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.
"What a difference a year makes" -- that was the thought I've had over the past week when I reflect back on this summer's Vans Warped Tour. I had a blast seeing how just 12 months time has treated various different bands, such as Yellowcard, Breathe Carolina, Of Mice & Men, and Memphis May Fire, to give a few examples. This year's Warped Tour had an absolutely stacked line-up, one that you couldn't help but have a blast the entire day, regardless of who you saw (well, except if you accidentally stumbled near Blood On The Dance Floor's atrocious display).
The Seattle date took place at the White River Amphitheatre, specifically in Auburn, WA. After dramatically altering my schedule to make it on time, I was able to get where I needed to go with relative ease -- the venue staff couldn't have been more helpful, they saved me a good amount of valuable time, especially when I found out via twitter that Memphis May Fire would be going on at 11:30am, 30 minutes after gates opened.
After quickly checking in with the very helpful Bethany Watson at the press area (which was in a nice air conditioned room, with Wi-Fi access!), I decided to start my day off with a bang and catch Memphis May Fire at the Monster Energy Stage. If there was any band that has gone through a tremendous amount of growth over the past few years, it's definitely this band. I remember the last time I had seen the band was at The Pit in Jacksonville, FL, when the band was touring on their new album, Sleepwalking. Fast forward to summer 2012, and the band sounds far from similar, much more to what you'd expect from a "Rise-core" band, not that there's anything wrong with that though. For being so soon after gates, the crowd was quite significant, definitely filling out a large majority of the viewing area. Vocalist Matty Mullins had the crowd bouncing for most of the set, but that's about as active as the crowd got, as they loudly sang along to songs such as "The Sinner" and "Prove Me Right".
After puttering around for a good 30 minutes checking out merch, I headed off to the Kia Soul Main Stage to watch Of Mice & Men, eager to see what they had to bring to the table since the last time I had seen them. This was the first time seeing them since clean vocalist/bassist Shayley Bourget left, and they've had fill ins since then, such as Joel Piper (Confide, Olivia The Band), and currently Aaron Pauley (Jamie's Elsewhere). I can confidently say that Of Mice & Men have never sounded better, everything has been elevated to a higher level -- vocals, instruments, the works. The highlight of the set was one of the new tracks that surfaced on the re-release of the band's sophomore release The Flood, "The Depths" -- the madness and intensity of the track came through in a bigger way live, and the crowd ate it up. The band's upcoming third full length record is already on my "most anticipated" list for 2013, I have no doubts that this will be their finest work.
From there, I went back to interview Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire, and then catch up with David Schmitt and Kyle Even of Breathe Carolina. It was great speaking with them.
Rushed over to catch A Loss For Words in the Acoustic Basement, something that definitely was worth getting there early for -- it was packed! Vocalist Matty Arsenault was in good spirits, and even whipped out a cover of Miguel's "All I Want Is You". Throw in "Hold Your Breath", "My Girl" (The Temptations), "So Contagious" (Acceptance), "Pirouette", and "Mt. St. Joseph", and you got yourself a great time.
Went rushed back to cut a short interview with newcomer band Oh No Fiasco. If you're a fan of Pierce The Veil, you might recognize their vocalist on the last track of their new album, which is what most people associate with when they hear of this new band. Interviewed Machine Gun Kelly, who was about a foot and a half taller than I thought he was going to be -- he's super lanky, but super cool at the same time. I never got a chance to see a large majority of his set over the weekend, but I heard him cover Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" as I was passing by to catch another set.
Every Time I Die mercilessly took the Monster stage by the throat, and ripped through crowd favorites such as "Wanderlust", "We'rewolf", and "No Son Of Mine". Seeing ETID is always a good time, and if you're not banging your head the entire time, you're doing it completely wrong. My only disappointment was with the amount of people that showed up, there should have been ATLEAST a couple hundred more people punching each other, having a good time. I can't wait for the band's headlining tour in the fall, especially since Letlive. is on it, who knows what sort of shenanigans will go down?
After snagging a tiny snack, Yellowcard took the Kia Soul Main Stage. I would be absolutely lying if Yellowcard wasn't one of the tightest and most entertaining bands on the tour, they sounded just as incredible as they did when they supported All Time Low last year, if not more. The band treated an extremely enthusiastic crowd to hits such as "Breathing", "Only One", and "Lights and Sounds". The highlight of the set was not their closer, which was obviously "Ocean Avenue", but it was "With You Around" -- the call and response part was absolutely MASSIVE, nearly everyone in the crowd sang along and rocked the venue. I cannot convey how disappointed I am in the fact that the band's fall headliner (with The Wonder Years!) doesn't come to the Northwest, just doesn't seem fair! But I'm pretty sure it has to do with the Warped Tour touring clause.
