The day dawned hot and sticky as it usually does mid-summer in the south as I packed up a couple of friends and made the two-hour drive to Jacksonville from Savannah.
Gates opened about 12:30 and the first band to hit the main stage was Aiden. Supposedly they are going to be the next big thing, but I didn't really feel it. I got a Davey Havok vibe from the lead singer as he was wearing a long-sleeved mesh T-shirt and long black hair. Some of the crowd was actually into the band despite the horrible barrier set up at Metco Park.
First of all, the barrier was a good 30-40 feet from the stage and in between the two main stages it jutted out another 10-15 feet so nobody could get anywhere near the stage. Pretty much each band mentioned this during their set at some point.
- NOFX: Sorry, but they spent the first five minutes teasing the crowd with playing the entire "The Decline," and then another five minutes shooting the breeze. The only songs I could pick out (of the four or five they actually played) was "Bob" and "The Brews." The only thing that saved them was letting some kid propose to his girlfriend.
- ZOX: They might have ended up at the wrong concert for all I know. These guys have a violin, Yellowcard has a violin. I hate Yellowcard, I hate Zox. They should have played a cover of "Margaritaville" while I sipped a daiquiri, unfortunately I don't drink those and it was Warped Tour.
- Every Time I Die: The singer had white boots on, but I wasn't feeling their type of music.
- Motion City Soundtrack: I liked the energy on their first album, however that energy did not translate into stage presence and they were sloppy as hell. Among other songs, they played "Capital H," "Make Out Kids," "Lg Fuad" and "The Future Freaks Me Out."
- Saves the Day: One song off of Through Being Cool!â¦ONE ("Rocks Tonic Juice Magic")!!! They played "At Your Funeral" and "Firefly" and some other crap. The only thing that saved them was their bass player looking like Kumar, especially when Kumar was in "Van Wilder" and he talks about parking the porpoise. I laughed out loud at that point.
- Bouncing Souls: I wanted to like them more. I love their albums. Maybe it was too hot, maybe they were too tired, I don't know, but at least their lead singer got in the crowd some. Played "Hopeless Romantic," "True Believers" and "Sing Along Forever."
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Well, she works out a lot, and almost had a wardrobe malfunction which would have put her in the "Sweet" category, but there wasn't a lot of energy. I did pick up "Bad Reputation" and "I Love Rock and Roll," however, my hopes were immediately crushed as it was pointed out that most of the (kids) there probably knew the song because Britney Spears covered it.
- Less Than Jake: Not enough songs off of Hello Rockview. They played the "Gainsville Rock City" song and maybe one other one. Two songs off of Anthem. A couple of songs off their new record, which meant no horns (bad) but at least the horn guys shot T-shirts and toilet paper with huge leaf blowers into the crowd. The thing that saved them was crowd participation, seeing as how this was pretty much a hometown show for them.
- Senses Fail: I only knew the Bon Jovi song ("shot through my heart"), but they had some good energy and the lead singer got the crowd worked up, so good for them.
- Thursday: They played a great set, good stage presence. I haven't picked up A City by the Light Divided so I didn't know many of the songs, but they played "Understanding in a Car Crash" and a couple other songs off War All the Time. The best part however, was when they told the crowd to go home and download all their music because music should be universal like water and air.
- The Causalities: I miss pretty mohawks and the lead singer looks like he stole part of Shane McGowan's dental work, but but they were amazing. The only song I could pick out was "Tomorrow Belongs to Us." I wish more of the "let me swing my microphone in around a bunch and wear mascara" crowd would watch and learn from these guys.
- Anti-Flag: All I really picked out was "Rank and File," but they had a ton of energy, crowd participation and stopped their set mid-song to tell the security guards to take it easy on a kid; they then used the averted violence to show how easy it is to talk through problems and how maybe our leaders should pay attention to that.
- Rise Against: They played toward the end of the day but had tons of energy, and were one of the top three bands as far as getting the crowd into it. They started out with "State of the Union" and the "Black Masks and Gasoline" from Revolutions Per Minute. Most of the stuff was from Siren Song of the Counter Culture. They closed with "Give It All" (big surprise). I wanted to hear some stuff from The Unraveling, but sadly nothing was played.
- Underoath: I've never heard one of their songs, couldn't tell you what label they are on, but they closed out the show and did a FANTASTIC job. Great energy, I mean they must have been drinking Red Balls (I don't know if I told you this Joe Roggin, but I smoke rocks). The crowd was going nuts. They did their little thing at the end where they say they rock for God, but if Anti-Flag can talk about militaryfreezone.org and anybody else can talk about their new album, then God bless âem talk about rocking for God. Didn't bother me.
- Against Me!: Okay, I saved the best band for last. I was a little leery about them playing Warped Tour instead of basements and bookstores across America, but they were the gold standard of how a band should play Warped. They came out and immediately went into "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong." They did not say one single word. They didn't say who they were or where they were from. They just rocked. Their entire set! I can't remember the order of all the songs (and they played two songs I didn't know, new album?) but they played "Reinventing Axl Rose," "Problems," "From Her Lips to God's Ear (The Energizer)," "Don't Lose Touch," "Rice and Bread," "Baby, I'm An Anarchist," and then closed with "We Laugh at Danger (And Break All the Rules)." They rocked me so hard my ears still hurt and I still have trouble singing, and it's been a couple of days