Not gonna lie, I leaped out of bed at 7:30am on the day of Warped Tour. Never mind the fact that I didn’t even go to bed until after 3:00am, because I was all giddy and jittery like it was Christmas Eve. I had waited an entire year for this year. Henry had barely pulled into the parking lot of First Niagara Pavilion a little after 10:00am and I was already crying. Not bad tears! No, these were “I’m so fucking happy, fucking finally” tears. I can’t explain it, but the atmosphere alone of Warped Tour is like an upper for me. Instant good mood. Huge, goofy smile. Excited tugs on Henry’s sleeve.
And this is just in the parking lot.
It was over ninety degrees that day and I know Henry had to have been broiling a ballsack feast inside his shorts, but he knows by now that Warped Tour is a No Bitch Zone. It was so humid out that some guy in front of us quietly vomited three times.
And this was just in the line to get in.
There’s always that one band I’m dying to see every year, and this year it was hands down, no contest Pierce the Veil. The fact that they didn’t start until 3:40 was a blessing and a curse all at once. A curse because, obviously, I”m super anxious to see them and just thinking about it made me do pee-squats, like I was waiting in the woods for my boyfriend to arrive and steal my virginity. Those kind of pee-squats. Maybe you’re familiar. But it’s also a blessing because the first set of the day start AS SOON AS the gates open. And the line doesn’t always move that swiftly. In 2007, I missed CHIODOS (CHIODOS, YOU GUYS) because Christina’s douche canoe sister pissed around so bad that morning that we didn’t arrive until noon and their set was at 11:15.
So, I was happy that I wouldn’t have to right off the bat grab Henry’s bear-paw and drag him frantically over hills and through droves of scene kids, searching for the right stage. We had plenty of time to mosey around like creepy old people and catch Call the Cops and Dillinger Escape Plan, and then pause to watch some of Set Your Goals, Alesana, and The Pretty Reckless (little Jenny Humphrey can SANG, ya’ll), all in the first 90 minutes. Best part about Warped Tour: bored? Then move the fuck on.
I’ve been to all sorts of music festivals: a bunch of the various radio shows (you know, the X-Fests that pretty much every city had), even driving as far as Wisconsin from Pittsburgh to catch Cold play a 30-minute set at one; Rolling Rock Town Fair; Locabazooka; Curiosa; even Coachella. But none of those festivals ever made me feel like Warped Tour does. Coachella especially, I can remember feeling really insecure and self-conscious. It was hands down one of the most pretentious concerts I’ve ever gone to. Don’t get me wrong, it was worth flying across the country for, because The Cure headlined the second night, but the whole vibe of the place was shitty for me. I spent more time feeling uncomfortable and out of place than actually enjoying the experience for what it was worth (two plane tickets from Pittsburgh, a rental car, a hotel room, and the tickets to Coachella was a LOT OF WORTH). There was a blog post on Alternative Press’s website that I linked to a couple of weeks ago about why Warped Tour is still relevant. And in this opinion piece, the writer mentioned that it’s a place for kids to feel like they belong somewhere, to be somewhere around similar people. I’m far from a kid, I’ll be 31 at the end of July, but this is why Warped Tour is relevant to me as well. I feel more comfortable in my skin on that one day than I do any other day of the year. Even as an adult, I’ve never really found my “place.” I still don’t feel like I “fit in,” (though there’s less of an urgency for that these days) and I still kind of feel unaccepted by my peers at times because there is a large part of me that is forever young. It’s just that now it doesn’t bother me like it did. Now I find ways to get around the fact that I don’t have much in common with people my age, and I’ve learned how to make it work.
Although, it’s still nice to have that one day where I can walk around and hear kids name-dropping Ollie Sykes and Austin Carlile (who wasn’t there, but two of his ex-bands were), or wondering out loud who’s going to be guest-screaming today with Of Mice & Men (because I know you’re chomping at the bit to know, it was Coco from Her Demise, My Rise). It’s like, this is my language. I talk about this shit anywhere else and people are like, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Why can’t you just talk about John Mayer & Dave Matthews Band & health insurance like the rest of us normal adults?”
And it’s funny because Henry knows all this shit too, just because he has to live in a world strewn with worn pages of Alternative Press, Havoc music videos, and a teenage daughter (THAT’S ME) who reads online music forums instead of Us Weekly like most normal girls her age. He even likes some of it, but he probably wouldn’t admit that out loud.