I rushed and barely made it in time to hop side stage to see the first half of Breathe Carolina's set at the Kia Rio Main Stage, which was located inside the actual Amphitheatre. As mentioned in the first paragraph of this entry, "what a difference a year makes" -- the amphitheatre was filled with fans jumping and singing along to the words. Out of all the bands on this tour, Breathe Carolina definitely had the biggest production -- lots of fog, lights, banners, etc. People seemed to respond best to their current single, "Hit and Run", which bodes well for the band's continued Top 40 Radio dreams, which they first achieved with "Blackout".
After watching Breathe for 20 minutes, I took off to the Monster stage again to catch The Ghost Inside, which arguably is one of my favorite bands. But don't think I didn't stop for 5 minutes and cut a rug to MOD SUN/Pat Brown perform on the House of Marley stage -- it was nice to those guys get a decently sized crowd, especially after the work he's put in over the last 3 years.
Ended up at the Monster stage just in time to graciously be allowed sidestage, and enjoy The Ghost Inside's set. I think it's fair to say I'm extremely biased towards this band, so I'll hold off on the praise. They came out to the ol' "California Love/Anchorman Cannonball" intro, and ripped into "Unspoken". Vocalist Jonathan Vigil wasted no time with stage banter, except to tease Vancouver Canucks fans, and to praise his beloved L.A. Kings (He was wearing a Jersey at the time). "Faith or Forgiveness", "Provoke", "Greater Distance", "Outlive", "Chrono", and "Between The Lines" all were fit into the band's 30 minute action packed set. 7 Songs!
I then went off to team with I Call Fives and hit the "End of the World" party, featuring one of the coolest bands from Oregon, Larry And His Flask -- those guys are so cool!
Woke up way too late, and rushed to get to the press area in Portland, barely got there in time.
It only took me about 10 minutes to appreciate the previous day's venue, and immediately feel the deepest amount of contempt for the day's venue, the Rose Quarter Riverfront, which was just barely large enough to fit everything inside it. The walkways to the bathrooms and Monster/Tilly's stages were extremely narrow, which made for a good 10 minute trek to one's desired destination, no matter how much pushing and shoving you did.
I started my day off with Falling In Reverse on the Kia Soul Main Stage, and my first thought was "How in the hell did this many people get here in time for an 11:45 time slot?". It was a PACKED (and rabid) crowd. Say what you'd like about the band and whatnot, but they sounded crisp. They were about 10 minutes into their set when someone walked on stage and told them they needed to stop playing immediately. I figured it was a gimmick to rile the crowd up some more...it wasn't. Turns out, it was someone sent to inform the band that the Fire Marshall is having a fit right now, and could pull the plug on the entire day. After 15 more minutes of waiting, the band came out and finished their set, without any cutting of songs. The band's final single from The Drug In Me Is You, "Good Girls Bad Guys" closed out the set, which seemed to be the crowd favorite. As for the Fire Marshall, he laid down the law and canceled some signings.
I Call Fives were playing acoustically at the DigiTech stage, and it was cool to finally get to see a set in some way, shape or form. The band's new self-titled album is definitely one of my favorites so far this year, and it's cool to see people show them some love. It was cool to hear songs like "Elevator Music" live, one of the first songs I had heard from the band.
I caught the second half of Four Year Strong's set on the Kia Soul Main Stage. I enjoyed the set for what it was, but I still couldn't help but feel some serious nostalgia for the days when Josh Lyford was in the band, it just wasn't the same. That being said, they're still a great band, and I'm sure I'll continue to come out to support them, they're much better than a majority of the bands on the tour anyways. I thought "Heaven Wasn't Built To Hold Me" was a nice touch to their set.
Senses Fail then took the stage on the Kia Rio stage, directly next to the Soul stage. Vocalist Buddy Nielsen sounded absolutely powerful, as the band tore through hits such as "Buried A Lie", "Shark Attack", and "Calling All Cars", and even threw in the massive new single "War Paint". Nielsen's stage banter was in full swing, as he entertained a couple of recent high school graduates in the front row, responding to their sarcastic comments. Near the end of the set, Buddy also mentioned putting out an expensive comedy CD -- whether he was serious or not, I'm not actually sure. What I DO know, is that Senses Fail sounded excellent, and would do well on a co-headliner with a band like Silverstein or Bayside.
