It took a butt load of phone calls, e-mails and faxes to New York, but I finally got press passes for the Vancouver, B.C. Warped Tour (shout outs and much thanx to Thanh-Thanh for her assistance). So Captain Haircut and I were on our way to the PNE. Life was good because it was a nice sunny day which means that the Warped Tour would be outside this year! Why was this so wonderful you may ask? Well, if any of you had the displeasure of attending the Warped Tour last year you'll no why. It's because when the weather is bad they move outdoor concerts to the PNE Forum, which has the reputation of being the worst concert venue in North America I've been told and after last years Warped Tour I'd believe it. Picture your favorite band playing inside of a giant cavern, you know what the acoustics would be like? With the sound bouncing off of one wall to the next to the ceiling to the floor? That's what the Forum sounds like. Plus the security treats you like crap unless if you have a backstage pass and then they still treat you pretty bad. I think they're use to mainly use to dealing with arena rock crowds and don't quite know what to make of a punk crowd. Oh well, back to the much better 1998 Warped Tour. After breakfast and a couple stops to mow Captain Haircut's lawn and to get Captain Haircut some film we arrived at the PNE and found free parking! Nothing is quite as good of a start to a day of Rock 'N' Roll as free parking, even if we had to walk a few blocks. After a short wait to pick up our press passes, we entered the wonder of the Warped Tour. Let me describe what we saw. It was kind of like a punk rock mall, but in a good way. There were tables everywhere, filled with merchandise by the bands playing plus the tours various sponsors. Epitaph had a booth which looked pretty cool although I never got to enter it due to large group of kids gathered around it all day. Bad Religion also had a pretty cool tent going where the members of the band hung around and talked to fans, played CDs and played Bad Religion trivia. I think its pretty cool when a band puts this much effort into communicating with their bands, after all it's the fans that buy the albums and provide the band with a living. The NOFX table was also pretty interesting. They had some really cool stickers that were cheap, you got ten stickers for $5 and each one featured another bands logo inside the O of the logo, like the Bad Religion cross buster or the Pennywise logo. They also had this really funny roadie who asked for beer money every time you purchased something, when I wouldn't give him the requested donation he pointed to my photo pass and said, "We're letting you take photos of the band for free but you won't give me beer money!", to which I replied that if he was going to panhandle he should at least be wearing an old faded Econo Christ shirt and not have showered for a few weeks. We finally made our way through the crowds and found the press area, which was located behind the main stages, and were introduced to the most wonderful publicity person I've ever gotten to deal with, the wonderful and beautiful Kerry (I hope that's how you spell her first name) who set up interviews with bands for us and gave us lemonade. We managed to set up interviews with Bad Religion, Rancid, MxPx and Civ, but were informed that NOFX no longer does interviews, which kind of sucks, but at least we got interviews with the four other bands we wanted to interview, so that's an 80% success rates and by North American standards that's pretty dang good! The First band of the day was MxPx and boy did they rock! Captain Haircut was going nuts with the camera and by the end of their set had snapped over twenty photos! They played a pretty good mix of their hits, although it was a bit light on the old stuff with only one song off of the first album. But they did play such hits as Chick Magnet, Punk Rawk Show and I'm Ok, Your OK. I think Mike, the lead singer and bassist, has a special shirt that he wears every time the band hits Vancouver because once again he was wearing his old school Canucks shirt (in my opinion they should have kept the old logo and colors because the new ones bite!). Next up was the Bouncing Souls. I've never really listened to them before but I promised to film them for this guy so I ventured over to see them. Just let me tell you that boy was I glad I did, I'm definitely going to have to pick up some of their stuff. My memory of the day gets a bit hazy at this point since the pace of interviews I had scheduled and bands I wanted to see got pretty nutty. I tried to film Less Than Jake, but some idiot security guy with a pair of headphones on told me I wasn't allowed to film the bands even though I had a press pass. Luckily after Less Than Jake I didn't see the guy again, so I was able to tape the other bands I wanted to. It was pretty disappointing not being able to film them because boy did they have a rad stage show going complete with a circus clown and a tribute to 80's hair metal that reminded me a lot of Squad 5-O (I loved the guitartist's Stryper shirt!). I did my interviews and found out that every single one of the bands I interviewed were incredibly nice guys, so I got to say thanx to Lars, Matt, Mike, Tom, Yuri, Sammy and Jay for taking the time to talk to Captain Haircut and I. I also checked out H2O and Strung Out because I had to film them for the Bouncing Souls guy and found out they were also really good bands I had previously missed out on, this guy Chet seems to have really good taste in bands. H2O put on an especially good show that was just filled with a really positive vibe and had everyone singing along, even if they didn't know the words. These guys definitely had the NYC hardcore thing going on as they reminded me of bands like Sick Of It All, Madball and Civ. Speaking of Civ, they also rocked, even though I only got to see a few minutes of their set due to interviews I was doing. But I've seen them on two other Warped Tours and a few other places and needless to say they put on a very energetic and entertaining live show. Other bands that rocked my world that day were Rancid (who have added a keyboardist to their live show), Bad Religion and NOFX (there's the Epitaph crew for ya). One of the other highlights of the day was watching a very drunk Fat Mike (from NOFX) pee on the back of a speaker stack during the Strung Out set, too bad I didn't get that on tape! Another highlight was getting to use the porta potties behind the stage (which I guess Fat Mike wasn't aware of) instead of having to use the main ones which tend to get pretty nasty. All in all, the Warped Tour is definitely worth checking out this year if you get a chance.