When you have a 12-year old daughter, you don’t wind up taking her to shows with Brian Eno, Loreena McKennitt or Pat Metheny. At 12 she’s either listening to Britney Spears, Hip-Hop or some form of alternative rock. Fortunately, in my daughter Grace’s case, it’s the latter, especially pop-punk and emo. So it was that I found myself in 90 degree heat and blistering sun on the parking lot of a drag strip in New Jersey, the Englishtown Raceway, for the Vans Warped Tour ‘06. 82 bands, 8 or 9 stages, and thousands of teenagers ranging from kids who looked like they just got home from summer camp (my daughter and her two friends Liz and Evelyn) to goths who missed the Bauhaus reunion.
And then there were the parents, too many of whom looked like they were reliving their punk youths, but most who looked like they were just enduring the day.
And endure they must. There was no escape from the sound or the heat. The only shade was a pair of maples sitting outside one of the woman’s bathrooms, and under the bleachers of the drag strip.
But forget the discomfort. Most of the kids were gathered in front of the stages, crowd surfing to the front, tossing plastic water bottles and listening to bands that ranged from the freshly minted group, The Medics, who laid down some very convincing post-punk pop, to relatively veteran punk bands like Helmet and Anti-Flag .
Then there was the really veteran rocker Joan Jett, who at 45, could be the grandmother to some of the kids here.
But as you can tell from the photos, nobody’s grandmom looks like Joan Jett, still lean and mean and she rocked as hard as any of them, though Grace could have cared less. That was someone else’s old school for her. She was more interested in The Early November, Motion City Soundtrack and Less Than Jake.
From 11Am till the bitter end at 8:40 she dragged her friends from one end of the parking lot to the other to catch their favorite bands.
I enjoyed some of the bands and I really loved the way they seemed to respect their fans, but except for a brief respite where I dialed up some Afro Celt Sound System on my iPod, there weren’t many moments where I felt in musical communion, but then, they aren’t making music for me.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))