I like this picture for 2 reasons:
1. you can see tents in my sunglasses
2. Henry looks put-out
Every year, there’s always that one band that I’ve never heard of that I end up falling in love with after thirty seconds. Last year, it was Remember Thy Name. This year, it was Last Call Chernobyl. The singer had a scream that tore the skin off my soul. “That’s my favorite kind of screaming!” I yelled to Henry, and I mean YELLED TO HENRY since we were in the front of the stage by the speakers. Henry of course looked at me like I was retarded for liking screamo so much that I have a predilection for a certain type of scream. And there ARE different types of screaming.
I was excited to see Polar Bear Club, since the previous time was at a really shitty venue in Pittsburgh when they opened for Thrice and I couldn’t actually see the band. They were playing on the AP/Advent stage under the pavilion, so Henry gave a little fist pump because this meant he could sit down. Polar Bear Club is a band that “older people” like too, so I thought Henry would finally get a chance to see something he could enjoy. That motherfucker was snoring within two minutes. Every year he falls asleep! Although this time it wasn’t as impressive as last year when he slept through a thrashing metal set.
At around 3:20, we made our way to the front of the Altec stage and claimed our spots at the barrier. Waiting is the hardest fucking part. I was doing a pee jig and flashing giddy squealing faces over my shoulder at Henry. I was somehow not surrounded by assholes (other than Henry). It was the perfect spot on the perfect day, waiting for the perfect band.
Pierce the Veil was at Warped Tour in 2008. Blake saved me from getting knocked out, but I still took a few shoes to the head that year. Aside from Chiodos (who were there last year), they are definitely my favorite band to see at Warped Tour because their sets are flawless and exciting; even Henry said after the first time that “they weren’t bad.” That’s the best Henry can do when it comes to the bands I like.
They always pretty theatrical entrances. I don’t even know (or care) what this guy was saying because everyone was screaming so loud.
They came out and dove right into “Caraphernalia” and I tried so hard to fight the tears but they started rolling down my cheeks in spite of my efforts. I cried through the entire set, it was so stupid.
- Chemical Kids and Mechanical Brides
- Currents Convulsive
- The Boy Who Could Fly
- Yeah Boy and Doll Face
- The Sky Under the Sea
I’ve waited almost two years to see them again. The last time was in Buffalo in 2008 with Christina, and that was not so good because of the company. Besides, this is one of the few bands Henry likes too and I like seeing them with him. So many of their lyrics make me think of him. (Don’t tell him that. Well no, you can, because they’re mostly the morbid ones.)
During “The Boy Who Could Fly,” (they used Drake’s “Find Your Love” as an intro which was fucking sick) Vic climbed into the crowd and held out the mic for all the kids to shout a resounding “Without you there is no me” and I lost it. I was crying so hard at that point, that my eyes were burning from the mixture of tears and sweat. I was so grateful for my sunglasses. When they were done, I turned around and put my head on Henry’s belly. My heart hurt so much and I couldn’t remember how to breathe correctly. Essentially, I was just a huge mess.
All the live videos I found were shitty and did no justice.
But there was no time to stand around and slit my wrists because Emarosa was playing next on a stage which required us to hustle to get there on time. It was actually the smallest stage there that day, which made laugh because Jonny Craig, Emarosa’s singer, is so fucking cocky that I imagine he expected to be on the main stage. But no, they were relegated to the tiny stage that folds out from the side of a truck. We grabbed spots next to the barrier and I immediately spotted Jonny in a douchey red trucker cap, hanging out behind the truck. I mean, stage. You might remember a post I had about him last fall, after I experienced his backwoods brand of douchery first hand for the second time. Well, that particular post is one of my top 3 posts, stats-wise, thanks to all the fans out there who Google terms such as “Why is Jonny Craig a dick?” “I hate Jonny Craig” “Did Jonny Craig impregnate a dog?” & “Why does Jonny Craig suck so hard?” See? I’m not the only one. He’s pretty notorious in the scene.
There were a few times we made direct eye contact, and I kept hissing to Henry, “OMG HE KNOWS I WROTE ABOUT HIM!” (Someone involved with the band does, because the dashboard to their bandcamp.com page was a referring link in my stats a few weeks ago, for that specific post. That was awesome.)
