Warped Tour 2015

I used my really great (and obvious) title for last year’s Warped recap, so I’m stuck with generically listing them from now on.

Anyway, this was my SIXTH Warped experience!

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For some reason, a bunch of bands on our list were playing between 1:50 and 3:20, so it was hard to determine who we saw and who we neglected, but we generally went with bands we’d never seen before (which meant I missed Neck Deep and The Wonder Years, but that’s okay because they both have new albums coming out, so I’ll catch them on tour). We “discovered” some new bands we ended up liking it (Moose Blood), saw some old favourites (Family Force 5), and managed to catch the top three bands we most wanted to see: PVRIS, Hands Like Houses, and Mallory Knox.

In order of when we saw them:

As It Is

They sound better live than they do recorded; also, he has a very high voice.

PVRIS

Vocalist Lynn sounds even more powerful live than recorded, and it’s so impressive. They played the main stage, and it was well deserved.

Moose Blood

A British band that has an old-school Taking Back Sunday vibe? Count me in!

Hands Like Houses

Three words: Australian David Beckham. The music is excellent too.

Asking Alexandria

We weren’t that impressed with them, which was sad because we were expecting their set to blow us away.

Black Veil Brides

Andy’s voice is considerably deeper than you would expect from someone who looks so effeminate, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Man Overboard

Classic pop-punk. You can’t really go wrong with Man Overboard, even if Zac’s dancing weirds us out.

Family Force 5

It’s impossible to stand still during one of their shows – it’s always so much fun.

Set It Off

“Why Worry” is such a jam.

Mallory Knox

We were front row and we didn’t stop screaming from the time they walked on stage. It was amazing.

We also saw part of ’68,Juliet Simms, and August Burns Red, plus the first song from This Wild Life before we wandered away to look for the Mallory Knox band members (we ended up finding Mikey, the singer, who was very sweet!).

Overall, it was one of the most successful Warped experiences we’ve had, despite it raining for the first 6.5 hours (including an hour when we were standing in line to get in). I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

A Guide to Surviving Music Festivals [re-direct to Mind the Gap]

It’s summer, which means it’s concert season. Since I’ll be attending Warped Tour for the sixth time on Friday, and I’m pretty much counting down the days until Riot Fest in September, I put together some tips and tricks to surviving a day-long music festival. You can check it out here and let me know if I missed anything important!

Also, feel free to check back on this blog next Monday for my Warped recap!

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Photo by Adam Elmakias, one of my favourite photographers – go check him out!

More like RAGE FEST, am I RIOT?

This weekend was Riot Fest – or RAGE Fest, as I like to call it, because I spent two days dancing/screaming/flailing (“raging”) in the mud.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been steadily chanting “Ri-ot Fest, Ri-ot Fest” since May when this glorious line-up was announced. I’ve never been to Riot Fest before (it’s celebrating 10 years in Chicago this year, but only started crossing the border in 2012), so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Like Warped, it was a day (well, two days) full of music and merch, but since there was a smaller selection of bands to see per day (compared to Warped’s 80+ bands), it was a bit easier to navigate. Of course, bands still manage to conflict with each other (in terms of stage times), but it seemed more balanced. The one downside is that it was held at Downsview Park (essentially a very large field), and, since there had been an intense thunderstorm Friday night, there was less grass and more mud. I don’t think my shoes will ever be the same.

Highlights from SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 6:

After the daily line-up was released, we discovered that 99% of the bands we wanted to see were playing on Saturday. Since we had already purchased two-day passes, we naturally went on Sunday too, but Saturday was definitely better. Here are the bands we saw along with the song I had most wanted to hear:

New Found Glory:

Taking Back Sunday:

Bring Me the Horizon:

Brand New:

Rise Against: (sidenote: I haven’t listened to them in at least a year, but their set reminded me of how good they really are. Gonna have to start listening to them again.)

The Cure:

We also saw parts of GlassjawCirca SurviveManchester Orchestra/Citizen (because they were playing on stages that were close to each other, so we could technically hear both), Death From Above 1979, and The Flaming Lips, but I cannot tell you what songs they played because I had never listened to them before. I quite liked Circa Survive, though, and will probably look  up them and Manchester Orchestra.

Highlights from Sunday September 7:

Tokyo Police Club:

Dropkick Murphys:

Death Cab for Cutie:

As you can tell, there were less bands that we wanted to see on Sunday compared to Saturday (ironically, Sunday was also warmer and less muddy than Saturday, so it would have been the better day to be running back and forth between stages). While wandering the grounds, we also caught parts of other sets including The HotelierDie Antwoord (definitely not for everyone *grimaces*), Social Distortion, and Stars. Of the three bands we saw in full, we’ve only listened to Death Cab on occasion (I recognized a surprising amount of songs), but I really enjoyed Tokyo Police Club (I must have heard “Hot Tonight” before because it sounded very familiar) and Dropkick Murphys were a lot of fun.

Final verdict: I loved Riot Fest. It was a new adventure, but one I would love to experience again. Here’s hoping next year’s line-up will be even crazier!

I couldn’t wait for the summer and the WARPED TOUR

It’s the most glorious time of the year – Vans Warped Tour is in full swing!

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I’ve attended the Toronto date since 2010 – it’s my second favourite day of summer (the first being Ro’s birthday, of course).

In the months leading to Warped, I carefully make a list of bands: which ones I desperately want to see, and which ones I wouldn’t mind seeing if I happen to have time. Because that is Warped’s biggest downfall: timing. Inevitably, a band you want to see will be on one stage and another band you want to see will be playing all the way on the other side of the grounds and you have to make the decision of which one is more important to you. It’s heartbreaking, but sacrifices must be made.

This year was a little more disorganized than the past few years (and that’s saying something!) For one, I hate the venue (the Flats at the Amphitheatre are a pain in the butt on a normal day – throw in a few thousand sweaty music fans, and you get chaos!), plus a lot of the bands were late crossing the border from Indiana, so the schedule wasn’t released until over an hour after doors opened.

I could dwell on the bands I (regrettably) missed (don’t even get me started on Crown the Empire because I might cry), but, after a rocky morning, the day got better.

On Friday, we had the best possible weather – the past two years, rain bursts delayed performances and basically just made a mess (Warped ’12 stands out in particular, as the tour was actually put on hold for almost an hour and everyone was crammed into the amphitheatre because of the storm) – but it was all clear skies and brisk windy periods.

These are the bands we saw (in order) and my favourite song of their set:

We the Kings

The Maine

The Ready Set

Neck Deep

The Summer Set

Breathe Carolina

We also saw parts of RealFriends (they were on right before The Maine) and The Color Morale (we could have seen more but they took forever to set up and we had to walk all the way across the grounds to see Breathe Carolina). Plus I met Rob Dyer from Skate4Cancer (who is one of the sweetest people in the WORLD), and Eric Halvorson and Nick Santino from A Rocket to the Moon (Nick was playing acoustic – stupidly enough at the same time as The Maine – and Halvo was their secondary merch/tech guy).

I was disappointed that there were bands that I missed (*sniff CROWN THE EMPIRE sniff*) (also, if Anberlin doesn’t play a final show here, I might riot), but at the end of the day, I was sweaty, sticky, smelly, and sore…and satisfied. I can’t pick a “best” Warped experience because each year has been so different (in terms of bands playing vs bands we actually saw, weather, etc), but it was still an excellent day of music, merch, and meeting band members – three of my favourite things.