Fresh off the set of Law & Order: SVU, Ice-T made a fast getaway from the filming of next season’s popular crime drama, on which he has played Detective Sgt Fin Tutuola since 1999, and traded in his NY badge for his iconic black LA baseball cap and black work gloves. From PD to OG, Ice-T is many things…Predictable is not one of them, but being a grand showman certainly is.
Ice-T lit up the Marquee stage with long-time collaborator Ernie C. Together, in 1990, the two formed the controversial LA thrash metal band Body Count. While the band is most famous…or rather INfamous…for their controversial 1992 self-titled album release, Body Count has successfully produced five additional studio albums: Born Dead (1994), Violent Demise: The Last Days (1997), Murder 4 Hire (2006), Manslaughter (2014), and Bloodlust (2017). Even though most of the band’s set list was comprised of their more popular hits from the 90’s, their subsequent releases such as their 2017 Bloodlust cover performance of Slayer’s “Raining in Blood” is consistent with the Body Count feel and sound that made them famous and fit right in among the BC classics all the way back to 1992’s “There Goes The Neighborhood”.
The show opens with sirens and the Body Count title track, including the 9-1-1 “Smoked Pork” dispatch conversation voice-over introduction and the call to order that is the “Body Count Anthem” and “Body Count’s In The House”, both found on the same album. But while in the past the band has focused more on certain people groups, today the message is a bit more refined, pointing fingers at humanity in general. It’s everybody’s fault: #NoLivesMatter. Ice-T picks on every subject from racism to economics. Nothing is sacred. No one is safe. He says what he wants. He makes no apology. He’s not wrong, but at least he sings it to you in a way that makes you want to smash along with him. Body Count is a thrash metal band, and as such may seemingly lack some of the pleasantries and fine-tuning of modern metal music. This is no-frills, straight-up, old-skool. The sound may be raw and the message reality, but there is no shortage of talent in the band’s ranks. Straight outta Compton, Ernie C is still the band’s lead guitar, and he’s anything but typical. Growing up in LA, he was never impressed with the lack of showmanship found in the average R&B artist. He was influenced by bands like The Isley Brothers, but he wanted to live the adrenaline that only rock ‘n’ roll can provide. Now nearly 30 years later, through the iconoclastic anti-establishmentarianism that is BC, Ernie-C’s slick fingers still deftly noodle through Ice-T’s profanity-riddled “Talk Sh*t Get Shot” pimp lyrics like a knife through hot, face-melting butter. It’s melodic, but at the same time it’s mayhem….kinda like his hair. And even though the guitar players are usually the famous guys in the band (next to the lead singer) Body Count wouldn’t be Body Count with the same amount of impeccable rhythm and groove driving the low end. For many years now, Vincent Price has been the Tiffany lamp shade hanging in the fight club barroom that is Body Count…He really ties the room together. First he’s on one side of the stage, then he’s on the other. He’s looking at you, then he’s pointing at me. Encouraging a sing-a-long and shmooving along to the music in love songs such as “KKK B*tch”, nobody goes to a rock show to stand still and be bored, and Vincent Price makes sure you are neither. Over the years, the Body Count line-up has changed slightly. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a BC show, you’ll notice their new guitar player, Evildead’s Juan Garcia, who joined the band in 2013, and Ill Will on drums since 2009. But somebody’s gotta hold down the fort, as they say, and that is the same Sean E. Sean…the man behind the curtain (even though he’s right there on stage), working magic and running the samples for every song as he’s done since the very beginning. Every show ends with a bang, and Ice-T makes sure to finish everyone off with the heart-wrenching ballad “Momma’s Gotta Die Tonight” followed by the one track that scattered all the record execs back in the day and put the band on the map….”Cop Killer”.
Despite his hardcore presence, Ice-T has always invited others to share his stage and his spotlight. In the video single for “All Love Is Lost” off the Bloodlust album, Ice-T features SVU co-star Kelli Giddish, who also plays Det. Rollins on the show. Co-starring in tonight’s performance was Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta with his side project “Jasta”, with a surprise performance by former Killswitch Engage front man Howard Jones. Ice-T and Body Count appeared at The Marquee Theater in Tempe, AZ before shipping off on their European tour to support their latest album.
The metal fest known as Knotfest hit the desert plains of San Bernardino, California for two days of non-stop metal devastation! Someof the biggest names in metal were in attendance as well as some newer band and the Coldcock Whisky winners. I was fortunate enough to get access to both days of the festival and photograph bands to my metal heart’s desire with the exception of both day’s headliners Judas Priest and Slipknot. The festival also saw many attractions besides bands which included people on stilts, thunderdome, Slipknot museum, carnival games, and carnival rides. I arrived early on to catch many of the bands that I’ll either be seeing for the first time or for the second or more time.
