The release of the Warped Tour lineup is one of the most anticipated days of the year for me (see also: Someone Needs Friends, a Life, and Hobbies). But I have to be honest, this year’s lineup left much to be desired for me. I was really stoked for Dance Gavin Dance of course, but there was nothing else that really grabbed me, and Warped Tour is not really something you go to just to see thy one band you love play a 30 minute set.
But then last month, I gave the lineup another once-over. I’m. It sure if more bands were added by then or what, but I suddenly saw a bunch of small bands that I somehow missed the first time I looked at it, and the excitement snapped back and hit me like a buckle-laden Ehrbarkeit*.
*(I was reading about German bricklayers, as one does. Sue me.)
It’s been almost two weeks now since our glorious full-day romp under the blazing sun to the surround-sound tune of competing screams and machine-gun drumming, but I would be remiss not to recap the bands we saw because one day when I’m Henry’s age, I’m going to have a muddled mind and need help remembering if we saw Boston Manor or Boston Manners. Who knows?!
And maybe someone will walk away with a new jam or two after reading this, which is is always my greatest hope. I wish sharing music was my job!
Here’s a rundown of bands we saw (some just partial sets):
- Eternal Boy
- American Authors
- Boston Manor
- Silent Planet
- New Year’s Day
- Our Last Night
- Jule Vera
- Hands Like Houses
- Courage My Love
- Andy Black
- Attila (NOT BY CHOICE)
- Dance Gavin Dance
Pittsburgh pop-punk veterans. They used to be known as SpacePimps but recently gave themselves a brand makeover. One of the guys, Rishi, is the man responsible for the Pittsburgh-based pop punk Four Chord Festival. I went to the last one and saw Eternal Boy for the first time and was surprised how much I liked them. So I made it a point to check them out again at Warped. They were the first band to play on the Full Sail stage so we got our pop-punk on right away.
They kept talking about their new album Awkward Face, and I was like, “WOW THAT’S SO ME AND YOU, CHOOCH. WE ALWAYS MAKE AWKWARD FACES. HERE, MAKE AN AWKWARD FACE AND I’LL TAKE A PICTURE” and Chooch finally snapped and said, “Oh my GOD, they’re saying Awkward PHASE, not FACE!” and his tone was a glimpse into the future, where I suddenly am phased out and not cool anymore. Ugh.
Anyway, they weren’t as exciting as I remembered them to be, so we moseyed on over to the Journeys Right Foot stage to check out….
I mean, I’m not a giant fan, but I know that one song, you know, That Song that is played on the radio and was in a bunch of movies two years ago (probably?). I couldn’t remember the song though and kept telling Henry and Chooch, “No seriously, they have one really popular song and you’ll know it when you hear it, I swear” and they probably thought I meant popular in the Alternative Press sense and not Top 40 radio.
But then finally, for their last song, they invited some peeps on stage from Save Ferris and when the opening notes wafted off into the amphitheater, Chooch was all, “OMG THIS SONG? THIS IS THEIR SONG!?” and even Henry was like, “Oh wow, this song, OK.”
Anyway, it’s this song:
Which segues perfectly into…
YEAH BOI. This is the shit I was looking for on this day. Boston Manor is a pop-punk (sort of? but not?) band from Blackpool, England and they’ve been on my “must-see” list for quite some time now. They did NOT disappoint. Energy? Check. Passionate screams? Check. Poignant lyrics? Triple check all the way to Vans tent for a bandanna to sop up your tears. I was so pumped! Even Chooch was like, “I like them! But I’m going to walk around now. Come on, Daddy” because Chooch is what you’d call…a kid? Possibly with ADHD? Who’s not easily impressed? Whatever, let them leave.
Side story: During Boston Manor’s set, there were two older women in front of me. One of them spotted one of the guys from Bad Omens off to the side of the stage. They were performing next, so the whole band was milling about, and these old broads were flipping their shit. They had legit point-and-shoot cameras which they pulled out of their fannypacks, and they were practically stepping on each other trying to take pictures of these guys. I thought this was a bit odd, not that these old ladies couldn’t be down with Separations, but this band is not big at all so it’s not like they were trying to sneak a pic of, I don’t know, Barry Manilow or something.
But then a younger girl wearing steampunk goggles strutted over, and it turns out she was with the old bitches. They were frantically trying to pantomime to her over top of Boston Manor that the guys from Bad Omens were behind the barrier, and she did that snotty girl thing where was like, “WHAT????” with a disgusted look on her face, like the “why are you talking to me in public?” kind of look.
(See also: the Bitch from Milky Way look.)
But then she understood what was going on and became downright FRANTIC. She started looking all around and then marched over to the side of the stage, where she was able to get the attention of one of the Bad Omens guys (I know nothing about this band, although I’m listening to them right now for research, and they kind of sound like Bring Me the Horizon — newer, not old). He came over and let her under the yellow caution tape, where she gave him a bundle of bananas from her backpack and he gave her an appreciate embrace.
So, that happened.
But Boston Manor!! So fucking good.
