Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Warped Tour: Still worth it

music723.jpg  Warped Tour has hit parking lots, fields and large venues across America

Since 1998, the Vans sponsored Warped Tour has hit parking lots, fields and large venues across America.  It started with NOFX, ALL, No Use For A Name and Bad Religion.  Over the years it has adapted (not necessarily progressed) to cater to the “new” bands the teens of America have come to love such as Angels and Airwaves and Cobra Starship.  It has been years since I have personally been to Warped Tour, and it was interesting to see the uniform change from solid black and Chucks to fluorescent and Nikes.
Now I am not here to debate whether or not the Warped Tour has gone downhill for straying from its punk roots, that’s not really a debate.  I went this year in the miserable heat in hopes of seeing a few of the bands that unfortunately only the Warped Tour has brought by this area as of late.

Norma Jean, a longtime hardcore staple, was good, but not as good as they were with their former front man Josh Scogin.  Unfortunately they opened the main stage at 11:15 ( (but, hey, why not start with a band that can set a high-energy standard?). The band has a new album out August 5 entitled Anti-Mother and two new songs on their MySpace page. “Birth of the Anti-Mother” is for Norma Jean fans; “Robots 3 Humans 0” is for fans of Underoath.  Apparently Page Hamilton of Helmet and Chino Moreno of Deftones helped them write songs for the album.

Every Time I Die is a must-see always.  If you need evidence that they’re the perfect party band with a hardcore edge, watch their DVD Holy Shit.  They even played my personal favorite “Off Broadway” from Hot Damn. 
Keith Buckley was as engaging as ever, and the whole band fed off the crowd’s energy.  They took requests for songs for their set list through MySpace, which resulted in a wide array of songs from all their other albums, closing with their single “New Black” from Gutter Phenomenon.  If any of you are any good at Guitar Hero II, you may have unlocked this song. They have fulfilled their obligation to record label Ferret, and are currently unsigned. Speaking to Rock Sound, a UK magazine, Keith Buckley said, “We are talking to some labels right now, I think people will be very pleased to know that it looks like we will not be signing with a major. Some were interested but I don’t think we even got down to discussing deals.”           

Horrorpops stole the whole festival.  Originally from Denmark, the band moved to Los Angeles after signing to Rancid-member Tim Armstrong’s record label Hellcat Records.  Patricia Day’s charisma went beyond what could be expected from an upright bass playing female lead singer.  She was not only engaging but interactive, asking for requests and men to throw their underwear on stage.  With three albums under their belt, this rockabilly horror-rock band had the crowd begging for songs throughout their discography.

Of course they had to have the Horrorpops start fifteen minutes before Against Me! started.  I managed to catch the end of their set.  Against Me! has always been fun to watch, and this show was no different.  My only qualm was that they ended with “Thrash Unreal.”  Good song and all, but why not finish with “Holy Shit” or “Miami?”
Was Warped Tour worth it this year?  There were several hours during the day when I thought, “Why am I here?” But, those moments when it was great made the trip to Charlotte worth it.

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