Grabbed some water in the tent over, and then walked a few yards back to the Kia Rio stage for Breathe Carolina's full set. I had a great time watching them run through their set, and judging by the size of the crowd and how active they were, I'd say they did too. "Wooly" and "Blackout" rounded out the last portion of their set, before their DJ dropped into a 90 second (or so) dance portion to close things out. Breathe Carolina is definitely an artist to lookout for in the rest of 2012, and onto 2013; every year there's an artist that blows up from the line-up (Past artists include Katy Perry, Mike Posner, Yelawolf), and this year might be the first where said artist is one people are already generally familiar with.
Went to go chat with MOD SUN and do an interview. His work ethic is incredible, and the things he's been able to accomplish on this tour have been great. It really seems like yesterday when he saved the day on Jonny Craig's solo tour in early 2010, when Jonny was too intoxicated to perform at Midnight. Kevin Lyman was excited about having him out on the tour, so at the very least, he's got that going for him. He has Absolutepunk bookmarked, did you know that?
Went to catch most of Title Fight's set before The Ghost Inside were about to go on. Good band, but not necessarily something that I'd listen to everyday. They ended with "Shed", and a lot of people were into that, evidenced by hardcore dancing, which I never quite understood with a band playing like Title Fight.
The Ghost Inside hopped on next, and I was blessed to be invited to watch them from the side again. There's nothing better than seeing your favorite band twice in a row, especially knowing that they're excited to play, and the crowd is absolutely buzzing as well. As the band ripped into "Unspoken" again, that's the point when the dog was let off it's chain -- Portland flat out lost the plot. Now, you can say "Oh, you're just biased because it's your scene, blah blah blah", but I'm making no exaggeration here, they went twice as hard as Seattle did. They played the same set as yesterday, except they replaced "Provoke" with "Shiner", much to the delight of the older fans (from 2008-09, when they used to play the Satyricon in downtown Portland). The Ghost Inside will be direct support to Miss May I, alongside Like Moths To Flame, The Amity Affliction, and Glass Cloud in the fall.
Speaking of Miss May I, as I was making my way across the venue, I caught the last three songs of their set -- "Hey Mister", "Ballad Of A Broken Man", and "Masses of A Dying Breed". Miss May I has pulled a complete 180* since I had last encountered their set in early 2010. I couldn't beg more for Miss May I to get off the stage a few years back, as they performed an awful rendition of the already awful "Swing". Fast forward to now, and I'm excited to see what kind of headlining set they'll put together in the fall, it's obvious they've put in a tremendous amount of work in, and have tried to pull away from their beginnings a little bit.
There's not a whole lot of bands that can flat out command a stage like New Found Glory can, and I was ready for them to take over again on the Kia Soul Main Stage. When I spoke with vocalist Jordan Pundik back in June, literally a few days before he left for this tour, he described the band's set as a "30 minute aerobics workout" -- he wasn't lying! It was absolutely impossible to not get into it, let everything go, and sing along to hits such as "All Downhill From Here", "Something I Call Personality", and the inevitable closer, "My Friends Over You". When we talked, Jordan also confirmed the Sticks and Stones 10th Anniversary Tour, which will happen early on next year -- everyone is super stoked for it! The "Pop Punk's Not Dead" tour was something cool, so I can't wait for this headliner.
I was super hungry, so I did the responsible thing and made the only meal of the day a good one -- A gigantic snowcone for $5. Worth it? YOU BET! It's almost mandatory to get a snowcone every summer.
I went to hang out and check out MOD SUN on House of Marley stage, as a decently sized crowd started to show up. Hate him or love him, he puts as much energy he can into his set. He's consistently jogging, jumping, and shouting at the top of his lungs to the people he considers his friends. 2011 was big year for him, as he did well in the Rolling Stone unsigned artist contest, and 2012 has been an even bigger year. Lookout for big things in the fall, as 2013 approaches.
From there, I had a friend get really sick due to the heat, so I was unfortunately unable to see All Time Low or Pierce The Veil close out the tour as I had planned.
- Kleen Kanteen: Please, keep providing water, but don't lay on the guilt trip when we don't buy your overpriced canteens.
- I bumped into Skinny Lister on numerous occasions over the two days, and every time they were extremely polite and fun to be around! I hear they drew quite a crowd too!
