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Vans Warped Tour 2005 is what you make it

The Fairplex, Pomona, Cal. July 6, 2005

By Dan MacIntosh

POMONA, CA - With its multiple stages, and seemingly infinite number of acts, you could almost build your own personalized punk rock show at this year's Vans Warped Tour.

For instance, if you like commercial punk, there's a day's worth of those artists to choose from on each date. But if your tastes lean more toward the underground stuff, there are also plenty of lower profile performers to experience. In other words, you might call it a do-it-yourself, Home Depot day for extreme music fans.

With regard to popular artists, Billy Idol, who started out with the English punk band Generation X, was by far the biggest name on this day's bill. He reached back for Generation X's "Ready Steady Go," played a few songs from his new "Devil's Playground" CD and also performed that old favorite, "Rebel Yell." Idol looked and sounded great, and it was nostalgic fun just to see this former MTV idol pumping his fists again -- just like he did in all those old hit videos.

The Offspring, a long-time local favorite, also drew a large crowd with its set of modern rock radio hits, such as "Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated)" and "Self Esteem."

The Transplants, sort of an all-star punk band that sports members of Rancid and Blink-182, also drew a curious throng of onlookers. But by the time MxPx made its 8 p.m. appearance, this audience's size had dwindled significantly. The hot sun and cramped quarters certainly helped to diminish this once-massive crowd.

Other popular participants also included the Irish-ish Dropkick Murphys, My Chemical Romance, All-American Rejects, No Use For A Name and Senses Fail.

Some of the best music of the day emanated from a few of this festival's smaller stages, which was where the underground acts did their thing. For instance, the Hot Topic area, which was situated among a row of artist booths, presented the female band The Randies, which injected a nice Go-Go-y female vibe to an otherwise mostly male musical afternoon.

And over on the Volcom stage, The Riverboat Gamblers sailed upon firmly established garage rock roots. In fact, its singer, Mike "Teko" Weibe, didn't let the heat stop him from jumping right out into the crowd and interacting directly with his audience.

Although this afternoon could have passed for either a tattoo or a body piercing convention, a few of these acts still stood out considerably from the pack. For instance, there were four Christian bands in the lineup, most notably MxPx and Relient K, and secondarily, Emery and Underoath. Although Relient K came off a little lightweight, when compared to this festival's more muscular acts, it was still refreshing to watch a band that didn't need alternate every phrase in its stage patter with variations of the "F" word.

By day's end, it's hard to find fault with a festival that offers up so much variety. In 2005, Vans Warped Tour is basically whatever you want make of it.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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