Ah, Warped Tour, a part of my youth I can’t shed. Luckily, now that I’m older less and less bands are appealing to me, so what once was a stage race to see a dozen bands I loved is now, well, not. The only bands I was hell-bent on seeing were Bad Religion and Big D and the Kids Table, besides those who I’d float by at my leisure.
After finding some free suntan lotion (thank you cancer booth!) I sauntered over to a main stage and watched As I Lay Dying. I saw them at Ozzfest a few years back and they seemed like they were having much more fun here. They performed solidly and played all the songs one would expect to hear: "94 Hours," "Confined," "The Darkest Nights," etc. A minor oddity was the singer calling every song, save for a few from a future release, as “old ones.” Songs from 2005 are considered old ones now?
Now here is where I lose all my punk rock cred: The next band I saw was Coheed and Cambria. I feel bad for these guys. They get lumped in with all those shitty emo bands because Claudio makes Jordan from NFG sound like a baritone, but they more or less play prog. Has anyone ever listened to Rush before? Anyway, with minimal speaking in between songs, Coheed put on Warped’s most epic set, complete with great hooks and behind-the-head guitar soloing. Sandwiched in there was a new song, "The Running Free" (Iron Maiden anyone?). I found myself singing along to a song I never heard before. They took advantage of the off-schedule main stages and dragged out In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 to even Dream Theater length. I’d also like to note how fun their bassist Mic is. Whether it was slapping or back finger strumming he looked like he was really groovin’.
- Welcome Home
- The Suffering
- Everything Evil
- The Running Free
- A Favor House Atlantic
- In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
I was going to see the the Unseen but they started in the middle of Coheed’s set and were on a side stage at the complete other end of the venue. Aren’t they big enough for a main stage yet? At any rate, I decided to pass on that five-minute street punk clusterfuck and see Alkaline Trio instead. They were playing "Private Eye" when I got there and they looked minimally into it. Even though Skiba looked ravishing in bright blue sunglasses, they seemed like they were simply going through the motions. They even substituted perennial show closer "Radio" for "We’ve Had Enough." Meh, I guess they’re not used to being awake at 2:45.
Since I already had my fill of walking around aimlessly, I decided to keep watching bands, the next one being Killswitch Engage. Since I’m sure no one wants me to prattle on about these guys, just re-read the second paragraph and replace As I Lay Dying with Killswitch. And you know, substitute those songs with "My Curse," "Rose of Sharyn," "A Bid Farewell," etc.
Uh oh, here comes the pop-punk train. This stop, New Found Glory. Boy, these guys still jump around like it’s 2001! Even though I haven’t really heard their last few albums, their set was extremely fun, compounded with limitless energy. Plus, they played all those stone-cold crust punk classics like "Hit or Miss," "Better Off Dead" and "My Friends Over You." They also played a cover of Sixpence None the Richer’s "Kiss Me" (off their upcoming covers sequel), which was amusing as hell since I haven’t heard that song since 1999. But do we really need any more punk rock covers after the uh...existence of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes?
Finally, Bad Religion time. Of course, I’m immediately disappointed as they walked on stage because Brett wasn’t there (did he play any of the dates?). But when they launched into "American Jesus," you forget about all that stuff and realize all these songs can be played by just one guitarist anyway. During the second track, "Social Suicide," a guy in a wheelchair crowd-surfed, much to the amusement of the crowd and the whole band. Jay Bentley even stopped the segue into the next song to declare “Holy shit! That was the raddest thing ever! That just made my day.” Greg noted “We’ve just been upstaged, good night!” Speaking of Greg, the only time he was fairly long-winded was when introducing the new tune "New Dark Ages." Other than that, they consistently played well (besides a sloppy ending to "Generator") and showed they could make the crowd move as well as they did when they were spring chickens.
- American Jesus
- Social Suicide
- Requiem for Descent
- Honest Goodbye
- New Dark Ages
- Fuck Armageddon...This Is Hell
- Do What You Want
Big D and the Kids Table lit up the stage instantly by playing "Little Bitch" and I was thrown into my first skanking opportunity of the day. This band always gets the crowd to emit love and today was no different. Dave’s swagger wins the award for most entertaining singer of the day by far, while the band were extremely tight professionals who never went over the edge but enough chaos ensued as to where it was fun. Sure it would have been nice to hear "Checklist," but I’m also sure they’re fucking sick of playing that song. So I’m more than content with them belting out the best songs on their new album. Good times were had by all, and it seemed to be over way too quickly (even though they went a few minutes over).
- Little Bitch
- Steady Riot
- Noise Complaint
- Shining On
- Try Out Your Voice
- Hell on Earth
- Souped Up Vinyl
- Those Kids Suck
Well, it was getting late and I had a choice of who was going to fill my 7:45 slot: Tiger Army or MC Chris. Don’t get me wrong, "Nocturnal" is a good song and all, but I need some hip-hop. Starting roughly 10 minutes early, MC Chris came on stage high as hell, setting up all the samples himself with his laptop. He quipped about how he had no more weed and then laid it on pretty thick: “No seriously, I’m out of weed.” So promptly someone handed him a joint and a few seconds later a gram flew by his head. Oh, who says the Warped crowd doesn’t give back? Even though most of his quips were drug-related, he was a very pleasant way to end Warped with, looking like he was having a lot of fun with his one-man show. A common exchange: “All the boys scream! Now all the girls scream! Now all the black kids scream!” :cricket, cricket:. Oh I almost forgot, the music! "White Kids Love Hip-Hop," "Fett’s Vett" and "The Tussin" got the crowd in most of a fuss and by the end of the show he could have eaten the crowd up with a spoon. Not sure if he would have wanted to though, we were all pretty sweaty and gross.