Paul Hebert

Vans Warped tour 15th Anniversary Celebration @ Club Nokia 9/6/09

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The Vans Warped Tour put a final stamp on the end of their 15th anniversary last night with a star-studded celebration at downtown LA’s hottest venue, Club Nokia.

Anticipation for the event has been building for weeks, with fans lining up as early as 10am to secure a spot close to the stage for the 4 hour spectacular.

The event kicked off at 6pm with a mesmerizing performance by Los Angeles’ own reggae group The Aggrolites. The foursome brought the feel-good vibe to the close to capacity crowd with a powerful set, which had Fat Mike and Eric Melvin from NOFX rocking out at the soundboard area. The band ended their 20 minute set with “Dirty-Reggae” which prompted Fat-Mike to quickly work his way through the audience on the floor to sing along with front-man Jesse Wagner from the crowd.

As the Aggrolites ended their set, the revolving-stage began to slowly turn as the emcee announced the arrival of none-other than the notorious hard-rocking group Body Count, fronted by rap veteran Ice-T. The show had Ice-T listed as a performer for the evening, but the fact that he arrived and performed with Body Count had the entire venue ecstatic. The main floor erupted into a ferocious mosh-pit as the band played through many tracks off their 1992 self-titled release including “Bowels of the Devil,” “KKK Bitch” and “There goes the Neighborhood.” As the police-light bars began to spin and guitarist Ernie-C ripped out the opening notes of the controversial “Cop Killer” the pit expanded consuming a good amount of the orchestra area.

Body Count is a tough act for most to immediately follow, but seasoned warped tour veterans NOFX were up to the task. The Warped Tour would not be complete without NOFX lead singer Fat-Mike taking verbal jabs at somebody. Tonight was no exception with the ire of his attack pointed directly at not only Katy Perry but also the Pete Wentz All-Star line-up the Decaydence All-Stars. Technical difficulties were the theme of the first few songs as guitarists El Hefe complained about not being able to hear anything in his monitors, but that didn’t stop the quartet from rocking the house. Mid-way through their set they were joined on stage by none other than Fishbone founding member Angelo Moore, who joined the band for a rendition of “Eat the Meek.”

Following NOFX was the new group Decaydence All-Stars featuring Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy along with his friends Brenden Urie, Spencer Smith and Ian Crawford from Panic! at the Disco. The verbal war continued as Brenden Urie took shots back at NOFX prior to performing a very short set comprising only of two songs, Blink 182’s “Dammit” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” however the crowd didn’t seem to appreciate the All-Stars, as there were quite a few boo-birds in the audience.

Tyson Ritter and the rest of The All American Rejects were up next playing all their power-pop hits including “Give You Hell,” “I Wanna,” and “Move Along.” Ritter put on a very energetic show that had even the non-fans appreciating their stage-presence.

One of the highlights of the night was Katy Perry who opened her set with her smash hit “Hot n’ Cold.” During the song she jokingly asked the crowd “Please mosh to my songs” before cracking a smile and sticking out her tongue while flipping the crowd the bird. Perry took her brief retaliatory shots at NOFX before breaking into an aggressive version of “Ur so Gay.” Perry soon got her wish when a mini mosh pit emerged during her number one hit “Waking Up in Vegas.”

Kicking up the aggressive theme was the hard rocking band Underoath. Performing a powerful set including “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door” and “In Regards to Myself.”

Slowing things down only slightly was Rise Against who brought a very polished set. Lead vocalist Tim McIlrath lead the foursome from Chicago through a many classics including “The Good Left Undone” and “Ready to Fall,” along with newer hits “Savior” and “Re-Education (Through Labor).”

The mosh pit was given a minor reprieve when eight-piece Los Angeles group Ozomatli took the stage. Bringing their Latin infused hip-hop/rock music to the club Ozomatli seemed a bit out of place with the mainly hard-rock crowd. Not ones to disappoint the boys worked through a set which had many in the crowd bopping their head along with the beat.

The entire floor erupted when Bad Religion took the stage. Opening with “Do What You Want” the Warped Tour veterans were definitely what everyone was waiting for. With close to thirty years under their belts, Bad Religion has a myriad of hits to choose from and they didn’t disappoint. They ended their official set with “Fuck Armageddon… This is Hell” off their original 1982 album “How Could Hell be Any Worse?”

However their presence on stage was not over, as the front-line was joined on stage by Fletcher Dragge and Randy Bradbury of Pennywise. With the recent departure of Pennywise founding member and vocalist Jim Lindberg, everyone was curious as to who would appear on stage with them for the event. That answer would come soon enough. As the opening bass notes to the classic “Bro Hymn” began to be played, the stage was quickly consumed by the likes of most of the previous performers from throughout the night. With Tim McIlrath and Ice-T singing verses, before new temporary front man Zoli Teglas took over.

If you missed this amazing music party last night, don’t worry. The event was being filmed from several cameras throughout the venue for a one-night only national theatre event that will be featured in over 460 movie theaters on Thursday, September 17 at 8pm ET. Tickets for the theatre event are available at participating box offices and online at www.FathomEvents.com.

If for some reason you cannot catch the theatre event, It is probably same to assume a DVD may not be too far in the future, and I would make sure to add that one to your collection.

The Aggrolites
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Body Count
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NOFX
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Decaydence All-Stars
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Katy Perry
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All American Rejects
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Underoath
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Rise Against
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Ozomatli
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Bad Religion
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