Last year's Warped Tour was rainier than the prince of Monaco (that's the late Prince Rainer III, but you knew that). Like a game of musical tents, concertgoers found themselves scrambling around every 20 minutes or so, frantically seeking shelter in one of the tour's many tents. Others simply went home, having decided there was no point trying to make a mosh pit out of a mush pit; they knew the tour would be back in '05, and by Jove, they were right. Because this year's lineup includes a whopping 80-plus bands on ten stages -- and plenty of cool tents to check out. Here's a quick peek at the tour's highlights -- or, at least, the bands currently swimming in the most hype.
My Chemical Romance:The only thing pouring down heavier than a South Florida rainstorm is the storm of hype being lavished upon these goth-clad pop-punkers from Jersey. Every magazine from Spin to Guitar World has put their mascara-wearin' mugs on the cover of recent issues. To top it off, MTV nominated the band for four awards for its video Helena. And here's the surprise: MCR is not all hype -- these guys have the pop-punk thing down pat. All the elements are here -- big hooks, sing-alongy choruses, and lyrics about suicide, death, girls, and -- yep -- more death. What else can you ask for?
The Transplants:With Blink-182 still on "indefinite hiatus" and Rancid not far from it, Blink's Travis Barker and Rancid's Tim Armstrong have made their transplant a success. With the addition of vocalist/MC Rob Aston, the punk/hip-hop/dancehall supergroup proves there's still lots of new musical ground to be tread. Sure, punk purists dismiss it just as easily as mainstream critics lap it up. But if there's any way to bring the Clash into the 21st Century, Armstrong will find it. Now if the guys could just tone down all that tough-guy bullshit...
Offspring:If Offspring vocalist Dexter Holland doesn't crash his airplane before this article comes out, then, yes, his band is on the bill. Holland's little jaunt around the world last November made headlines. Why? Because he flew the plane himself. Or maybe everyone was surprised that he didn't "sail away" like the song "Why Don't You Get a Job?" suggests. (Hey, at least we didn't make some tasteless John Walton joke.)
Girlz Garage:Ever heard of snowboarder Janna Meyen or the band Go Betty Go? Well, here's the place to learn what the girls of rock and Xtreme sports are up to. The tent features the Chop Shop, where you can do up that plain white T-shirt into a Vivienne Westwood-styled masterpiece.
Napoleon Dynamite Tent: OK, so this isn't an actual tent, but it might as well be, what with all the T-shirts, stickers, air fresheners, and other knickknacks from that overblown movie. Napoleon's even got his own energy drink, for crissakes. Shit, any new pavilion will do, as long as there's room to play musical tents once the rain starts.