Warped crowd feasts on slew of punk
By Ray Hafner
The Daily Cougar
Rock stars walk among us.
As fans walking through the Reliant Arena found out during the Warped
Tour, that annual convention of kids who like their music with fast guitars,
you couldn't stage dive without landing on your favorite rock star.
Even Houston's rainy weather, which caused the cancellation of several
bands and the entire Drive Thru Records line-up, did not deter fans from
coming to the show.
After much confusion as to which bands were playing where, Something
Corporate managed to grab hold of an audience. Front man Andrew McMahon
tapped away on his piano and enthralled the crowd with sweet tales of high
school romance gone awry. The piano gives the band a unique edge, and the
romantic angle makes them the Elton John of punk rock, although it's doubtful
Elton ever used his butt to bang keys.
The Something Corporate band mates, who hail from punk rock mecca Orange
County, were a little surprised by such a large crowd on a rainy day as
guitarist William Tell said, "back home when it rains, everyone stays in."
New Found Glory's Jordan Pundik performs for a punk-hungry
crowd at this year's Warped Tour, which was held Saturday at the Reliant
Ray Hafner/The Daily Cougar
New Found Glory, the kings of pop punk, had its fans turn out in huge
numbers with fans bouncing to fast, peppy riffs. Crowd surfers were everywhere
and the audience was obviously disappointed with their 25-minute set. Since
only three stages were in operation, not the intended six, all the bands
played shorter sets.
Previous Warped Tours have gone in different directions, embracing hip-hop
and rap metal at one point, but this one was all about the punks. Beastie
Boys-influenced Quarashi and the heavy Third Strike had its loyal fans
up front, but their draws were over shadowed by the massive turnouts for
the punk rock veterans.
Those veterans, MXPX, Bad Religion, Lagwagon and NOFX hardly disappointed
fans, but these appearances felt like old TV classic reruns. You always
watch them, but you know exactly what's going to happen.
Bad Religion, fresh off a new album, had the best showing since most
of the crowd remembered how much fun the band was at the Verizon Theater
this past spring.
The cavernous Reliant Arena did a number on these groups' sound. Fans
in the rear had trouble understanding lyrics as the room sucked up the
sound. NOFX tried to combat this acoustical nightmare by sticking to slower
songs. It worked great on the classic "Don't Call Me White," but the audience
really wanted something faster.
The two groups that delivered most were a pair of ethnic treats, Manic
Hispanic and the Irish group Flogging Molly.
The California-based Manic Hispanic played in prison shirts and bandanas
giving the impression they had just busted out of San Quentin to do the
show. Hilariously rude and crude the group played with lightning punk speed
with just a little Tejano thrown into the background. Its cover of Rancid's
penultimate punk song "Ruby SoHo" found itself morphed into the fitting
Flogging Molly played the main stage and turned everyone's heads. It's
rare to see a punk band with an accordion and a violin.
It's even rarer to see that band whip a crowd into a drunken frenzy
to dance a jig. The band's songs deal with family, loss, friends and their
From signed boobies to kids sneaking backstage to shake hands with their
favorite rock star, the Warped Tour will be back next year with all the
punk trappings that make it the best chance to meet the bands you love.