- Two Mainstages (Kia Rio/Soul) were really cool -- I'd like to see the main stages return to 40 minutes, and some smaller stages knock down to 25 minutes (Kevin Says)
- For the love of everything good and holy, continue to have the Acoustic Basement every year. It's too good to not have every year.
- Bands/Artists I'd like to see for next year: Steel Panther, Story of The Year, P.O.D., The Cool Kids, Trapped Under Ice, Take Offense, Grave Maker, The Classic Crime, Bring Me The Horizon, Stick To Your Guns, Silverstein, Terror, First Blood, August Burns Red, The Ghost Inside
- Every artist that plays on Mainstage should have to earn it, no exceptions. Most bands that were on the stage this year definitely earned it, but some definitely did NOT (looking at you, Blood On The Dance Floor)
- Monster Energy should definitely still continue to sponsor the tour. Not only are their "Rehab" flavored drinks incredible, but their truck giving free full-sized cans to fans in an air conditioned area is amazing every-single-year. THANK YOU.
- Less bands on the Tour
- Earlier gate times to help with schedule -- Numerous fans on both dates were upset because they didn't get inside the gates in time for an 11:30 time slot, even though they were near the front of the line. Even cutting gates back by 30 minutes would help a lot.
- Give the First-Aid personnel a significantly larger area to work with. There were FAR too many people dropping in the Portland heat, and I know for a fact that we weren't the hottest date on the tour.
SPECIAL THANKS to: Bethany Watson (Warped Press Coordinator), Amy Willard (Pit Reporter), The entire I Call Fives camp, Jonathan Vigil & Jim Riley of The Ghost Inside, and Kevin Lyman.
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.
“Last day for this Warped Tour, give it EVERYTHING you got!”. In a nutshell, that was every band that I either watched or walked by said at some point, while they practically drained themselves out for fans new and old.
Previous years that I had attended Warped Tour, I had arrived about half an hour to an hour prior to gates opening, and quite frankly, the atmosphere was a tad bit irritating. Kids whining about spots in line, getting bothered to “check out my band, we sound JUST like...”, dealing with cigarette smoke in my face everywhere I turned, etc. With that in mind, I decided that I was going to get there right after seeing The Temper Trap and The Cool Kids play gigs in Portland, so everything that bothered about me before would be reduced to practically nothing, and actually, it worked out for the most part.
I had arrived at the Washington County Fair Complex at around 2am, and decided to take a spot near the front of the line. After taking a bit of a nap, it was around 4am, and the amount of kids that were camping out and eagerly awaiting gates to open were growing by the hour; at this point, there were about 100 kids or so in line, blasting music out of portable speakers, playing cards, reading the current Alternative Press issue, etc. I decided to take some time and talk to everyone on who they came to see, metalcore act Bring Me The Horizon was mentioned by nearly everyone I had talked to as one of the top bands on this years tour to watch. The other bands that had a lot of buzz in the line were deathcore bands Suicide Silence and Whitechapel, post-hardcore act Emarosa, and metalcore band Attack Attack.
At 9am, I met up with Marisa, who was the coordinator for Warped Reporters this year, which is if you don't know, a group of about 10 people for each tour date who have people in line take a lengthy survey on a palm pilot to help Warped know how effective sponsors are, and what brands/media are popular with kids right at the moment. If you are selected to help out for your date, your ticket is payed for, you get in the gates 30 minutes before gates open and get to sit side-stage for one mainstage band; a pretty loaded deal for doing about 90 minutes of work. After everyone met back up and returned the palm pilots we were issued, we all went inside, figured out which mainstage band we wanted to see, and then we were free to do whatever we wanted; I decided to fill out my schedule for the day on the official Warped Tour application on my Android OS powered Motorola Droid, which proved to be a VERY quick and helpful application to have.
After figuring out who I wanted to see, I went to show my ID and email printout to obtain my press pass for the day. After that, I went to the Press Area where the tour buses were located, and signed up for Interviews with Andrew W.K., Haste The Day, Deas Vail, Parkway Drive and Mike Posner; Mike Posner and Parkway Drive ended up declining all interviews that day, which was a tad bit disappointing, but totally understandable, since Warped is a long tour.
I took full advantage of being in the gates early and visited the best merch guy in the scene, Baloni at the Set Your Goals merch table to buy a new pair of shorts, which were luckily not sold out. Also visited Bring Me The Horizon's tent, which surprisingly had very inexpensive stuff, decided on a pair of shorts. After searching for awhile, I found the Tooth and Nail/Solid State booth, and picked up some Mychildren Mybride cologne for a couple dollars.
