- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2001

Now in its seventh year, the Vans Warped Tour continues to show remarkable staying power in a traditionally fickle music industry currently facing a potentially disastrous summer concert season. The Warped Tour comes to Nissan Pavilion on Tuesday.
Warped's mix of high-energy, usually punk-centric music and extreme sports such as skateboarding, in-line skating and BMX racing was something of a novelty in the mid-1990s. However, it was quickly noticed by big business, which regularly sponsors extreme sports events. Now "athletes" (if you want to call someone who's spinning and flipping over steps and poles on a skateboard an athlete, and millions of fans apparently do) are featured in soft-drink commercials and even televised on the biggest sports network in the world, ESPN.
Meanwhile, some of the bands on the scene have gone on to huge success via MTV. Blink 182, which will be playing a few shows on the Warped Tour but not at Nissan, saw its new album recently debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
In other words, it's hard to argue that this is an alternative scene anymore. It's also hard to disregard the loyalty of its fans, as Warped continues to thrive while rival festivals from the Lollapalooza Tour to the recently discontinued (at least for this year) Lilith Tour have struggled to keep the show going from year to year.
Perhaps the relatively low price of tickets helps keep Warped afloat. While the bigger summer touring artists, such as U2 or Madonna, can charge obscene amounts of money for a ticket, a Warped ticket can be had for a more modest $22.50. That's less than half the $46.69 average ticket price for one of the top tours, according to figures provided by the concert industry trade publication Pollstar. A slowing economy may very well keep a Billy Joel-Elton John fan from shelling out $100 to see his old favorites, but extreme-scene youngsters will most likely be only too happy to drop a few bucks for a whole day of celebrating their lifestyle.
One thing that may harm the local stop is the relative lack of big names playing at Nissan. For while popular bands such as Blink 182, 311 and Dropkick Murphys are on other bills of the tour; they will not be at Nissan on Tuesday. Rancid and Pennywise are probably the biggest names to show, with the up-and-coming punk band Fenix Tx also on the bill.

Speaking of obscene ticket prices, the Canadian musical troupe called Barenaked Ladies comes to Merriweather Post Pavilion on Sunday. For $45 for a pavilion seat or $35 for the lawn you can witness its trademark brand of vapid music, obnoxious wordplay and insipid sense of humor.
The Ladies frequently played the old 9:30 Club and various other small American clubs through most of the '90s, building up an odd cult of fans who reveled in and actually became an integral part of their witless schtick. Throwing a full box of macaroni and cheese at the band during the song, "If I Had a Million Dollars," is the ultimate badge of honor for a BNL fan.
Amazingly, such stupidity proved a blueprint for mainstream success, as the Ladies turned into a national sensation here in the States due to their smash (as in smash your radio) hit "One Week" back in 1998, off their double-platinum album "Stunt." Now they're playing major venues in support of a new album.


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