Warped Tour 2008
Seaside Park – Ventura, CA 06/22/08
Words/Photos/Videos by Justin
(With Warped Tour kicking off this week, and things a tad slow here I figured we would look back at my experience on the long running festival last summer. Note, this first appeared on MTVnews.com)
A good rock festival is very similar to a good meal at a buffet. If planned correctly, you can get a nice sample of everything you love, try something new, and hopefully avoid items that you simply don’t agree with. As Southern California was hit with another day of record heat, I escaped 60+ miles up the coast from Hollywood to VenturaCalifornia for the 2008 Vans Warped Tour where the high was only 80, and a nice ocean breeze kept the crowd cool. Armed with a camera, VIP pass and a very empty stomach, I hit the pavement hard at SeasidePark, and left a very satisfied and fulfilled customer.
Myself and several lady friends arrived to the venue around 11:00 am and quicky started drinking. With the ticket saying doors at noon, I was very bummed to find out I missed up and coming metal band August Burns Red who took the stage at 11:30. Running into one of the guys later, it sounds as though I am not the only one to feel this way. After warming up in the lot, we made our way to the beer garden as The Bronx played one of the main stages. After another round, our timing could not of been better. As we made our way over to the Hurley Side Stage, I encountered Cobra Starship playing the Snakes on A Plane jam from a few years back. This is the only song I know of theirs, and really the only song I care to hear. That worked out pretty well.
Evergreen Terrace tore up the Hurley Side Stage with a 30 minute set of pure metalcore madness. I had not heard these guys before today, but was very impressed with the band out of JacksonvilleFlorida. Singer Andrew Carey could be mistaken for Angels pitcher Jared Weaver, held down the stage and had the crowd going the entire time. Their cover of Mad World sounded nothing like Tears of Fears or Gary Jules, but was dedicated to myspace celebutard Jefferee Star. As the band wrapped up their set, I made my way back to the main stage for Every Time I Die.
Hung over from yesterday San Francisco’s show, Every Time I Die was the first main stage act to truly get the crowd into a frenzy. Playing a mix of their last three albums, the bands set was sweet and to the point. Lead singer Keith Buckley, informed the crowd that many bands would tell them what to do on this beautiful day, but really they should only listen to him. They indeed did when before the last song of the set (No Son of Mine) they split the thinner “Emo” crowd in half to attempt the crawl of death. Moshers got onto their hands and knees and charged Braveheart style at each other as the band launched into the song. The crawl lasted all of about 12 seconds as the young crowd quickly returned to their feet and continued to mosh under the California sunshine.
Not to be outdone, Southern California metal band As I Lay Dying got the crowd to form a circle pit around the soundboard for their 2003 hit “94 Hours”. I had last seen this band in early 2004 down in Anaheim, and they have grown leaps and bounds since then. The band sounded tight, and managed to cover just about all their singles, as well as material from their latest record. From what I can tell, As I Lay Dying drew the biggest main stage crowd of the day, which makes you wonder why they played so early in the day?
Taking full advantage of the VIP access granted to me, I ended up taking a break by relaxing on one of the bands buses, watching the end of Vacation, and the start of Caddy Shack on VH1. Missing Story of The Year and some other main stage band I had never heard of was worth it in the long run. I did head back out and I caught the last two songs from Anberlin. I had never heard of them before today, and they were not my thing. No harm, no foul, as I was on the other side waiting for Against Me! so really it was more background music than anything.
A week removed from their set at Bonnaroo, Against Me! took the stage at 4:20pm and for the first time all day, the place smelt more like Bonnaroo then the Warped Tour. I am pretty late to getting on the bandwagon of this Florida based band. Late, as in last week bandwagon jumper. So the only songs I know, were the show opener Stop and the show closer, Thrash Unreal. Everything in between won me over and made me a fan. The crowd was very into these guys, who sang their politically charged songs to a mosh pit full of Obama T-shirts.
All day, fans of punk rock had complained around me, as they felt the Warped Tour had sold out, by having more Emo and Metal bands then punk and ska. It was interesting to see the crowd, as most of the fans of Emo & metal were open to all bands, while the punks cried like little children. So looking over the board, I decided to try to find any random punk band and ended up checking out 3OH!3 on one of the side stages. Boy, was I wrong to guess off of a name. Instead of punk, I found two white rappers, shooting off t-shirt cannons and singing dirty lyrics about a move called the Helen Keller I love bad white rap as it’s a total guilty pleasure. You see, it gives me hope that even in my old age, I could get up and do that. These guys were energetic, and had the crowd eating out of their hands. Definetly check 3OH!3 out if you get the chance.
I caught the tail end of Norma Jean on the main stage. It was much heavier than I expected, but didn’t strike a chord with me. A late addition, playing only the VenturaCalifornia stop of the tour was FEAR. I am familiar with FEAR, but have never seen them live. Not having anything to compare too, the band seemed a bit rusty and it felt as if the band could fall apart and need CPR at any second. I was depressed to see that the crowd for their set was rather empty (however, every crusty punk did make a rather large circle pit for the Los Angeles punk legends). Opening with “I Love Living In The City”, most Warped attendees missed a history lesson from the punk rock veterans. Lead singer Lee Ving joked with the crowd through the set, clamming that their record More Beer is the reason he lives in Bel Air next door to director Steven Spielberg, and dedicated Foreign Policy to our current administration.
There was a bigger crowd waiting for Reel Big Fish to start then watching FEAR. The band opened with their biggest hit Sell Out, which took me back 11 years to senior year in high school. Trendy, followed that before the band moved into new territory. A quick cover of Enter Sandman got the crowd all pumped up, but no where as pumped as the set closer – a cover of the A Ha song Take On Me.
I made my way to a small stage with my lady friends. They were all dying to see Katy Perry, Americas newest conservative sell out SLUT hypocrite christian cash cow popstar. I realize this is mean, but the 10 minutes I watched was pure garbage, as I find it tacky to sing about kissing gals (something Jill Sobule did SO much better) yet being afraid to do so on a press junket. Heck, even a hug from a gal sent this trashy pop wreck heading far far away from whomever was interviewing her on the E! network. I love the fact that the barely legal daughter of two ministers (hailing from Santa Barbara just up the coast from Ventura) flashed her undies (which were part of her dress) whenever she could to the crowd of pre-pubescent sheep looking for a new false pop idol to worship. Just standing in the beyond packed crowd full of underage females, I had this really bad feeling that Dateline NBC host Chris Hansen would bust me any moment simply for being there. I had to escape and high tailed it over to Pennywise.
Pennywise was the perfect way to end my day of music. Despite guitar issues which probably cost the band an entire song, Pennywise blasted through a set for the old school fan, more or less void of any type of radio hit. As three underage punks threw trash into the pit, Fletcher flowed his unique style of trash talk from his mouth. Fuck Authority got the biggest rise from the crowd until the set closer Bro Hym, a tribute to those who meant so much but are no longer with us.
Beat from the long day of music, I found my way backstage where I lounged around for a few hours with friends and bands. A perfect way to end a perfect summer day out at the Warped Tour.