Inquisition is a two-man black metal band from Colombia. As most black metal bands perform, they had corpse painting and all black outfits. For many fans, this was their first time seeing Inquisition. Inquisition started the show with Force of the Floating Tomb. Frontman Dagon has an interesting voice when singing as it sounds almost robotic, yet still has that black metal feel. While their music isn’t relatively fast as most black metal bands, Inquisition prefers a calmer style. Still, with their style of music they pulled in the crowd with plenty of horns thrown in the air and headbangers seen on the rail.
Swedish melodic death metal lords At the Gates were one of the main attractions of side stage 2. Plenty of fans were seen screaming their name and singing along as they started the show with Death and the Labyrinth from their newest album At War With Reality which is their first album in 19 years. The mosh pits commenced and helped At the Gates start off strong. At the Gates continued the slaughter with Slaughter of the Soul from their 1995 landmark album, Slaughter of the Soul. Being their biggest hit, fans went absolutely crazy as the mosh pits got more violent and huge clouds of dust were lifted from the ground and people could be seen covering their mouths and coughing. Some fans were seen waving the flag from Sweden as a thank you for At the Gates performing this one off USA show. Other songs in their setlist included: Cold, Under A Serpent Sun, Suicide Nation, and Blinded by Fear. At the Gates have proven themselves to be one of Sweden’s biggest bands and fans are very grateful to have them return after a very long hiatus.
Body Count is a heavy metal band formed by and fronted by legendary rapper Ice-T. Most people would think it’s odd to have an almost all black band perform heavy metal music. Some are for it, some are against it, some really don’t care. Body Count started the show with Body Count’s in the House and were welcomed with open arms as fans went wild and the mosh pits continued. After their performance of Masters of Revenge, guitarist Ernie C started experiencing technical difficulties and in the meantime, Ice-T entertained the audience by telling dirty jokes to which the crowd loved and laughed at them. The show continued and they played songs like Manslaughter and There Goes the Neighborhood. Body Count finished their set with their most controversial song, Cop Killer. Fans moshed and raised their fists and horns as they sang along, “Fuck the police! Fuck the Police!”. Body Count definitely knew how to get the crowd going and left the fans wanting more.
Belphegor is a blackened death metal band from Austria and along with stage-mates Kataklysm, have made the first stop of their tour at Knotfest. Belphegor have an intimidating stage presence with two microphone stands covered by bones and the band members have their faces painted white and covered with makeup that resembles blood. Plenty of fans could be seen anxiously waiting as Belphegor started the show with Feast Upon the Dead. Frontman Helmuth would unleash his demon-like vocals on the crowd while shedding on the guitar. Quite often he would make these evil faces while rolling his eyes to the back of his head giving him a truly demonic look. Other songs in their setlist included: Belphegor – Hell’s Ambassador, Lucifer Incestus, and Bondage Goat Zombie. Belphegor has just started their US tour and hopefully will make another Southern California stop to truly experience a full set instead of a cut-down set.
The scumdogs of the universe Gwar are no strangers to the metal world. Infamously known for their stage theatrics, props, costumes, and of course their heavy use of blood (red food coloring) and other bodily fluids. Even with the death of Oderus Urungus, Gwar lives on and continues to spread their shenanigans to the masses. A human with an overly-sized head came out to greet the fans only to be held down by Bonesnapper and decapitated by a huge sword in which the body started spraying a stream of blood to the crowd as Gwar started the show with Crush, Kill, Destroy. Fans were overly joyed at the thought of being covered in blood and happily puts themselves in the path of the stream and soon lots of fans looked like they got a tan from the blood turning orange on them. An alien monster with a snail-shaped penis came out on stage to intimidate the fans and address since Urungus is dead, Gwar belonged to him now. Gwar would have none of that and proceeded to have an on-stage battle with Bonesnapper using an axe to beat down the alien monster as the band started to play Vlad the Impaler. The alien monster would then proceed to piss on the fans with his yellow liquid giving the human filth another chance to be soaked in alien piss. Other songs they played were: Saddam a Go-Go, The Salaminizer, and Sick of You. Gwar was one of the best side stage bands and were the final band on stage 2 as fans that were in the pit were seen leaving soaked in blood.
