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Vans Warped Tour 7/13/2011
07/20/11 at 08:09 AM by Keagan Ilvonen
So the one thing I have learned about The Warped Tour is that no matter how ridiculous I think the lineup may be, the few bands I actually want to see make the experience totally worth it. I went into this year's tour knowing exactly who I wanted to see and having already seen a handful of other bands multiple times my day was pretty much planned out.

I worked the night before into the morning of Warped and left Maine at 6am and made it to the Comcast Center around 11am. Needless to say I was exhuasted but I wasn't going to let that hinder me of having a good time. As soon as I went to get my press pass I ran into fellow AP.net staffer, Christian Wagner. Who I had never personally met before, so that was awesome getting to meet another person I work with on a daily basis. After I got in I went over to The Dangerous Summer's tent to see if any of the guys were hanging yet and got to meet up with their tour manager who was an incredibly nice guy. I had to make quick moves to meet up with Soupy and The Wonder Years because their set time was 12:30pm. So I rushed over to the press area to meet up with Soupy who was nice enough to meet up with one of my best-friends who idolizes him and let us catch their performance on stage as a birthday present. Seeing The Wonder Years live for the first time was definitely something I needed to experience. While The Upsides was a moving record for many, it was just a great record to me. As for Suburbia? I'm in love and the guys live show just proved they are the real deal. The crowd was cheering for TWY before The Ready Set was even off the stage. Which just goes to show how far they have come and how real and true their music is and the connection they have with their fans. You can catch their whole set which Alex caught on tape below (you can see me at a few points, I'm wearing a blue and black plaid).

After that I headed off back to The Dangerous Summer's tent where AJ, Tyler and Bryan were hanging out for awhile. I hung out with the guys for awhile and got to talk for a bit. They mentioned that they may be doing another limited pressing of War Paint in the fall. So be sure to keep an eye out for that. After some shenanigans, I headed out to check out some of the other tents. I finally stumbled across the Keep A Breast tent, which I encourage everyone to stop by and at least say hi to my future wife Christina who is working with them all summer for an awesome cause.

After killing some time I ran over to catch Moving Mountains, who I had seen before in MA but things were definitely different this time around. Not that they were bad before, but they absolutely killed it this time around. Greg's screams have become so defined and the band's as tight as ever musically. They are definitely one of the can't miss bands of this year's Warped Tour. After their set I met up with them at their merch booth and talked to Greg for awhile about the band's plans. He mentioned their upcoming fall tour, which I can't say who they will be supporting, but lets just say AP.net will be in love. He also mentioned wanting to put out some new material before the band's next album, so be sure to keep up to date with everything within the MM camp.

I had to run and catch up with Nick Martin of DRUGS who told me to meet up with him and I could catch their set side stage. So I booked it over to the main stage and got to catch about 10 minutes of Less Than Jake's set, which I wish I could have seen more. But as you probably expected, it was great for the short bit I got to see. Finally I got to see my good friend Craig Owens in action. The weather started to get real cloudy right before DRUGS took the stage and you could tell it was going to open up real soon. The band got to play 3 songs before they had to cut their set short and the rain started to pour. I caught a short video of the guys giving it their all in the downpour, but it's kind of hard to see.

After about 15-20 minutes, the band got the okay to go back on for one more song, which they closed with "If You Think This Song Is About You..." leaving the kids wanting more but still satisfied. They definitely had the biggest crowd of the day at that point in time. Out of all the sets I saw, I would say they put on the best show. No gimmicks, just straight in your face rock, which is how Warped should be.

I had some time to kill so I grabbed some food and got to catch a bit of A Day To Remember's set, which was alright. I wasn't blown away, but then again, it could have been these kids that killed it for me.

I ended up not watching much of their set just because of how big the crowd was and how obnoxious the kids around me were so I headed back over to the Nintendo Stage to catch Dance Gavin Dance with their original lineup. Out of the three times I have seen them perform, this was definitely their best performance. Jonny has stepped up to the plate and brought his A-game because he was spot on and even outdoing his recorded self. Jon's screams sounded a lot stronger as well, overall their performance was top notch and showed why they are as big as they are.

DGD was the last band I caught because I was exhausted and we still had to drive 4 hours back home. Overall, I would say this year was more fun than last year's even if I didn't get to catch as many bands. Even though I missed The Dangerous Summer and Bad Rabbits, all I could hear people talk about was how awesome their sets were. So if you get a chance to catch both of them as well, be sure to do so.

