Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman never thought that his beast would be as popular as it has become. "I was only putting together small concerts for parties," said the Orange County, Calif., native.
The party's gotten a lot bigger.At the Warped Tour the norm is sweaty, sunburned and pierced. Skaters hover momentarily over plywood half pipes while BMX daredevils cruise to new heights en aire.
This year's Warped Tour was no different, except for the music lineup. Saturday's event featured more ska and swing than in the past, although punk remained the solid staple.
The Cherry Poppin' Daddies led the swing contingent while Save Ferris, the Specials and the Pie-tasters represented the ska troupe.
"This year's tour was much better than last's," commented Ellie Jones, 20. "The ska and swing made it a lot more fun."
It sure did.
As expected, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies put on an amazing show despite the heat, the crowd and the limited set time.
In the Fairpark dust, crowded bodies couldn't resist dancing to the Daddies' infectious grooves. The band, dressed in full zoot suits, kept the tempo with their own dancing while maintaining a musically superior performance.
Save Ferris, the band that can boast of the only female singer on the tour, prepped the audience for an afternoon of skankin' rhythms.
Donning a red tube dress and pumps, lead singer Monique wailed a throaty rendition of Dexy's Midnight Runners' "Come on Eileen."
The Specials directly followed Save Ferris, causing the crowd to make a mad dash from one main stage to the other. Playing with the energy of a 20-something group, the British ska band boldly belied its 20-year seniority on the two-tone ska scene as the members belted out their most recent releases.
"It's a fourth generation that is listening to our music and it's brilliant, just brilliant," said Aitch Hyatt, the band's drummer.
As for the punk scene, it was more than well represented with punk pioneers Bad Religion and Rancid. Younger bands included Guttermouth, Full On the Mouth and CIV.
Mouthing lyrics to most of their songs, the crowd consumed Ran-cid's and Bad Religion's rousing performances.
To most of the bands, especially the Pietasters, the tour is not only a springboard to greatness, it is an opportunity for them to share audiences and have "a barbecue every night."
And Lyman thought he'd wind up being a schoolteacher for the rest of his life.