Warped Tour @ Los Angeles 8/25/07

Written by Big Smile Staff

Posted Aug 26, 2007, by The Bear.

The Warped Tour finished up its 2007 run on Saturday, August 25th with its final show at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. And for once the weather was perfect in all ways; it actually wasn’t that hot, which was a big plus and made the day a lot more pleasant even before I got in the front gate. And things stayed that way all day.

The advance buzz on this last show was that an extra stage was being added just for that day which would feature several important early L.A. Punk bands. And so it was. I saw on that one stage performances by Agent Orange, Fear, the Adolescents, and the STICKies (Bad Religion also played, but on a different stage). They drew some of the larger crowds of the day and they did not disappoint.

Some years ago I was reading an article in an online ‘zine in which the writer was talking about the large number of re-releases of early punk records that had been unavailable for many years. His conclusion was something like: "there’s a reason why everyone says these records are so much better than anything being put out today – because they are!" He went on to say how much better, and more passionate the punk bands from the first waves were than most of the bands performing today.

In all fairness the writer’s point was an exaggeration. However, as the Old-School Stage showed, perhaps not as much of one as you might think. The bands on the Old-School Stage (which also included Manic Hispanic and Duane Peters) had more energy and passion in their performances than most of the other bands that I saw that day. There’s something to be said for continuing to work as long as some of these bands have (even with all the line-up changes they’ve endured); you can get very comfortable with your band mates, and it can show in performance; the STICKies, for examples, had an obvious familiarity with each other which showed in their onstage banter. It also helps with the crowd that these bands are so well known in this part of the country. The crowd was very ready to hear the classics; the Adolescents’ rendition of "Amoeba" met with great approval, for instance, as did Agent Orange’s performances of "Bloodstains" and "Living in Darkness." And when Fear began their set all Lee Ving had to say was "I – " to be met with the crowd roaring back " – love livin’ in the city!"

The energy the bands had was reflected in the crowds that came out for them, causing the leader of Agent Orange to comment at one point on the circle pit going at his feet that if he’d known there would be a spin cycle at the show he’d have brought his laundry. Without question this was the stage to be at and I noticed a lot of people who came there and just stayed there for the whole day. The combination of Agent Orange, Fear, Adolescents, and the STICKies, also adding Duane Peters (who played before I got there) and Manic Hispanic into the mix, and closing out with Punk Rock Karaoke created one of the very best single stage line-ups I’ve ever seen on the Warped Tour. The only other one I can think of that compares was when Agnostic Front, Avail, and 7 Seconds all played back to back on the Bus Stage in New York in 1999.

This is not to put down the rest of Warped Tour bands; there were a lot of very fine performances that I saw from other bands. Bad Religion always plays a great set, and this show was no exception. They really should have been on the Old-School stage too alongside their contemporaries, but I guess their commercial success kept them on a main stage instead. Aside from the Old-School bands my favorite performance came from the Lower Class Brats who are from Austin, Texas. They had the singular misfortune to be playing on the Skate Stage, a smaller stage set up between the Lucky Stage (a main stage) and the Old-School Stage, with the result that the sound from both of the other stages (but notably more the Lucky Stage) bled over into the Skate Stage area and you had to get really close to the speakers to hear the bands playing there. Nevertheless the Lower Class Brats put on a great set, starting with a diss of Sum 41 (then playing on the Lucky Stage) whom the singer of LCB dubbed "The Avril Lavignes of the tour" and then complimenting their own crowd as "the real punks." They then played a very energetic set which got the crowd going to such an extent that the barricade in front of the stage was almost swept away and only a bunch of security people grabbing it at once managed to save it. Hopefully the Lower Class Brats will tour out here again soon.

Other bands that I saw included Total Chaos, who were tearing things up on the Hurley.Com stage, Left Alone, a ska/punk band who were also on the Skate Stage, Bass and Flow, a combo rock/rap act on the Hot Topic Stage, and Pennywise, who were their usual fast-paced selves. All in all it was a good day at the Warped Tour, made especially memorable by the addition of the Old-School Stage. The Warped Tour should have something like it more often.

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