Surf City hits the road on Warped Tour

The rest of the United States will get a musical taste of Huntington Beach this summer as three Surf City bands embark on the nationwide Vans Warped Tour.

The annual festival will include Huntington Beach ska band and Warped Tour veteran Reel Big Fish, as well as the Aquabats and Pacific Dub.

Since its start in 1995, Warped Tour has been a stomping ground for a variety of artists, including No Doubt, Sublime, Bad Religion, the Offspring and Katy Perry.

The tour began as a skate and punk festival but has evolved into what founder Kevin Lyman calls a "musical wonderland," adding metal, electronica and other genres to the mix.

This year, Lyman said, more than 100 bands will play on nine stages. The tour also hosts a variety of nonprofit organizations, and tickets, at just around $40 each, are affordable for younger fans.

The 2013 lineup is dominated by metal and pop bands. Still, Reel Big Fish trumpeter Johnny Christianson said playing ska is not intimidating but instead can be an advantage.

He said Reel Big Fish is a "breath of fresh air" to crowds used to mosh pits and screaming singers.

"For our concerts, everyone wants to come and dance and have a good time," he said. "It's not about hitting the person next to you or crying about whatever is going on in your life. You're laughing at yourself and enjoying the show."

Since its heyday in the '90s ska scene, with hits like "Sell Out" and "She Has a Girlfriend Now," Reel Big Fish has added humor not only in its music but also in its concert sets, often with members insulting each other onstage.

Reel Big Fish, a five-year Warped Tour veteran, is no stranger to touring. Christianson said the band members usually travel about eight months out of the year, but Warped Tour is always something they look forward to.

"The Warped Tour fans just go crazy no matter where we are," he said. "We are really lucky to have the fans that we do."

Lyman added that Warped Tour is beneficial for bands that have been around as long as Reel Big Fish has.

"Reel Big Fish reenergize their career by coming and playing on Warped Tour," he said. "For me, sometimes I'll walk out from backstage to see bands, and Reel Big Fish is always one of those bands I want to see."

Fellow Huntington Beach ska/reggae bands Pacific Dub and the Aquabats will also perform on the Warped Tour. Pacific Dub, whose members went to Huntington Beach high schools, is not only playing Warped Tour for the first time, but many of its members will also be first-time attendees, said singer-guitarist Colton Place.

"This is definitely the biggest tour we have ever been on," he said. "It will give us an opportunity to not only play our music, but to also check out some other cool bands that we wouldn't necessarily ever get a chance to tour with in our normal circuit."

Place said that getting booked on Warped Tour was a "humbling" experience because Lyman personally invited them to perform on his Kevin Says Stage.

Lyman said he chose to add Pacific Dub to the tour after seeing the band, which he sees as a future hit-maker, play in Los Angeles.

"I like putting bands on the tour that people might not know yet but that can headline next year," he said.

He said he is pleased that the Aquabats, the ska band whose members play crime-fighters on TV's "The Aquabats! Super Show!", are able to join this year's lineup.

"I've been trying to get them on the tour for a while," he said. "It's so hard to fit in their schedule because of the TV show, so having them is great."

Warped Tour travels nationwide throughout the summer and will make two stops in Pomona, on June 20 and 21.

"Warped Tour can change your life if you give it a chance," Lyman said. "It's about just being yourself, expressing yourself, having fun and opening your mind up to different music."

For a complete list of tour dates and the full lineup, visit

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World