City Slang: What’s So Warped About Vans?



On Friday, the touring corporate punk spectacle called Vans Warped hits Comerica Park in Detroit. Many of the bands that adorn the covers of Alternative Press all year round are on the bill, and the biggest names on offer are Floridian ska-punk clowns Less Than Jake and Californian over-rated ‘90s punks Unwritten Law.

Well, whoopee-shit!

Look, a shoe-sponsored mega-rock extravaganza has nothing at all – NOTHING – to do with punk rock. This is a corporate caricature of punk rock for the Hot Topic generation and, to be honest, it’s just not very Detroit. The line-up is so banal and average, it’s enough to make Iggy weep. And this is a supposed punk festival. IN FUCKING DETROIT!

Where’s the fire? Where’s the anger? Where’s the nihilism? Where’s the untamed sexual energy? Frankly, local bands Every Avenue and We Came As Romans (pictured above) have a responsibility to do the area proud. No excuses, boys.

From the pre-punk of the MC5 and the Stooges through the new wave of the Hysteric Narcotics and the hardcore of Negative Approach to the Dolls-esque sleaze of the Trash Brats, the post-punk darkness of the Laughing Hyenas and so on and so on, this area has a proud punk tradition and, if you’re gonna roll into this town and wave that flag, you’d better be ready to kick some ass.

City Slang seriously recommends that you save yourself a few bucks while also treating yourself to some music with genuine energy, quality and class. Duende!, Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program, Sharky & the Habit and the Eeks are playing the Pike Room in Pontiac on Friday night. Alternatively, Timothy Monger, Matt Jones & the Reconstruction and the Bell Beat are playing the Lager House. You’ll thank me later.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.