Another year down, another good time. I'm excited for next year's tour, I just hope I can take part in it.
Tags: warped tour, review
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Vans Warped Tour 2010: July 13th, 2010
07/16/10 at 03:11 PM by Keagan Ilvonen
Being young, I have missed a lot of things in my life. Like the premiere of ďThrillerď, the day the Berlin wall came down and things like crystal Pepsi. But one thing I havenít missed is the rise of pop-punk music and the shape and form the music scene has taken throughout the past decade or so. Which leads me to Warped Tour. An iconic event that has taken place for over ten years now. Starting out as a punk circus and developing into one of the biggest tours across the States every year. When the lineup was announced for this yearís Warped Tour, Iíll admit, I wasnít too impressed. Sure, this year there wasnít the likes of Brokencyde and Millionaires, but there was still a lot of bands that teetered on the edge of being intolerable like those two. But alas, I didnít think I would end up going, so I wasnít too bothered about everything. But then the opportunity arose and I jumped at it, seeing how I needed to experience Warped sometime for myself, reading text and watching videos doesnít do enough justice. This is my first Warped Tour experience and ultimately an unforgettable one.

I would like to think of this Warped Tour as the diamond in the rough tour. You have to sift through a lot of filler bands to really get down to the heart and soul of the tour. Or that is how I felt while I waited outside the gates, patiently standing for the doors to open. Eventually 11am rolled around and the doors opened and kids flew in like a flash flood. I went over to the press tent to get my wrist bands and whatnot and ended up running into a friend I had made from working on AP, Richie Cordaro. He was working the press tent so I got to chat at him for a couple minutes or so and headed off to make my way onto the grounds.

Once on the grounds I could finally relax for a minute after having a 4 hour drive and waiting for an hour on no sleep I was kind of exhausted but still ready for a full day. I made my way through some of the first couple tents like No Sleep Records, which had a bunch of awesome albums and shirts for dirt cheap. Had I brought more money I would of snagged up as much merch as possible from those guys. I made it to the stage grounds and found the times of all the bands and to my surprise The Dillinger Escape Plan had already taken the main stage. Talk about making a run over to catch their set. I bustled my way through kids to catch about half of their set, and I must say, that 15 minutes was all I needed to see. In that 15 minutes the band was all over the stage, jumping off amps throwing things around, kicking their monitors, just using the stage as a battle ground. Few acts can match the intensity and madness of those guys, they are one of the realest bands out there. Talk about having emotion and feeling.

I had a little time to kill so we headed over to the Glamour Kills stage to see The Summer Set perform, but we had got their early so The Cab was playing. Call them a boy band, but they are good at what they do. Alex DeLeon can sing his heart out. They create catchy pop music at itís best. Iím surprised they havenít rocked the airwaves yet. After their set, The Summer Set came on. One of, if not my most anticipated pop bands to play that day. People day Brianís voice is whiney but itís different than everything else out there. I caught the majority of their set, which was tight, everything sounded great and I had to head back to the other stages where I had to make the most difficult decision of the day.

Once I was back to the grounds, I had to choose between 3 bands that have been near and dear to me. I had to choose between Four Year Strong, Every Time I Die and Polar Bear Club. I ended up picking Four Year Strong based on the side of their crowd and the fact that I had recently seen Polar Bear Club at Skatefest. The Worcester boys brought their A-game for the hometown crowd playing a solid mix of the Enemy of The World and Rise or Die Trying. They also played at the peak of the heat, I believe it was hovering around 90 degrees with a smothering amount of humidity on top of that. Boston kids know how to have a good time, especially when itís on of their own. Huge circle pits, tons of crowd surfing, and just good vibes all around. Near the end of their set I had to get out of the circle because I was on the verge of passing out from dehydration. I plowed my way through kids and found a cute girl selling Gatorade. Purchased one and headed back to action as soon as possible. On my travels I caught the last song of ETIDís set, which was simply insane. Made me question if I had made the right choice. I worked my way back to FYSís set and watched as they finished one of the best shows at Warped.