We came across Lakeshore randomly as we passed by the Hard Rock stage, and they were pleasant enough to get me to stop. This was also around the time Henry discovered free Slurpees, so we were a bit distracted. But we did chill out for most of their set and at one point, I said something about how they sounded familiar, like something I would have listened to in 2008 or 2010, and Henry said he was thinking the same thing, actually wondering if we had seen them before around that time, and then we were all HAHAHAHA at our symbiotic relationship. How can I put this delicately without sounding like I’m hating on them, because I’m totally not….they had a bland yet pleasing sound that makes it perfect to have on in the background, and it’s interesting enough that you will eventually ask yourself, “I like this—who is it?” and then you realize, “Oh it’s Lakeshore, why can’t I ever remember that??”
Does that make sense?
I thought they were a good fit for Warped Tour, a good palate cleanser — not too pop punk, not too screamo.
Anyway, Chooch was determined to get the singer’s autograph afterward, even though he totally didn’t care about the music at all, because this was around the time he realized that there were areas in the official Warped Tour to get bands’ signatures. So like collecting the signatures of all the characters at Disney World, except in a more violent and dirty environment.
By the time the singer got to the merch booth, Chooch realized that Lakeshore didn’t have a page in the program (only some of the bands did), so he got the dude to just sign the front. He also got their set list. I was like, “Why didn’t the guy just sign the set list?” and Chooch had no answer for me. Henry and I were too busy chilling in the lawn when this was going down. Chooch does shit on his own now, you guys.
I was devastated when we missed Microwave at Riot Fest last year (someone was playing at the same time, but I can’t remember who). I got to see the singer do an acoustic set, and that was cool, but I really had started to grow fond of Microwave around that time and was hyped to see them. Finally got my chance at Warped and I was…pretty disappointed. Maybe it was just a bad atmosphere and somewhere like the Smiling Moose would be better?
Henry was not impressed at all, and I was like, “But no really—-they’re a great band! I swear!” Ugh. They didn’t sound bad, per se, but they just didn’t have that spark that captivated me. I won’t give up on you, Microwave! Next time you’re in Pittsburgh, it’s on.
They were playing on one of the big Monster stages in the parking lot and Chooch actually expressed interest in checking them out. However, when we got over to their stage, that’s when we saw that Gwar was doing a meet-n-greet, so we got in line for that and Silent Planet became background noise. Sorry, Silent Planet! You seemed good when I was paying attention! Good and screamy!
Chooch has been clamoring to see this band again ever since he saw them open for Never Shout Never in 2016. Plus, they just put out a new album so we were both stoked to hear some of the new songs live. They unfortunately were playing on the Journeys stage, but it was luckily still early enough in the day that it wasn’t too crowded in front of the stage — the pit is so small under that amphitheater and it makes it really hard to get up close for some of the bigger bands, which kills me.
I made Henry buy Chooch earplugs since we were so close to the speakers, which are all a billion times more loud on those stages. And also because I wanted to know what it feels like to be a parent who’s on top of things.
(It didn’t feel like anything special really.)
Jule Vera was fun to watch, as usual. Maybe Warped Tour isn’t the best venue for this but I was sad when they didn’t do their crazy collective drum solo, which is incredible to watch. It’s what sold me the night we saw them at Mr. Small’s, and when Henry and I saw them last year at Riot Fest, even he was impressed. And he is not usually moved in the slightest when it comes to bands of any sort. Still, they had a great set and Ainsley’s vocals were on point as usual.
I turned around before they were over, and spotted sleeping in one of the seats behind us, head back and mouth open. HOW?! It was so fucking loud down there!
After they were done, Chooch and Henry ran (OK, Chooch ran and Henry meandered) up the hill to Jule Vera’s merch booth so that he could get them to sign his Warped program. He had already talked to them at the beginning of the day when they were setting up their booth but he didn’t have his program yet, god forbid. While that was happening, I walked over to the other side of the amphitheater for….
Hands Like Houses
These guys are on my forever Can’t Miss list. They are just so beautifully Australian and I especially love the guy up there on the left, whom I have been adoringly referring to as The Tim Curry Guy for the last five or six years because he looks like if Tim Curry was in a band in the 70s ok?! So if you’ve been around for previous Warped Tour posts, chances are you’re already acquainted with these bros from Canberra (which is where I met The Cure in 2000, so these Aussies are dear to my heart).
This was probably my least favorite time seeing them though because I HATE THAT AMPHITHEATER. I know, you get it by now. And there was douchey fuck boy who came barreling through the crowd halfway through their set, pushing me and several other girls out of the way, and bro’d out with his sweaty pits exposed for all to smell. Eventually he bull-dozed his way further into the crowd and I was free to breathe again.
After HLH, this happened:
Ughhhh! I have been dying to see these guys again ever since Chooch and I saw them a year in Cleveland with Pierce the Veil. I hate comparing them to La Dispute simply because they have that spoken word element, but there are so few bands like this in our scene right now so the comparison is inevitable. Post-hardcore, emo-revival — I don’t care what you call them, just go listen. They are like a breath of fresh air and make me feel like I’m young again, and that everything is worth fighting for, DON’T GIVE UP.
Henry said they “weren’t bad” which is a solid B in Professor Henry’s Warped Tour Band Grade Book.