Kataklysm is a Canadian death metal band and released their twelfth studio album titled Of Ghosts and Gods on July31, 2015. Along with Belphegor, they embarked on the Of Ghosts and Gods USA tour and made Knotfest their first stop. Kataklysm started the show with If I Was God…I’d Burn It All. Frontman Maurizio Iacono displayed his powerful voice and really displayed his technique. It took a few tries for Iacono to get the crowd going into a mosh pit instead of standing around. Kataklysm has a very heavy sound to their music and metalheads will have an easy time headbanging to their music. Sadly, Kataklysm are heavily underrated. They played songs like: The Black Sheep, The Ambassador of Pain, and Crippled & Broken. The whole band has a great stage presence and are more deserving than what they get. If this tour makes a stop in or near your area, they are definitely worth checking out.
The first band on the main stage that I got to check out was Trivium. Trivium released their seventh studio album Silence in the Snow on October 2, 2015. Trivium had plenty of fans in the crowd and some of the crowd up front had signs for them to see. Trivium came out and started the show with Silence in the Snow from the new album. Trivium‘s music can often be described as a blend of metalcore, thrash metal, and heavy metal. Some might refer to them as new age Metallica. Frontman Matt Heafy would shred away track after track and enjoyed interacting with the fans. The other band members did their part in making their music sound just as good live as on album. Trivium played songs from their catalog like: Until the world Goes Cold, Blind Leading the Blind, and In Waves. Trivium has a great stage presence and made a great addition to get the audience warmed up for the other main stage bands.
Progressive/sludge metal band Mastodon is currently one of the biggest bands in metal and on June 24, 2014, released their sixth album, Once More ‘Round the Sun. Mastodon started the show with the first track from the new album, Tread Lightly. As Mastodon does with most tours, it’s no surprise to see that the new album dominated their setlist with as many as 6 tracks of the 10 songs performed were from the new album. Mastodon is one of those bands that sound so well live that they sound just like the album, note for note. In addition to the new songs, they also played older songs like: Aqua Dementia, Bladecatcher, and Black Tongue. During the middle of the set, frontman Troy Sanders made note to the audience that this exact Mastodon show was their 2,000th show. One of the best songs played was High Road, the first single from the new album and the music video for it is the first ever metal music video to contain females twerking. Mastodon ended the show by playing their most popular song and one of the most well-known metal songs, Blood and Thunder from their critically-acclaimed and Moby-Dick inspired Leviathan album. Mastodon is surely on their way of becoming one of the biggest metal bands of all time.
Nu-Metal veterans KoRn are currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut album. KoRn‘s first stop on the 20th anniversary tour was at Knotfest. KoRn started the show with Blind, the first track from the self-titled album. Drummer Ray Luzier started the song by repeatedly hitting his ride cymbal as the song originally starts. Bassist Fieldy would hit the quick funky bass notes. Guitarists James “Munky” Shaffer and Brian “Head” Welch would introduce the song letting the fans know the show was about to start. Frontman Jonathan Davis came center, took ahold of his signature mic stand, screamed into it, “ARE YOU REEAADDYYY!?!?” as the song started in full force with all members headbanging and fans on the floor jumping simultaneously for an impressive sight. For this tour, KoRn was playing their debut album in its entirety. Some songs they haven’t played from that album in years and others they play regularly. Songs like Ball Tongue and Need To have recently been been played for the first time since the anniversary tour of the album that started earlier this year. Other song like Clown and Faget are fan-favorites that are regularly played, but are still welcomed from old and new fans. Being that KoRn has a shorter setlist than their own headlining tour, they couldn’t possibly plays just songs from the debut album. Instead, they played the first seven songs from the debut album. Davis came out with his signature bag pipes and fans knew what song was coming next. Shoots and Ladders is one of KoRn‘s best songs and is played at almost all their shows and is always fun singing along to a mix of nursery rhymes. To mix up the setlist, KoRn played some of their other hits starting with Falling Away From Me. This being a fan-favorite, the crowd was very into it and jumped to the beginning of the song and fans could be seen singing along. Here to Stay and Did My Time were other fan-favorites that made people in the crowd go wild and mosh pits could be seen from anywhere in the venue. KoRn finished the show with their most popular song, Freak on a Leash. Fans could be seen singing along to the song and of course loved with when Davis performed the beat box solo that the song is known for. KoRn finished the show and came out to greet fans and have their kids come out as well as they threw guitar picks and drum heads into the crowd. KoRn left the stage and paved way for the headliner of the night; the gods of heavy metal, Judas Priest!
