Van's Warped Tour 2017 - Live in Detroit (Cover Artwork)

Van's Warped Tour 2017

Live in Detroit (2017)

live show

If you’ve been around Punknews for any amount of time, you probably realized when you saw this review that it was written by a new face. However, if you’re a fan of the work of Punknews’ Tom Trauma, you’ve definitely heard of me. My name is Alex and I’m Tom Trauma’s sixteen year old daughter.

My dad has taken me to many shows in the past, usually in small clubs or large arenas, not much in between. Going to a music festival as large as Van’s Warped Tour was definitely a new one for me, but going into it I was very excited. I’ve wanted to go to Warped for years, but last year the lineup really drew me in. Sadly, my dad made enough excuses to keep us from going. This year, however, he took one look at the lineup and decided there were enough old-man bands to risk a trip up near Detroit for the festival. I wasn’t quite as excited as him, but I was still looking forward to the experience.

In my head, music festivals have always been this beautiful thing where people from all over met up and talked about music and jammed out to great bands and there were just good vibes everywhere. Going into Warped Tour with this mindset made it very interesting. I was disappointed in some areas and pleased in others, but we’ll get to the specifics later.

I woke up the morning of the Van’s Warped Tour’s stop in Auburn Hills with a fever, a sore throat, and a stuffy nose. Basically, I felt like crap. However, I was definitely not going to let this minor inconvenience keep me from something I had been looking forward to all summer, so I went to the drug store and got a ton of medicine. On the two and a half hour drive I took enough vitamin C to maintain a person for a month.Thankfully, we arrived without further incident, and although I was pretty drowsy and stiff all day, I made it through and live to tell the tale. So here it is.

When Mr. Trauma and I went to go get our tickets, my dad ended up with a pass that said he could interview people, which he didn’t use, and I got a wristband that meant for the first couple songs a band played, I could go inside the barricades and get close to the stage to take pictures. I was pretty excited to be that close the members of the band, but even on the first show I realized how ridiculous I must have looked. All around me inside the barricades were these adults with impressive cameras that flashed and buzzed, while I took live photos on my iPhone.

Our first show of the day, Municipal Waste, is a self-proclaimed thrash band comprised of five members. Throughout their entire set, the band was very adamant about the fact that they were a thrash band, so much that they incorporated the word many times into their songs. I guess they just didn’t want any of us listeners to get confused.

One of the most noticeable things about their set was the large image of President Donald Trump blowing his brains out. They even had a song or two about hating the president, however rumor has it “I Wanna Kill the President” was written when Obama was president. It seems animosity toward our political leaders is something they’ve been holding onto for a long time.

The audience for Municipal Waste was pretty big considering their old man status. All five of them were rocking long hair, and it was hard to tell whether or not the fans on stage were there to keep them cool in the heat of the day or just to blow their hair around. I guess it doesn’t matter; the effect was there anyway.

I can’t say Municipal Waste was quite my cup of tea. I even found myself zoning out a few times during their set. To me, it was all just noise. Personally, I consider a part of the music experience as being able to understand the words, but it seems the head-banging crowd wasn’t quite as uptight. They had a great time, thrashing around and even making a circle pit at one time. The men on stage were just as animated, not slowing down for a second. The singer even looked like he might throw himself off the stage in an effort to get into the music. My dad liked it, but to me Municipal Waste was just another trash band.

After it was confirmed that Andy Black was indeed the Andy from Black Veil Brides, I was eager to check him out. I was never a big fan of BVB, but I liked some of their songs and was curious to see what his sound had become after BVB’s break up last year. He had a band playing behind him, but Andy was obviously the star of the show, which was probably known to everyone since he introduced them as his "solo band".

I always thought he had a deep, beautiful voice, and it's just as good now, although his music has definitely mellowed out a bit since his last band, especially for a live show. The music isn't exactly what one would dance too, but it can get your head bobbing at some points. Andy Black made the best of his small stage by coming close to the front and using smoke machines to liven up the show.

If there's one thing I can say it's that Andy seemed genuinely happy to be playing in front of this crowd, even cracking a few secret smiles. He seems passionate about what he's doing, a quality I appreciate in an artist. He never stopped moving and I got some great close up shots using my cameraman status. We only stayed for half of his set, but I would have stayed for the whole thing if not for schedule conflicts. I’m not sure I’ll be looking up his music anytime soon, but if I hear it around somewhere I won’t be rushing to turn it off. I also won’t be forgetting the looks of jealousy thrown at me by fourteen year old girls when I got to go inside the barricades. Maybe they’ll learn to become professional photographers like me.

