Young pop punkster: Who's Billy Idol?
Jack Shepler
July 25, 2005
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Rock Music Reviews

Billy Idol and Offspring joined the mix of mostly pop-punk bands at the Warped Tour in Indianapolis. (RMR/Jack Shepler)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (RMR) - This year's Van's Warped Tour features something a little different - Billy Idol.

The punk veteran has made 7 tour stops with the longest running festival tour in the U.S., the Warped Tour, promoting his first new album in 13 years, Devil's Playground.

The tour features dozens of pop-punk and new rock bands and stops at nearly 50 cities throughout the U.S., with a largely teenage audience.

I attended the Indianapolis show on July 20, which featured a wide variety of bands such as Offspring, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Dropkick Murphys, MxPx, Reggie and the Full Effect, Motion City Soundtrack, Gym Class Heroes, and new band The Transplants. The day was also highlighted by various extreme sports, such as skateboarding and bicycling, and also had several booths set up for bands as well as non-profit organizations like the ONE campaign and Truth.

My Chemical Romance and Hawthorne Heights seemed to be the most popular amongst younger audiences, but there was a nice variety of rock including a more "grown up" sound as well. The Transplants, featuring Travis Barker from Blink 182, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, and Rob Aston, are far from pop-punk and put on a really rocking show. Their music is most original, mixing punk rock with hip-hop and hardcore.

Billy Idol was of course my favorite act of the day. Playing just the right mix of old and new material, he belted out his tunes, along with the infamous Steve Stevens on guitar, amongst numerous fans and even those who had never heard of him. Before Billy and crew went on, a fan asked "who's Billy Idol?" towards the photographers waiting for the show to begin.

What punk fan doesn't know Billy Idol? "You don't know who Billy Idol is?" one of the photographers asked. "He's, like, old isn't he?" chimed a different young girl in the crowd. He might be 50, but he still rocks like a bad ass.

What they didn't realize was that Billy Idol, when it really comes down to it, is a legend compared to the rest of the bands on the tour. They had no idea they were so lucky to see him right in the very front of the crowd. Not that Hawthorne Heights, the band they fought their way to the front for, isn't good. They have a good sound and a large following. But they're just... not Billy Idol.

Offspring also performed well, but it's a shame they only have one new song (Can't Repeat) to give us on their new album, Greatest Hits, and at least they didn't perform Pretty fly for a white guy. I hope to see more from them in the future.

The Warped Tour is the longest running festival tour in history, and with all the corporate sponsors, cheap tickets, and variety of locations, I'm sure it will stay that way for years to come. I hope Billy Idol can do the same.

Billy Idol


Fall Out Boy

My Chemical Romance


The Transplants