Judas Priest is regarded as one of the greatest metal bands of all time and they have every right to be called that. Led by the metal god Rob Halford, Judas Priest has earned their place in the music world as one of the greatest bands in metal. After what seemed to be the end for the band, they came back to release their seventeenth studio album Redeemer of Souls on July 8, 2014. Judas Priest served as the perfect headliner for night 1 with lots of fans waiting for the metal gods. Black Sabbath‘s War Pigs played over the speakers and fans knew that was the cue that Judas Priest was about to start. The lights went out and fans screamed as loud as they could as the intro track Battle Cry played over the speakers. The curtain that was covering the stage came down and revealed Judas Priest on stage as they started the show with the first track from the new album, Dragonaut. Judas Priest kept to their roots by playing classics as the show continued with Metal Gods, a song about robots and technology taking over the world. Victim of Changes was the third song and gave Halford a chance to show that age hasn’t affected his legendary voice as he let out his beautiful high-pitched voice throughout the song. He would send a shiver down your spine as he sang, “VICTIM OF CHAAANGEEESSS!!” and guitarists Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton played the song to perfection and showed why they’re two of metal’s greatest guitarists. Halls of Valhalla is another new song that they played followed by The Rage which was a nice treat given that they don’t play that too often. The synth intro to the next song could be heard and fans knew exactly what was coming. The classic song, Turbo Lover. Halford would hold out the mic to fans and let them, “I’m your Turbo Loverrr!” Halford would sing, “Tell me there’s no otherrr”. Halford would hold out the mic again and let fans again sing, “I’m your Turbo Loverrr!” and Halford would finish with, “better run for coverrr!”. The real treat of the night came when they played the next song, Screaming For Vengeance from their album of the same name which itself is a metal masterpiece. That song hasn’t been performed in almost 30 years and many younger fans were overjoyed to finally have the chance to hear it live. Halford was at the top of his game as he sing in high-pitch with little problem as the song requires. Faulkner and Tipton performed the guitar solos to perfection and really brought the song to life after so long. Following that, Judas Priest kept bringing out the classics that made them who they are. The next song was one of the greatest songs in metal, Breaking the Law. Anyone that listens to metal should be familiar with this song. Halford would hold out the mic to the audience as they sang the chorus, “Breaking the Law! Breaking the Law!”. It is a very fun song to sing to live and amazing to experience everyone singing along. The stage went silent as the sound of an engine roaring could be heard. Fans screamed as they knew exactly what was coming next. Halford came out riding a motorcycle and to no surprise, the next song was Hell Bent For Leather. The stage went dark again as the familiar intro of The Hellion started and fans sang along to the intro of, “ooo-ahh-ooo-oh”. The intro ended and Judas Priest jumped right into Electric Eye. Fans all over could be heard singing along to the chorus, “I’m electric, electric spy. I’m protective Electric Eye”. The band took a quick break while Halford engaged with the crowd with some vocal exercises as the crowd followed his lead. Judas Priest was to end the one with another one of their most popular songs, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’. Fans were loving singing along to this song from start to finish. The show seemed to be over until Jose from SiriusXM Radio came out and asked the crowd if they wanted one more song. The crowd cheered to no surprise and Judas Priest came out to play the final song of the night, Painkiller. What a perfect choice for a show finisher. This song is the definition of heavy metal. Dual guitar leads, fast drumming, and Halford’s legendary voice. Halford finished the song strong with a very long, “Pain…killerrrrrrrrrr!!”. Judas Priest showed off their musicianship one last time in a huge noise of heavy metal music mashup of guitars and drums being played at the same time combined with the screaming of fans. Judas Priest left the stage while leaving the crowd overwhelmed that they just witnessed one of the greatest bands in metal. So was the end to day one of Knotfest.
The 7th annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival kicked off in San Bernardino, California at the San Manuel Amphitheater on July 5th, 2014. The lineup for this year was somewhat different than the previous years with more of the metalcore bands making an appearance instead of the bigger and well-known bands. Some of the bands that were on the bill included: Miss May I, Mushroomhead, Suicide Silence, Body Count feat. legendary rapper Ice-T, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Asking Alexandria, and headliners KoRn and Avenged Sevenfold.
By the time I made my way into the area where the side-stage bands were performing, Suicide Silence was performing. I’m not familiar with their music so all I did was look on with their performance. The crowd seemed into them as they moshed away and headbanged. Suicide Silence seems to be doing well with their new singer, Eddie Hermida formerly of All Shall Perish whom replaced the late Mitch Lucker.
After them, Body Count featuring Ice-T took the stage and legendary rapper Ice-T put on a show to prove that he can also rock out. The crowd reacted well as there were mosh pits the whole time and crowd surfers started to appear once Body Count started to play their hit, Cop Killer. I’d never heard of Body Count until they were announced to be at this year’s Mayhem Fest and they were definitely and interesting addition.
Once Body Count finished, the first band I was looking forward to came on. The biggest-selling death metal band, Cannibal Corpse! They played a blistering set that kept the crowd going to where at one point I was being thrown around by two different mosh pits going on around me. They started their set with my favorite track from their newest Torture album, Scourge of Iron. The rest of their set included hits such as: Make Them Suffer, I Cum Blood, Stripped, Raped, and Strangled, and their most famous song, Hammer Smashed Face. As always, frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher made us laugh by cursing at us, the people standing around, the crowd that was watching from up the hill instead of being in the front with us, and by telling jokes. They are definitely a fun and brutal band to see live and I’m looking forward to their new album in September!
Video recorded by my friend/concert partner, Kanon Madness:
After all the main stage bands were finished, I made my way to the main stage where Trivium had started to perform. I’ve heard of Trivium for a long time now but I’ve never listened to them so this gave me chance to check them out and see what they’re all about. I could tell there were fans of their within the crowd from either singing along or they were wearing their Trivium shirts. As for the music itself, I wasn’t really impressed. It’s either because I just didn’t know their music or because there’s nothing that really stood out that made me want to check out their music and become a full on fan. Oh well, I tried.
Asking Alexandria was next and I’ve heard plenty about this band. They were the band that I asked myself, why are they on the main stage instead of Cannibal Corpse? I’m sure the majority of people there were wondering the same thing. During their performance, I looked around and saw little to no reaction from the crowd. I saw the occasional person going wild, but it could’ve been just random people going crazy for no reason, or an actual fan of theirs.
KoRn was the first of the headlining bands. Clearly there were a ton of KoRn fans since once the lights went out signaling their arrival, the crowd erupted in a huge roar louder than anything I had heard all day from being there. They wasted no time in pumping up the crowd as they opened with the crowd favorite, Falling Away From Me. Being the first night of the tour, I could tell they were freshly energized compared to the 2 previous times I’ve seen them since they were way more active and frontman Jonathan Davis brought his A-game and sounded the best out of the 3 times I’ve seen them. They played mainly hits during the night which included: Never, Never, Shoots and Ladders, Twist, Love & Meth, Here to Stay, and they premiered the song Hater live for the first time which will be released as a bonus track for the upcoming re-release of their album, The Paradigm Shift. They also played their most famous song, Freak on a Leash. Both Jonathan Davis’ and bassist Fieldy’s sons came out to rock out with their dads and it was fun seeing them have father and son moments right on stage. Seeing guitarist Brian “Head” Welch back in the band after being gone since 2005 made the band feel complete. KoRn finished their set with Jonathan Davis saying it’s been 20 years since the release of their self-titled debut album and proceeded to end the night by playing Blind, the first track off of that album. I always enjoy seeing KoRn live and will continue to do so.
The final act of the night was Avenged Sevenfold. Some people were all for them and couldn’t wait to see them, others wanted nothing to do with them and stated to leave after KoRn’s set. I’m a fan of theirs so I stayed. Once again, the lights went out and the crowd got on their feet and yelled and screamed as Avenged Sevenfold made their way to the stage. They started off with the first track off of their newest Hail to the King album, Shepherd of Fire. A7X had the best and biggest stage set-up. They had steps on the sides so they could go up and down as they please, a church-like backdrop with 3 screens showing the band perform from different angles as well as cartoons/music videos, pyros and fireballs that shot out matching the guitar solos, and of course the giant skeleton king statue. A7X had an impressive setlist dishing out the usual songs they play live as well as new ones I didn’t expect them to play. Their songs included: Nightmare, Bat Country, Seize the Day (tribute to their late drummer, Jimmy “the Rev” Sullivan), Burn It Down (rarely played), Afterlife, and of course, Unholy Confessions. I love how they use their pyros on stage, whenever certain guitar parts/solos would come on, pyros would shoot out from the back of the stage and go from left to right or just randomly shoot out from everywhere depending on what was being played but it was a beautiful sight. Guitarists Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance are amazing guitar players with their dual guitar playing and sounded spot on from the albums. Singer M. Shadows sounded awesome and had no trouble singing live with his wide range of vocals. Arin Ilejay served as the band’s new drummer following the death of original drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan and he did an amazing job on the drums.
Seeing the type of music I mainly listen to, it’s a bit out of the ordinary for me to say I love bands like KoRn and Avenged Sevenfold, but they were some of the first bands I listened to so they’ll always have meaning to me.
