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LATEST REVIEWS

Division of Laura Lee
Das Not Compute

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Vans Warped Tour
June 29, 2002
Reliant Center - Houston, TX

Samuel Barker & Jay Debauchery
Bands
Samuel's Take
Jay's Take
Opening Remarks Warped Tour has always been the concert equivalent of an EP. Each band teases you, then they’re off the stage. Some band actually make themselves look bad with that short of a set, which helps you kick the garbage out of the loop. This year, due to the rain, the sets were dropped and the sets were more like 7”s, which lead most bands to barely get 6 songs done.

The rain hurt the show’s sound as well. By making the entire show move inside, no one got the chance to move around, which led to some in the crowd acting thuggish in the audience. Also, the number of kids who would never go to a small club show, but put on the “punk for a day” outfit and come out to beat up kids who love the music was larger than in past years. Luckily by midpoint of the day, those kids were either too tired to thug or got bored and went home. The latter half of the day definitely out shined the earlier part of the day.

Warped Tour has come and gone once again and I was able to hold to my vow after last year: I went but I didn't pay. Last year was so horrible band and venue wise that I was actually looking forward to it being in the Reliant Center. They had it there in years past (back when it was known as the AstroArena) and the option of going inside to escape the Texas heat was always welcome. But, I'm willing to place my money on God crying all day due to the fact that there were a lot of fucking lame ass pop "punk" bands clogging the arteries of the tour this year. Oh yeah, and those douche bag's in Anti-Flag were playing.

I showed up at 9 (yes that is the 9 that comes in the a.m.) to help set up our booth and I was able to confirm what I already knew about the tour: Corky from Life Goes On could fucking sneak into this thing. That's not a bad thing of course. So, if I ever end up without a guest spot or press credentials at least I'm covered. But let's forget about the complete incompetence of the staff and the staggering lack of bands that failed to offer up time to be interviewed and focus on the attractions and performances of this summer's punk rock opus (for now at least).

The Used Upon getting bored browsing the booths, I decided to make my way the stage to see who was making all the noise. From the booth area, it sounded like pure chaos, which I would later learn every band would sound like from that section of the building. Upon making my way to the Maurice Stage, I was greeted by a group of guys going crazy and screaming over hard guitar. It was a hardcore band. Hardcore can be cool, so I watched. The Used went completely insane for their 20 minute slot, which was I enjoyed seeing from someone who was playing as the doors opened. The fact that they are from Utah and do not try to give out bibles or intrude upon your privacy is nice as well. Damn Mormons! I’m glad Jehovah has not got his hands on these guys yet. No Comment.
Trust Company I had seen these kids a few weeks earlier with Static-X. Static-X and the rest of the group at that concert were not very good. In fact, they were cookie cutter mall-metal bands. Trust Company stood out. They did not try to rap, which is good. They played hard rock music and screamed, which is far from original, but it is still better than the crap we are subjected to from mall-metal acts all over the map today. No Comment.
Death By Stereo Doing something stupid when he should have watched. Since the guys were playing on the Volcom stage, which is a lot smaller and tucked away than the others, security consisted of grandmothers and men two steps away from being wheel chair jockeys. As soon as Efram said, "First kid on stage gets a fucking t-shirt," the security was overwhelmed by eager fans and random kids who just like getting shit for free. The band was completely into the performance and had the crowd in a mad frenzy. You just don't see people react to a band at the Warped Tour the way they did to Death By Stereo without mass amounts of fighting and unbridled testosterone. No matter what classification you want to throw at the various youths letting out their aggression, no lines were drawn and no problems arose. The sheer insanity of the set left the stage a bit broken due to the enthusiastic crowd and maybe a little because of Death By Stereo themselves.
Quarashi I know these guys hate to hear it, but they’re so much like the Beasties. Three white boys with rock music backing their rhymes. This is not a bad thing at all. I rather enjoyed it. They weren’t EXACTLY like the Beasties, no chance of them being seen as carbon copies, but the force is strong with these guys. The kids enjoyed and bounced to the music and I enjoyed it and bounced to the music. A good groove to hit for an early band No Comment.
