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31 bands hit S.L. with warp force

SHARE 31 bands hit S.L. with warp force

Just a quick question: Where can you see a human cannonball fly over a stage, enough punk bands to make even the biggest punkfan weary, so many skateboarders and half-pipes that they could fill a small canyon and a bunch of crazies mosh-pitting until they can't mosh-pit no more — all in one afternoon, for the price of 10 Happy Meals?

If you answered "Not in Utah," you're wrong.

If you thought, "Oh, it's July, so it must be time for the Vans Warped Tour to come through town," you're right.

That's right, the vibrant Vans Warped Tour is back and claims it will be more outrageous than ever when it rolls into the Utah State Fairpark Saturday. Gates open at noon and the show begins at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at all Smith'sTix outlets or by calling 467-TIXX or 1-800-888-TIXX.

The Warped Tour visits 39 North American stops in a month and a half, stopping in each city just long enough to create some ruckus and slap a few smiles on Warped fans all over the country.

Headlining this year's tour and playing on the main stage are Green Day, making its first U.S. outing in more than two years; the Long Beach Dub Allstars, NOFX, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, MxPx, Jurassic 5, Suicide Machines and Swedish group Millencolin.

"Warped Tour is a really cool thing, with the skateboarding and Moto-X guys — I really like it," said Millencolin guitarist Mathias, by telephone from Ventura, Calif. "We know most of these guys. It's really good to see all these (bands) and hang out with them again."

He said Millencolin's new album, "Pennybridge Pioneers," is fast-paced punk-rock with no ska, which is different from earlier albums, Mathias said.

With 31 bands on tour and all the sideshows going on, you'd think it would be impossible for those involved to cram everything into one day and move to another city while the performers sleep on buses.

But for six years the Warped Tour has pulled it off, using up to five stages at a time while limiting bands to 30 minutes each, so everything can be squeezed into the schedule.

"It takes awhile to adjust to this thing," said Mathias. "One band stops and then the next band starts on the next stage. It's very hectic and stressful. You can't really do a sound check or anything, because you use the same P.A. system as the band before you."

Mathias said fans seem to love the hurry-up style the tour presents, because they get more-for-less, so to speak, and get to hear the best songs from each group. "They just run back and forth and have a great time," he said.

Other bands scheduled to perform include Good Riddance, Snapcase, The Donnas, The Lunachicks, The Muffs, T.S.O.L., Anti-Flag, Flogging Molly, Hot Water Music, Lefty, One Man Army, Papa Roach, Super Suckers, The Deviates, Belvedere, Bif Naked, Bueno, Midtown, Relish, Slightly Stoopid and The Line.

"By having bands like Green Day and Long Beach Dub Allstars join the Warped Tour family, it gives us a chance to bring the new kids like One Man Army, Hot Water Music, Anti-Flag and others to large audiences throughout the summer," said tour organizer Kevin Lyman.

The Human Cannon Ball, performed by "The Bullet," David Smith Jr., may well overshadow all 30 bands. Smith, who also enjoys being shot over Ferris wheels in his spare time, will slide down the barrel of a cannon and be fired over 160 feet (and the main stage) to a landing net, defying gravity and — as Mathias put it — defying death.

"I saw him do it in San Diego," he said, "and I didn't think he was going to make it over the stage. But it was incredible. The crowd went crazy."

If humans trying to be airplanes doesn't excite you, skip across the fairgrounds and check out renowned skateboarders Steve Cabellero, Mike Frazier, Phil Hajal, Daniel Ehara and Jon Comer; BMX-er Rick Thorne; rollerskater Brian Wainwright and Moto-X riders Chris Rourke, Twitch, Collin Morrison and Brian Ferrell doing their respective high-flying acts.

All this while basking in the hot July sun and hanging out with friends. That's what the Warped Tour is all about, say its promoters. "Salt Lake City will get a great show," said Mathias, who says the weirdest thing about the U.S. (compared to Sweden) is, of all things, Taco Bell. "But I can't tell you too much about it."

E-MAIL: ptruman@desnews.com