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Warped a mix of naughty and nice

June 30, 2005|Kevin Bronson

You can see legends at the 11th edition of Vans Warped Tour. And you can see the legions.

With more than 80 bands at three Southern California stops in the next week, Warped thrives on making youthful exuberance a corporate-sponsored commodity. It possesses the DIY atmosphere of a backyard party and operates as a sort of punk-rock democracy (set times for its eight-plus stages rotate at each stop and aren't decided until the morning of the show).

And Warped has learned to respect the elders -- in ways other than its clever "Reverse Day Care" tent where youngsters can drop off their parents.

So you can see punk icon Mike Watt (performing with ex-Porno for Pyros guitarist Peter DiStefano) one minute -- and fresh-faced Simi Valley quintet In Memory the next. You can catch platinum sellers the Offspring -- then its offspring, Minneapolis' Motion City Soundtrack. You can see original MTV bad boy Billy Idol -- and piano-tickling nice guy Waking Ashland, of San Diego. And you can see how Southland products such as Avenged Sevenfold, Thrice and Atreyu measure up against national chart climbers.

Maybe the cream of this year's crop is Avenged Sevenfold, the Huntington Beach quintet touring behind the release of its second album, "City of Evil," which fuses metal and punk in epic song settings.

But kids at Warped are just as likely to be charmed by the angst-free melodicism of Rancho Cucamonga quartet Rufio. At the very least, Rufio will be happy to play Wednesday: Two weeks ago, while on tour in Montreal, its trailer full of gear, merchandise and luggage was stolen. Maybe at Warped, Rufio will sell you a copy of its upcoming album. It's titled "The Comfort of Home."

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