This year marked the 15th anniversary of Vans Warped tour, an appropriate milestone since nearly every attendee remains a 15-year-old girl txting to a sexy pop-punk soundtrack. Of course, for every excited teen – excited about their communication device, at least – there was usually one bored parent or two with bangaroo headaches.
The one exception to this rule was a buck-toothed mom sharing the naughty joys of the Dickies’ with her little girl. “Look, Megan, Leonard Graves Phillips is using a penis puppet to sing ‘If Stuart Could Talk.’ No, dear, they’re not named after the clothing company.” Ah, what a sweet mother/daughter moment! After the jump, more ruminations on the event from a member of its increasingly aging, original audience.
The Dickies were relegated to the Old School Stage, along with Flipper, D.I., Adolescents, and a few other acts that drew blank stares from the textualized youth. But this cougar-reject’s offspring was willing to gnaw her own arms off for the chance to message her way through the enigmatically awful the Devil Wears Prada, or punk’s answer to The Disney Channel, Meg & Dia. Besides, she didn’t even wear Dickies.
Littered around Warped’s eight primary stages, each band had a booth, there were merch tents for almost every record label, and one felt the constant presence of non-musical entities. Amnesty International wasn’t far from Trojan, for instance, which sent the message: ‘Screw safely. Just don’t screw the Third World.’ (At least that’s how I read it). Most acts only got 30 minutes of stage time, which perfectly suited the short-attention-span audience. (Perhaps that time limit is the aural equivalent to 140 characters. I don’t know). What this really meant, however, was that even the intelligent headliner, Bad Religion, only had enough physical presence to say, ‘Religion sucks!’, and little more. Ancient Greek philosophy, set to hyperactive electric guitars, this was not.
Who knows if Megan will remember anything about her sound byte rock experience? But at least she had the opportunity to tell her whole 9th grade class she was there. Next stop, Huntington Beach!