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The 2008 Vans Warped Tour, with Angels & Airwaves

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Angels & Airwaves appear at the 2008 Vans Warped Tour Sunday, July 6, at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. West, 281-807-8760. Also appearing are The Academy Is..., Against Me!, The Devil Wears Prada, Every Time I Die, Katy Perry, Paramore, Street Dogs and more. The full lineup will be posted when gates open at 11 a.m.

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For guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, abandoning the multiplatinum, permanent pop-punk prom that was Blink-182 for his own brainchild, Angels & Airwaves, is like attempting a promotion from the Monkees to U2. DeLonge (alongside three lesser punk-lite luminaries), you see, is now seeking something more thoughtful, grown-up and significant. Thankfully, he's retained his instinctive street-level songcraft (though it sometimes seems to be the same song), meaning that A&A end up sounding more like a maturing Blink than he probably intended. But DeLonge isn't kidding: Angels released their second album in 18 months, I-Empire, last November, continuing the grandiose-yet-peppy theme of their '06 debut, We Don't Need to Whisper. It's more Forum-ready refrains; emo-approved, eyes-on-the-horizon optimism; twinkly guitars 'n' keys; and wafts of '80s MTV. While hardly of Dave Grohl proportions, DeLonge's effort to reinvent himself is both admirable and (more crucially) singable — if not remotely as fucking important as he thinks it is.

 
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