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Reviews from The Vans Warped Tour 2002

Chula Vista, California – I have been an avid Warped Tour goer for the past several years now, and I think this years was probably the best line up I've seen in a while. And on top of that, this year I got to attend in Chula Vista where the weather is always nice, and the atmosphere a lot friendlier than LA. The venue was very remote, way down a long secluded road, in the Coors Amphitheatre parking lot. Amongst friendly people, and beautiful weather I got to enjoy awesome bands, and even a couple interviews. Here are a few short reviews and a whole lot of pictures [MB: whole lot of pictures are coming soon.] ….

Flogging Molly
The first band of the day worth watching was the Irish folk/punk band Flogging Molly. Self described as a “Guinness soaked musical body blow”, they were one of my favorite performances of the day. With a harmonious blend of acoustic and electric guitars with the violin and accordion and a firey Irish man in front of the mic, they have a way of infecting their audience with pure excitement. It was like a volcano of passion erupting from the stage. If you are of Irish descent, Flogging Molly will make you proud, and if you're not, they'll make you wish you were. Be sure to check out their latest release “Drunken Lullabies“. And next time they're in your town, throw back a pint and join the crowd, cause it's an experience you won't soon forget.

Tsunami Bomb
Hailing from the Northern Bay area, Tsunami Bomb came down to show the Southland how to rock, and rock they did! With the extreme amounts of talent that pour from this band, it's amazing to me that not many people really know who they are…YET! Not only are they great in the studio, but they put on an awesome live show as well.

Bounding on to stage with her jet-black and Kool-Aid blue hair, energetic front woman Agent M put on an electrifying show for her fellow hair dye junkies that filled the crowd. Bass player and cutie, Dominic Davi, seemed elated as he passionately strummed away, and Mike Griffen (guitar) and Gabriel Lindeman (drums) held their own with awesome guitar riffs and vigorous drumbeats. I was not at all surprised by the magnitude of their performance; I wouldn't expect anything less from this outstandingly talented quartet. However, I was surprised at how young of an audience they attracted. It's good to know that in a day and age where you see 13 year old girls wearing their underwear outside their pants, thanks Britney, that there is still hope for the youth after all. It is a shame though that Tsunami Bomb have not yet been upgraded to one of the main stages; maybe next year.

Tsunami Bomb recently moved from Tomato Head to Kung Fu Records, and has a new album due out on September 3rd, called “The Ultimate Escape“. I got the chance to catch up with this awesome band before their performance – check out what they had to say here.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
There are a lot of things that can be said about the Bosstones, but first and fore most should always be that they kick some serious ass! When these guys take the stage, all clad in matching suits, there is just this certain energy that overtakes the crowd. I for one get extremely giddy and excited when I get to see them perform live. The horns blaring, that gruff voice of Dicky's screaming, the fast paced beats, and of course we can't forget the dancing Bosstone. How can you not love a band who has a member who simply just dances all over stage?

They introduced some new material off their latest album “A Jackknife to a Swan“, and of course played the fan favorites like “Royal Oil“, “The Rascal King“, and “The Impression That I Get“. My personal favorites to see live are “Numbered Days” and “1-2-8“, the later of which they didn't play. I am pretty sure that Tyler Jones from Reel Big Fish had a guest appearance, or at least it looked just like him! They had an awesome performance that didn't let the energy slip for a single second, and had the crowd energized and jumping in unison the entire time.

The Bosstones are one of those bands that never forget to give back to the fans. Dicky Barrett (vocals) not only dove into the crowd, but also had a fan pulled up on stage who got to share the mic with him during “The Impression that I get“, and dance around with Ben (otherwise known as the Dancing Bosstone). Dicky will also usually be present at their merch tent signing stuff and chatting it up with fans.

In my little, naive world, I am still hoping for some sort of a ska revival, but deep down I know it's not likely. But I think I'll hang on anyway, and you can bet your ass I'll be in the front row at the next Bosstones show!

Bad Religion
Thinking back fifteen years or so, who would have ever thought that Bad Religion would still be one of the best punk rock bands around. These guys have been in it for the music since the beginning, and they still are today; they are a band that does what they want, when they want and how they want. Perhaps the key to their on going success is their steadfast refusal to measure themselves by today's ever-changing standards of popularity. One of the few undying bands left out there; I am glad that they've hung in long enough for the youngsters of today to witness the brilliance of their live performances. On stage they have an aura of excitement that is almost tangible. You can really tell they are enjoying themselves, they hold back nothing. After several attempts this year, I finally got to see Bad Religion live, and be assured, it was well worth the wait! If you haven't already picked up “The Process of Belief“, go get it – it's the best one yet.

Reel Big Fish
For me, there is nothing quite like seeing a ska band live, or any kind of band that incorporates horns for that matter. There is just something about those loud brassy instruments that somehow make a live show just a little bit better. Now even thought they're not quite as “ska” as they used to be, Reel Big Fish still put on one hell of a show, and always please their audience. Their performance was packed with talent and fun, and was a good way to close the evening.

Last time I saw Reel Big Fish was before the release of their latest album, “Cheer Up!“, so I didn't know the new songs yet. It was fun to hear the new stuff live and actually recognize it, and be able to sing along. As good as the band was, it almost seemed like something was missing. That constant comedic performance between lead singer/guitarist Aaron Barrett and trumpet player/back up vocalist Scott Klopfenstien just wasn't there this time. Maybe they were tired, or maybe it was due to the slightly lethargic crowd (what happened San Diego?); but they just didn't seem in high spirits like they usually do.

The performance however was still great, and the new songs sounded awesome live! I especially liked how they added horns to “Where Have You Been“, which usually lacks them. They had a good mix up of new stuff and old stuff, and of course closed with “Sell Out” which got some enthusiasm out of the boring crowd. Although trombone player Dan Regan has taken a liking to the 70's look, for some reason he is cool enough to pull it off. I was able to sit with Aaron Barrett and ask him couple questions earlier in the day, see what he said here.

I was being a little stingy and saving what film I had for other performances, so I didn't photograph NOFX. I did hear them from afar however, and what I heard was decent. Apparently, Chris of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones made a guest appearance playing the horn part in the song “The Decline“, and from what I hear he likes wearing his WCW Championship wrestling belt on stage, so Dicky made him an entire wrestling ensemble to go with it. To see a picture, go to www.bostones.com. NOFX brought their music to life with enthusiasm and the undying punk spirit, and were probably the biggest crowd pleasers of the day. Maybe next time I'll pay more attention.

The Morgan Heritage
I was walking around when this band took the stage, and I had to look twice, cause I could have sworn for a moment that Bob Marley had come from the grave to pay the Warped Tour a little visit. This surprisingly awesome reggae group is actually made up of 5 of the 29 children fathered by reggae star Denroy Morgan. The talent and spirit was obviously passed down, thus the group name “Morgan Heritage“. If I got the chance, I would definitely go and check this group out again; they sounded pretty good.

Miss DoubtfireMiss Doubtfire
shannon at unearthed dot com

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