Warped Tour has been under some heavy scrutiny this summer, lots of controversy and drama with some of the bands exacerbated by social media. I’m not sure what state that’s going to leave the tour in by the end of the summer, but right now I want to focus on the most important aspect of Warped Tour: the music. This summer’s lineup was stacked. I don’t give a fuck what all those aging punks on music forums have to say about this topic: the mix of bands was diverse. The unfortunate downside is that there are going to be bands I have to miss in favor of other bands, and that is what heart-break feels like, my friends. As soon as the gates opened, Chooch and I sprinted to the Vans inflatable while Henry stood in line to buy a paper schedule. When we met back up, he handed me the schedule and said, “I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with scheduling conflicts this year!”
I bore holes through him with my furious eyes and spat, “Really? Then you don’t know me at all!” Because the inflatable had already broken my stupid heart. I knew I was going to have to forfeit ’68 (I have been dying to see them again ever since last year’s Chiodos tour) in favor of Never Shout Never for Chooch, and there could be no Beartooth, August Burns Red, or Moose Blood because I was 100% unwilling to miss even one second of Emarosa’s set. And don’t even get me started about how bummed I am that I missed Matchbook Romance. I really need to plan on going two Warped Tours next year. I always say that though. #musicfestivalproblems
Bands we managed to catch, whole sets and partial:
- Koo Koo Kangaroo
- Our Last Night
- We Came As Romans
- New Year’s Day
- Man Overboard
- Never Shout Never
- Night Riots
- Hands Like Houses
- Pierce the Veil
- Set It Off
Bands I am not sad about missing out on at all:
- Black Veil Brides
- Attila <—fuck them, seriously
Even weeks later, as I’m looking at this schedule, my heart feels so heavy looking at all the amazing bands I couldn’t squeeze in without cloning myself. Bands like Citizen, Pup, The Wonder Years (I’ve seen them several times, but still), Lee Corey Oswald, Alvarez Kings…ugh. Heartbreak.
We started the day off with Palisades, which was actually Henry’s idea. We saw them once with Dance Gavin Dance and I guess he must have secretly liked them enough to want them to be his Warped Tour breakfast. I thought Chooch would like them because they’re pretty fun and energetic, but he just shrugged and said, “I don’t know. They’re too loud.” I really only like one of their songs, which they played so I felt fulfilled.
Next up we had to run to the Beatport stage to see Koo Koo Kanga Roo. This is not something I ever would have given a second thought, or even half of a first thought, but when we were waiting in line before gates opened, one of the singers was walking by carrying a stick with a huge picture of his head on it, trying to spread the word about the band. (I’m thankful for these distractions every year. It makes waiting in line way less excruciating.) He targeted Chooch right away and they had an adorable conversation.
“You must be in a band,” he said to Chooch, and in my head, I was screaming, “I WISH! HOPEFULLY SOMEDAY! I MEAN, I’M NOT GOING TO FORCE HIM OR ANYTHING BUT I PROBABLY WON’T TALK TO HIM MUCH IF HE’S NOT!” Then he asked Chooch what bands he was excited to see, and Chooch thoughtfully said, “All of them.”
“That’s a lot of bands!” said whichever one of the Koos this was.
And then out of nowhere, Chooch said he was most excited to see PVRIS, which kind of surprised me because while I knew he liked them, he hadn’t really mentioned that to me before and WE ARE SUPPOSED TO TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR FEELINGS FOR MUSIC.
The group of kids in front of us were listening to this and when he said “PVRIS,” they expressed their approval at his taste in music and I was like, “Well, he only likes them because I do, so….”
God I hate myself.
The Koo Koo Kanga Roo guy went on to totally sell on us on his set. “You gotta come by! It’s a dance party! We sing songs about fanny packs and cats….” Welp, someone said the magic word.
Their merch guy was dancing like a crazy person to Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” which entertained us while waiting for Koo Koo Kanga Roo, who eventually come out wearing gold fanny packs.
And a hilarious dance party ensued.
This is why I love Warped Tour! Where else could you sing songs about everybody pooping with two crazy guys who play shows at elementary schools and then have your face melted off by Beartooth? But no, there’s no diversity. You’re right, jaded music forum posters.
Their set was fun and hilarious. I’m so glad we went!
Afterward, we went to their merch tent so Chooch could get a CD. Henry Warbucks was like, “Buy them all.” Chooch and I exchanged a “wtf got into HIM look?!” because Henry hates spending money at Warped Tour so now I’m convinced he has a side job as a gigolo. (Oh come on! Everyone has a type. I bet there’s tons of octogenarians out there who want a surly-faced man in a striped shirt, naming Faygo flavors in a husky voice.)
He also got a Koo Koo Kanga Roo comic book and stickers that smell like gross things. Not a bad way to start the day.
“You made it!” the moustacioed-Koo exclaimed happily when he saw Chooch. “Do you know what time PVRIS plays?”
“3:50,” Chooch answered, and I had no idea that he had even checked the schedule for that. I guess he likes them more than I thought.
From here, we headed to the amphitheater, where the two main stages were held since there were storms in the forecast. I hate, hate, hate the stages under the amphitheater, and it was even worse this year since it was the main stages, but I understood that it was something that had to happen. It’s just so hard to enjoy any of the bands when they’re playing those stages, because it’s hard to get close. We ended up sitting and it always feels weird to me to be sitting at Warped Tour. I felt like a true Old Person. While we were under there, the first of many waves of heavy rain started, which drove so many people under the amphitheater, it made me wonder if anyone was left at the other stages. I felt bad for all of those bands who were playing at that time.
Oh, also, we purposely lost Henry during this time, and it made Chooch and I ridiculously giddy. We could see his idiot cabbage-head bobbing up and down in the crowd, searching desperately for us. Oh, how we laughed.
Our Last Night was still playing on the left side of the stage, so Chooch and I listened to them while waiting for We Came As Romans. I saw OLN last year with Chiodos in Cleveland and my impression was “meh.” But I really liked them this time around and I’m glad I was forced to give them a second chance. Then WCAR came on and I was just like, “………..” I don’t dislike them or anything, but they don’t really make me feel any type of way. Chooch likes them a lot though and that’s all that matters. He wrote about seeing them here.
We were going to walk around after their set ended, but then it started storming again, so we fetched Henry and found seats closer to the other side of the stage, where New Year’s Day was playing. I feel like they’re at Warped Tour every year.
“Wait, their singer is a girl!?” Chooch asked in disbelief. He kept making fun of them, and I was like, “Dude, they’re really not that bad!” and he gave me this horrified look and said, “I can’t believe you just said that!” I found out later that the whole time they were playing, he thought it was Black Veil Brides, and we have a huge mutual dislike for that band, so I guess he thought he was losing me as an ally or something.
We made Henry feed us around this time. Henry’s favorite thing! Spending money while praying that whatever food he’s ordering will satisfy us and quell the bipolar-demons within for a few hours more.
Henry trying to block out Transit playing behind him. He had to call work around this time, so he left us at the Journeys stage while we waited for Hands Like Houses, and walked around trying to find a halfway-quiet area to make his call. He was so excited when he came back because while he was on the phone, some guy moved him out of the way, and when Henry turned around, he realized it was a security guard escorting Vic and Jaime from Pierce the Veil through the crowd. Henry, the ultimate scene dad. You guys know he secretly enjoys this shit. He can name at least one person in most band that I like, even some of the ones I don’t like. I really think he likes going to Warped Tour!
This concludes the first half of the day.