If it’s August, that can only mean one thing . . .it’s time to get Warped on the West Coast. The Vans Warped Tour decided to skip Vancouver the last few years, so we do what any serious punk/hardcore music lover would do . . .road trip to the nearest venue, which just happens to be the fantastic Gorge amphitheatre in George, WA.
What’s Warped Tour you ask . . .one of the biggest and best punk/hardcore music tours in North America. This huge caravan of 115 bands (no typo – that’s 115) goes on tour in July and August, hitting the biggest and best outdoor venues all across the US and Canada. Not all bands play all dates, but you can expect to see 75+ bands on 8 stages on any given date. Complete chaos you say . . .oh no. Warped runs like a well oiled machine. Every band on every stage has their alloted time slot. If the time says you start at 2.25pm, you better be on stage playing at 2:25pm, not doing sound check (haha, there is no sound check) not being late, not selling merch – playing. And when you hit your alloted 20 or 30 minutes – get off the stage. No messing around – the next band is standing by, ready to go. Screw it up more than once and you will find yourself unceremoniously kicked off the tour.
If you only go to see big name bands in massive sound-sucking arenas with hideous sight lines, then this is probably not the event for you. You may have heard of a few of the headliner bands – Paramore, Simple Plan, 3Oh!3, Sum 41 but for the rest these bands rarely play to more than a couple of thousand people – and that’s on a good day. But if you love alternative music (and I don’t mean the alt country/folk rock kind) and you love discovering new bands and new music, Warped is the bonanza we wait all year for.
Here are some of the bands I’m totally excited to see:
The Aggrolites – bring on some SoCal dirty reggae. Saw them in February in Vancouver, can’t wait to see them again.
Falling in Reverse – a hardcore rock band from my fav city – fabulous Las Vegas. Haven’t seen them before, but love the sound and the look.
Dance Gavin Dance – screamo/hardcore – but with Jonny Craig (who took a brief hiatus with Emarosa until that ended disastrously) singing, it’s bound to be an incredible show. Yes that boy’s a mess, but damn, can he sing.
Family Force Five – get yo’ crunk on boys and girls and “Get your Back off the Wall” for one of my fav Warped bands, those glam boys from the duuurrty South. Ok, this video makes me laugh every time, so I had to put it in as well. The comments below in YouTube are worth a read – hilarious.
Less Than Jake – some fun, fantastic pop/punk/ska. Love these guys, they are just made to dance too.
August Burns Red – more metal/ hardcore. Caught them on the AP/Nike Airwalk Tour in Vegas last year. Might not be everyone’s taste, but they bring the sound and the energy.
The Black Pacific – talented former Pennywise lead singer Jim Lindberg with his new band. Really, really good. And for a gal who is sorely missing Bad Religion this year, I’ll take these guys as a substitute. I’m super excited about seeing them, so they get the video.
The wingchick and I will be off on Friday afternoon to make the 6 hour drive to the Gorge. We will be armed with Sharpies and highlighters – you have to be ORGANIZED to see all the bands you want to see in one day, lots of sunscreen and some good shoes – this is not a day for the faint-of-heart or weak. Oh yeah, and lots of black eyeliner and maybe some dress up clothes – it’s a punk show after all!! And the best part – we are camping right at the Gorge this year. We usually stay at the nearest motel – Ellensburg – which is a 45 minute drive away. Making that drive at 11pm at night after a full day of Warping kind of cuts into the fun factor. So this year, since we have all our camping gear out, we are setting up camp right beside the caravan for a weekend of sun, fun and great punk music. Have to say . . .I’m loving my August.