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`TOUR' HAD AN UNFORTUNATE BENT

To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen (speaking about Dan Quayle): I've seen Lollapalooza and Warped Tour; you're no Lollapalooza.

Ever since former Janes Addiction frontman Perry Farrell started his alternative-rock event Lollapalooza, concert promoters have been trying to do it one better. Enter Transworld Publications, which publishes several boardsport-oriented magazines, with its Warped Tour.An ambitious mix of boardsport demonstrations and live music, the festival promised to be bigger and better than Lollapalooza, which has dipped to an all-time creative low this year. Unfortunately, poor planning and organization - at least on the event's opening date in Salt Lake City - showed Warped Tour may have a long way to go before it even tops the all-day events staged by local radio station X-96.

For example, this reviewer was besieged by questions as to when certain acts would be performing, such as Sick of it All, Face to Face and Guttermouth. However, despite advertising that featured those bands' names and others, none of the aforementioned acts ever played - nor did L7, which suffered a tragedy in one of the member's families last week.

Without posted performance times, it was difficult even to figure when professional athletes like Steve Alba would be on one of the outdoor performance apparati.

Only a select few of those who performed actually shined during the sparsely attended, half-day event - with the highlight obviously being CIV.

Rising from the ruins of former New York hard-core punk-rock act Gorilla Biscuits, CIV deserves to be the next punk-rock act to make it big. The quartet's incredibly tight brand of swinging punk - a mixture of the old Gorilla Biscuits' style, late '70s New Wave and full-throttle hard-core - is like no one else's.

Live, CIV proved to be even more irresistible, especially to the few hundred jammed onto the Saltair beach surrounding the festival's second, "small" stage. Charismatic vocalist Anthony "Civ" Civarelli incited near riotous moshing activity as he walked along the barrier that was supposed to separate performers from the crowds, thrusting the microphone down into the slamming hordes during several shout-along choruses. From the spectator's perspective, CIV's "Can't Wait One Minute More," "Gang Opinion" and "United Kids" - all intelligent slices of catchy hard-core - looked like they're going to become teen anthems.

Sublime, a trio from Long Beach, Calif., started its far-too-long set while CIV was setting up and was, ridiculously, still playing by the time CIV had finished. That might have been excusable if their reggae/punk-rock hybrid had been at all original. But it instead came off as an insincere tribute to Bad Brains, who thought of that idea years ago. Oh well, at least Sublime didn't do any of its awful pseudo-Beastie Boys rapping.

The pop-punk act Seaweed, from Tacoma, Wash., and New York hard-rock/slammers Quicksand - the latter of which also features former Gorilla Biscuits members - had the unenviable task of following CIV, although their performances were full of energy, if not heart.

Only groups like California melodic punk act No Use For A Name, locals Scrotum Poles and hip-hop/punkers Dimestore Hoods really made much of an impression. Perhaps it was the rest of the acts' inability to write coherent melodies, especially Orange 9mm, which was all guitar riff and no passion, and Into Another, which is nothing but a heavy-metal act masquerading as a punk outfit.