After about dying of heat stroke we went back over to the Glamour Kills stage to catch our hometown boys play, Sparks The Rescue. But before they took the stage, I got to catch Fake Problems which was a pleasant surprise. They put on a completely solid set, just not a lot of kids were really into it, and some were just being down right jerks. But aside from that, they were great. After they finished Sparks came on, repping the 207 the only way they know how to. Out of all the times I have seen Sparks, vocally this was probably their weakest. But it wasnít that bad, just not up to par as usual. On stage though, the guys were insane, high energy and up tempo for their whole set. So glad to see them finally getting the recognition they deserve. I peaced out a little early to head to the press tent to do my interview with The Summer Set. Once I got there I ended up waiting for a bit and interviewed the guys in After Midnight Project and In Fear and Faith, both just awesome down to earth dudes. Finally Brian and Jess got there and I got to interview them as well. Brian is totally humble and easy to talk to and Jess is a sweetheart. If any pop band deserves your love, itís these guys (and girl).

I had some time to kill so I decided to check out some of the tents that were around the grounds. Obviously I hit up the Keep A Breast tent and bought a new wrist band to show my love for what they do. To Write Love On Her Arms were there doing great things as always. Other tents I stopped by were Trojan (yay for free condoms), The Wonka tent, Glamour Kills, and various others. One that stood out all day was the Truth truck. Which was always busy and full of people. They were giving out a bunch of free stuff and information for the people who cared to listen. That was definitely a big hit with a ton of kids throughout the day.

After the interviews and tent searches, we headed back on to the grounds to go catch Emarosa. They played a solid set, Jonny Craig hit the majority of his notes and sounded great. I had heard that he is iffy live, but he pulled it off really well. Here comes my second bone to pick with Lyman or whomever picked set times. I had to choose between The Swellers, Set Your Goals and Motion City Soundtrack. How is anyone supposed to pick between all of these bands? You have a scene staple in MCS, A frontier pop-punk band, and the up and comers. Luckily, I picked Set Your Goals and ended up with the best set of the whole day, 100%, hands down. Everyone in the crowd was amped from the second they started playing ďGaia BleedsĒ and it never faulted. High energy and in your face, just how I like it. I was helping lift kids every two seconds so they could crowd surf, I was running the circle pit, anything and everything I was all over that area. You probably saw me looking like an idiot freaking out, but thatís what music is supposed to do. Make you feel something you canít explain. Set Your Goals reminded me of what pop-punk is supposed to be and the interconnection that it creates within fans, even when they donít know each other. Itís bands like this one that make me realize why I still listen to this music, why it still runs through my veins, and is a part of my every day life. They live to make this music and I live to experience it, and itís that bond which makes everything so powerful and moving. I hope more artists take notes because thatís what you need to thrive in todayís world.

I was completely dead after the SYG set, so I headed back to the Glamour Kills stage, on my way I ended up running into my buddy PJ from Maine, which was also another pleasant surprise. I made my way to the seats and watched VersaEmerge for the third time this year. With every performance Sierra has gotten increasingly better. She dominates the crowd with great front woman skills, reminiscent of the unavoidable comparison, Hayley Williams. Their set was tighter than ever and the new material sounds like itís really in their heads now because they pulled it off amicably.

The last set I ended up seeing was none other than Sum 41. One of my favorite bands growing up that had gotten lost along the threads of time. Well they convinced me to give them a second chance with their short but sweet set. They played basically all of their hits in stellar fashion. It probably helped that there was a high octane crowd as well. But the boys brought it and brought it hard. They even did an awesome cover of The Rolling Stonesí ďPaint it BlackĒ which wasnít something I expected. They closed with ďFat LipĒ which brought me back to my grade school days and reminded me of how much that music shaped who I would be in the future.

In closing, my first Warped Tour experience was one I will never forget. I went into it being a nay-sayer and ended up becoming a believer. When it comes to festivals like this we tend to focus too much on the negative instead of the positives. Sure, there isnít a completely stellar lineup, but then again everyone likes something different and they need to conform to everyone. Focus on what is important to you and you will find something you love. Something that means something to you and makes you realize why music is as important as it is in your life. Warped Tour may not be perfect, but it is a getaway, and thatís fine by me.

NOTE: Truth bears no responsibility for content created by third parties.

All photos belong to Future-Breed. Check out their site, they do great work.
Tags: Warped Tour, Sum 41, Set Your Goals, review, Four Year Strong, VersaEmerge
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