Warped Tour 2008 - live in Englishtown (Cover Artwork)

Warped Tour 2008

live in Englishtown (2008)

live show

Oh God, going to a 2008 Warped date that didn't include the Gaslight Anthem or the Bouncing Souls? Crucify me if you must, but I have nothing better to do.

I started my day with metalcore/metal in the forms of All That Remains and Every Time I Die. The drummer of ATR stole the show, even though most of the crowd was air guitaring and saying things like "Fucking insane! I can't believe it!" It didn't help that the singer tried to make you do this odd finger-waving move to represent a solo when someone was soloing. Weak, dude. ETID, on the other hand, was fun and their set moved at a brisk pace. Playing fan favorites like "Floater" and "We'rewolf," the singer had a good swagger and the best in-between song banter of the day.

The Bronx strolled onto Main Stage Left at 2:00 and played an energetic set for a sparse crowd. Maybe they're bigger on the West Coast? Either way, singer Matt Caughthran is a blast to watch. He has a southern drawl, even though he's from California (he says he "just likes to talk real slow"). He also does an adorable slight head bop during instrumental breaks that seems fitting if he was in a country band. I would have loved to watch the whole set but I left two songs early to make sure I made it to the other end of the venue for another band who's older than your average Warped act, the Street Dogs.

I was debating on just copy/pasting the Punknews Street Dogs meme ("One of the consistently great bands out there right now...") since so much has been written about them in relatively little time and frankly I've written a few show reviews where they opened and I'm running out of new adjectives...but I feel they deserve a real review. The first thing I noticed during their first song, "Mean Fist," is that they now have a mic chord wrangler for Mike when he jumps into the crowd. Sweet! No tangles! But Mike wasn't doing all the work; he got the crowd to make a circle pit around the sound booth for "In Defense of Dorchester," something a band does every year but is always an event to watch/participate in. They also played a stellar cover of Black Flag's seminal "Rise Above," but the song got a subpar reception in comparison to the rest of the set. Warped Tour, eh?

Set list:

  1. Mean Fist
  2. Not Without a Purpose
  3. Two Angry Kids
  4. Tobe's Got a Drinking Problem
  5. In Defense of Dorchester
  6. Rise Above (Black Flag cover)
  7. Fatty
Pennywise is a band I haven't seen since 2003, and the set seemed like they haven't released anything since then. Laying heavily on fan favorites, PW played a frenzied set at the hottest part of the day which included BMX rider Rick Thorne singing PW's usual cover of the song "Minor Threat." Jim asked the crowd who they were voting for, and I was slightly disheartened when the biggest response was to "Fuck McCain and Obama!," which Jim approved. I doubt it was because the crowd were independents. Their perennial closer "Bro Hymn Tribute" got the best crowd reaction and their 30 minutes flew by the quickest out of any band all day.

Set list:
  1. Intro / As Long as We Can
  2. Rules
  3. My Own Country
  4. Minor Threat (Minor Threat cover, dur)
  5. My Own Way
  6. Fuck Authority
  7. Pennywise
  8. Society (crowd pick)
  9. Bro Hymn Tribute
I was planning on missing the Aggrolites because they were scheduled to start 15 minutes into Pennywise's set, but the side stages got delayed 20 minutes. What luck! They get major cute points for playing an interlude explaining how diverse Warped Tour is, by saying a genre of music (punk, rockabilly, metal, etc.) and playing that for 10 seconds and quickly going back into their reggae beat. During their last song, a Beatles cover of "Don't Let Me Down," the singer tried to get the kids waiting for the terribly named Sky Eats Airplane at the neighboring stage into the action. They responded by throwing water bottles at us, and in no time a water bottle war was underway. Totally not posi, sceney-weeny kids. Also, who would pay $3 for water when there's free tap water? I don't understand people.

Uh oh, Mc Chris and Against Me! playing at the same time? I ditched Tiger Army last year to see MC Chris but he was not the victor in ‘08. Coming out with drinks they started with "New Wave," and there was a collective feeling that we should be dancing but we weren't. We settled for fists in the air, but the dancing commenced at the start of "Stop!" "White People for Peace" was played next, and you may think starting with three New Wave songs is ominous, but they went straight into a Three-Team-Reinventing-Axl-Rose-Cream-Dream: "Pints of Guinness Make You Strong," "Walking Is Still Honest" and "Baby, I'm an Anarchist!" "Pints" noticeably tore the proverbial house down more than any other song, and they chugged through 10 songs with their usual expert and intense playing that have garnered them so much press as a premier live band. The only down-note to the proceedings was "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart," which brought the crowd to a stand-still and wasn't a welcomed change of pace for a punk show -- it was just slow and vapid. From what I've seen, Tom Gabel still doesn't talk to the crowd since New Wave came out, and comically enough after "Borne" he stepped up to the mic with no music playing. I was thinking there may be a "thanks for coming out," but no, he went to sing the first lines of "Sink, Florida, Sink." Much better, in my opinion. Oh, and as much as many orgers would like you to believe, the crowd wasn't made up of jocks and 13-year-old girls.

Set list:
  1. New Wave
  2. Stop!
  3. White People for Peace
  4. Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
  5. Walking Is Still Honest
  6. Baby, I'm an Anarchist!
  7. Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart
  8. Sink, Florida, Sink
  9. Don't Lose Touch
  10. Thrash Unreal
Another band I was able to see thanks to the side stage delay, Set Your Goals, came out to Lil John's "Put Yo Hood Up" so I knew I was in for a treat. I was tricked for the first few songs; however, the PA by stage left was all fuzz and muffled prompting me to move to the other side of the stage. But all was well by the time they played the only song from their EP that surfaced, "Goonies Never Say Die!" Their supposedly well-documented shows of terrible performances was not evident here and seeing all the scared kids waiting for ORESKABAND as the floor-punching made it over to their stage area was worth it by itself.

Set list:
  1. Put Yo Hood Up Intro / This Very Moment
  2. Work in Progress
  3. We Do It All for the Money, Obviously!
  4. Goonies Never Say Die
  5. Don't Let This Win Over You
  6. Echoes
  7. The Fallen
  8. To Be Continued
  9. Dead Men Tell No Tales
  10. Mutiny!
Yes, yes, yes, I willingly saw Angels & Airwaves. Blink-182 was important to me when I was 10 and I haven't seen Tom in person since 2001, so it had to be done. Their ardent pretentiousness was absent, and Tom seems to have shed his second-coming-of-Jesus attitude, giving pistol winks to the crowd and even delivered Blink-182-esque banter with the crowd for a few minutes. They were able to translate the atmospheric nature of their songs live, even if it meant adding a two-minute intro and three-minute outro to "The Adventure." My one complaint was, of course, the absurd of amount of crowd surfers everywhere, all the time. I know they're just 14-year-old kids at their first concert, but still, it was very satisfying whenever they fell. Oh well.

Set list:
  1. The War
  2. Everything's Magic
  3. It Hurts
  4. Secret Crowds
  5. My First Punk Song (Box Car Racer cover)
  6. The Adventure
After AVA (V?) the lack of nutritious food (I asked a balding Italian vendor for a loaf of bread intended for a cheese steak and got it for $2) and absence of the Skin Cancer booth for free sun tan lotion caught up with me. Seacrest out.