Monday, July 26, 2004

Warped Tour 2004 Part 1

Vans Warped Tour, a staple event of my summer for the last 4 years. Each has been a wonderful adventure and an audible pleasure. This year was no different. Oddly, though, this year didn't seem quite as good as the last, and I believe there are two main reasons for this. First, the venue was organized quite crappily and second, there was definitely a lack of variety in the bands that performed.

The Warped Tour was held in the parking lot of the Metrodome this year, as opposed to being at Floate Rite Park in Wisconsin or at some lame-ass park in the middle of the cities. This was supposed to be the site of Warped a couple of years ago, but it was changed about a week beforehand to the aforementioned lame-ass park.

When Warped was at the lame-ass park two years ago, the stages were spaced out nicely and there was plenty of open room. It was this way when it was in Wisconsin as well. The only thing that sucked about lame-ass park, MN is that there were four single-file gates to let everyone in through. Needless to say, it took forever for everyone to get in. I waited in line almost 3 hours myself.

Before we went this year, I thought that the Metrodome parking lot would be a crappy venue and I was proven right as the day went on. Simply put, the parking lot was way too small to house all of the stages and tents that come with the Warped crew. People were shoulder to shoulder everywhere, not just at the stages themselves. It was terrible. Just traversing from one stage to another was an exercise in pushing through people. What helped to make it even worse was that they put a bunch of the tents up only a little ways out from the stage so there was a very narrow lane for everyone wanting to see the bands, buy merch, meets bands, and move between stages to use.

Another thing that was pretty subpar this year was the technical aspects of the stages, namely the techs not getting the sound working right on a few of the stages. Come on, it's not like we're the start of the tour. Setting up the stages and equipment should be a breeze at this point. One stage had only the bands monitors working so only the crowd directly around them could here. Another stage had the bass overpowering everything else. Yet another stage had the sound muddled. The first two stages eventually fixed their problems, but the stage with the muddled sound, which was also one of the main stages, stayed that way the entire day. It was very frustrating to listen to some bands I really wanted to hear only to have it sound like the sound was being pumped through a 10 foot thick mattress before it got to my ears.

Lastly on my annoyances list is the way people there dressed. Do people not look at themselves in the mirror before they leave the house? I cannot even begin to count the number of overweight (and some just plain FAT) girls that were wearing tube tops or bikinis or other such inappropriate dress. To compound that, most of these girls were probably not even old enough to drive yet. I know if I was a parent, there would be no way in hell that my daughter would leave the house in shorts only slightly larger than her underwear and a bikini top only large enough to cover the mosquito bites that pass for her breasts. Parents, I'm telling you right now--regulate what your daughter wears out in public!!!

I can understand where it gets hot out and you want to be cool, but it wasn't that terrible out. I was tempted at times to go talk to some of the more extreme girls who were either severely underclothed or severely overweight (and wearing little in the realm of clothing).

"Excuse me miss. Can you tell me what your favorite band here is?"

"Sure. I really, really love Simple Plan and New Found Glory. In fact, I even held up my cell phone during both of their sets so that I could record my favorite songs to my voice mail and listen to them later. They're SO punk. Anyways, I really like Simply Plan."

"That's cool. You know, since you like them so much, I think you should show them your support by going to buy one of their shirts right now. Make sure it's a little big because it might shrink in the wash, but don't wait to wear it. Put it on right away! You'll be the coolest girl in your clique."

"Good idea, Mr. Dressed in Actual Clothing. I was getting kind of cold wearing next to nothing. You're smart."

"Thank you. Now go buy that shirt."

Lastly, like I said before, the only other gripe I really had was the lack of variety in music. The last few years have had bands from all kinds of different genres represented, but this year the majority of the bands were your standard pop-punk fare with a few screamo bands tossed in. There was hardly any hardcore, one rap group, a couple metal bands, and not really any off the wall bands. The main stages were the worst as most all of the bands on them shared basically the same sound. I guess I just wanted a little more variety to choose from, but what was there wasn't too bad.

Now tomorrow, since I've managed to get all the ranting out of my system, I'll actually talk a little about the bands I saw. There were quite a few decent ones, a few really good ones, and a bunch of alright ones. Thank God there was no Andrew WK this year...

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