Surf City hits the road on Warped Tour

Three bands with ocean-sounding names — Reel Big Fish, Aquabats, Pacific Dub — will take H.B. vibe to annual nationwide event.

June 19, 2013|By Brittany Woolsey
  • Aaron Barrett, vocalist and guitarist of Reel Big Fish, performs at the City National Grove of Anaheim on July 28, 2012.
Aaron Barrett, vocalist and guitarist of Reel Big Fish,… (Brittany Woolsey,…)

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."

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