I went to Warped this year with pretty low expectations, which is probably part of the reason I had such a good time.
First of all, if you've never been to a Warped on Randall's Island, then you're missing out. The dust storms alone make it quite an experience, and this year they were the worst ever. I assume it had something to do with the fact that August 13th was the hottest day in New York City since 2001, and goddamn you could tell. I've never seen so many people wearing bandanas and dust masks, it looked like the Old West or some sort of outbreak movie. I've also never seen so many people being carted off on those emergency golf carts, assumedly because of the heat.
Anyway, onto the music (forgive me if there are any inaccuracies about time, as I was kind of delusional from the heat the whole day):
After getting there on time, but spending the obligatory 45 minutes on line waiting to get in, we wandered in just in time to see the end of Reggie And The Full Effect. James seemed to be pretty hammered, but they had a good sound and the crowd was really into it.
The two minutes of Mest I heard was not very good; that's all I'll say about that.
Thrice was better than I expected; they were tight and their sound quailty was among the best of the day. They played a few new songs which sounded good and made me look foward to hearing the new record. The rest of the set was mostly stuff from The Artist In The Ambulance, though they suprisingly did not play "All That's Left," instead opting to end with "Deadbolt," which made me pretty happy.
Motion City Soundtrack came on about 20 minutes late, but put on a hell of a show. The keyboard was slightly too high-pitched and sounded a bit off, but no one seemed to mind. Their stage presence was good and they were able to jump around without any effect on the music, which is more than I can say about most bands. They played material from both of their albums equally, closing with, of course, "The Future Freaks Me Out." I thought they were the fourth best band I saw.
I caught the end of the Transplants set; they sounded okay, not my thing, but they drew a large crowd and people were pretty into it.
Avenged Sevenfold really love "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas;" they came out to the intro from the movie. I thought they would be awful, especially now that M. Shadows can't scream anymore, but the songs actaully sound better now, in a cheese metal sort of way. The crowd went nuts when they played "Bat Country," and to my suprise, i wound up actually enjoying myself.
At this point I was barely able to walk and went to get my fifth bottle of water.
We got back to the Mike Stage just in time to see Strung Out. This was my first time ever seeing them, and all i can say is GODDAMN. They were absolutely spot-on tight, and played a perfectly mistake-free set, not a single fucked up note anywhere. The crowd was reasonably small for them, which was a damn shame. The kids that were there, however, were more into it than almost any other band I saw. They played mostly newer stuff, which I don't mind at all, but the highlights had to be "Too Close To See," and "The Exhumation Of Virgina Madison," which really got the crowd moving and singing along at the top of our lungs. I can't reccommend seeing them live enough; second best performance of the day.
Again I went to get a bottle of water, and afterwards made the mistake of laying down. I fell asleep for about an hour, which caused me to miss the Dropkick Murphys (which annoyed me) and Story Of The Year (which made me happy). I woke up when some girl poked me in the face and asked me if I was okay; she was pretty cute, so I got up right away. We headed back over to the Mike Stage.
MxPx aren't very well liked on this site, but they do put on a great show. They had a nice sized crowd, and when it started to rain a few minutes into the set a cheer went up; unfortunately it only lasted 10 minutes or so. I was praying for it to fucking pour, and i think everyone else was too. The band played all of the favorites everyone was expecting and a few tunes from their new album. In my opinion, the best songs were "Punk Rock Show" and "Chick Magnet," both of which featured fun singalongs.
I caught a few minutes of Big D And The Kids Table; they sounded great and there weren't may people there, but I guess that's to be expected.
We wandered around with some girls we had met up with during Atreyu's set. Much to my dismay, they didn't sound awful, at least from far away. They had a huge crowd, of course, and everyone jumped up and down when they closed up with "You Give Love A Bad Name." It figures their most fun song is a cover.
I plowed through everyone leaving the Bishop Stage where Atreyu had just played to get back to the Mike Stage just in time to hear the opening chords of "Fox." Millencolin was fucking awesome. They had drawn a pretty big crowd, but at first everyone was kinda standing around, save for a circle pit of skanking. By a few songs in, however, everyone was really into it. Steve Caballero (who I had seen walking around earlier) came out to play bass for one song. I wanna say it was "Bullion," but I really don't remember. They played a great variety of stuff from all their abums. From what I can recall the set list was something like: "Fox," "Cash Or Clash," "Kemp," "Bullion," "Penguins And Polarbears," and "Blackeye." I think O left one or two out, though. They closed with "No Cigar" and it was sick, one of the biggest cirlce pits I'd ever seen. Everyone in the pit just skanking along having a great time while the rest of the crowd jumped around. In my opinion Millencolin simply stole the show, and made the whoe day worthwhile. I can't wait to see them again.
We went to sit back down while My Chemical Romace sucked it up at the Bishop stage. Their crowd was enourmous and people were singing along as they walked by me; I don't understand why everyone likes them so much. Say what you want about the lack of quality music, but damn, along with bands like MCR comes some quality females.
The Offspring probably drew the biggest crowd of the day, though. We were way in the back, almost to one of the side stages and it was packed in front of us. I hate to admit it, as I really don't like them, but they know how to work a crowd. They played everything you would expect and everyone was singing along to the point where you almost couldn't hear the band. Definitely the suprise best perfomance of the day.
We decided we didn't want to leave yet, so we walked over and leaned against the sound booth to see Fall Out Boy. I wanted to hear if they were as bad live as everyone says, and boy did they exceed the hype. First of all, they came out and said "Hello New Jersey;" I screamed that we were in New York and called them assholes; it got a few laughs, but mostly dirty looks from all the jailbait that surrounded us. They then proceeded to play one of the sloppiest sets ever. They continually fucked up their own songs, missed words or lines, and it seemed like they couldn't even play the songs they had written. The singer said they were in New Jersey three more times before he admitted that someone had put a sign on stage saying they were in New York. I don't know how you drive through Manhattan to get to Randall's and somehow think you're in Jersey. It was pretty funny though, and made it worth sticking around. Much like MCR's show, no one else seemed to care that they sounded like crap, and all the girls sang along as loud as they could. I guess that's all that matters anyway, that the fans had a good time.
All in all I had an excellent time. I've never gotten so sunburned or filthy at a Warped date, which is saying a lot. I've also never inhaled so much dust and I'll have black snot for the next week. I've never been so disgustingly hot or close to truly passing out from exhuastion. And I've never considered a concert to be an endurance test. Yet, all the crap somehow made it that much better, and one of the weakest Warped lineups I've seen somehow turned out to be one of the most fun all around.