For a good 16 years now, the Vans Warped Tour has been an uber-sponsored rite of passage for the wallet-chained, Manic Panic set; think of this top-loaded, country-crossing festival as punk-rock summer camp for misfits and outcasts willing to sell out temporarily for the opportunity to be squeezed for marketing data. It's fun: You bake in the sun, make eyes at each other, stage-dive, fight each other tooth and nail for free corporate gear, stuff your skater shorts full of CD compilations featuring 17th-wave screamo and Cali-punk bands with names that merrily conflate fast-food franchises, celebrities, and polarizing political pariahs (sometimes). If you can get past all that, Warped is a pretty good way to take the pulse of punk, circa now, in its many forms: This year, thrill to Fake Problems' synth-addled hooks, the crazed party-pop of Andrew W.K. (pictured), and, um, Disco Curtis, among a metric ton of other bands your too-cool older cousin has probably never heard of (the Word Alive, Attack Attack!) and more still that you kinda wish would call it a day (Face to Face, Sum 41). The best advice we can give? Hydrate early and often. With Alkaline Trio, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die, We the Kings; food and drink vendors; lifestyle exhibitions; more. All ages.
Sun., Aug. 1, 11 a.m., 2010