It was 1997 when I first walked through the gates of Kevin Lyman’s wonderful world known as Warped Tour. While that was not the first year of the ever evolving punk rock summer camp, it’s hard to believe that the festival has now wrapped 15 successful years. Having missed all three Southern California stops on this years traveling circus show, I made sure not to miss the 15th Anniversary show (which will be turned into a major motion picture in theaters Sept 17th) held Labor Day weekend within the walls of Club Nokia at LA Live. Add in the fact the show was a benefit for Musicares, a great organization that takes care of musicians who need help and I knew I had to go. With a very unique mix of musical artists who share the common bond of being Warped veterans, how could I miss this event? So enough with the introduction, lets get down to business and give you a sneak preview of the Vans Warped Tour 15th Anniversary Party.
Hailing from Los Angeles, the “Dirty Reggae” collective kicked off the star studded event. I find myself having a lack of things to say about these guys as well it’s just not my preferred style of music. No problem at all with them, but it’s one of those things, where they play the first song and it’s good. Then they play the second song and it’s good because it was a lot like the first one. By the time the third song comes on, you realize it’s the first two songs again and by the fourth your over it. Thankfully with a 20 minute set, it never got to the point of boredom. Then again, with Fat Mike (drink in hand) watching them from the pit, that proved more entertaining than the music. They did do an outstanding job of getting the crowd ready for a long night of music, even if they were unable to motivate the crowd to dance/mosh/clap.
I was stoked when I heard these guys were going to be playing. I found them on accident at Warped 08 and quickly became a fan. Fuse DJ Steven (as in Steven’s Untitled Rock Show Steven) the evening’s MC informed us that we were not going to see them in person, but would be seeing them live via satellite or something. In a sad twist of fate, the video went out, and we got only audio for the song “Starstruck”. Hopefully they fix that before it hits the big screen. Truly bummed I missed these guys. Same exact thing happened with Blink 182, only we got to see their music video
Holy fucking shit. I knew Ice T was on the bill, and I had assumed we would get a hip hop set. However, being that Ice T was once a pimp, he knew how to get the bitches off. He brought out his classic/controversial early 90’s metal band Body Count. Body Count’s 15 minutes of fame came around the time I was getting into music. As a white kid from the burbs, his metal militia made up of individuals hailing from South Central LA truly scared the crap out of me. Seeing T on stage with a ski mask covering his face and some form of machine gun strapped to his back, make my arm hair raise with excitement. For twenty minutes, the five piece band exploded on the stage with a ferocious energy that still felt scary and dangerous. Ice T often taunted the crowd calling them pussies as many kids looked on confused as to why the dude from Law & Order was up on stage getting all kinds of angry. When not covering Slayer, the music highlight of course was the Los Angeles National Anthem – “Cop Killer”. So awesome, yet so lost on most of the crowd. I am still in shock that in 2009, I got to see Body Count.
These guys are the reason I purchased a ticket. After a little anniversary celebration of their own back in February, I just had to see these foul mouth racist drug abusing alcoholics again. I tried my best to match Fat Mike with vodka drinks and something I have a prescription for, but he was truly in fine form and light years ahead of me by the time they took the stage. Clearly it was not going to be easy for him to not talk during the short set, as he pointed out before a rather sloppy “Murder The Government”. Before playing “Linoleum” Fat Mike made sure to discuss his encounter with Katy Perry backstage. ATM, who knew? From there things got a lil racist. OK, very racist. I didn’t catch the name of the B-side that consisted of El Jefe, Melvin and Mike exchanging racist jokes between riffs. However, most if not all the crowd laughed at the highly offensive materials. Angelo Moore (dressed as Aladdin as Fat Mike pointed out) joined in on the joke sharing with a few colorful jokes of his own before lending vocals/sax to a sloppy/unrehearsed yet highly entertaining version of “Eat The Meek”. Running out of time, the band managed to close with “Fuck the Kids”, “Seeing Double at the Triple Rock”, “Fuck The Kids II into “Fuck The Kids (Revisited)”. With the rotating stage starting up, NOFX was more or less forcibly removed at the end of their twenty minutes, not that it seemed to stop them. It’s amazing how these guys simply get better/more offensive each time I see them.