Setwise, my day started off with a bang with Andrew W.K. on the mainstage; I was supposed to meet up again with Marisa to get backstage ten minutes before stage time. Andrew and his band walked in a single file line from the bus area to the ramp to get on stage, then his band bolted on stage like the Seahawks when they bust out of the tunnel on gameday, while Andrew did some stretching and getting stoked for his show. Andrew was eventually introduced and came on stage, but not before his Merch guy threw loads of free t-shirts and key-chains and air-fresheners into the crowd. The crowd was treated to hits such as “She Is Beautiful”, “We Want Fun”, and “You Will Remember Tonight”, among many other AWK party hits. Highlights included Andrew taking off his shirt and giving it to a girl who had asked for it, Whitechapel lead guitarist Ben Savage playing along to “Ready to Die”, and between nearly every song, a ton of free merch was thrown into the crowd to eager fans. Andrew worked the crowd with ease throughout the entire set, most notably at the very end of the set before his most famous hit, “Party Hard”, when he asked the crowd to perform a “two-layed crowd”, before everyone on sidestage (including myself) was allowed to bumrush to the front and party hard with Andrew before he thanked the crowd for a great time and to have fun for the rest of the day.
I then headed over to the Altec Lansing stage to see one of my favorite bands, Parkway Drive. Funny enough, they came out to an obnoxious 80's song that I couldn't quite put my tongue on, with lead vocalist Winston McCall coming out last, power sliding on the ground, and ending in a modeling pose, which had everyone laughing and cheering. The goofiness must've been what relaxed everyone in the band, because the very second the guitars came in on “Samsara”, Parkway Drive never let up, not even for a second. Plenty of crowd interaction was present for songs such as “Carrion”, “Romance Is Dead”, and “Dead Man's Chest”, to name a few. After ending the set with “Boneyards”, I was able to chat with guitarist Jeff Ling about their upcoming Australian headliner with The Devil Wears Prada, The Ghost Inside, and 50 Lions.
My water was running low, so I decided to grab refill it at the free water area, which was really cool, even though most venues probably had them too, it was somewhere I frequently visited throughout my day. On my way to the water area, I couldn't help but notice the Truth truck, known for being illuminators of the tobacco industry, carrying out their message via wacky dance competitions and prize giveaways, always a smash hit with people over the last few years.
I made my way back to the Altec stage about 20 minutes after Parkway ended for yet another one of my favorite bands, Set Your Goals; They came out to nothing but the loud noise of the massive crowd that had formed by the start of the first song, current single “Gaia Bleeds (Make Way For Man)”, as vocalist Matt Wilson yells “EVERYBODY SCREAM!”, as the crowd perfectly hit “OH!”, as most of the local hardcore scene broke out and swung for the fences as the setlist progressed. After walking away after the set, I couldn't help but smile after realizing that it was the third time I had got to see the band in the last 12 months.
I made my way over to the press area once more to check in for interviews with Haste The Day and Andrew W.K.; About 5 minutes later, drummer Giuseppe Capolupo was sent by Haste The Day to interview, so we went over to a quiet area and talked about the new album, “Attack of The Wolf King”, the recent “Haste The Day vs Haste The Day” show, among other things. I then thanked him for his time, especially since they went on in about 90 minutes from the time we ended, and promised to see him over at the Glamour Kills stage.
Andrew W.K. was in the process of another interview when I got back to the press area, so I decided to pick up some of the free stuff that was layed out for us: LOADS of Wonka candy, Epitaph “New Noise vol. 1” samplers, stickers, Warped folders, etc, lots of good stuff to pick up. Eventually after hanging out with Andrew's manager for a bit, I was brought back to meet Andrew and interview; After initially being starstruck for a few seconds, we did a 10-15 minute interview, talking about TV (including Season 3 of Destroy Build Destroy), his new upcoming album in 2011, etc.
I quickly sprinted and weaved back to the Altec Lansing stage just in time for Pierce The Veil, who were introduced by a goofy looking character that had a penchant for tequila, before the band ripped into single “Caraphernelia”. I will admit, the last time I had seen these guys on 2009's Taste of Chaos tour, I couldn't help but find them annoying, but this time around, the blatant signs of improvement all around that I couldn't help but enjoy myself. Popular top-40 hits by Drake and Ludacris were covered, as the overtly female crowd screamed along. Bassist Jaime Preciado was a wild man, jumping off brag boxes, spinning in circles Pete-Wentz style, anyone could tell he was having the time of his life.