Booth Browsing I spent a lot of time watching the educational films at the Peta booth. I learned how chickens were processed. I wasn't disturbed, just amazed at how they did it. I guess the propaganda didn't work on me. I have been telling everyone how neat is was to see how chickens are processed. Snap. Crackle. Pop. So the show goes off to a good start and there is nothing interesting to watch until Hot Water Music plays so I hit some booths. There are the usual label ones and band merch tents with nothing different than years past. But this year, the good folks at Troma decided to grace the tour with their own tent complete with t-shirts, videos and dvds, posters, and some unique side show bits. The coolest was the freak show. Some guy stapled his own forehead but got one lodged in the skin pretty good. I tried to be helpful and yank it out as blood streamed down the poor guy's face but would have done much damage. Fortunatley for him, he was able to dig it out after awhile. This is a surprising and welcome addition to the tour in my opinion. Troma is pretty punk rock. They feature members of bands not only on their soundtracks but in their movies as well and they have been working "outside the studio system" throughout their existence. Lloyd, send the tent back next year but with LEMMY!
Hot Water Music I had heard this band for the first time the previous day and I dug the sound. I had kept reading reviews saying it was pop punk, but if this is poppy punk, I am a complete fan. That must make the other bands on this tour Wuss Punk. To sum it all up, these guys went crazy, rocked the stage and got the kiddies running around. The only bad part was the “punk for a day” kids who decided they would get prepped for their upcoming season of JV Football by beating up on real fans. It was sad, but the set wore them out and sent a lot of them packing. I make my way to the Brian Stage just before Hot Water Music is about to play. There is a pretty large turnout at the stage and I feel really good about it until I realize that almost no one standing around knows who the fuck is about to play and once the band kicks into the first song off of A Flight and a Crash, they still have no idea who is playing. But, a pretty jockish and violent moshpit ensues which makes absolutely no sense to me. I don't feel the need to get violent and shove people when I listen to HWM. But a commentary on the crowd will follow this piece separately. In the end, HWM rose to the occasion on such a big stage and were great but they didn't play anything old except for "Turnstile." Hell, I even expected to hear "Rooftops" but I guess they have to make their sales quota for Epitaph or else they will get dropped like the Dwarves, New Bomb Turks, Zeke..
The Casualties Somebody take the members of the Casualties aside and inform them that it is not 1979 and dressing like an idiot is no longer cool. If they refuse to take a hint, tell them to go down to the local head shop and hang out with the hippie who also refuses to admit he was born too late to be a part of that lifestyle. Lame punk crap with a singer who sounds like his throat is going out. Bleh! No Comment.
3rd Strike I know, I’m not supposed to like rap-metal bands, but 3rd Strike is the one I sort of dig. I doubt I’d ever sport their gear or listen to their album much, but seeing them live is a guilty pleasure. I enjoyed the change of pace from the pop punk that plagued the majority of the show. Too many bands sounded the same for my taste. Singer Jim Koerth was looking a lot better than last time I saw him. Touring took him from a XXL Shaquille O’Neal jersey down to a XL Kobe Bryant jersey. Not an easy jump to make. 3rd Strike was terrible. I won't even waste wit on those retards.
New Found Glory I have a soft spot in my heart for these guys. Since I got married and packed on numerous extra pounds, I feel close to this band. I think the bassist, Ian, writes most of the songs or something. They’re all about being a fat dork who can’t score any tang. It’s rough, but it’s the life most of us lead. The music leaves a bit to be desired, I mean, they are a Drive-Thru alumnist, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. At least NFG wannabes, Midtown weren’t on the tour. These guys stunk up the place.
Thursday These guys scream, then they get all emotional. I was scared at some points that I would get cried on by the band, which would upset my drying out from the rain process. For this reason I decided to not take any pictures and stay far from them so I could dry in a timely manner. Thursday got the girls horny and wild. I don't like this bands album but at least they entertain live. Still, the music is just a little cliché. I'll put it to you this way, if they looked like all the other bands that sound like Thursday then they would still be sucking Victory's tattooed schlong. But, if you dress like the International Noise Conspiracy but play heavy music you're marketable. Take note aspiring rock stars.
MXPX Jesus must be unhappy with the way this band plays, he tried to rain their set away…unfortunately he failed. I saw these guys a few years ago and they basically still do the same boring stuff. Too many stop and gos for me. MXPX forgot to rock for Jesus. That's okay, I hear he's gonna get em back by cock blocking them for life. At least they can't spread their seeds! But, everyone went nuts for "Punk Rawk Show." That song is punk's most embarrassing moment. Yes even more so than Crass.
