The Vans Warped Tour

Used to be 33 bands (by my count, anyway, but I was told there would be little math in this course) would play over two, maybe three days; used to call 'em "festivals" back in my day, the late '80s. Now it's 25 minutes by one-and-done bands that sound gassed after 120 seconds, which is what they should have named the show when it moved to MTV2; at least The Used got its name right. Then I'm not convinced this isn't a four-band lineup anyway, with Andrew W.K. serving as comedy-relief MC during an afternoon of moshing and sloshing and whatever it is The Kids do nowadays when bombarded with hour after hour after hour of bar-code punk-pop-a-metal played out in the rock-out-with-yer-cock-out-till-ya-stroke-out sunshine. Then, that's always been the best thing about non-conformists: They wear the same shirt and listen to the same shit and have ever since, oh, 1977, more or less, which is around the same time some of these musicians were born and most of their idols had the good sense to break up.

Dunno if I see any highlights on the list--Rancid, I guess, by virtue of the fact that band's sense of history goes back at least to the Carter-Thatcher era. Would have endorsed Vendetta Red, till I heard the album; same goes for The Ataris and Poison the Well, who should have stopped at the name. I do know some 14-year-olds who love Dropkick Murphys, but what do they know? They didn't recognize the name Joe Strummer, much less why his death was such a big deal ("What's the big deal, dude?" they asked, little shits). Says here in my latest Rolling Stone or maybe FHM that S.T.U.N.'s among the Hot Picks to Click at Warped; Christ, if this is your best, a Rage Against the Machine rip without the lefty politics and engaging front man and primo guitarist and everything else interesting about that defunct band, then by what criteria do you judge the worst? They shoot at you from the stage? Or just sound like A.F.I.? Anyone says that's a good band is a relative or just collects a DreamWorks paycheck. Goth-metal, the worst thing I've heard since the doctor said, "Mr. Jablonski, the test results came back positive." Is this thing on?

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky