Call me pathetic, but Warped Tour is still one the highlights of my year - where else can I see 9-10 FULL SETS every day and still get to hang out with everyone? You're wasting your time and money by not rushing everywhere to see and do as much as possible. That being said, this was my experience during both days.
After for being up for over a day straight, I powered forward and arrived at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. Oddly enough, there was no press check-in tent to be found...so I ended up chatting with a few others from Substream and Property of Zack before getting into an hour late. Because of that, I ended up missing Like Moths To Flames around 11:40 at the Monster Stage.
However, after checking in with the lovely Bethany Watson in Press (in an air conditioned room!), I rushed up the hill back to the Monster Stage to catch The Amity Affliction, and boy oh boy were they stoked to be there, as quite a few people showed up to sing along to songs such as "R.I.P. Bon" and "Greens Avenue". After thanking the crowd continually, the band ended with their current single "Open Letter" and had the whole crowd singing along.
Have you ever felt like not spending money on food and water at Warped? Well, you're in luck, because Matador Beef Jerky and Peace Tea has you covered. Run through those lines a few times, and you won't think about eating for the entire day (you're gonna want to re-fill your water bottle at the Sigg water station though).
I then caught most of Go Radio at 1:05 at the Tilly's Stage. I'll admit I had no idea what on earth they were playing, but they had a sizable crowd that lost their minds over stuff from their EP, Welcome To Life.
On the opposite side of the stage was the #Domo Stage, where Stick To Your Guns were right about to explode. Already knowing that the band might open with "Diamond" as they have been on previous tours, that's exactly what they did; and you know what? I'm perfectly fine with that, because it still makes your adrenaline surge, your emotions run wild. The crowd moshed to songs such as "Amber" and "Such Pain", before the band ended with "Built Upon The Sand".
Right as STYG's last note rang out, the crowd shifted a few feet to the right to catch The Story So Far. Despite what is said about this band, they still put on a great live show, and get a fantastic crowd reaction. It was a lot of fun seeing the sea of people bounce in unison to songs such as "Right Here" and "All Wrong".
After charging my phone and getting some water a few yards away, I ran across the venue to catch letlive. at the Monster Stage at 3. If you haven't seen this band before, you're in for an experience, let me tell you what. As mentioned in our Warped preview, lead vocalist Jason Aalon Butler has the energy of three men, and intends to prove that to you every single day...and believe me, he does. Today, he ended up riding his mic stand until he decided to snap it in half. Other fun includes: unscrewing his mic and chucking the top out of the venue; jumping the barricade and bringing a girl walking away back into the crowd; jumping over a fence, grabbing weeds, and then jumping back over the fence; and then chucking various speakers/monitors with reckless abandon. "I'd rather fucking kill myself then let someone get the best of me" proclaimed Jason before the band launched into new song "27 Club". Chaos will prevail.
When I was through with a few interviews, I realized I could be on time to see Motion City Soundtrack if I ran to the Kia Forte main stage. Luckily, I got there just as the band walked on stage and launched into "Attractive Today". Seeing as the band has so many albums, I was curious to see what they'd play. I'll admit I would've liked to hear songs like "Delirium" and "@!#?@!" off My Dinosaur Life, but I still had a lot of fun hearing songs like "Everything Is Alright" and "Life Less Ordinary". They played a new song called "Inside Out" that sounded really promising. I've never seen Motion City live before, but I'll definitely be back for more (and I eventually was the next day).
To my left on the Kia Soul main stage, We Came As Romans came out to quite a large crowd, as they wasted no time before launching into "Hope". The set was mixed with new and old songs, including a cover of The Wanted's "Glad You Came", which featured vocalist Kyle Pavone taking charge for the first half of the performance. However, my absolute favorite part of the set was when they performed their brand new song, "Tracing Back Roots", the title track off their new album due in late July.
As WCAR were finishing their last song, people immediately started pushing and shoving to get as close as possible to the Kia Forte stage for Sleeping With Sirens. This band has grown considerably since Pierce The Veil's "Collide With The Sky" tour, that's for sure - Sleeping With Sirens pulled the biggest crowd in Seattle EASILY. After a couple minutes of technical difficulties, lead vocalist Kellin Quinn showcased his vocal talent, singing the chorus of "James Dean & Audrey Hepburn" before the band slammed in behind him with full force. "A Trophy Father's Trophy Son" and "Tally It Up, Settle The Score" immediately came afterwards. I knew it was a long shot, but I was secretly hoping Machine Gun Kelly was crawling around the grounds so he could join the band on their current single, "Alone"; but alas, he was nowhere to be found, and the song was absent from the setlist. "Scene Two: Roger Rabbit" is always enjoyable to hear, regardless of the setting. After a few more songs (including an appearance by Memphis May Fire vocalist Matty Mullins), the band ended with "If You Can't Hang". Personally, I would've liked to hear new songs like "These Things I've Done" and "Satellites", but Warped Tour is more or so a survey of what a headliner is like, and the time just wasn't there. Perhaps on the band's headliner? Earlier in the day guitarist Jesse Lawson confirmed the band will be on a U.S. headliner in the fall, and one of the bands "starts with an M" - Memphis May Fire? I'd bet money on it.
Lastly, I ended my night in Seattle with the one and only Hawthorne Heights on the Tilly's Stage. It was mind-blowing to think that the last time I had seen the band, they were bringing the walls down on the Nintendo Fusion tour in 2006 to a sold out crowd. For the most part, the band stuck to solely material from The Silence In Black And White, as the band immediately jumped into "Life On Standby", and songs like "The Transition" and "Niki FM" soon followed. Guitarist Micah Carli did an excellent job with the screamed vocals - I'm sure Casey would've been as impressed as I was. My only frustration was that there wasn't enough time to hear all the songs I wanted to hear, like "Saying Sorry", "This Is Who We Are", "Somewhere In Between", and many more - perhaps the band might've been better off on a headliner? Either way, I'm happy that people stuck around this late in the day to see the band rock out.
It must've been the coffee in production that morning, because today in Portland, everyone brought their A-game. Kevin Lyman really picked an AWESOME venue in the Portland Expo Center Parking Lot - he had BETTER bring it back to the exact same spot in the years to come.
After spending my morning with Big Chocolate and Christofer Drew and Taylor of Never Shout Never, I started off Portland with another helping of letlive. - I mean, how could I not? Impossible. What did the band do today? Well, for one, instead of THROWING the speakers, Jason decided to pick the speaker up and just set it on top of himself, while he screamed vocals. What else happened? Well, Jason took his pants off today, and then tied an old American flag around his waist. Once again, new jams "Banshee (Ghost Fame)" and "27 Club" sounded just as cool as they did yesterday. Oh yeah, and as the band finished "Renegade 86'", guitarist Jeff Sahyoun smashed his guitar into smithereens. KA-BLAM! Set's over.
After talking a few people, I caught The Chariot thrash through a couple songs before I moved on towards the mainstages.
I caught a majority of Woe, Is Me's set on main stage while I was there. Now let me tell you this much, the band's last effort Genesi[s] was a massive disappointment. However, as I mentioned in an Of Mice & Men show review earlier this year, I said that the band had a big opportunity to impress crowds on this tour. And let me tell you, I've never seen Woe, Is Me control a stage like they did that day; there is hope for this band, especially after they played their new song "Stand Up". They gave me something tangible to believe in when it comes to their band. Oh, and did I mention that the crowd they pulled was absolutely MASSIVE? Who would've thought?
Couldn't resist watching We Came As Romans again, so I threw my hands up and had a blast with them one more time at the Kia Soul stage.
I then tried to find Silverstein, before stopping dead in my tracks and realizing that they were bumped to the Kia Forte stage, which was one of the best things to happen to me that day. Everyone sounded so incredibly on point, including vocalist Shane Told. Songs such as "Your Sword vs My Dagger", "Vices", and "Sacrifice" were well received by fans, including myself. I would love to see Silverstein do a proper headlining tour in the fall that hits the Northwest, as getting to see them for at least an hour would be a real treat.
I then met up with August Burns Red vocalist Jake Luhrs as I was escorted backstage to watch their set on the Kia Soul stage. I think it would be safe to say that watching August Burns Red pull the largest crowd of the day in Portland was the highlight of my day. New songs such as "Provision" and "Fault Line" sounded just as massive live as they do on record, absolutely incredible. Every member of the band is such an incredible musician, and to see them all work together is really something to take in. If you like anything remotely heavy, you'll definitely want to be watching August Burns Red on Warped.
Sue me, but I felt like I probably shout check out Never Shout Never, as recommended by my good friends MOD SUN and Pat Brown. Before you start your hater engines, I'll say it now - not everyone will enjoy watching this band, and that's absolutely fine. However, I will say that I feel like a lot of people would enjoy watching Never Shout Never if they merely took the time to watch them...or maybe I'm just out of my mind, who knows. The rest of the band are serious musicians as well; Bassist Taylor MacFee and Drummer Hayden Kaiser are both skilled at what they do, and compliment Drew's abilities well.
Like Moths To Flames was a band I was forced to miss in Seattle due to front gate snags, so I definitely made sure I was at the Monster Stage at 4:55 to catch them today. I also bumped into Craig and Sean from Rise Records, who are always actively supporting the bands that they sign, which is encouraging. Although the beginning and end of the set reflected what they've been doing for a year or so ("The Worst In Me" and "You Won't Be Missed, respectively), the core switched up a bit - "Something To Live For", "Learn Your Place", "GNF", and new songs "The Blackout" and "I Solemnly Swear". As always, the crowd was very eager to crowd-surf and slap vocalist Chris Roetter high-five before being escorted off to the side. I'm really curious to see where the band's sophomore effort takes them - I'd really like to see them do a support slot on a larger tour in the fall.
I was so pumped up to see Big Chocolate over at the Spotify stage, and he definitely did not let me down. With samples from artists like Lil Mama, Lil Wayne, Macklemore, and Trillville, Big Chocolate had the crowd throwing their hands up and dancing the entire half hour he was on stage. This was definitely a 30 minute dance party that I didn't want to stop. He provided an experience that you couldn't get anywhere else on the tour - if you like electronic music, do not miss Cam do his thing.
Motion City Soundtrack happened to just walk on stage as Big Chocolate was ending, so I caught them for a second time, I sure wasn't complaining! "Inside Out" sounded better a second time around.
The Wonder Years closed out Portland to a modest but absolutely hungry crowd that all really wanted to be there - crowd-surfing, sing-alongs, it was all there. I'll never understand how vocalist Dan "Soupy" Campbell can be all over the place on stage and not lose his breath after a few songs, he's just all over the place, spinning in circles and jumping off things. We were treated to three new songs: "Passing Through A Screen Door", "Dismantling Summer", and one of my favorites, "The Bastards, The Vultures, The Wolves". Other songs included past hits such as "Logan Circle" and "Local Man Ruins Everything". In my opinion, The Wonder Years have crafted a perfect setlist for this tour - they can play new and old material, and also call a quick audible and switch in songs like "Coffee Eyes" and "Melrose Diner" if they want. If you enjoy having fun, you're hereby required to watch The Wonder Years when they hit your city.
A few last thoughts:
- Every year there's an artist or two that's going to blow up in the mainstream. In my opinion, these two artists are Big Chocolate and The Summer Set.
- Who's going to hit Mainstage soon? letlive., The Swellers, Like Moths To Flames
- Who wasn't on Mainstage but damn well should've been? Hawthorne Heights and Silverstein. Both bands have paid their dues and deserve to be there, simple as that.
- FUN PLACES TO SEE: Heartsupport (Meet and chat with Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red and Beau Bokan of Blessthefall), JBWW (Jordan Buckley World Wide - say "Jason Tate Sent Me" for free stuff!), Matador Beef Jerky, and Peace Tea.
- I'm definitely going to have to cover more than two dates on the tour next year, there's just not enough time to soak in all that Warped has to offer in a few short days. I would've really liked to see The Swellers, Forever Came Calling, Emily's Army, and many other bands that caught my curiosity, like Citizen.
Special thanks to: Josh (jjnunn118), Simon (GuitarGuy211) for letting me crash in their hotel room, Bethany Watson (@warpedpress), Tori (@talk2tori), Jameson Ketchum, Jason Aalon Butler, Jake Luhrs, and many more people for making my time/experience over the weekend a memorable one.
Jake Denning: Thanks for taking the time to interview and hangout, you played a really good set today and I had a lot of fun
Jake Denning: First off, you say there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure in music; With that in mind, what bands have you had the most fun watching on this years Warped Tour?
AWK: I mean, every band i've seen, i've been impressed with, and that's something I was not expecting, and have not seen before. Meaning every group had a level of musicianship, intensity, power, spirit, of professionalism as well, not to mention, kindness, goodwill, an incredible group of musicians. With that being said, some of the ones we really enjoy are of course The Casualities, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Dillinger Escape Plan, Bring Me The Horizon, Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Real Big Fish, of course Face to Face, the list goes on and on. Bring Me The Horizon, i'm going to play with them tonight I think, I played with them last night, just the heaviness of these groups, the brutality, the intensity. Of course, every band has to put so much effort in to just executing this version of their life everyday, they win my respect. Anybody I haven't mentioned its just because there's so many bands out here.
Jake Denning: This is the last day of Warped Tour for 2010. How has this year been different on other years you've been on the tour?
AWK: Well, we were in the tour a bit in 2002, then we did the entire tour in 2003, just like this year. It just seems more efficient to me, more well run, I mean, I dunno how to say it, just very professional. And I mean that in the best way, there's no wasted energy on a bunch of BS, a bunch of drama, a bunch of nonsense. People get down to business, the attitudes and work ethics have been extraordinary. This place is like a miniature city, and the effort and the focus and the determination and the goodwill it takes to build it everyday and to maintain it is incredible, its really really incredible.
Jake Denning: What can you tell me about the new Andrew W.K. Party album planned in 2011?
AWK: Oh! Well, i'm very excited just that it's happening at all. We don't have exact release date, and there's not many details at this point. But I'm continuing the recording process as soon as we get back from this tour back in New York City, and there's just a lot to come as far as more tours with the full band, brand new album, lots of different music, there's so many things that i've been working on for so long, and now that we have our business in order basically, we're able to finally get everything out there in a major way. The next few years are gonna be, in my eyes, the biggest party yet.
Jake Denning: You had a really awesome show on MTV2 around 2005 called “Your Friend, Andrew WK” where you would read letters sent in by viewers, giving advice and even visiting some of them and help them out. I really miss the show, and I know a lot of fans likely do as well, a lot has changed technology-wise in the last 5 years. Is there any chance of bringing the show back in a different format, where fans can send in an email, or possibly even a youtube video asking questions, and you possibly do a 10-15 minute video every week answering them?
AWK: Great great idea, thank you for ya know, suggesting that, and being aware of the show “Your Friend, Andrew W.K.”, the show we had on MTV2; That was an incredible experience, very intense, and very worth everyone's efforts, especially the people that wrote in and actually participated, and gave their life over to the show. It was a chance just to connect with people, trying to get our attitudes right, trying to get my mind right and everybody's else's mind at their best, just to have fun together, and try to do what you can do to make someone else's life that more hearty, I suppose. We actually have been doing a weekly, hour long interactive live video chat party; and i've been answering people's questions there, we've been talking about all kinds of life ideas, it's on stickam.com, I have my own show there, i've been doing every week, i'll be doing it tomorrow, you can tune in there, it's usually on in the afternoon, participate, ask questions, see me, i'm doing all kinds of things on that camera, it's a chance to party, using this computerized device.
Jake Denning: Moving on to your Cartoon Network show, “Destroy Build Destroy”. Season 1 contained 6 episodes, Season 2 recently wrapped up with 8 episodes, and Season 3 is confirmed for the 2010-2011 Season TV Season, what can you tell me about this upcoming season, anything new?
