Warped Tour 2003 - live in New York City (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Warped Tour 2003

live in New York City (2003)

live show

Rounding out the last few dates, Warped Tour made its usual August stop in New York City to the obvious delight of many.

After a surprisingly frisk-free entrance, my party and I (who will be referred to as "we" from here on in) checked out several merch tents and then positioned ourselves for Thrice's set, as we overheard the Mad Caddies and recognized some songs from their set a few months ago on the Fat Tour in Farmingdale.

Finally, the great introduction to the day took the stage after my cousin and I's pointless debate about which song they would open with. I was thinking "Kill Me Quickly," while his educated guess was "Under a Killing Moon." The pot of scene points went to me after all, but Thrice followed it right up with his guess, both seeming to lack something again. Nonetheless, the percent deviation wasn't enough to ruin the set, and they put on one of the best of the day, getting everyone to pump their fists to "Silhouette," "See You in the Shallows," "To Awake and Avenge the Dead,""Blood Clots and Black Holes," and closing with "Deadbolt." Nothing off of Identity Crisis, but that may have been my only magnified complaint. Oh, and Dustin's new lack of a mullet.

We hauled ass to the Maurice stage to catch the end of the Brand New set. Having seen them just several weeks prior, it was refreshing to see them in a middle of an acoustic set. It was kind of funny seeing people all-out mosh to "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" and "Seventy Times 7" (with the obligatory Warped Tour "There's No 'I' in Team" bridge).

Motion City Soundtrack were selling their CD for five bucks. Couldn't pass that up. More on them later.

Derivative as all hell, but still rocking out fairly well, Matchbook Roma - er, Story of the Year, once again did the best within their limits, which was actually pretty good, and pretty tight with the band hitting all their notes. After seeing the songs we wanted to hear from the John Feldmann product ("...And the Hero Drowns" & "Until the Day I Die"), there was no way SotY could keep us from leaving, and thus, prepping for the best set of the day.

The Suicide Machines opened up with "Islands in the Sky," and I couldn't help but feel that there was some sort of hollow, empty quality about the way the music coming through the speakers sounded. One of three things happened before the end of the song; (A) the band fixed it, (B) the sound technician fixed it, (C) I'm delusional and got past it very quickly. Most likely (C), but I was too high on constant rushes of adrenaline to realize it. They managed to cover all their releases, with "Someone" and its unnecessary lyrics lesson, "Permanent Holiday" off the self-titled disc dedicated to anyone who quit a job or dropped out of school, and "All My People" off Steal This Record. The Machines did their usual "Braveheart" commands and such with "Burning in the Aftermath," except with a catch that occured later on. Prior to "DDT" and after already having split the crowd and have them run over each other, they gave us one of three options; pull a Wall of Death on the people on what was the (to the band's) left side of the stage, do another "Braveheart" act, or Wall of Death the ice cream truck. It wasn't even hot out, or humid for that matter, but you can guess what happened. In the attempt at recreating a certain "Hey Arnold!" episode, no one really got much ice cream out of it, but people did get to crowd surf from jumping off the roof, a cracked window or two, some pissed off cops, and probably causing the driver to shit his pants. And a box of cones. This also opened up the crowd "floor" a lot, creating a nice and big, loose skanking pit for a good time too though. Fun for everyone! (Sort of.) The skacore antics were rounded out nicely by some tunes like "New Girl" and "S.O.S." Everything about it was just spectacular. A Destruction by Defintion-heavy set, but there's nothing wrong with that...besides, I'm sure you see the irony in that statement.

Too tired to do anything for a while, we had another round at the YooHoo van (a saving grace that day) while checking out some other merch booths. One of the worst things about having a late date is also having a widely unavailable amount of merch to the fans there, but now I'm just pointlessly bitching...we overheard some of Rancid's set, catching "Ruby Soho" and "Fall Back Down," the latter of which you can really hear the Transplants "influence" live. As we returned, I overheard a band on the Brian stage singing "ONE NATION, UNDER G-D!" repeated a lot with the punk-beat drums, and said to myself "Who is this? This actually sounds pretty good..." Only to realize seconds later, "FUCK, I just complimented Simple Plan...on a Bad Religion cover..." If I was Christian, I surely would've been in a confession booth the next day; with, in terms of the song's title, no pun intended. For one of the poppiest bands on the tour, the singer cursed a lot and screamed his in-between banter like his band was bro-core or something. We left the area, returning later to scope out the end of the Dropkick Murphys' barroom brawl set, and their song about the New York Rangers.

We got our Rise Against disco's autoed by the band, who had their tent there even though they were booted off the lineup in the last few dates (WHAT THE FUCK?! Lyman, you got some 'splainin to do). We wrapped that up and overheard Face to Face, so we rushed over and put ourselves in a spot between the Teal and Brian stages where we would manage to watch Face to Face's set (who put on a pretty good show, and not leaning too heavily on their latest disc), and still manage to have a half-decent spot for Glassjaw.

Glassjaw was fucking siiick, bro.

