blistering set that the Warped Tour crowd ate up. I was a little surprised, thinking they were perhaps a little more Ozzfest-oriented than Warped Tour, but the crowd told me I was wrong. They closed their set with a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Shot Through the Heart” (I’m not making this up) and one more song before the crowd gave them a rousing send-off.

Finally, it was Dropkick Murphys who convinced us it was time to call it a day. As the band took the stage, bagpipe players first, then the rest of the band, the audience literally exploded, creating a moshpit of fiery fury and shared but respectable rage. The Murphys delivered a show that was stunning because a) their music isn’t that extreme relatively and b) you’d never know it from the flailing fans.

We thought about staying to catch the Offspring but the Murphys had kicked our ass too solidly. We’d been there for about seven hours at that point, the sun had been brutal all day and there is no place ... and I mean no place ... to sit.

Of course, who wants to sit down at Warped Tour?

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Copyright © 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.