Monday, July 1, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 151



Warped crowd feasts on slew of punk 
rock bands

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 Center.

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 "Ruby Chollo."

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 favorite: drinking.

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.

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