The Vans Warped Tour

At Ventura’s Seaside Park, Tuesday, July

Reviewed by Levi Michaels

anti-flag.jpgIt’s loud, it’s hot, and it’s possibly
the only tour where the headliners don’t matter. While the
mainstream acts are all well and good, the Warped Tour’s 12-year
legacy is one built from an underground foundation, hailed for the
soapbox that it affords to bands still working their way up the
chain. In the punk realm, bands are truly dependent upon their
followers to survive the battle of natural selection, and the
extent of their gratitude goes far beyond a brief thanks between
songs. Everywhere, fans scribble band names and set times on signs
and parade them in front of crowds, working side-by-side with
promoters and tour managers. “It’s just a great environment for
smaller bands like us,” said Torry Jasper, frontman for A Change of
Pace. “The opportunities are endless; you just gotta work your ass

And that they do. For these bands, performing is the pay-off.
“We’re all exhausted,” lamented a weary Justin Sane of Anti-Flag.
“But for us, getting onstage makes it all worth it. It’s our
outlet.” Minutes later, the same four exhausted guys lit a powder
keg of a performance, pausing only to inform the surging crowds
that public schools are required to turn over their private
information to military recruiters. Meanwhile, Rise Against raised
a few fists over at their stage as they sounded off with new
material from The Sufferer and the Witness. With six
stages and 85 acts, there is never much time to be bored. Head on
over to the Smartpunk stage for the choreographed head-banging of
Scary Kids Scaring Kids, or take part in the colossal circle pit of
Every Time I Die fans being filmed for the band’s DVD.

Of course, if your tastes are slightly more
conventional, there’s always the main stage. Fresh from recording a
live album in London, Against Me! ensnared an audience with their
incendiary blend of anarchist folk, setting the stage for a
considerably buzzed and grinning NOFX. Last is certainly never
least at the Warped Tour world, as the crowd was left alone with
the punk veterans while the other stages began to wind up. NOFX
played a healthy blend of old and new, including two songs from the
new Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing before ending the night
with the always-classy “Linoleum.”


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