AWK: Well, yeah, every episode is new, that's why it has to be a new episode, haha, which is really a challenge not just for me, but for everybody's involved to keep the level of destruction increasing, to improve the quality of the gameplay, the competition, I mean, this show has legs and it's off and running, and it's an incredible opportunity for me to be involved. Cause I get to run around, screaming my head off, while there are really 500 foot mushroom cloud fireballs, I mean, fireballs with smoke rings around them, that stay in the air for 15 seconds and its very very very intense. The kids that come on the show are the best kids in the whole world, the level of smarts that these kids have to do what they do and compete in the manner that they compete is very inspiring to me and very fun. The new episodes contain NFL football players, the new episodes contain NASCAR car drivers and racing, I mean, LEGENDS!, in the new episodes we even have a demolition derby! Not to mention all the destruction and explosions you've come to expect, and THEN some, so definitely tune in. As soon as the new school year starts, I believe the new episodes will start coming on. Cartoon Network, Destroy Build Destroy.
Jake Denning: Over the span of your career, you've done solo albums such as 55' Cadillac, Full band party albums, TV shows, you've even taken over the duties of a local weatherman for a day. What's next for you Andrew? Is there anything you haven't done yet that you want to pursue? Maybe a radio show? Maybe start your own record label? Maybe write a book?
AWK: Well, I actually did just recently start a record label, I appreciate you asking that, because that 55' Cadillac album was the first album released on this new label that I started in London, England. Now, this label was originally called Skyscraper Music Maker, but, long story short, due to some contractual issues and some people I been working with over the years, things got complicated in between 2005-2010, 2009, we had thought we had figured out a little loophole to start this label, base it in the U.K., base it in London, and in the end, we had to change the name of the label. But, the good thing is, we just put out a new album on there, it's the re-release of the 2006 Close Calls With Brick Walls/Mother of Mankind release, its been re-released on this new label, AND there are two fantastic artists that have debut EP's coming out very shortly. The first artist is called Allister X, has a release called “The Git”, this is his second EP release, pardon me, and the second artist is for Cherie Lily, her “Work Remix” EP. These are great new things for this label. The name of the label is now Steev Mike.
Jake Denning: What is your definition of “Party Hard”? Do you necessarily need Alcohol to do so?
AWK: No, you don't need anything really, all you need is to be tapped into some idea of what you enjoy; it could include alcohol, it could not; It could include lemon juice, it could include vinegar. There's all kinds of things out there to drink, and not drink. To me, Partying is doing what you enjoy, celebrating the fact that your alive, and making the most of it and pushing yourself to make intense experiences, have some memories to think about as you get old in life, ya know what I mean? Go for it! Don't hold back. It's a mindset, a way to live.
Jake Denning: Today's the last warped tour date, located in Oregon. What are your thoughts about Oregon when you stop here?
AWK: It's a very beautiful place, very very lovely. My wife, went to college here (University of Oregon), again, my wife, she's our singer, she joined our band in 2005-2006, playing shows, her name is Cherie Lily, C-h-e-r-i-e next word, L-i-l-y, the energy she has on stage, she's like a superhero! And she actually went to school here, specifically for snowboarding, so she can snowboard. She was a competitive snowboarder, very very good, just the jumps and the flips, completely insane, i've never been able to get on a snowboard in my life, barely able ski. So I think about her, and how beautiful the lands are here and how pacific the vibe is here; I have a friend that lived in Portland for years, and I remember the first time I came here and played, and I was blown away. I've heard about the city for so long, and I get to experience it more and more, I fall in love with the area more every time i'm here
Jake Denning: What do you enjoy doing when your not playing a show or writing an album, etc.?
AWK: Well, I like eating a lot, to be honest, that's one of my most favorite things, food in general. Just all the kinds of food, deserts, sweet and salty stuff; in New York City where I live, there's an incredible amount of restaurants, and its all so so so food, it's one of the greatest things about living in any city really, having access to so much good food. The food on Warped Tour has been fantastic, way better than the food in 2003 from what I remember.