Comprised of four women, Bad Cop/Bad Cop is a melodic punk band. Although the ladies are noticeably no longer spring chickens, they definitely still have a spring in their step. All three on guitars also did vocals, and together they belted out some harmonies that I, as a certified choir nerd, could appreciate. I wasn’t soulfully impacted by them, but I might hit up one of their shows if they ever came to town.

Of all the many shows we watched at Warped Tour, Sick of it All seemed to captivate their audience the best. The crowd wasn't the biggest nor the liveliest, but those who were watching seemed entranced, and even I found myself hanging onto every word the singer said. Maybe it's just because they seemed so relatable or because they all moved around on stage so much, but even I enjoyed their set. I’m not a big fan of old school punk, but I can’t say Sick of it All was bad in any way. Throughout the entire 25 minutes, the man on electric guitar, sporting a bleach blonde mohawk, would not stop jumping up and down. He reminded me a bit of Merle from The Walking Dead, but I've decided to not let that influence my overall rating.

Adolescents was the band my father, Tom Trauma, was most excited to see. He referred to them as a "bucket list band" on many different occasions, and a large part of me really wanted them to be great, even if just for him. Sadly, I don't think either of us got the spiritual experience we were looking for. Don't get me wrong, the lead singer was obviously trying to engage with his audience by making jokes and even referring to the fact that he looked like a homeless man, but for me it wasn't enough. They barely moved around while they were playing and I think it's hard to get really engaged with your music if you're just standing still or wandering around the stage. Still, it seemed the crowd was enjoying them, and a lot of old timers seem happy to be around for the show. Not to mention that the left-handed guitar player looks like Mark Pellegrino, who some may know as Lucifer, another thing I'll try not to let bias me.

I was away for a few weeks at the beginning of July and when I got home my dad was just dying to tell me the news; War on Women tried to get the Dickies kicked off of the tour. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a 16 year old female who believes strongly in women's rights, and the equality of men and women. However, I do not believe that the correct way to go about spreading feministic ideals is to write a song screaming "I had an abortion!" over and over again. Believe it or not, it's possible to be feminist women and and have differing opinions, a concept War on Women doesn't seem to understand. However, that's not what I want to get into. I won't tell the entire boring story, but War on Women called out The Dickies for disrespecting women in their music, and in their onstage banter. I'd like to point out that while I was at Warped Tour, there were a couple of rappers who threw around the word "bitch" like it was part of common speech. I guess War on Women thought the old white men were a better target. Either way, their music was okay, but it felt more like they were yelling at me than singing to me. Maybe it’s just part of the vibe they’re trying to get across.

Of all the bands playing at Warped Tour, I Prevail was definitely the most popular. When I looked at the lineup for Auburn Hills, they were one of the only groups I had heard of. However, I was completely unprepared for them.

From Detroit(ish), it makes sense that a lot of people came out to see them, but within seconds of their first song the crowds were so rowdy they wouldn’t let me inside the barricades. People were stretched from the front of the stage and spilled into the one nextdoor, as well as crammed in the back against the merch stands.

Going in, I had only ever heard one of their songs, an acoustic ballad called “My Heart I Surrender”. If you’ve heard this song, as well as their others, then you understand why I was so shellshocked when they began playing. They look like A Day to Remember, and sound like Neck Deep on steroids. Safe to say I was slightly disappointed. Despite what I think, I Prevail definitely has a large following and my humble opinion probably wouldn’t affect that much.

I was pretty upset I couldn’t get pictures of the biggest band of the day, and I even fought my way through the crowd multiple times to try to get them to let me in. Sadly it didn’t happen, but I did get a lot of other great pictures of lesser known bands.

Warped Tour was definitely an experience for me. I watched a lot of bands I would never listen to and was very surprised by bands I had already heard. There were a lot of political/lifestyle things, not only from War on Women but also from artists like Anti-Flag, who I had already seen play in Grand Rapids, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, who mentioned suicide support, and The Suicide Machines, the singer of which promotes a chemical free lifestyle. Lots of opinions were thrown around, but despite that it seemed that everyone there was happy and trying to make other people happy too. The vibes were great, and I got to see a friend who lives on the East side of the state. I like to think a lot of other people also made friends or got to see old ones or had an amazing time with the friends they brought.

I really appreciated how accommodating Warped was as well. Twenty-five percent, if not more, of the girls there were wearing bikini tops, and at this point I don’t blame them considering how hot of a day it was. There was a slip-and-slide for those who wanted to cool off and free water bottle refills. They wanted people healthy and happy and it was nice to see a lot of large companies who cared about the people they were serving. I won’t say the environment was exactly “family-friendly” but it was definitely safer there for teens than passing out drunk at some party. Everyone was nice and supportive, and even though I wasn’t necessarily a big fan of the music or artists that played, I think the tour is a great thing and I hope it continues for many years.