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A Warped sense of style

Those crazy kids and their piercings ...

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I believe in a philosophy of "age is just a number" -- of course, I look 10 years younger than I am -- and that after you reach age 21, it's not really worth counting anymore until you hit retirement.

Just as I feel young -- and probably act young -- there are moments when I feel as old as my 32 years. Feeling old hit me like a ton of bricks when I went to the Vans Warped Tour a couple of weeks ago at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

HEY KID, WANT SOME 'SCREAMO'? EVERYBODY'S DOING IT ... To start with, I hadn't heard of a lot of bands that were on the bill. Scary Kids Scaring Kids? Cute Is What We Aim For? Chiodos? Who the hell are these people? While most of them fall into a category of "post-alternative," I prefer to label them as "screamo." It's not quite emo, but it's not metal either. It's a combination of melodic verses and screamed choruses or words (think Cookie Monster vocals). Apparently, it's the new, hip thing for kids.

It wasn't all new-fangled though. The Fabulous Rudies and The Toasters offered up a healthy helping of ska, while Family Force 5 conjured up the '80s and Pepper aimed to be the second-calling of Sublime (They also started a hilarious chant of "Fuck Emo!") Meg & Dia hit the pop side of alternative rock, New Found Glory came across like a poor-man's Green Day and The Vincent Black Shadow rocked their way through a set that included a spot-on cover of "White Rabbit." Tiger Army fused rockabilly with punk, as did Mad Marge and the Stonecutters, K-Os brought in hip-hop and Bad Religion showed that the veterans still make great music.

GOOD LUCK AT THE DENTIST: As throngs of teens sang along to every word, I sat there thinking, "They all sound the same." Hell, they even all looked the same.

Apparently, once you reach your mid-20s, you no longer get the memos that tell kids it's cool to pierce their faces. When did this trend start? Wandering through the crowd at Warped, I saw that the style is just as warped as the music. Lip rings, nose rings, facial piercings of all kinds were the standard of dress.

I wondered when that decision was made -- "Today ... today is a good day to pierce my face." Yikes! As I sat and heard the constant clicking of kids playing with their piercings -- the rattling of metal upon teeth -- I silently prayed for a dentist to be drilling at their cracked enamel.

There's also a good number of plugs in ears -- you know, those big, solid wood circles in people's lobes that make them look like members of a primitive tribe. I understand you like the look now, but I wonder what those big loops will look like if the plugs are removed and it doesn't heal ...

SAD NEWS: Thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Christiana Hendrix, wife of Belmont Playboys singer Mike Hendrix. Christiana, 33, was killed in a motorcycle accident on July 20. I think Mike said it best on the Web site coldfury.com: "A word of advice, from someone who has now learned the lesson in the toughest school there is: treasure every moment with those you love; don't waste time bickering over nothing, because there isn't time for it. Cherish every smallest kiss, because you don't ever, ever know which one will be the last." ...

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