Warped Tour 2011 (Dallas, TX) - June 24, 2011 at Gexa Energy Pavilion
This year was only my second year attending Warped Tour, so I have no “glory days” of the tour to compare with. This was also my first year covering the show for AP, so I headed out to the show with excitement, as there were plenty of bands I was excited to see.
There weren’t a lot of bands playing early, so it was either start with Attack Attack! or Dance Gavin Dance; I chose the latter, as I do enjoy their music. The one the only Jonny Craig was clad in quite a unique outfit (see pictures for evidence) and angrily joked with the kid who had a “I want my MacBook” sign. Kicking off with “Lemon Meringue Tie,” the crew tore through the set. Jon Mess’ unmistakable screams contrasted with Craig’s wail quite well. Playing newer cuts such as “Elder Goose” and “The Robot with Human Hair Pt. 2 ½,” Dance Gavin Dance wasted no time packing the punches. The set was definitely enjoyable, so if you’re a fan of the band, I recommend catching them.
Up next I headed over to see Simple Plan, as I grew up on them and thought it would be fun to catch them live. However, I sadly had to sit through what sounded like dogs dying as I Set My Friends On Fire finished up their set. Having never listened to them, it was worse than I expected. Within the ten minutes I was in ear shot distance from them, I heard about 15 “are you coming yet” and “is anyone here pregnant” jokes and the likelihood. It was that bad.
Thankfully, Simple Plan came on still full of the same youthful energy from their early work, kicking off with “Shut Up!” They sounded just as good – if not better – than they do on the records, which is always a good thing. They played “Can’t Keep My Hands Off You” and “Loser of the Year” off their new record, but mainly stuck to the …Still Not Getting Any-era hits, which wasn’t a bad thing. Finishing with “Addicted” into “I’d Do Anything” was incredibly enjoyable and nostalgic. Oh and the fact that they didn’t play any Simple Plan tracks was a plus as well. Can’t recommend seeing these guys enough; it was a super fun set.
Following SP, I was incredibly anxious to see Moving Mountains, as Waves is one of my favorite records of the year. Gregory Dunn belted his lungs out to the crowd, while the rest of the crew played their hearts out. Tracks such as “Alleviate” and “Where Two Bodies Lie” were simply flawless, full of just as much emotion as on the record. The musicianship of the band was top notch, as each member played with full intensity, holding nothing back. As a band I expected to blow me away, Moving Mountains were stunning, and they were easily one of the best of the day.
The Dangerous Summer tied with The Wonder Years for the band I was most excited to see, and both exceeded my expectations in their own way. Beginning with “Where I Want To Be,” The Dangerous Summer started the set at full speed. Perdomo carried even more intensity live than on the record – which I didn’t think was possible – making him the most intense performer of the day. “Weathered” was also a massive highlight, as Perdomo held nothing back. They played three cuts off of the fantastic War Paint. “No One’s Gonna Need You More” was a lot of fun played live; it’s one of the most upbeat, fun tracks off the record. “Good Things” was solid as well, but it was the final “Work In Progress” that was even more breathtaking on the on the record. The intensity the whole band had throughout the song – especially during the climatic ending – was remarkable. The set was flawless. Just flawless.
Go Radio were up next, a band I was very excited to see as I’d never seen Lancaster live. Sure enough, the guys were solid. Blending Lucky Street hits with older material from their Do Overs and Second Chances EP, Go Radio were the full package as simply a fun, upbeat show. They even played the emotional “Goodnight Moon,” which was a great surprise. It was even better live than on the EP. Finishing with “Any Other Heart,” Go Radio weren’t going to let the 30 minute timer stop them, playing with full force and holding nothing back. As a huge fan of Lancaster-era Mayday Parade and Go Radio, this set was incredibly entertaining.
And then came The Wonder Years. And boy did they come out swinging. Having just as much emotion and intensity as on their records, The Wonder Years put on a splendid performance. “Local Man Ruins Everything” and “My Last Semester” were complete crowd favorites, as Soupy’s delivery was personal and intense. What stuck out most about the performance was how personal the band made the show. Soupy explained every song and what it meant, making the performance a very fan-based show, which was incredible to see. He even climbed into the crowd on the last track. Finishing with “Washington Square Park,” The Wonder Years killed it song after song. Easily one of the top sets of the day – between The Dangerous Summer and Moving Mountains it’s hard to choose – these guys are without a doubt a band to see, no questions asked.
For the last performance of the day I caught A Day To Remember, who probably had the biggest crowd of any band all day,on the main stage hoping to end the day with a bang. However, I was sadly disappointed in the band. It just seemed…messy. Sure, frontman Jeremy McKinnon knew how to get the crowd going and keep the intensity up, but it seemed they were more focused on the intensity of the show than the actual performance, as it wasn’t great vocally. The What Separates Me From You tracks reminded me why I was disappointed with that record last year, as the band played a majority of the songs from that, nearly all of which fell short. “Sticks and Bricks” lacked any memorable content, while “Second Sucks” and “You Be Tails, I’ll Be Sonic” sounded sloppy. It wasn’t all bad, though, as the opening “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” was a good place to start. However, as the set progressed, it just seemed too build on exciting the crowd as opposed to focusing on the music, making the whole set fall short.
Although I ended the day on a mediocre note, unfortunately, I am incredibly happy with the bands I saw. I cannot recommend seeing The Dangerous Summer, The Wonder Years, and Moving Mountains enough, as each band is stunning live. I’d also highly recommend catching Go Radio for fun and Simple Plan if you grew up on them, as it was a trip down memory lane for me. I am sad I missed Relient K, as I’m sure they put on a great show. I also heard The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red killed it, so same goes there. Overall, it was a very fun day, and I couldn’t be more pleased with those bands. For the first day of the tour, it signifies that it should be a fun summer in the sun, as the good bands are great.
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Been digging these two records. March 8th is going to be a great day for Rise Records.
Dance Gavin Dance's return to form Downtown Battle Mountain II is everything fans loved about 1, just revamped and matured. Craig's vocals are fantastic, as always, and Mess' screams accent Craig's cleans well, as the contrast emphasizes the abilities of each. Also, the guitar players shine throughout the record. Despite all of the drama Craig's into - well deserved - this record will please fans everywhere. The drumming sticks, the guitars shred, the screams dominate, and the cleans soar. Everything a solid record in the genre needs.
The Color Morale's latest record, My Devil In Your Eyes, may be one of the best metal - heavy - records on Rise to date. The vocal contrast of heavy and light commands the record, as fury intertwines with grace track after track. The back-breaking drumming deserves every complement. The vocals are fantastic. Heavy bands, take notes, this is progression.