let’s get warped.

2009_0712WarpedTour0001The Warped Tour is celebrating its 15th birthday this summer, and yesterday I was lucky enough to see the tour for the first time in my life during its stop in Hartford. The Comcast Theatre (or the Dodge or the Meadows, depending on how old you are) was completely transformed into this crazy  rock and roll summer camp of sorts. The great thing about the Warped Tour is that its variety of acts attracts all kinds of people; yesterday’s crowd ranged from preteens decked out in their Hot Topic finery to see 3OH!3, to people in their late 20s/early 30s who braved the insanity to see solid sets from big d and the kids table and Streetlight Manifesto.

I could have spent all day simply people-watching. I mean, where else can you see a guy in Buddy Holly glasses holding a bong in one hand and a BlackBerry in the other? I saw many teens with as much decorative metal on their faces as orthodontic metal in their mouths. I wanted to ask the skinny redhead next to me during the Maine’s set if either of her two lip rings ever got caught in her braces. Kids of all ages ran around the dusty parking lot, their bodies covered in band merch and free stickers while their parents sipped $9 Bud Lights inside the amphitheater, waiting for the nine-hour day to end. Tattoos were just as prevalent as body piercings; between the artists, crew members and fans, there was easily over $10,000 worth of ink on display. Some notable tattoos included Snoopy looking up at a tree on a woman’s calf and a flaming puzzle piece on a woman’s neck.

Having never been to an all-day festival concert like this before, I was on sensory overload. There was so much to see and so much new music to hear that it was easy to get overwhelmed. It was difficult to pick which of the seven sets going on almost simultaneously you wanted to see, but what I did get to see yesterday was great. We started off the day with the end of Senses Fail’s set, then caught most of 3OH!3. I’ve already aired my grievances with 3OH!3 and their strange brand of electro-rap-rock, but you can’t deny that they have a huge following:

2009_0712WarpedTour0010 I took this picture at the back of the crowd, easily one of the largest I saw that day. I sat out during Brokencyde’s set,  because I literally could not stomach their music, which is labeled “screamo-crunk.” Aside from being audibly abrasive, the lyrics were more crude than some of the rap music I listen to. The crowd of mostly teenage girls didn’t seem to mind, singing along to lyrics that included “Will you be my booty call?” and other things that I’m too embarrassed to reprint. Fueled By Ramen’s A Rocket to the Moon played an enjoyable set inside away from the hot sun, and Meg and Dia gave what may have been the tamest set of the entire day, with Dia asking the crowd at one point if they liked to read because it was “great reading weather.”

The one band whose appeal I didn’t get was Breathe Carolina, an electro-screamo band made up of the strangest assemblage of people. The lead singer looked like a Daisy of Love reject, complete with a shirt that said “You can’t spell stud without STD.” Classy. The screamer/vocalist was a nerdy guy in a baseball tee, and the keytarist was a small guy with hipster hair and facial piercings. A chubby DJ/keyboardist in mesh shorts and a nondescript drummer rounded out the group. I found their music generally irritating, but their cover of Miley Cyrus’ “See You Again” was entertaining, if not laughable.

After that atrocity, I finally got to see the Maine, one of two bands I was looking forward to seeing that day. (We missed the White Tie Affair’s set since they went on 15 minutes after the doors opened.) It would be easy to dismiss them as just another pop-punk band, but their music is so undeniably catchy. I’ve been a fan of their music for a long time, but this was the first time I’d seen them live, due to an unfortunate concert experience last summer where I missed their opening set. Despite being almost suffocated by the people around me, I really enjoyed their set.

Up next was Saosin, a band I don’t have strong feelings about either way. My sister likes them, and she warned me that crowd surfing might get kind of intense during their set, having seen them before. I’ve never liked crowd surfing or really understood its appeal, but I figured if it got too intense, I could just leave and wait by the fence. It did get kind of crazy, but we were standing near the side of the stage and most of the surfing was going on near the middle. I could see most of the goings-on in my peripheral vision, and every once in a while I turned around to make sure no one was coming up behind me. However, there was one guy who came up right behind me and I did not see him coming at all. The next thing I knew, his foot hit the back of my neck really hard and I pitched forward. My vision immediately blurred and I just bolted out of the crowd. I ran to the safety of the fencing and realized that not only could I not see straight, but I was now dizzy and shaking uncontrollably. A concerned girl who I pushed by to get out and an equally concerned mother came up to me and while one checked to make sure I was okay, the other went to get the EMTs.

Long story short, I spent some QT with the EMTs while I waited for my vision to return to normal and to make sure my situation didn’t get worse. I ended up with whiplash of sorts and a pretty brutal headache, not to mention I got to walk around for the rest of the night holding an ice pack to my neck. (Aside from a stiff neck, I was fine this morning.) We spent the rest of the evening in the safety of the amphitheater, watching the end of  big d and the kids table’s set. We stayed for a few minutes of “Queen of the Internet” Jeffree Star’s set, which left most people openmouthed as he took the stage in a jeweled dress with his neon orange hair in a ponytail to a very crass version of the Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow.” Star is clearly only there for shock value, which explains why he is relegated to the closing set on the Smartpunk Stage.

So we left after that, covered in dust, our backpacks full of free stuff (and stuff that was not-so-free), and I with an ice pack on my neck. Aside from my minor injury, I had a good time, and if the Warped Tour comes through Hartford again next summer, I’d consider going.

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3 Comments

  1. skatfree

     /  July 20, 2009

    HA Ha, I was wondering how anyone could stand this scramo/crunk hybrid that is brokencyde. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who thinks they have no musical tallent. Fun fact for you here if you search youtube for “worst band ever” brokencyde is listed there.

    Reply
  2. Noah

     /  August 23, 2009

    This was really well-written and entertaining. Sorry about your neck! I’m going to Warped today!

    Reply
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