Ten Things I Learned At This Year's Vans Warped Tour

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1. God damn, Texas is hot in July.
Even with cloud cover and a bit of a sprinkle, walking around Superpages.com Center on Sunday was like strolling with Dante through Hell. Outdoor festivals in the middle of summer just don't seem like the brightest of ideas.

2. Bikini tops should only be worn at the pool.
Despite my resolute heterosexuality, I believe that most women (and in the case of Vans Warped, young girls) would be better off leaving the bikini tops at home. Besides feeling like a pervert, I was disheartened by the views throughout the day.

3. Bands that aren't performing in a certain city should not be represented by a tent filled with merchandise.
Every time I passed by the Flogging Molly tent, I regretted that such a fine Celtic-inspired punk band was not on the Dallas bill.

4. Water should be free.
$4 for a bottle of water? You have got to be kidding me. Thank God my press pass allowed me access to procure a few choice libations from some back stage ice chests...

5. Five stages are one or two too many.
While Less Than Jake was on the main stage, the bleed over from the adjacent stages created a cacophony that served no one--except for the guys selling earplugs.

6. After 15 years, these Vans Warped guys got this thing down pat.
The changes between bands were done with amazing speed. It seemed as if Shooter Jennings took the stage five minutes after TV/TV finished. A few staffers from our local venues could do well from taking a crash course in breaking down and setting up from the folks at Vans Warped.

7. Thirty-minute sets require that bands keep the commentary to a minimum.
Bayside's Anthony Raneri started off the New York band's tight set with the right attitude: "We got half an hour to play, so we are gonna shut the fuck up."

8. Make up is optional, even with Emo bands.
Less Than Jake's Chris Demakes had the crowd laughing with his astute remarks on why his band didn't need make-up or bangs. Amen, my brother. Of course, the ska punk of Less Than Jake is a far cry from Emo anyway.

9. Punk is still great.
Stumbled over to the KIA/Kevin Says stage after lunch and caught the relatively new band RAE. Singer/shouter Kelly Robison was incredible. Finding out about bands like RAE, even in this heat, makes the life of a lowly music critic a little brighter.

10. I'm too old for this shit.

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