Manic Hispanic This was the most fun I had all day, except during Flogging Molly’s set. If you’ve never seen this band, do the following: Close your eyes (when you’re done reading all the steps of course), imagine a band that looks like they patrol the barrio (complete with blue shirts, bandanas, etc.), and imagine them playing your favorite punk songs with new lyrics about the life of a “vato.” That is Manic Hispanic. By the time they got to “God Save Tijuana,” I was nearly pissing myself. They also represented the fat man better that Ian from New Found Glory. These guys do nothing but punk rock covers but make them "vato." The band features three lead singers and everyone on stage is dressed like the guys in Blood in Blood Out: Dickies work shirts, Dickies pants, loc shades, and the blue bandanas. They gratuitously used words like "ese", "vato", "holmes" and so on and were certainly the most entertaining band of the tour. Just a shitload of fun to hear the Sex Pistol's "God Save the Queen" turn into "God Save Tijuana." They even ended the set with their own version of the Damned's "Neat, Neat, Neat." Fucking wicked good set and definitely a band to watch whenever they come through.
No Use For A Name NUFAN rocks. I enjoy these guys. I’ve seen them a lot over the past seven years and I never get bored, especially since Matt Riddle left Face to Face to join. They played a lot of new stuff, which was cool, but sucked all in the same instance. New stuff should be used sparingly during a shortened set. Give us the songs we all know! By the time HWM had finished playing, the powers that be decided to go ahead and shut down the two stages outside and move all of the bands scheduled for the Teal Stage (which had the biggest acts) to the two large inside stages. As mentioned earlier, all the Drive Thru bands were bumped off the show and with overcrowded stages, this meant that each band got only a 20 minute set and the minds of many impressionable youth were spared the poisoning of pop "punk" bile. Some were able to easily abide by this decision but others, such as No Use for a Name, chose to extend there time while eating away at other bands. Oh yeah they bored the shit out of me too. There was once a time when I would've enjoyed seeing NUFAN but that changed when I entered by teens. But people were into it however that says nothing since the whole day kids danced for bands when they didn't even know who they were watching.
Thrice Somebody, namely Jay Debauchery, kept telling me how this band is said to sound like Thursday, and I was not stoked to see them play, even after talking with Dustin before the set, I was bummed. Then they came out and rocked. Not Thursday-style emocore here. I guess some could misconstrue the sound, but I thought it was rather different. I don’t know if it was my low expectations going in or if they rocked as hard as I thought they did, but I was impressed by the end of their set. Thrice felt the burn thanks to NUFAN but they still gave it there all and were way better than the last time I saw them. It was a gracefully short set with lots of screaming and breakdowns and they sound so much better live than on cd. The band was full of energy and it carried out into the crowd and sent kids running for t-shirts.
Autograph Lines We, having a booth near Good Charlotte, got the chance to see the line of pre-teen girls waiting to bring forth their offering to the band. Some rejects vandalized a Monopoly game and made it into "Good Charlopoly" or something along those lines. I understand defacing street signs, but Monopoly is an icon. Speaking of running kids, after a New Found Glory finished up stinking up the place, the band strolled through the merch tents and were promptly swarmed but rabid fans. Even the fat bass player. Good Charlotte also had a pretty long line for autographs which was located right outside our booth so we got to watch a lot of ugly fat chicks with bad dye jobs and Old Navy clothing get wet like Andrew W.K. waiting to spend a nanosecond with the hacks in Good Charlotte.
Anti-Flag These guys bitch about the government and the kids who came to the show in their parents’ Lexus love it. People like myself who drove to the show, during a rainstorm, in a car with a leak do not enjoy having some idiots on stage recycling Crass songs (yeah, their lyrics are that outdated) and quoting Noam Chomsky. Why doesn’t Propagandhi join the Warped Tour for once and teach these people a lesson or two. I also enjoyed the spray painted upside-down flag at their booth; somebody in their camp has seen Leftover Crack play. I couldn’t stomach the entire set and moved on to see Autopilot Off on the Volcom Stage. Finally, is it just me, or does Justin Sane sound like your friends annoying little sister when he talks. Here is how the next few hours went by. Kids went ape shit for Anti-Flag which shows that the intense patriotism witnessed after 9/11 has already faded away. At least I almost hit Justin Sane with a water bottle. High fives all around! I just don't get how this band is popular. Oh wait, yeah I do. Their fans are stupid. If you've ever endured an AF album then you know that all those kids going off at their shows are the ones the band makes fun of. Then they take all of their money. Yeah guys, fuck capitalism! Let's hope some Oi band jumps on the tour and kicks the ever loving shit out of them for hanging an American flag upside down and spray painting it. I just don't understand the band, they say they are pro-America but they always attack the nation. Those schmucks say their beef is with the government but then they should just go ahead and say, "We love America but fuck the government." Not "Fuck this country." Guys just die for the greater good, not your government.
