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Punk: Hot and Heavy

Warped Tour Hits Boston

By Dan Robey

Vans Warped Tour

Suffolk Downs

August 9, 2001

You are the future, don’t forget it!” Jim Lindberg, lead singer for Pennywise shouted to the huge crowd of whistling, screaming, and crowd surfing punk fans. The Vans Warped Tour 2001 was hot, sweaty, and awe-inspiring. Thousands of people crowded onto the grass fields of Suffolk Downs in front of the open stages to hear Pennywise, The Ataris, The Vandals, Rancid, Alien Ant Farm, and many more. Concert attendees, many with exotic piercings or sundry tattoos, cheered for their favorite punk bands throughout the day.

On a day with a predicted high of 109 degrees, the heat was brutal to all concertgoers. The lines to buy drinks were so long that some fans passed up their favorite groups for a glass of warm water. After the first few bands, the concert security brought out hoses and began spraying the crowd, a gesture much appreciated by all. Another band started giving out free water halfway through the concert, most of it in glasses that were promptly thrown backwards onto the crowd of people waiting their turn. The bigger bands took turns on two main stages, one playing as the next set up.

At the same time, two other stages played other less known bands. This forced concertgoers to choose which bands they wanted to see. Off to one side, a half-pipe provided entertainment as skaters, bladers, and bmx bikers did stunts for a large audience.

Early in the day, the Bouncing Souls opened strongly playing upbeat punk songs like “True Believers.” Madcap followed, played the crowd well, especially seen with their cover of the Ramones “blitzkrieg bop.” By the end of the song, everyone was screaming the catchy, “hey, ho! Let’s go!”

Later in the day, the Vandals gave an excellent show, getting their fans into the action. They opened with “People that are Going to Hell,” and “Behind the Music,” then “I Have an Ape Drape,” a song about the joys of mullet haircuts. To finish off their section of the show, Warren Fitzgerald, the lead singer, stripped down to a thong and sang the expected “I Have a Dick,” culminating in hosing himself down, then climbing onto a speaker and dancing.

The popular Alien Ant Farm falls more into the category of rap core than punk, but their music still meshed well with the other bands at the concert and drew a large crowd. Relative newcomers to the punk scene, the Ataris, performed well, doing their notable titles like “My So Called Life” and “San Dimas High School Rules,” and inviting a fan up to stage to accompany on guitar during one song

Two bands were notably less punk than the other regulars. The Dropkick Murphys used instruments such as bagpipes and the accordion to give their music a distinctively Irish sound, and Morgan Heritage did reggae and ska music, which only drew a small number of people. The favorite band of the day was Pennywise, the anti-establishment band that sings politically oriented songs. The crowd chanted the words of each song as if they were the mottos of the punk culture, which they might be. After the first song, “my own country,” Jim Lindberg dedicated the next song to, “a certain someone who just got elected, President George W. Bush,” at which most of the crowd gave Dubya a one-fingered salute. The band then lapsed into “fuck authority” off their new album, and later did “bro hymn,” a moving tribute to one of the late founders of the band.

Some say that punk is dead, but the Warped Tour proves it is alive and flourishing.