After being harrassed by a few friends to check them out, I checked out Suicide Silence on the Altec stage for a song; luckily, it was the only one I was really familiar with, “Wake Up”. Their guitarists really liked to spin their hair around in circles, something i've honestly never seen a band do live. Vocalist Mitch Lucker stomped all over the stage like a dinosaur on the loose, flapping his arms about.
Haste The Day were just beginning to come on to a fairly large crowd when I arrived over at the Glamour Kills stage, which had the GOOFIEST look to it, due to the gigantic logo in the background. Immediately slamming into “68”, they sounded excellent from start to end, easily the best I have ever heard them live; New songs “Wake Up The Sun” and “Dog Like Vultures” translated well live, and old favorite “Blue 42” sounded as good as ever. Although the band has gone through more than plenty of member changes, they still bring it, never missing a beat.
After agreeing to meet up with friends and goof off at the Monster truck for some FREE energy drinks, I headed off to go see Emarosa at the Ernie Ball stage; I got to walk around with vocalist Jonny Craig earlier in the day and talk for a bit, so I was really excited to see the set, knowing that he was feeling good and ready to put on a good show. All the way from “Set It Off Like Napalm” to “The Past Should Stay Dead”, everyone sounded EXCELLENT; Craig's vocals were flawless, proving to be even better than the recordings. Guitarists ER White and Jonas Ladekjaer were crisp, and bassist Will Sowers and drummer Lukas Koszewski complimented each other, furthering driving the sound, with keyboardist Jordan Stewart calmly soothing the crowd. Emarosa easily made a new crop of new fans with this performance.
Warped has a rich tradition of taking one or two acts every year on tour that are on the verge of exploding in the mainstream; Past acts include Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Katy Perry, 3OH!3, etc. This year, that artist was Duke University grad Mike Posner.
When I got there I talked a few of the other press people that were there to shoot photo's for the set, then we all turned around and we quickly saw one of the biggest crowds of the day, both guys and gals alike, ready to see the man behind the top-10 radio hit of the summer, “Cooler Than Me”. After a small delay, he came out to hundreds of high pitched screams and broke out into “Evil Woman”, one of his songs from his two mixtapes. A few of his older fans were noticably disappointed in the abcense of his older hits, “Smoke and Drive” and “Kiss Me Thru The Phone”, but what did they expect? Both tracks had guest vocalists, and they weren't on the tour to help out, although G.O.O.D. Music recording artist Big Sean helped out in a few of the eastern dates of the tour. About the mid-way point of “Cooler Than Me”, loud coliseum-like music blared from the Main Stage, which only meant one thing: Bring Me The Horizon was about to play.
Being my last set of the day, I quickly made my way over to the Mainstage as everyone was chanting “WE WILL NEVER SLEEP, CAUSE SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK”, the opening to the smash hit from Suicide Season, “Diamonds Aren't Forever”. Bring Me The Horizon sounded better than ever, due to new guitarist Jona Weinhofen (formerly of I Killed The Prom Queen/Bleeding Through) playing rhythm guitar; the absolute best i've heard them in a non-club setting. Vocalist Oliver Sykes worked the crowd throughout the set with numerous outlandish remarks such as “I need to see Blood, Tits, Dicks, and Ginger People, because everyone loves a crowdsurfing ginger”, and “EVERYONE get as NAKED as you can”; Not even 20 seconds later, Weinhofen was completely naked and bikini tops and basketball shorts started flying into the air. However, the absolute BEST part of the set was something I was looking forward to since mid-day: Andrew W.K. Making his return to the mainstage during last song “Football Season Is Over”, something I initially didn't believe when he told me during our interview. Bring Me The Horizon definitely may not have put on the top performance of the day, but they definitely made the most effort to be the most entertaining; They were fined nearly $400 for jumping off cabs, not to mention they destroyed all of their equipment at the very end.
Warped Tour is was definitely worth going to once again. No matter what your favorite genre was, there was something for everyone. Hats off to Kevin Lyman for another great year. Special thanks to Marisa and Bethany from Warped, Fallon from Fallon Media, Zach and Shilpa from Altec Lansing, and Absolutepunk.net
Pierce The Veil
Haste The Day
Bring Me The Horizon
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