Continuing my series of Bands I Love to Hate, this week’s installment is on We the Kings! Click here to see what I think of the pop rock act.
It’s the most glorious time of the year – Vans Warped Tour is in full swing!
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 Ready Set
The Summer Set
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.
In my publishing class, we had to do a non-fiction book proposal: I decided to do an autobiography by Charles Trippy. Who is Charles Trippy, you might ask? Well, most people know him as a YouTuber (his biggest channel, CTFxC has over one million subscribers, and he holds the Guinness World Record for most consecutive vlogs, an honour well-deserved since he’s posted one new vlog every day since May 2009). But I was first made aware of Charles Trippy when I saw We the Kings at Warped ’12 (shout out to Anna for one of the most memorable moments of the day i.e. when she shouted “CHAAARLES” and ran to him while we stood around with bemused expressions).
Hunter, Coley, Travis, Danny, and Charles.
I started listening to We the King in high school. I remember hearing “Check Yes Juliet” and being all “THIS SONG IS MY JAM”. I still get excited whenever I hear it.
Run baby run, don’t ever look back.
I always forget they are rather popular: while most people don’t understand what I’m talking about when I talk about bands, a lot of them nod and exclaim “Oh, I’ve heard of them!” when I mention We the Kings. They launched an Indiegogo campaign last September for fans to get involved with their fourth album, and, after destroying their goal of $35,000 (they raised almost $150,000!), Somewhere Somehow was released in December. I haven’t listened to it yet (it’s only available as a digital download, which hurts my physical-CD-loving heart), but “Just Keep Breathing”, the first new song they released in mid-2013, was excellent.
Remember that you’re not alone.
They are very much a summer-band (in my opinion): full of catchy, poppy goodness with a splash of rock. It’s not at all surprising to find out they’re from Florida – sunshine oozes out of their songs. It can be hard to listen to too much WTK in one shot because their four albums tend to blend together, but a random WTK song (or two) in a playlist is a delightful surprise.
Having said that, they’re actually REALLY good live. Up until Warped ’12, I kept missing WTK whenever they played in Toronto (I will still never get over the fact that they opened Warped ’10, and I missed them because I was standing in line to get in…wearing a WTK shirt, no less), so when I finally got a chance, I was blown away by how energetic and fun they were. I saw them on their headlining tour last summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again at this year’s Warped. If you’re going, I highly recommend checking them out.