Opening Bands: Katy Perry, Gym Class Heroes, Pennywise, Street Dogs, Anberlin, Angels and Airwaves, Horrorpops, Against Me, the Academy Is, Reliant K, Reel Big Fish, The Aggrolites
Date: July 27th 2008
I havent been at a Warped Tour yet where the rain was so bad that it had to shut down 8 stages. The Warped Tour hit Scranton, PA Sunday July 27th 2008 and so did a nasty thunderstorm. But well get to that a little later. The tour this year seemed a little bit better than last year. Instead of just 2 or 3 bands I wanted to see there were at least 6! Wow, maybe next year Ill want to see 8 bands! Some of the bands that played at the Scranton, PA date included Gym Class Heroes, Pennywise, Street Dogs, Anberlin, Angels and Airwaves, Horrorpops, Against Me, the Academy Is, Reliant K, Reel Big Fish, The Aggrolites and Ms. No 1 Hit of the Summer, Katy Perry.
The day started off with having to wait in line like everyone else. Well for the most part anyway, I skipped a lot of the line even though the boneheaded old security guards told me it was just one line. The doors opened around 11am and all the kiddies were gearing up to spend the day seeing a bunch of punk, emo, ska, screamo, metal, hip hop, etc bands. I got my passes and went the backway. If I knew this beforehand, I would have brought a whole bag of water and food. *NOTE TO SELF: Do this next year!* Please beware, food is quite expensive at the Warped Tour so eat before the concert! Gatorade is 5 bucks, a tiny tiny slice of pizza is 5 bucks and a large flat ice tea from Nicos Pizza(?) is 5 bucks. So stuff your faces with food before!
I went to the press tent to get a band schedule. They usually give you a printout of all the bands playing but they wanted to be green. So I had to spend 15 minutes writing out of the schedule. With all the paper thats hanging up all over the place for signs and whatnot, seems a bit pointless. I was trying to analyze the schedule and figure out who to take pictures of. The Hurley.com stage had a lot of the bands I wanted to see so I ended up being there a lot this year. The main stage had a few acts I wanted to see, but it was mainly all the crap I cant stand. Against Me was the first band I wanted to check out. They usually bring a good live show and they did a good job of warming up the crowd. The Scranton crowd didnt seem that into them yet. Perhaps most of the people were there to see mainstream acts like Anberlin and From First to Last? From First to Last were up next and I took a few photos of them, even though I didnt know their music. The guitarist looked like Dave Mustaine of Megadeth. A lot of the kids liked that band a lot but I thought they were all right. Not something Id want to listen to normally.
The band I really wanted to see next was the Street Dogs, because Mike and the band always put on an excellent punk set. Plus Mike always loves to get down into the crowd and jump really high on stage. So thats a photographers dream! Street Dogs mainly played songs from their more recent material but they played their older stuff as well. Songs that I remember them playing include Tobys Got a Drinking Problem, Fighter, In Defense of Dorchester and a cover of Black Flags Rise Above. While I was taking pictures, one of guitarist accidental spit on me (camera and face) while just trying to spit on the stage. I was quite pissed off by that and was looking at him with disgust. I think he eventually realize he spit on me and was mouthing sorry or something along those lines. Unless he did it on purpose and said yeah stop taking pictures of me. Who knows? It was disgusting regardless. After my 3 songs were up, I was trying to get pictures of the mosh pits. I left my girlfriend unattended in the middle but we soon realized that was going to be a mistake. Mike tells the crowd to do a huge circle pit around the soundboard tents (where my girlfriend was). I was caught in the middle of it too as a shitload of kids ran around the tents. That was the craziest thing of the day at that point.
After Street Dogs was the band Anberlin. They seemed to be really popular with the kids. Not sure why because I didnt think their music was good and they seemed to pay attention more to their hair than their music. After seeing them for 2 songs, I ventured down to the amphitheater were the Hurley.com and Smart Punk stages were setup. I never realized why they set up these smaller type stages at the amphitheater because its this huge area where the big bands should be playing. There was absolutely no lighting on the stages towards the end of the day and it got really dark up there.