I think this is a good song of theirs to share, in light of Chester Bennington’s recent suicide and the topic of depression being on the table again, and it should never be taken off the table because while these things don’t go away, they can be managed and overcome—I struggle with it quietly but never silently, and sometimes the struggle gets loud. And it’s OK to get loud. (Sorry, Henry.)
Please support Movements. This band is going to be huge. They’re going to touch a lot of lives. I love them.
I can’t tell you how long I have been trying to see this band, but we always pass each other like ships in the night. The singer, Mercedes, used to date Craig Owens (BadxChannels, ex-Chiodos), which is how I first heard of them. I miss them every time they’re at Warped Tour or in town though! This time I made sure they were on my list, and we even got to the Full Sail stage before they started.
Henry thought they were ‘just alright” but I really enjoyed it. Warped Tour is such a fucking sausage party, and it’s definitely been slammed for that in the past, so it’s always nice to see some solid females on these stages. Some of them are just not our speed at all (Chooch and I absolutely couldn’t stand this one British band on the Skullcandy stage with a girl singer, I can’t remember their name but they were ska and just super screechy and annoying). OK I just looked it up for the sake of my fake journalistic tendencies, and they’re called Sonic Boom Six.
MORE LIKE SONIC BOOM SUX, AMIRITE?! OH SNAP.
But no, Courage My Love was beautiful and had a pleasing aesthetic, and a girl drummer who also sings! Tyler from Sworn In came over and sang on one of their songs, and I was observing him afterward, standing in the back corner of the stage, watching Mercedes adoringly to the point where I wondered if they were dating, but after creeping on her Instagram, it appears she’s dating some Canadian guy?
I wanted it to be a Warped Tour romance.
Afterward, Chooch ran to their merch booth because he had to get her to sign his damn program (I don’t think they were in it though so she signed the front). While he was waiting for Mercedes to come over, I noticed that the singer – Henry – from Boston Manor was just chilling in the middle of the lot, so I coaxed Chooch into getting him to sign his program, because Boston Manor had a page in it. Not-Our-Henry seemed totally stoked to sign this for Chooch. “Your set was awesome,” Chooch said, and Cooler-Than-Our-Henry said, “Aw, thanks buddy!” and he sounded SO HAPPY. Little does he know that I was the one who stood there during their whole set, giving them my undivided attention, while Chooch decided he needed to patrol the grounds for free shit.
What a nice guy! I wanted to buy something from their booth but I was trying to conserve money for our upcoming G-Dragon trip. Ugh, I just want to buy all the records though!!
Meanwhile, Chooch got to meet Mercedes and was all red-faced and nervous about it:
I told him we should start a scrapbook for all his concert memories and he glared at me. Then I glared at myself because what a mom thing to suggest.
Dance Gavin Dance
Finally, the band of the hour! Except that first we had to endure an entire Attila set. They were playing on the other stage and we got to the dumb amphitheater early because we wanted to get a good (enough) spot for DGD since Chooch has never seen them. Suffice to say, this was the furthest back I’ve ever been at a DGD show and I was so sad about it.
But first: an Attila rant. This band is just so shitty, like a next generation Limp Bizkit. All their songs are filled with “suck my fuck”s and the amount of little white girls throwing their fists in their air during these vapid, meaningless hardcore party songs made me feel sick to my stomach, because Fronzilla is the biggest sexist piece of shit motherfucker to walk the grounds of Warped Tour and he deserves zero fame and credibility. This music is what little suburban rich kids listen to in Daddy’s Hummer to feel like a bad ass. Even Chooch was like, “This shit is awful.” I wish Kevin Lyman would stop inviting this worthless band back to Warped Tour, but I guess at the end of the day, it’s all about that cash money.
The meanest thing about Warped Tour is that you only get to see your favorite bands perform for 30 minutes. IT’S CRUEL And Chooch and I were sharing the role of Goldilocks, trying in vain to find the spot in the amphitheater that was “just right.” This resulted in us getting separated from Henry who was sitting in a seat way up front but in an area where Chooch couldn’t see at all. It was excruciating. I wanted this to be on one of the Monster stages so fucking badly, where we could snuggle into a spot on the side of the stage and feed off the energy of the crowd. Their was no energy to be fed in this scenario! The crowd was weak. People were milling about in front of us the whole time. I wanted to be standing.
But, at the end of the day, Chooch was able to see everything and since it was his first DGD experience, this was all that mattered. When you’re a kid, it’s important to be able to see! And good thing too, because he was dying over Tilian’s slick dance moves.
So far away! Boo, hiss!
Here is the video for their newest song, please enjoy it thoroughly. It’s got that 1980s yacht rock slow jam sax:
And this concludes my 2017 Warped Tour experience! I’m sad that I missed Beartooth, Separations, Counterparts, Blessthefall, and Being As An Ocean. That’s the downside of Warped Tour: too many great bands playing simultaneously!
The only thing Warped Tour was missing was Emarosa. Sigh – it just didn’t feel like Warped Tour without them, after being spoiled with two consecutive years of them!
Hope someone out there found a band or two to explore. There were a lot of great ones this year!