The Decaydance All-Stars:
Wow, I am just going to say this. The best thing about this band is that lil Pete Wentz sodomized Ashley Simpson. Yes, when your claim to fame is sticking your small little pecker into the uglier, less talented Simpson sister’s shitter, you know I am heading back to the bar for another drink. Joining up with the two fuck tards left in Panic! At The Disco (I think, I don’t really know, I don’t listen to that shit) these ass hats quit before they had hit the stage. Having been welcomed by a well deserved round of booooo’s they struggled out the gate with a water downed and mopie version of “Damnit” by Blink 182. Knowing their time was up 3 summers ago, the four piece band decided to kick me in the dick on the way out. For those who don’t know me, I despise Journey more than I despise Hitler, George W. Bush and Charles Manson. All month, people I love have subjected me to this shit time and time again (donche!). So wouldn’t it figure that these suckers of Satan’s cock close their pathetic below bar band level set with “Don’t Stop Believing”. Looking back at it, I should have chucked that $12 monster/vodka and purchased another. Fuck I hate these tools, please God I ask that you stricken these douche bags with AIDS or late onset Autism.
All American Rejects:
Having seen a bit of these guys plan a song in the lunch room at work this summer (well, kind of), I went into their set with an open mind. As a straight heterosexual make, All American Rejects are not really my thing. Seeing frontman Tyson Ritter come out in tight white pants and only wearing glitter on his upper chest, I had to chuckle a little. While a decent amount of meatheads booed, most gals in the audience sang along while bobbing and dancing to every song. I know hearts melted with the opening number “Swing, Swing” I saw it many underage eyes. Lots of eye candy on stage if I do say so myself. The guitarist had a sweet Emo mullet, and Mr. Ritter has really nice nipples which could cut glass with the greatest of ease. My personal favorite/guilty pleasure “Move Along” kept the ladies doing just that while their boyfriends chanted for Pennywise. They closed the brief set with another smash radio hit “Give You Hell” which gave Ritter a chance to thank the ones who cheered and taunt the ones who did the opposite. For me, I was somewhat impressed with these guys. They stuck to their guns, and didn’t let the haters bring them down knowing they get way more pussy than anyone in the crowd. I get the feeling that if I had a vagina, I would have fallen in love with them.
I saw Katy Perry the third date of Warped Tour 2008. I stayed for about ½ the set on that warm Ventura afternoon before leaving to see Pennywise. I had made up my mind that despite the huge crowd ready to watch her on the tiny side stage, this girl was a hypocritical Christian with no talent or personality. I would like to admit I was wrong. Ladies and Gentleman, Katy Perry stole the show with a hard rocking set. Opening with “Hot & Cold” the twenty something pop star was in control out the gates. Bouncing in a low cut top and begging the boys to start a pit for her, the girl sang her heart out. As boos mixed with applause, Perry and her backing band dove right into “Ur So Gay”. Towards the end, Perry started singing/saying something about dick, I am not so sure, as I was more focused on the moment. It was that special moment when the crowd turned. After saying a quick hello to Fat Mike and praising NOFX, the singing sensation busted out her most recent hit “Waking Up In Vegas”. While some still had middle fingers raised, EVERYONE on that floor was rocking out and singing along. By now Perry had the crowd eating out of her hand. It is amazing how confident she is after touring non-stop for a year versus that almost terrified singer I saw last summer. Closing her set with “I Kissed A Girl” Katy Perry won the crowd over by simply kicking ass.
Perhaps if there were Christian bands like this instead of Stryper when I was a kid, things would be different for me? I have always liked what I have heard of these guys and live, wow it was intense, further increasing my respect for the six piece band. However, I would much rather talk about 5-6 of their fans, who tried to start a pit on the second level of floor Club Nokia. I am fine with pits, but when it’s 5-6 dudes who simply wanna beat the crap out of each other, I guess I miss the point. What I really hate (and this shows my old age) are the skinny vegan straight edge bastards in camo shorts who come in punching and kicking like a boxing kangaroo who as been on a 3 day meth binge. That shit is stupid, and so are you go do that shit on the 110 Freeway or something. So bothered by the pussy pit with lil bitches who kick, and three drunk dudes (who I give kudos too as they were all nice guys) trying yet failing to circle I took matters into my own hands. Where Kangaroo Jack and pals were doing their cardio routine, I sat down right in the middle of the floor. Upset/confused folks didn’t know what to do, so I did what any control freak would do. I encouraged a circle pit. A mild one got going, as my three drunk homies (who I had been helpfully shoving into Kangaroos all night) started it up. Sadly, I got attacked by Kangaroos who with there mighty meth/soy power picked my fat ass up (it did take two of them to pick me up). As I got ready to get goofy with em and sit back down, Underoath had come to an end. Perhaps a miracle, because this recovering Christian was really looking for to pushing the buttons of those inbred Kangaroo kids, and chances are I would have scalped em like Brad Pitt scalps Nazi’s.
