red lights


Punk Rock Opera

Vans Warped Tour 2005
Marcus Amphitheater
Milwaukee, WI
June 19, 2005
Strung Out
Strung Out (Karen Bondowski)
Dropkick Murphys
Dropkick Murphys (Phil Bonyata)

Story and Photos By Karen Bondowski
Photos By Phil Bonyata

The 11th annual Vans Warped Tour played only its second show of the season last week in Milwaukee. By the reaction and number of tattooed laced, spiked haired, Ramones t-shirt wearing public - this annual punkfest is everything the promotors say it is. Cheap tickets, more than 60 bands (with bigs namers like The Offspring and My Chemical Romance) on multiple stages scattered throughout the Summerfest grounds, a chance to checkout one of the smaller stages and actually discover a new band and of course - people watching. If a concert goer were to attend dressed in a polo shirt, khaki pants and no tattoos or piercings he would be considered the freak. Everyone is dressed to the hilt in all of punks' cliched dress codes. Didn't body surfing become old in the late '90s? The playlist changes at every venue including some of the headliners starting very early and some of the lesser knowns filling a headliners slot - which ultimately is very democratic.
Some notable acts were the raging three-chord attack and memorable choruses of The Offspring. Charging through such classics as "Self Esteem" and "Staring At the Sun." The tasty craziness of Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line playing like Conor Oberst on acid, the black and blue beating of hardcore punkers MXPX and Boston natives Dropkick Murphy's frenzied attempt to capture the elusive Irish soul. My Chemical Romance brought a swirling and forceful energy to its short set. The shining star of the evening however was Strung Out. With songs like "Deville" and "Mind of My Own" the band burned the stage with so much balls that local medics would surely be needed to resuscitate them.
Is Vans Warped a sellout? Yes and no. While there are headliners who are sometimes too safe and a little too mainstream - you can still wander to one of the lesser corners of the grounds and discover a band that has really put the danger back into today's punk rock. As long as Vans Warped sticks to this model it should have a very long and successful run.

The Offspring
The Offspring (Karen Bondowski)
My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance (Phil Bonyata)

Through the eyes and lenses of Phil & Karen

Karen's Vans Warped Photo Gallery!

Phil's Vans Warped Photo Gallery!

Punk Gallery!

Band Interviews!

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