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Go West, Young Man, Let The Evil Go East: Vans Warped Tour '08 at Jean-Drapeau, Jul. 20

Posted by Jenny / July 20, 2008

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Punk: noun. Def.: A loud, fast, and intentionally offensive genre of music.

Although the Vans Warped Tour has been growing increasingly un-punk in recent years, the three aforementioned adjectives still stand. But the tour is so much more than teenage rebellion under the blazing sun – or, as became the case this afternoon, the pouring rain. Punk is a tightly-knit community, and that’s really what Warped is all about.

For starters, putting together a complete and accurate account of a day at Warped is impossible. Imagine: over 70 bands playing ten different stages, the whole thing lasting about eight hours. Seeing everything is impossible, thus the biggest challenge is to masterfully plan your day around the bands you want to see. Mine began with Chicago pop-rockers The Academy Is… showering the crowd in a healthy dose of decibels, fully intended for waking-up and party-starting purposes. Note: the now-even-more-so charismatic lead singer William Becket now sports a new, shorter, haircut. Now he finally looks like a real man. Rawr.

Next I caught the very excellent San Francisco pop-punk/melodic hardcore act Set Your Goals and just barely came out of it with my glasses and all my bones intact. (If you don’t know them yet, I highly recommend you check them out. You may want to start here.)

20080720_maydayparade.jpg Mayday Parade are not wrong in thinking "Black Cat" is their sexiest song.

Seeing bands you already like and have seen live previously is an easy trap to fall into at Warped, and I cannot claim not to be guilty of it. I did, however, make a point of seeing some fresh new artists. One of them was Mayday Parade, a Florida emo-rock act whose self-described “sexiest song,” “Black Cat,” definitely got the crowd dancing. Another was Charlotte Sometimes, composed of 20-year-old singer-songwriter Jessica Charlotte Poland and her tour band, whose tunes ranged from the folk-y to cabaret to just plain rock. I spoke to her afterwards and she was a total sweetheart. Oh, and their tent was purple – an undeniable criteria for awesomeness.

Tents are a big part of touring festivals, but at Warped they aren’t synonymous only with merch. Dozens of organizations such as To Write Love On Her Arms (a non-profit unit that concerns itself with helping young people through problems like depression, substance abuse and self-injury), Peta2 (self-explanatory), and Keep A Breast (a unique non-profit organization creating plaster forms of the female torso, customized by fine artists and auctioned to raise funding for breast cancer), just to name a few, all come together to raise awareness –and funds- for their causes. Note: some of them also give away amazing freebies.

20080720_greeleyestates.jpg Arizona hardcore five-piece Greeley Estates have brand-new members, a brand-new album, and brand-new hair.

This year, perhaps more so than ever before, Warped Tour had something to offer for just about any kind of music fan. There was pop singer Katy Perry, responsible for the terribly catch yet horrendously overplayed hit single “I Kissed A Girl,” metal bands such as Every Time I Die and Norma Jean (who put on a great show, by the way). There were a few hip-hop artists, some old-school punk-rock band, and an all-female Japanese ska band, of all things.

I mean, have we mentioned community yet?

As kids sporting an array of different bands’ t-shirts and a bouquet of unnatural hair colours stood shoulder-to-shoulder, their Chuck Taylors soaking in the dirt, their noses turning red from sunscreen deficiency, all singing along to the same songs, the genius behind Kevin Lyman’s creation could not have been more obvious.

Discussion

8 Comments

apetimberlake / July 21, 2008 at 09:59 am
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I havn't been to a warped tour in about 10 years. A soon as the men started to wear tapered pants and comb thier hair over thier eye's I started to get angry towards them.
Jenny / July 22, 2008 at 12:01 am
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Sorry to hear. Sounds like you've been missing out on 10 years of amazing summer fun.
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