Having been blessed to get the last wrist band earlier in the night, I spent my time between the pit and the other lower levels of the new club (where my female friends all chose to hang back). I grabbed one more drink and went up front for Rise Against. Bless my lucky stars things got all kinds of crazy during their set I love standing in the middle of the chaos, consuming various toxins as people beat the shit out of each other around me. I know they opened with that song that’s on the radio from that record that had the song from Guitar Hero I think. Does it matter, all I wanted was a soundtrack for some serious bone crushing carnage. Bodies crashing into each other, people throwing people up in the air as if they were rag dolls proved more entertaining than Rise Against themselves. I once again apologize to the hipster couple who got covered in about 1/4th of my frosted beverage, but that Samoan kid was on the war path like a Rhino on viagra. Perhaps the highlight of the set was how pathetic Club Nokia’s security staff were. It took about 4 guards 10 minutes to pull one drunk SOB out of the crowd. Granted the guy was built like a brick shit house, 350 pounds of muscle, eyebrows and hair gel but this distraction allowed 50+ kids to hop the rail and get into the pit for the final number “The Good Left Undone”. Knowing that these guys now headline arenas, it was great to see the energetic band in such a small club. I think I expected a bit more, but perhaps I just wanted convenient radio hits? I will say that along with bands like Against Me!, these guys are keeping the punk flag alive, and it shows by the sea of destruction their rabid fans left behind.
I first heard Ozomatli on the 1998 Warped Tour (which as far as I know is the only year they played). We walked by their tent and they were just jamming and hung out for a few. The layout was strange, and my pals and I saw their set (from a distance) on a main stage and were impressed enough to seek them out after Warped. Over the years, I went on to see these guys time and time again (and sometimes more than one time in the same day) and it’s always a treat to be in their presence. While I thought they were great, it’s hard to follow the 1-2 punch of Underoath/Rise Against when you are a Latin hip hop jam funk rock band. Opening with “Saturday Night” the Los Angeles based band got those who remained up front grooving. The only other song I recognized was “City of Angels” which is a great song, but just too mellow for the drunk and rowdy crowd. Folks were respectful to Ozomatli, some even managed to bust a move or two, but most just watched with a glazed look in their eyes waiting for what was to come next.
The San Fernando Valley natives tore it up with a oh so brief 30 year history of punk rock. Opening with the first Bad Religion song I ever heard – “Do What You Want”; the band sounded tight and ready to send the audience crazy. “Social Suicide” got a huge pit going as front man Greg Graffin spit out his book smart with a dash street cred lyrics. “The New Dark Ages” kept the crowd going wild while “21stCentury Digital Boy” gave the sold out crowd a chance to sing along at the top of their lungs. The band went back in time to close the set, playing oldies such as “Generator” and “No Control”. As quick and as fierce as they hit the stage, the six piece band thanked the Warped Tour and closed with “Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell”. As always, Bad Religion did what they do best. Un-apologetic/highly intellectual punk rock that never disappoint.
Knowing that at this point in time Pennywise does not have a singer (and damn thankful I skipped out on my pals and Katy Perry last summer to see them one last time) I was curious how the band would perform. As Bad Religion left the stage, the old familiar bass line that makes up “Bro Hymn” came from the stage. Using BR members and gear, numerous performers made their way out from the side of the stage. When Fletcher hit the stage, the place went crazy as Rise Against frontman “Tim McIlrath” started in on vocals. With Ice T and others roaming the stage, the crowd can only be described as ape shit with huge circle pits swirling and drinks flying. Perhaps revenge from last February at the Fonda, things got out of control during the second verse as Fat Mike jumped on/knocked over Fletcher. Anarchy ensued as Fletcher retaliated, chucked his guitar into the crowd and then eventually chucked someone up there singing into the crowd. This is perhaps the most chaotic all star jam in the history of music, and frankly I can’t think of a better way to close out a celebration of the one and only Vans Warped Tour.
As we exited Club Nokja to rabid fans screaming the chorus of Bro Hymn in unison, I had a big ol’ grin across my face. Kevin Lyman is a genius. The reason the Warped Tour works is because it is good to artists, and it is good to fans. It’s awesome to see a band like Blink 182 or Paramore grow from side stage warm up act to headliner. There is a reason bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise and NOFX come back as often as they can. It is clearly a family vibe, and I truly hope one day I can take my kids to the 30th Anniversary show.
Warped Founder Kevin Lyman w/ Fuse VJ (and event MC) Steven
Warped Founder Kevin Lyman w/ Fuse VJ (and event MC) Steven