It was hilarious to hear the murmurings of “OMG it’s Jonny!” spread like wildfire as kids began noticing his presence.
The moment he picked up the mic and began belting out “Set It Off Like Napalm,” I was in this confusing, twisted agony of love and hate. Never have I experience such conflicting emotions over a band before. They have had a huge impact on my life over the past few years, mostly because of Jonny, and that impact started even before Emarosa, when he was in Dance Gavin Dance. And now, mostly because of Jonny, I almost cringe when I hear them, because of my personal experiences with him. I don’t want that to affect how I feel about the music and it’s a constant battle to keep those things separate. But as a fan, I’m not too proud to admit that he let me down. I don’t like having a foul taste in my mouth when it comes to a singer I admire. I want to respect him as an artist, but it’s hard when I can’t respect him as a person.
I kept turning around and sticking my tongue out at Henry to signify my disgust for who was on the stage, but at the same time, my inner teenager was sighing, “Oh, Jonny.” It was so bi-polar. It was agony.
Luckily, he didn’t do too much douche-drizzling on stage that day, instead opting to put on a fantastic set. He clearly wasn’t drunk this time, yay! So his vocals were spot-on and the band was sick. I cannot deny that this guy has one of the best, if not THE BEST, vocals in the scene today. I’d be willing to fight about it, actually. I still prefer his early work in Dance Gavin Dance though, because it was more interesting, but that’s just me. My only problem with Emarosa is that the lyrics don’t really strike me; they’re average and at times, contrived. If it wasn’t for Jonny’s voice, they’d be just another band fighting for an identity. (In my opinion, that is; I’m big on lyrics!)
Nice to see he has a mullet now. I would have been happier to see the Jonny-tail of yore. (Which is seriously what the back of Chooch’s head is modeled after.)
- Set It Off Like Napalm
- Heads Or Tails? Real Or Not
- A Toast To Future Kids
- Truth Hurts While Laying On Your Back
- The Past Should Stay Dead
I could tell Henry was fighting the urge to scream, “OMG JONNY!!!” with all the other little girls (and guys!) as Jonny walked off the stage. (Chooch just walked over here, saw these photos and said, “Ugh. Jonny’s a bitch.” See?! Even a four-year-old knows.)
After that, we were able to just float around and take our time with things, soak up the atmosphere. Well, that’s what I was doing anyway. Henry was too busy spending all my merch money on $5 bottles of Sprite because he’s too much of a bitch to suck it up and drink water like the rest of us smarties. You know how much I spent on beverages? $4.50 for one bottle of water, which I proceeded to refill at a water fountain all day long. Henry’s too good for that, though. Thanks Henry, I didn’t really want to buy a t-shirt anyway.
There’s always a Top-40 artist included on Warped Tour (two years ago it was Katy fucking Perry), and this year it was Mike Posner. When the set first started, it was pretty chill. I was actually not minding it. But midway through the second song I was bored to tears. I needed screaming and thrashing guitars. Plus, we were sitting under the pavilion watching him while eating frozen Minute Maid lemonade and I suddenly felt really old, like I should be at a Steve Miller show (which I actually went to when I was 18, so I don’t know why I picked that as my example).
I’m not a fan of chick-fronted bands. Alisha can vouch for that. And there were a lot of girly bands there this year. Fuck Hey Monday and Automatic Loveletter (seen them before, snooze fest). But I did make a point to catch Eyes Set To Kill, because that girl can fucking sing, and they’re not a pussy band. Alexia has more talent than most of the other Warped Tour girls combined.
I hate when the sky looks like that because it means the day is coming to an end. Leaving is the worst part. Waiting for next year is even worster! I nagged Henry the whole way to his sister’s house to pick up Chooch.
“WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART?” <–He always says “when we left” for that one.
“DID YOU LOVE PIERCE THE VEIL?”
“WHAT DID YOU THINK OF JONNY?
“CAN WE GO TO THE ONE IN CLEVELAND?”
I have been so sad ever since July 7, 2010. To torture myself, I still get the official VansWarpedTour tweets sent to my phone and I read them wistfully, sighing heavily at all that I’m missing on the other dates. Warped Tour brings on a post-show depression like none other than I’ve ever experienced. My Christmas Day is over for another year.
[There are more photos here! Plus, they’re better when viewed larger. My blog layout doesn’t allow for wide photos, right HENRY?]