YOU GUYS! I LOVE WARPED TOUR SO MUCH OMG!! But I was pretty stressed when I woke up Wednesday morning. I mean, sure I was stoked as fuck, but this year’s Warped Tour came with a wildcard and its name was Chooch. He was kind of like, “Sure, I guess I’m excited, whatever” every time I would be like, “Boy, get stoked!” So I worried that we were going to get there and he would be like, “This is hell and totally not for me. Take me somewhere quiet and air-conditioned, Henry” and then Henry would be all, “YES THANK YOU! We’ll be back to get you tonight, Erin. Try not to get date-raped.”
Because date-raping is something that happens a lot at Warped Tour.
(Sike. I really don’t think it is. I mean, Nickelback and Papa Roach aren’t in the line up. Ever.)
We arrived at First Niagara Pavilion bright and early (another reason I was worried—Chooch abhors early starts to the day) and trudged along through the parking lot under the blistering sun with hordes of scene kids whose excitement Henry certainly did not mirror. I usually try to keep conversation to a minimum until we get inside the gates, because he is so busy grouchily presiding over the Land of FML. We split up at the entrance so Henry could go get his Parent Pass* and I could donate our bags of canned goods in order to get the “jump the line” wristbands.” This means our kitchen is now empty, haha. But we only had to stand in line for like, 10 minutes as opposed to an hour!
*(I don’t know if that’s what it was really called. Parents got in free this year as long as they had a ticket-holding child under the age of 18; THIS is why I love Warped Tour and Kevin Lyman—he is always thinking of ways to make it a safer experience for the kids. I did not opt for the free pass. I bought my ticket in December, and even if I hadn’t, I love Warped Tour so much that I want them to have my money. It’s worth it to me.)
When I met back up with Henry and Chooch, I noticed that Chooch had that faux-surly look that I know so well plastered on his face. Turns out, his cougar 8th grade girlfriend Courtney was in line in front of them with her friend and dad. OF ALL THE PEOPLE.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”
Courtney with her rolled-up Sleeping With Sirens poster. Her friend offered Chooch a Pop Tart and I thought he was going to die, reanimate, and then die again. AHHH, GIRLS ARE TALKING TO ME, OMG!!
We breezed right through security, a perk of having a small child in tow—makes us look less like hooligans. They did make Henry dump out Chooch’s water bottle though. You know, in case Chooch had gin up in there.
And then we were in! Henry went off to purchase a $2 schedule while Chooch and I ran for the Vans tent, because the first 200 people who get there and say the magic words (which you would know if you follow Warped Tour on Twitter and Instagram, god!) get free swag. Other merch tents also do shit like this throughout the day, but I never usually participate because I’m too cool.
(See also: too backward, shy, A SHRINKING VIOLET)
While we were standing in line, an old couple cozied up behind us and we became fast friends. (Not hardly.) This wasn’t their first Warped Tour, but they only come for their kids and they actually enjoy hanging out in the Reverse Daycare tent—an air-conditioned area where old folk can rest their weary bones while their kids flail in circle pits and cry over Kellin Quinn’s pretty hair. Once they found out I’m a grown-up, they thought it was weird that I:
- paid for my ticket on purpose
- actually wanted to be there
Still, they seemed like pretty fun people, and by that I mean they were probably drunk by 11AM and I bet they have fucking fantastic BBQs.
Chooch wound up getting a Warped Tour license plate frame thingie, but as he was walking away, the grizzled guy behind the tent called, out, “HEY KID!” and then hurled a black-and-white checkered Vans wallet at his head. Chooch’s face lit up like a goddamn Best Day Ever billboard at night.
Insidious 2 was being heavily promoted at Warped Tour for some reason (a huge advertisement of it was even hanging up at the back of one of the smaller stages). We swung by their tent and all I had to was tag the above picture on Instagram to get free sunglasses. MORE FREE SHIT YAY!! Fuck I love me some Warped Tour action.
I did a quick once-over of the schedule to determine an impromptu game plan. That’s one of the really awesome things about Warped Tour—-they shuffle the line-up daily in order to avoid headlining bands. So, for instance, just because the Used was one of the more mainstream bands, it didn’t necessarily mean that they were going to play last. Or longer. All bands get the same limited stage time. No room for rockstars, y’all.
The first band we stumbled upon was Architects (UK) and I was really feeling it but Chooch had that Heavy Sigh expression on his face. At first, my natural huffiness began to come out, but then I checked myself. It was still the first hour. I didn’t want to either force him to stand there with me or send him off with Henry so soon. My strategy for this day was to not pressure him or make him feel obligated to “enjoy” something that he wasn’t feeling.
I only do that to Henry.
So we walked around and checked out merch and then migrated under the ampitheater where Stick To Your Guns were playing. I LOVED THEM! HENRY HATED THEM! “They’re too political,” he spat. “They should just shut up and play their stupid music.” So Henry stared at his phone while Chooch and I enjoyed the music for a little while before getting up to see what else was going on.
This is worth watching for Henry’s grimace at the end.
I was thinking about it, and even though there are always bands there that I want to see because I’m a scene kid, I feel like even if there wasn’t that one band that made me scream giddily when the line-up is revealed, I would still go. Because Warped Tour is just about the atmosphere and experience as it is the music. There is so much music to discover there! It’s almost overwhelming, really. No matter where you’re standing, you can hear music. And it is the greatest fucking feeling to be buffeted by music ALL DAY LONG. Chooch, smiling, put his hand on his belly at one point and said, “I can feel [the bass] right here!” He gets it, you guys.
In fact, we had paused for a bit in the shade on a hillside, because it was a scorcher that day and Chooch needed to rest. A solo perfomer from the UK called Itch was on the Spotify Stage at the foot of the hill, and Chooch wound up LOVING HIM. I was pretty stoked on him because he was in a wheelchair and from where I was sitting, I kept imagining that he was Artie from Glee. I found out later that he was only temporarily in the wheelchair due to a leg injury. But he was still pretty good and it was like a party on the stage. Some broad even came out to rap and I kept hoping it was Aneesa from the Real World, because I clearly have bad eyes and watch too much stupid TV.
Bottomline, it was really awesome for me to watch Chooch’s own musical tastes blossoming! I HAVE NEVER LOVED BEING A MOM MORE! Man, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, or know me IRL, then you know how much music means to me, and to be able to share that with my kid is just the best fucking feeling in the world.
But still, we were only in the first hour of the day, it was fucking hot as Snooki’s temperature during another chlamydia outbreak, and there was the strong possibility of Chooch becoming overstimulated. So, you know…I definitely didn’t want to assume the whole day was going to be a breeze.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Henry is unamused, you guys. Oh, god that frown. His shirt is basically a Litmus test for how fucking incredibly skin-blisteringly, obscenely hot and moist the air was that day.
Henry could have used his Parent Pass to chill in the Reverse Daycare tent at any given moment, but he didn’t. You know why? Because he secretly loves Warped Tour. (And probably also because he didn’t want Chooch and me to get taken.)
Be back later!