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Warped Tour: An Assault on the Senses Sure to Leave Lasting Memories

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Going to the Warped Tour is kinda like a combination between going to Disneyland and Las Vegas in the same day. A crowd of people, young and old converged upon Home Depot Center in Carson for the final show of the tour then scattered in all directions once the gates opened. The choices included watching a live band at one of nine stages or visiting one of many swap meet style vendor booths to buy merchandise, get stuff signed or pick up a bag of free stuff. Of course there was a skate ramp and free Monster drinks were made available to all, including the super-strain of the beverage: "Assault" an appropriate one-word explanation for what would take place over the next 9 hours (story continued below photo gallery).

The boom of live music was inescapable, shade was at a premium and dining meant finding a spot to sit on the asphalt, preferably in the shade, even if it meant sitting next to a port-a-potty. Some would call this hell but most in attendance call it heaven. A place where you can choose between seeing any one of 99 bands simply by taking a short walk from one part of the event to another. Even the walk from stage to stage was a smorgasbord of sensory candy with options to shop, people watch, eat or buy merchandise. The choices were staggering but here are some:

  • Watch Evergreen Terrace and their unique "every man for himself mosh pit" where kids flung their arms and legs around like characters from video fighting game
  • Pay $2 for a photocopy of who is playing when and where or go to the one and only inflatable sign and try to keep it straight in your mind who is playing where
  • Visit the booth of the band you like and buy t-shirt or CD's, get free stickers and buttons
  • Watch any number of bands on any number of stages such as Street Dogs, Against Me or GBH on the Highway 1 stage; Set Your Goals on the Stage; The Aggrolites, Beat Union, Ludo, Oreskaband, Horrorpops, The Briggs, 3 oh 3 or Katy Perry on the stage; or Revolution Mother, TSOL, Big Drill Car, Mike Watt and the Missing Men, Fear, The Germs, Dickies, or D.I. on the Old School Stage.
  • Get father/son mohawks at the KROQ booth

If you stuck around long enough, you also got to see the aftermath. The landscape that was once packed with enthusiastic kids moving from one stage to another was now easily navigable. The only obstacles: piles of trash and a random bunch of kids sitting in a cluster looking dazed and confused. Ultimately though, it's the type of event that people will talk about for years to come and a place where most people either discovered a new band or reunited with an old favorite, either way the end result was a brain full of good thoughts and a body filled with visceral memories of a full day of music, sun, food and fun.
Written by Sheri Zampelli with photographs by Michael Zampelli