Autopilot Off The band formerly known as Cooter did pretty well for themselves, despite being exiled to the corner of the venue on the Volcom stage. Had it not been for Death by Stereo basically destroying the stage and building a buzz that no band could match, APO could have been a more lasting memory. I just kept moping about missing Death by Stereo. Watching fat girls look for autographs.
Bad Religion Alright, we all know Mr. Brett just worked on the new album so that he could generate some more money to snort up his nose. So with that aside, the real members of Bad Religion played well. They played a lot of new stuff, which was lame. I wanted to hear the quality old school mixed with a single new song or two. New songs do not make kids like you better. They want to rock to the songs they know and then rest during the lame ass new stuff. Now all eyes turned to the new main stage since Bad Religion and Flogging Molly were coming up. Bad Religion was okay and didn't feature Mr. Brett. The band still moves more than most groups half there age and is certainly great to watch but, due to the short set times, didn't play too many favorites. There were a couple of radio hits and of course "Do What You Want" but I was pretty unfulfilled at the end of their set. Still better than most of the crap that plopped on stage during the day. Get Brett back from rehab and start rocking.
Tsunami Bomb I remember seeing the Ataris a few years ago and Marco was wearing a Tsunami Bomb shirt. This intrigued me, I felt like maybe I had been left out of the circle and missed some amazing new band. Well, I finally saw Tsunami Bomb. They’ll be big soon, I’m sure of it. Will I LIKE them? No, not at all. It’s a pop punk band, no much unlike any other pop punk band on the tour, only their singer is a girl and they try to sell that as something original. Here is the reason Tsunami Bomb will sell records: “Hey, do you like Tsunami Bomb?” “Why yes, I’d love to fuck/fist (depending on sexual preference) their singer.” I like girl bands, there should be more female fronted bands or bands comprised only of females, but someone needs to shoot pop punk bands, even female fronted ones. Between Bad Religion and Floggin Molly, I checked out some of Tsunami Bomb's set. Nothing special. Fast and melodic punk rock with female vocals but it is done worlds better than most of the genre. People should check out this band cause even though it's nothing new the band is great at what it does and we need a replacement for Discount and it sure as hell ain't Pretty Girls Make Graves.
Flogging Molly Shame on me. This band came out and rocked the place like no one else only using five songs. Damn the short sets. I felt shame as I had to pint of Guinness to hold over head and sing drunkenly along with band with. Dave King seemed a bit possessed on this day and made the set that much more exciting. This is one of, if not THE, best live band I have ever seen. Flogging Molly was, as usual, amazing. These guys can't suck live. You ALWAYS have a blast when they play and so does the band. They only got through 4 songs though due to the 20 minute set time. They got the audience moving more than Bad Religion did which really says something. Thanks for the free Guinness guys.
Dynamite Boy I’ve seen these guys like 100 times and they never disappoint. I remember a few years ago when they played a show on Bon Scott’s birthday and said it would be the last time they would do “TNT.” Well, it’s years later and I’ve never seen them not play the song. AC/DC is cool, so they are forgiven. They played most of their popular songs, which made the kids happy to sing along. For being a smaller band on the tour, these guys had the right idea. Dynamite Boy came up next and were cut short due to the fact that Reel Big Fish just had to get up and remind us why the ska explosion was one of the worst musical and consumer errors in history and that they should have never started playing music. But they made the most of their criminally short time performing and the crowd responded very well. I saw a lot people singing all the words and smiles all around. The band played their hearts out like they always do and even allowed some kid with journalistic credentials to yell "fuck el nino" and hold up a big sign that read the same during Adrian's (aka El Nino) bass solo in "Julie H." Take my word for it, Rockzone is very lucky to employ the talents of such a degenerate.
Reel Big Fish This band is cheesy, they haven’t put out an album in like seven years and they play a style of music that has long been dead. How the hell are they still on Warped Tour? Well, they’re just too funny to not bring on tour. Reel Big Fish has been able to survive because they’ve never taken themselves seriously. They still know that ska sucks and they are the last people willing to show people that. Think of them as that photos of the cigarette smoke damaged lung down at the health department, they’re the proof that ska was bad. They played “Beer” which made me happy. “Somebody Hates Me” would have made me smile, but they didn’t play it. Harsh. Reel Big Fish fucking blew.