I wanted to check out the Japanese female ska band Oreskaband. They were a very happy group and entertained the small crowd, but they didnt care. They just seemed happy to be there. Their ska music seemed okay, but the sound in the amphitheater was pretty bad. It was hard to hear the vocals and the instruments sounded like it was coming from a bathtub. I caught few more songs after the 3rd song, and just relaxed in the seats for a few minutes. I wanted to see Reel Big Fish up at the main stage so I did the trek back up there. Its about a 10 minute walk from stage to stage. And thats coming from backstage! If I was walking in the crowd, it probably would have been a half hour walk. The walkways can be very tight spaced and hard to get around, especially around the Hurley and Ernie Ball stages.
The dark clouds rolled in and it started to sporadically drizzle during Reel Big Fishs set. I put a plastic bag around my camera but didnt really need to use it that much when RBF was playing. I only took photos of 2 and half songs of Reel Big Fish because the Aggrolites were about to come on at the Hurley.com stage. Reel Big Fish played great from the 2.5 songs I saw them play. My memory is so bad I couldnt even tell you what they played in those 2 songs or so. I think one was I Want Your Girlfriend to be my Girlfriend? I would have liked to have seen more of them but since The Warped Tour likes to overlap bands of the same genre, this wasnt possible. Besides, I like the Aggrolites a lot more and only saw them once last year. Reel Big Fish Ive seen plenty of times.
So I had to pretty much speed walk to get to the Hurley.com stage in time to see the Aggrolites. Right as I got there, the Aggrolites were already playing. I ran to the photo pit and got enough photos in before I had to leave that area. It was started to get really dark out, hence it was harder to get pictures of the band. I had to increase the speed of the camera to capture their moments. For a dirty reggae band, they certainly move around a lot. I believe when I got there they were playing Faster Bullet. They also played another favorite of mine Free Time. Last year when I saw them open for Dropkick Murphys, they didnt really play their new album. They played a few old songs as well like Countryman Fiddle. Mike from the Street Dogs came out to sing Bank Robber with the band and that was cool to see. They played for 15 minutes and then the rain started to come down..HARD!
The Aggrolites were certainly getting a bigger crowd now, but it sadly wasnt because of them. The rain was coming down like it was a hurricane outside, and all the kids fled for shelter in the Amphitheater. There was thunder, lightning, even reports of hail. No word if there was cats or dogs falling from the sky. Once there was lightning, all 8 stages were shut down and the entire place waited out the storm. It was one of these powerful, quick storms that lasted a half hour. To kill time, the drummer from the Aggrolites and another drummer on the Smart Punk stage had a drum off. It sounded like the Aggrolites drummer won by a landslide.
Every time there was thunder, the crowd would cheer. It was certainly a sight to see. Another funny sight to see was hundreds of kids on the top of the grassy hill organizing one giant slide down the hill. Trying to walk in the crowd after that made things worse because people that were all grassy would end up touching you. It grossed me out. Thankfully the rain died down and the Aggrolites finished their set. They finished with The Beatles cover Dont Let Me Down. Now that thunderstorm delayed things for a half hour, it was really hard to figure out when bands were coming on.
A lot of the bands were cutting their sets short to get the schedule back on track. Some bands only played for 15 minutes it seems sometimes. But I guess thats the way the ball bounces when it comes to rainy outdoor concerts. I was really confused on what to do, so I ended up just venturing back to the main stages to take pictures. I took pictures of The Academy Is and Cobra Starship and those were 2 very popular bands. It was really hard to get into the photo pit since there was no backstage entrance to it. It was really difficult later on as well. Cobra Starship were entertaining, the music was all right but they were a fun band to shoot anyway. They had a keytar player so its something different.
After those two bands, I wanted to see the Horrorpops but they were already playing when I got there. I guess the Hurley.com stage got caught up already with their times. I did manage to get some photos of them though. I like their sound a lot and thought they had a good live show. I thought the two members were a little chum chum with each other, and then I just realized that they are married to each other. It makes sense. Kim Nekroman is also the frontman for Nekromantix as well. Patricia Day has a good voice and fits the pyschobilly sound.
Instead of trying to go back to the main stage for a band, I decided to see who was playing after Horrorpops. It was Sky Eats Airplane on the SmartPunk stage and then it was Katy Perry. I wanted to see Katy Perry because shes the latest fad, I mean superstar to be on the tour. She broke out just as the Warped Tour started with her song I Kissed A Girl. Now shes all over every magazine and all those celebrity TV shows talk about her. Lets see how long that last for her. When she arrived on stage, she had a pink umbrella and wore a short blue dress. She actually looks like the twin sister of actress/She & Him singer Zooey Deschanel. I noticed her dress was really short and the stage was high up so I guess she doesnt care about..certain angles that photographers have?
