16 - The Michigan Daily Monday, July 27, 1998
Skateboarding and motorcross with the
best ska and punk bands in the nation.
Some would call it heaven, but no, it's
By Colin Bartos U Daily Arts Writer
ummer always brings droves of festivals,
each claiming to be the one to go to. But
are they worth skipping out on work for
a day? Hell yeah, if you're talking about the
The Warped Tour showed that skateboarding starts with Warped Tour - once again the best thing to hit
"ska" for a reason. summertime since Slip 'n' Slides.
This year the tour had its work cut out for it.
The Warped Tour lives Last year's festival at Pine Knob was amazing
- three stages, 25 bands and some of the
up to its nam e: biggest names in punk and ska music. How do
you top that?
How about four stages, 34 bands, skating,
* Motorcycles that dump BMX and motorcross demos, barbecue and
UWWRPUWJFW ~ ~ U~I~about 50 tents!
50 feet into the air. After a two-year stint at Pine Knob, the tour
made a stop at the more friendly confines of
Phoenix Street in Pontiac. And I do mean friend-
* A Mormon ska band in ly, considering the tour packed the same number
of people into about half the space this year.
blue body suits. For all of you unfamiliar with how this thing
works, bands play for a half-hour, in succes-
sion, from noon to 9 p.m. At various times dur-
* A preternaturally ing the day, skate contests and pro demos rage
as the music hits fast and furious. It all wears
endowed boy. your ass out in a hurry.
The show started with a bang, as up-and-com-
ers Unwritten Law and hardcore heroes H20
® Some of the best were the first two groups to rip. With the sun
beating down and so much music to look forward
grooves ever heard, and to, it wasn't long before the crowd started gettin'
some of the best mosh cazy. As you'd probably expect, no good punk
show is without ncident, and there were plenty.
pits ever ... inoshed? The first occurred during an early set, when
All drummer Bill Stevenson got beaned with a
full water bottle, at which he jumped out and
the thrower to come up
so he could beat the crap
out of him.
But things started
looking up as CIV hit the
stage, providing one of
the most exciting perfor-
mances of the day. CIV,
- playing its third straight
Warped year, celebrated
the release of its new
album, "Thirteen Day
Getaway," giving the
crowd new scorchers
such as "Secondhand
Superstar" and "Living
Life," that were easily
comparable with the
ever-danceable "Set Your
Goals," the minor hit
"Wait One Minute
k More" and the band's
&J theme of individuality,
the brutal "Et Tu,
Immediately after CIV,
No Use For A Name,
Pontiac experienced the most surfing it's ever had in the city's history - crowd
surfing, that is.
from San Jose, Calif., started an amazing set,
playing songs spanning its entire 10-year career.
The members of the band seemed as impressed
with the crowd as the crowd was with them, and
No Use For A Name couldn't have set a better
stage for the first headliners, the old-school ska
originators, The Specials.
But as The Specials took the stage, the heav-
ens opened, and in a span of 30 minutes, the
entire crowd was soaked. The music stopped
for a half-hour, as everyone regrouped and kids
started playing in a Lake St. Clair-size puddle.
The rain stopped at about 4:30, and everyone
started to dry as the highlight of the day was
soon upon everyone.
Most of the kids would probably say they
came to see Bad Religion if asked, and although
at least half the bands on the tour are at the top
of what they do, Bad Religion still sticks out as
the almighty leader and champion.
Much as the Suicide Machines did at last
year's Warped Tour, Bad
Religion had the throngs
in a frenzy from the very
beginning. Opening with
1993's "Recipe For
Hate," Bad Religion ran
like a freight train Phoenix Plaza
through a lightening- July 23, stat
esque set featuring songs
from all but one of its _
nine albums. "The
Answer" went over with
the crowd just as well as
"The Biggest Killer In
American History" and
"Hear It" from the band's
latest effort, "No Substance."
Another incident occurred in the middle of
the set when a security guard started beating
someone. Bassist Jay Bentley stopped the 300-
pounder and yelled, "What is this, Ozzfest?"
Whatever trouble was about to spring its head,
Bentley's comment had slain the beast.
Then the band broke into 1989's anthem "I
Want To Conquer The World." There was no
greater moment than the finale, "Fuck
Armageddon, This Is Hell," when the crowd
swelled until it seemed about to burst.
Bad Religion took the show to an apex that
would last the rest of the evening. The original
goof-punk superstars, everyone's favorite
NOFX, came on a half-hour later to a roar.
NOFX jumped, kicked and slammed its way
through a 15-song set. Vocalist Fat Mike was as
animated as ever, joking with the crowd
between songs, telling them why Detroit is the
"poop-eating city," giving insightful life obser-
vations, and even writing and performing "I
Don't Play Ska Anymore" on the spot.
Other noteworthy sights included the motor-
cross riders who jumped ramps 50 feet into the
air. And playing off to the side was the
Aquabats - the Mormon ska group dressed
up in blue bodysuits, belts, masks and capes,
and sounding like a ska-version of Devo on
After NOFX, Detroit's favorite son, U
Rock, started his own ruckus. The Kid, who
just recently signed with Atlantic Records, kept
the hometowners going as his crew hit the
stage. As his DJ, Kracker, cut the records,
Rock's backup band rocked out while Kid
showcased a couple new tracks from his forth-
coming album "Devil Without A Cause," as
well as trademark raunchy tunes such as "Balls
In Your Mouth" and "Three Sheets Wind." The
highlight of his set came as he introduced Joe
C., a kid who had the crowd in amazement a
shock as he rapped "I'm 3' 9" with a 10-foot
dick." Kid Rock left the stage telling the crowd
he wasn't supposed to swear, so he had every-
one in the crowd do it for him. He had finally
united the crowd to one cause.
Punk superstars Rancid had a hard act to fol-
low, but they were up to the task as usual. The
guys kept the set mostly to their last two albums,
"And Out Come the Wolves" and "Life Won't
Wait." But the crowd digged them. Ska favorites
like "Time Bomb" and the new "Hooliga "
fused with the punk fury of songs like "I
Hour" and "Avenues & Alleyways" to take the
crowd straight back to '79. After the band's two-
year touring hiatus, it was good to see the boys
back in rare form.
Bringing the show to a close were the
Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Detroit's Atomic
Fireballs, whose swing-tastic songs were a
light-hearted break from the punk attack of the
last eight hours. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies,
arguably the most musically talented band
the bill, somehow fit right in to the melee 0
the day, even though its sound was unique.
But that was the thing: No one seemed out of
place. From small punk and ska bands like Gob
and Mad Caddies to the traditional ska of the
Slackers and the Specials, there was something
Rancid drummer Brett Reed summed up the
Warped experience during an interview in one
of his dressing rooms. "There's no areas where
no one can go ... It's a community where
everyone gets along," Reed said.
Unwritten Law vocalist Scott Russo said to
tour was "like a huge camping trip," with the
only negative aspect being that "the catering is
so shitty that as soon as you eat it, you get
And in addition to the bands' energy and sin-
cerity, the music blew away anything this side of
the hippie crap of Lilith, H.O.R.D.E. or the
absolute farce that is Ozzfest.
So suppose that you did miss a day of work
for the Warped Tour. Big deal. It was worth
and you'd be well advised to do it again ne
Photosby Matt Madill