Warp speed

Van’s Warped Tour Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Thurs., July 8

After 10 years, punk’s traveling road show, The Van’s Warped Tour, has evolved into a sprawling event with 10 stages spread throughout a small village of booths blanketing the venue with people selling, giving away or advocating. At the Sleep Train Amphitheatre, bike and skate demos, a graffiti wall and the beer garden were the hot spots, and a huge variety of mohawks, tattoos and scantily clad punk-rock girls over-packed the grounds.

The music was delivered on a hectic schedule, with each band having 30-minute sets, many times overlapping those on other stages. The bands that drew the biggest crowds were Bad Religion, NOFX, New Found Glory, Yellow Card, Anti Flag, Thursday and Coheed and Cambria.

My personal favorite was Atmosphere, the tour’s only headlining hip-hop act. The group’s front-man, Slug, interacted with the crowd while dishing out thought-provoking and comedic rhymes. On “Trying to Find a Balance,” which describes the group’s hectic life on the road, Slug sings: “In the days of kings and queens I was a jester/ Treat me like a god, oh they treat me like a leper.”

Atmosphere DJ Mr. Dibbs got into the rowdy crowd as well. In the middle of the set, he encouraged everyone to start a mosh pit, then jumped in and started throwing blows, until he was knocked to the ground and left there to lick his wounds.

Besides rocking out, finding shade was the day’s prime objective. Fortunately the tour provided a giant blow-up slip-and-slide, and the venue’s large fountains kept the concert-goers somewhat cool. All in all, the day-long festival was an overwhelming experience, with too much to see and not enough time.