Katy Perry played a lot of material from her latest album and had great stage charisma. She said she was watching the kids slide down the grass, and now everyone gets to see a rainbowGor something along those lines. Katy definitely drew one of the biggest crowds of the day, which made me scratch my head as to why Kevin Lyman stuck her on the dinky Hurley.com stage? Clearly she should have been on the main stage. At one point during Katy Perrys set, she ran across the other stage and then did a cart wheel. Since I was still in the photo pit, I wasnt going to pass it up to take a picture of this. She exposed her underwear (www.skapunkphotos.com/gallery/concert/Katy-Perry-Warped-Tour-08-Scranton-PA/page_2/5278 See Photo Here) and played innocent like she didnt intend that. I was debating with myself on whether or post that photo I got of her. But I guess it would be different if she was pulling a Britney and getting out of a car. I dont want to be considered a Paparazzi scum, but Im sure I could have sold the photo to the schmucks at TMZ.com. Unless Katy Perry does that at every show, then the photo wouldnt be worth anything. Besides that, I thought Katy Perry put on a good show. Its not something Id listen to but the little teenie boppers certainly like it.
I made my way up to the main stage for the remainder of the show because I was sick of going back and forth. Plus Pennywise was going to be playing shortly. I thought they were up next but it was Say Anything. Musically, didnt like them but I liked taking pictures of them though. The singer had a lot of good facial expressions when he sings.
After them, it was Pennywise and they were one of the bands I wanted to see the most on the tour. I saw them back in the spring for their tour, but I didnt care. Last time Jim grabbed my camera and gave me the finger. I was hoping he was going to do that again. But unfortunately, Jim didnt do that. The band played Intro (As Long As We Can) first, Rules (I think?) came second and then My Own Way. I loved hearing My Own Way again and was singing along while I was taking pictures in the pit. I like to show bands that not all photographers are stiffs just there to do a job and appreciate their music by singing along. The band thanked the fans for sticking by them and the Warped Tour all these years. I cant believe that the Warped Tour has been around this long and is considered the longest running tours today. I just wish it had more punk and ska and less emo and screamo bands. Every punk band I saw that day shouted out to the other punk bands on the tour. I liked how they showed solidarity to each other and supported them. Maybe Kevin Lyman will take note and bring in even more punk bands next year. The band played a short set because of the rain but they also played songs like Fuck Authority, I Cant Believe It and finished with Bro Hymn. I wished they played longer.
I decided to stick around to the end of the Warped Tour this year, and take more pictures. Usually I would have left after Pennywise. Im glad I stuck around because I got some great photos of Every Time I Die. I never heard their music before but I liked it! They are a metalcore band from Buffalo. One of the guitarists kept jumping high in the air, and I tried to capture that early on. I finally found the right moment between the monitors to get him in the air. The other guitarist had really long hair and was head banging left and right. I tried to capture that as well. I liked their sound and definitely want to see how they sound on their albums.
Gym Class Heroes were the second to last band on the main stage this year. I never saw Gym Class Heroes perform before but was impressed that most of the people actually play instruments. Travis, the singer has been in the news lately because hes dating Katy Perry but also because he got arrested for punching someone at the St Louis show. That person used the N-word at Travis and he reacted by hitting him with the microphone. I dont blame him for hitting the guy; I would have done the same thing. I dont really know their music too much so I didnt stick around after the 2nd song. I wanted to get down to see Beat Union from the UK play.
I pretty much ran to the other stage because Beat Union had started already. I heard their album Disconnected before this concert and liked it a lot because it reminding me of the Jam. Actually, it reminds me of the Jam way too much. Their live show was good but not that many people were around. Taking photos of these guys was hard because it was really dark in the amphitheater. No lights whatsoever. They played a bunch of songs from their album and I really liked hearing Pressure Zone live. After that song, I had enough of the Warped Tour and decided to go home and pass out. Overall, I had a better time this year than last year. Better bands, but in the end; I still wish there was more punk bands on this tour that played on the main stages.