Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Warped Tour 2004 Part 2

Yesterday you got read my bitching about the things that sucked about this year's Warped Tour, but today you get to hear about the actual bands (applaud here). I think that this year I saw more bands than any other time I'd been at Warped. I'm pretty sure the reason for this is that I actually got in on time and the thing didn't get rained out at the end. One of these two things had happened each of the previous 3 years. I'm not going to promise that the order in which I talk about the bands is the order I saw them, but I'll try to stick close to how it happened. My memory is going in my old age. Now, onward!

Upon entering the Metrodome's parking lot, the first thing on the agenda was getting the band schedules. This didn't work out so well since there was a throng of people in front of the schedule. I just caught when the first band I wanted to see was at and then figured I'd write down the rest later when so many people weren't around.

The first band I saw was A.D.D., or as they're sometimes called, Another Damn Disappointment. I've never listened to them in the past but they were on before FATA so I gave them a chance, but to me they actually weren't that good. Kristin thought they were all right, but I wasn't a fan.

Anyhow, next up was one of the bands that I was stoked to see--From Autumn to Ashes. Unfortunately they were the first band on their stage so they had a bunch of technical problems while they played. Halfway through their set, however, things got fixed. Their brand of melodic metalcore was just what I needed to start my day. I loved every minute of their set and could have spent the entire day listening to them.

After FATA, it was off to the Smartpunk stage to see Underminded, but before they came on we caught Small Town Born. They were pretty generic pop-punk and neither Kristin or myself were very impressed. One small note, the lead singer of this band is one of the most feminine men that I have seen in a long time.

Underminded was another great band to watch. Aaron from Decoymusic has been hyping them up like crazy so I was interested in seeing them. I didn't expect a lot, but I was pleasantly surprised by their great metalcore set. There was no melody from these guys, just screaming, grinding metal. Good stuff even if Kristin didn't dig it all that much. Oh, and during their set there was a crazy guy dressed in pink doing a bunch of hardcore dancing. It was interesting but most of the crowd was just weirded out by him.

Next on the list was Simple Plan. Kristin likes these guys. I've never had a big problem with them like most of the people that usually go to Warped do. They played all their radio hits and crowd favorites. I'm pretty sure it was the exact same set as last year, minus their usual Bad Religion cover (because Bad Religion was playing at this year's Warped). They weren't too interesting, but they seemed to be having fun.

After Simple Plan came on Coheed and Cambria. I am not a huge fan of theirs but I enjoy their cd well enough. The reason I have a hard time getting into these guys is that their vocals are extremely high pitched. Live, they sounded like a mix of Rush, Styx, and modern rock. For the most part they were pretty uninteresting, but their last song was unbelievable. It was about 10 minutes long and encompassed jazz, ska, punk, reggae, and a few other genres. If it wouldn't have been for that I would have written these guys off as simply boring.

Before walking around to some of the merch tents we caught a little of Lars Fredrickson and the Bastards. They're the "punk" punks of this tour. Their music was standard punk in the vein of Lagwagon or Bad Religion. I wasn't too impressed, but they weren't terrible.

We also caught some of Atmosphere while walking around and I was unimpressed by them as well. Too much talking about shooting people in the faces and crap like that. Honestly, we aren't 12 years old anymore. Stop trying to be so "bad ass". Talking about shooting people or "fucking people up" doesn't make you cool, it just makes you sound stupid.

After taking a break we prepared for the onslaught of main stage bands that would take up the rest of our day, leaving us with no down time, we went over to see NOFX. I've never been a huge NOFX fan, and their set didn't make me one either. This is the first time I'd seen them live and they were good, but they did too much screwing around that it didn't seem like they cared much about playing for the crowd. They had some funny anti-Bush tunes, though, which made their set somewhat interesting.

Bear with me for a quick aside here. The majority of the bands, and the main vibe of this year's tour, was very anti-Bush and anti-government. At least half of the bands that I saw had something to say about our current president, and none of it was good. I'm not saying that this is bad, but I didn't come to hear about different bands' political standings, I just wanted them to play music for me. I skipped Anti-Flag just for this reason (and because I think they're one of the worst bands around). So, yeah, I think there was a little too much political posturing for my tastes this year.

Now, back to the bands. After NOFX was Sugarcult. I've always had a soft spot for these guys, even if they are extremely poppy. They know how to write catchy hooks and can pull off their very melodic form of pop-punk in concert quite well. Most of their set consisted of songs from their major label debut instead of their newest cd, which is actually good because their new cd is not nearly as good as their last. Even if you don't usually care for pop-punk, I would recommend seeing these guys because they are very good at what they do and can easily make their songs stick in your head all day long.

Once Sugarcult was done, I needed to get some more water so I only managed to catch part of Taking Back Sunday's set. From what I saw, I didn't miss much. I watched them play about three songs and they seemed somewhat sloppy in how they played and they definitely lacked the punch that their cds have.

Once I got some water, I made it back in time to catch Yellowcard. They put on a great set of bouncing, fast-paced, violin laden punk songs. Of course they played mostly their well known songs, like "Ocean Ave.", but unlike the other bands who only play their singles and hits, I didn't mind because they played so tightly. Most of their songs were very true to how they are on cd, which is always a plus for me. I hate it when bands end up sounding like crap in comparison to their cds.

After Yellowcard another one of the bands that I really wanted to see was up--Story of the Year. They were great--energetic, bouncing all over the stage, and playing their hearts out. They slowed it down for a little bit to play "Anthem", but before it and after it, there was nothing but mosh-inducing screamo. Great band, great set.

Next up was Bad Religion. I am not a huge fan so we caught part of their set, which was ok, and then also caught most of Over It's set. I like Over It and their infectious form of pop-punk, but the stage they were on had the bass overpowering everything else so they sounded somewhat muddled. As it was, though, they were a decent band to see.

As the day was coming to a close, the last two bands were New Found Glory and Flogging Molly. New Found Glory played in the same manner they have every other year on this tour--crappily. They never manage to sound nearly as good as their cds, especially in the vocal department. Also, they didn't really play anything outside of their hit songs, all of which I'd be fine never hearing again. I think Kristin enjoyed them, so that's a plus. I, on the other hand, still think they're a terrible live band.

Lastly, but certainly not least, was Flogging Molly. Two words: Freakin' Awesome! Really, they were worth the $30 ticket price themselves. Every time I see them, they have so much energy, play so tightly, and manage to get the crowd moving like crazy. It's unbelievable how well their form of Irish-pub-square-dancing-hobbitish-punk music comes off as so good. The talent in this band also abounds. Managing to have your standard guitar/drums/bass/vocals setup accented by an acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo, tin whistle, and accordion and not sound like crap is quite an accomplishment in itself.

Since Flogging Molly was also the last band to play, they were asked to play an extended set for us since the Minneapolis stop has gotten screwed up in the past few years (see my previous post). We ended up then getting to listen to Flogging Molly play for about 50 minutes instead of 30, which was more than fine by me.

So, in the end this year's Warped Tour was another fun outing. Some of the bands sucked, some were awesome, but most fell somewhere in between. I would have liked to have seen a little more diversity, but I can't really complain too much for only it only costing $30. If Warped is stopping by your town, take a day and go. It's well worth it.

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