Ozma “Hello, we’re Weezer…errr…Ozma. This song is from our Green album…errr…our new album.” Not even Derek Grant on keys could save this wannabe. In case I wasn't clear above, Reel Big Fish really fucking blew. So did Weezer jr., I mean Ozma. What a waste of tour slots.
Lagwagon Lagwagon does not tour much. This sucks. When Lagwagon does tour, they tend to make the most out of the tour and kick ass. This does not suck. Joey Cape and company left very little back from their 25-minute set. They actually covered most of their releases and failed to do the typical “this is from our new record” crap the other bands tended to do. Bonus. Now we come to the final five bands and they are all biggies. At least draw wise. Lagwagon was up first and reminded why it's necessary to see them whenever they decide to tour. They rock live. The set spanned the bands discography and the crowd went nuts. Lagwagon is always fun live and even when they play to a massive crowd they still make it feel like club show. Well, maybe I feel that way cause I was one of two people in the security pit. Who knows.
Alkaline Trio I’ve heard this band’s albums in the past and I have enjoyed them. Friends have told me they were the next coming of punk rock brilliance. Well, if what I saw on this night was that brilliance, some body please kill all the punk bands in the world and make it end now. Basically, this band played all their new songs, which they hoped would sell more records I guess. Note to Trio: Play old songs that people know, kids unfamiliar with you will see other kids singing along, they will feel left out and they will then buy your records. They will probably buy the new one, since it’s new and they want to be up on the new songs so they’ll look cool next time you come through. It's easy to sum up Alkaline Trio's set and thanks to a member of Hands Up Houston, I have the right words: they had 20 minutes to sell their new album. Still, they were great. Just really disappointing with the set list. I didn't even see the guys pound the booze. What a sham.
NOFX I enjoy NOFX, much like I enjoy Fruity Pebbles. They both remind me of my high school years, when I just hung around, had no job and played music a lot. They are both comforting to me. NOFX plays the same set almost every time you see them. This time it was shorter, but most of the staples were played. NOFX did add a new song to the mix, an ode to George W. Bush entitled “Idiot Son of a Millionaire.” This song made me smile. I like to smile. Now for NOFX. They were acting like jerks. First, I stopped caring about that band a long time ago and they certainly haven't released an album that was good since Punk in Drublic and nothing worth listening to since the Decline. Second, those guys were talking shit about other bands while they were playing and cracking jokes. What a dickhead thing to do. It wouldn't have killed them to wait five minutes to start their set especially since they got more time than the other bands. But, I guess overrated wannabe rockstars to any 14 year old that knows the word "punk" get whatever the hell they want. I didn't even see those guys walk around or hang out THE WHOLE DAY. They probably just sat on their bus and acted fat. And they were boring live, too. I will give Fat Mike loads of credit though on the hilarious anti-George Bush flyer and their new song, "Idiot Son of a Millionare." Oh yeah, the cover of "Radio" is good too but that's all the positive I can say about NOFX now. I remember back in '98 that NOFX threw out thousands of dollars into the crowd because they felt the kids got screwed with an indoor show and high priced refreshments. That didn't happen this year for some reason. Cheap skates.
Good Charlotte I know two things in life, Buddyhead is for the children and Good Charlotte is for the little girls. This band looked like it came up on a homeless man and stole his clothes. They looked like the street folk and played pop punk about losing girls. Note to Charlotte: If you want quality groupie tang that is not 12 years old and fat, dress like you have the money you have and play real rock music. Once NOFX finished, all the girl dropped puddles of vaginal secretions as Good Charlotte started playing. That's when I left.
Mighty Mighty Bosstones These guys are getting up there in years, so I was far from stoked to see them perform. I was sure it would be another ska band thinking they were still cool and trying to make people fall for the scam again and ensue a fourth wave of ska. Instead, this band came out and rocked the few people who made it to the end of the show. I felt fortunate to see the set. Jay was driving home, detoxing to real punk albums.
Closing Remarks Well, it was a bit of a disaster, but Warped Tour is always fun. I don't mind spending a day out watching bands I'd normally never see. Even when I used to pay, I always had fun. I like things that made me happy when I was younger, that's why you'll always see me watching Saved By The Bell reruns. (no, not the second generation. The ones with Elizabeth Berkley...nice) In the end, the Warped Tour was okay. Decent at best. The venue made the bands sound like ass from afar and there were some good bands and strong performances but due to weather and crowd it all kind of went to hell. If the sun was out things would have gone a lot smoother and this would probably be just a lot of bitching about the heat. Don't spend your money on the tour next year kids, it's just way too easy to sneak in.


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