Since it's nearly the middle of August, it's time to begin reflecting on my summer. Most notable moments for me? Painting the walls of my new apartment Disney underwater blue. Being out on Warped Tour for a few weeks. The simplicity of July 4th sparklers with friends. Killing a man in Reno and then those brief weeks spying on Russian intelligence. The usual. I've been thinking - it's been an AWESOME summer.
No, let me rephrase that. It's been a summer.
We know this season is historically a good time, but what is it about this summer that has been particularly top-notch? Our economy BLOWS and my 'check engine' light has been on for two months, but I'm still thinking that this summer should win an award for an exceptional amount of fun. Fun fit for my wallet, too. And I don't just mean for me - this is for all of us.
But don't let me read too much into this. It's obvious where this fun is originating: the tours. Blink 182 decided to give it another go, causing pandemonium and the most united musical front I've seen in this Internet culture in forever. Maybe even ever. And it wasn't just any line-up for their super summer tour with Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Taking Back Sunday, All American Rejects, and Panic at the Disco (Chester French and Asher Roth don't count in the 'super'). The band made sure that ticket prices were low because we're all broke now, and those low ticket prices even included fees and parking. Even if you didn't care to attend, it was the tour of the summer even before the dates were released.
At BBQ Across America, The Gay Blades (currently my favorite live band) played with The Dangerous Summer (currently my favorite pop-punk band). They were the main support for Person L and Ace Enders, which, as you probably know, is kind of a big deal for anyone who used to own a Drive-Thru t-shirt. Both Kenny Vasoli and Ace Enders have payed their dues, and now they get to play whatever the fuck they want on smaller but successful national tours. Good for them. And you can tell they're happy about that - both Kenny and Ace were hoppity and gleaming on that stage, content with fulfilling a new creative outlet. Person L, a genre-blending experimental outfit of old friends, showcased material from their upcoming full-length, The Positives. Ace Enders even played Early November material for the nostalgic folk. All in all, the vibe was cooperative and supportive, the signs of a tour going well and a line-up picked well.
And then there was the Giglife tour, which took the cake for 1) energy and 2) moisture content. Sold out and at a small venue (Ottobar in Baltimore, MD), my date of Giglife with co-headliners Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong was bustling with sweaty bodies, muscles and fist-pumping. Never have I seen a crowd go so wild, and that might just be because I decided to spend some time as close to the pit as I could get. Tour supporters Fireworks, The Swellers and Drive A were the right pick for the crowd and the whole night was constant roll of intensity, crowd surfers with no barrier and dudes jumping off the balcony. Moreover, because it was the summer and 450 perspiring boys were sardined into a small room, the humidity inside the venue was like cutting through jello, the floors slick with mini-puddles of human secretion. And I don't think any of us would want it any other way.
It's been a summer. What about you? What shows and festivals made your summer a kick and a punch?
Back from Warped Tour, le sigh. I'm going to miss the folks on my bus so much, but the time spent was so awesome, I can't say that I regret anything. I still have a final update and Walk The Line features to put up, so there is still more Warped coverage on the way.
Tess from East Coast Indie and Heart Throb Media has picked up the Warped Tour updates now that I'm not on the tour, so I'll be posted links to her punk as fuck coverage in my blog. Here's what she has to say about Charlotte, NC. I'm uber jealous her and Jackie hung with the Gallows dudes, but hey, I chatted with Damon from Hey Mercedes (who TM's for Thrice and works in Production) so I'm walking away pretty happy.
The Promise Hero out of Cleveland, OH are simple dudes. When I asked the band to tell me what they are about, they cut right to the point: They want "a good clean sound." And they want "pop-rock that doesn't sound like shit." Don't we all. Wait For The Sun is their first full length and they're selling it in line for you at Warped Tour 2009.
They'll be on the tour until the beginning of August, and if they ask you to listen to their music, remember that Mom always said it was nice to be polite. Karma, babes.
And once again, I wish I could have that song stream up for you. Head to myspace if you're ready to listen to TPH tunes.
First and foremost, I apologize that I don't have a song stream ready for this next Walk The Line feature band. My CD driver is all out of wack, and I don't feel like wasting time right now getting it all fixed and dandy. So instead, I'm probably going to post the next bunch without streams. I never thought I would say this, but thank goodness for Myspace!
It's a recurring theme every morning in the Warped Tour line. I'm running into the same bands, I'm hearing the same genres. Finding melodic hardcore Protagonist from South Florida was a refresher.
Touring fresh off their full-length, The Chronicle, but they already have an EP and another full-length under their sleeves, Protagonist are likely one of the most seasoned bands I've found walking the line. How has following Warped Tour been treating them? Not so bad, the band tells me, except for the week they got stuck in Iowa (of all places).
For a whole slew of Warped-related updates, shimmy on over here.
Cleveland is a far way from home for Barely Blind. But like the faithful musicians they are, I found Barely Blind as I was walking the line at Warped Tour. The band is from Beaumont, TX and they've been a band for five years, which is what, a century in band years now? Member Will told me they've been through their ups and downs, their line-up changes that almost rendered them finished, but they're back on the gravy train with an EP, My Life With A Giant.
EDIT: I thought these guys were signed to TDR, but I am mistaken. Unsigned band on the hots!
Below you can stream a song from the band. The band will on Warped Tour until August 4th in Kansas promoting their wonderful selves at their TDR booth. I'll go ahead and shut up so you can listen.
For our second installment of Walk The Line, I would like to introduce you to More Like The Movies. These Minnesota boys have only been playing shows since March, but they're kicking their band career into full gear by already following the Warped Tour. Ambitious youth! In Minneapolis, where pop-rock reign supreme, it's tough to break through as a new band. So instead of playing the regular show circuit, they decided to hit the road this year to start building a fan base in small pockets across the country. And what better way to do so than follow ze Warped.
Really, the band only hopes they can break even, but seeing their positive attitudes, I imagine they'll be satisfied with just the experience. You can stream a song from their debut EP, It's a Risque Business, below. And if you coming to any Warped dates for the rest of the summer, make friends with More Like The Movies. They'll still try to sell you a CD, but they'll be nice about it.
Warped Tour is rough. For anyone. Blazing heat and six dollar waters, sun beaming down on pretty little faces and smudged mascara - for the concert-goers, Warped Tour takes a bit of endurance. And for anyone working or playing in the tour, it gets even tougher. oading in, loading out. Gravel roads and hills. But then there are the bands that take it to the next step.
It's like clockwork. Stand in line at Warped Tour and you're gonna get two things: 1) EXCITED and 2) at least ONE band coaxing you with their sweet tunes. Headphones and iPod in hand, a good portion of these bands are either dedicated locals or even more dedicated out-of-staters, following the tour to sell CD's toa hopefully eager youth. This feature is designated to reward their hardwork.
At the Indianapolis stop of Warped, I found Sparks Will Fly from Rhode Island. A pop-rock band that typically likes to have a lot of fun when they play, this four-piece quit their jobs, built bunk beds in their van and headed to California earlier this summer to (hopefully) follow all of the 2009 Warped Tour. Their spirits, although descreasing slightly each time their van breaks down (count thus far: three), is exceptionally high for a band who is riding arond with no A/C. With their vehicle on the brink of overheating, Sparks Will Fly has to turn on the heat. Layer that on top of a lack of food, shelter and laundry, and Sparks Will Fly is powering on like pros. And to that, we give them major props.
Below you can find a stream from their album, The Soundtrack. If you happen to stop by Warped Tour this year and find these sweaty folk, give their music a listen. They're also doing acoustic sets every night.