Sorry, I'm from Long Island...but in all honesty, I might've been a lot more into it had I have been a lot more familiar with their material, other than just "Cosmopolitan Blood Loss" and "Mu Empire" (the first of which they didn't even play, according to my peers due to my YooHoo run in the middle of the set). Nonetheless, this new self-contradiction will go to say that they seemed extremely tight on every song and even brought out From Autumn to Ashes's singer on one song to help wrap up the set.

I turned right back around to meld into the tight crowd (this would later turn out to be an overstatement) for Less than Jake, whose set relied solely on their three newest full-lengths. Barring that, the idiots in the crowd floorpunching (it's ska, guys), and the open bottle of fresh piss smacking me on the left side of my chest (thanks, asshole[s]), the set wasn't too bad, with the Gainesville bunch opening with "...Rock City." Except for shitting on Philadelphia's lack of enthusiasm, they didn't stop much from there, playing some favorites like "History of a Boring Town," "Al's War" (the closer), and "The Ghosts of You and Me." They requested that a hundred girls were on guys' shoulders for "The Science of Selling Yourself Short." Perhaps they were trying to create a Mars Volta-like symbol of the relationship structure bonded within...never mind.

Upon conclusion, I walked another few feet BACK to the other stage to see how Pennywise would do. Well, since it's not cool to like Pennywise anymore, I watched a few songs and left. No, actually Pennywise admitted to a lot of drinking the past nights and it shined through, where the band seemed pretty sloppy at a lot of points. It's now cliche to state this, but it's Pennywise...so if you're sloppy on one song, you're probably going to be sloppy on just about all of your songs.

I went to go see if Yellowcard would Jason Tate-ify me (I admittingly like them...but not in that way), only to realize that I'm a fucking idiot and had written down the wrong time on my own band schedule semi-copied from the inflated schedule in the middle. Damn, no backflipping violinist for me...I guess my day wasn't complete... :-( In all seriousness, I realized I would have ended up sacrificing them for Less than Jake anyhow...

I turned back around and set myself for Taking Back Sunday. Surprisingly, it wasn't too much of a weird vibe with the new members (not that many from punknews care a whole lot), and they put on one of the best sets of the day. With the crowd tighter than some of the girls in it, TBS opened up with their usual one-two punch, "You Know How I Do" and "Bike Scene" and then abruptly following it up with the first of two new songs they played, both of which sound very good; if you hate TBS, you'll still hate them but it doesn't seem like they'll be losing any fans any time soon. They shocked the crowd a bit playing "Cute Without the 'E'" next, and included the other new song, "Great Romances of the 20th Century," and "Timberwolves at New Jersey" (calling it Moshing Song Part II or something, perhaps a reference to the new band members?) in between, closing nicely with "There's No 'I' in Team."

A dillemma then encountered me. How would I finish up my day? Unable to recall the third band I had wanted to see, I decided I would watch the entire Motion City Soundtrack set and then haul ass to see the rest of Me First and the Gimme Gimmes set. Yeah, yeah, I know.

I later remembered that that band I had forgot was the Ataris. Luckily, I was told I didn't miss much, and they played waaay too much from So Long, Astoria anyway.

I walked over to the Volcom stage just as MCS was announcing who they were. Now...I don't know if it was the much more relaxed feel of the crowd (seeing unpopular bands can relax your crowd atmosphere nicely sometimes) or what, but they rocked the shit out of me. I went in really only knowing two or three songs, but even those were better than I had hoped. "Don't Call it a Comeback"was stunning, and even though I was looking forward to hearing it, I was worried that the somewhat-laid back feel of "My Favorite Accident" would kill a good moment. Nope. Between their overall energy (I'm lookin' at you, Jesse), the overall feel of all the songs, and even the dorky humming along to the keyboard by myself, they easily astonished me and thus put on a great set which I enjoyed thoroughly. No band has progressed in my tastes so quickly over so short a time.

They finished up, and I continued my plan, tearing ass back to the Teal stage and skanked into the crowd during "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." Decked out in their Hawaiian attire (which their merch booth ran out of at some time or another to my disappointment), Fat Mike and the rest talked about the original writers of every song they played. They included some bits on child pornography, and an apparent inside joke about Spike's hairy body causing him an S.F. Bears resemblance. I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but at one point I was pretty sure that Fat Mike was about to go on a tirade about Bush, when Spike interrupted him completely non sequitur...probably not intentional but the subltety was funny nonetheless. Also, just when I was starting to think that the crowd was a lot less psychotic than previous ones, and lightened up a lot more on the crowd surfing, I get kicked in the face. Figures. But it didn't sway me, and I got to see Me First and the Gimme Gimmes also play classics like "Rocket Man," the "IRONY" of "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," "Stairway to Heaven" (according to them, the worst song ever written), and "Nothing Compares 2 U." The usual chant of "one more song!" prevailed, and they officially closed with "Wild World."

The decrease in bands was a smart idea, and I wouldn't change all of much. They keep bringing back the water truck and the YooHoo van and I'll continue not to bitch about the bottled soda / water prices. Great day.

Best Sets (that I saw, anyway)
Suicide Machines
Motion City Soundtrack
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Taking Back Sunday
Brand New