Date: July 27th 2006
Venue: Burgettstown, PA
For years, I’ve been trying to get a free pass to the Warped Tour from Bryan but he just hogs all that stuff for himself. Even though he didn’t even go this year, I still had to dish out twenty bucks and twelve dollars to park in a gravel pit. That’s ok though, I’ll do this review on my dime and maybe next year if there’s one decent band on Warped, THEN I can get a press pass. Maybe. Probably not.
I didn’t go to Warped last year because of the steady decline of good bands and the massive takeover of emo and screamcore bands had continued and had reached its highest peak. I wasn’t going to go this year if it wasn’t for one single band…The Living End. I had to see them again. It’s been six years since they rocked my face. I would not miss out on the Living End even if it was only for a half hour set and besides, there were a couple other good bands that I wouldn’t mind seeing again such as the great NOFX, the ever Bouncing Souls and the politically correct Anti-Flag.
After a three hour trip to the burgh due to everything from road work, car accidents, police chases, and waiting in traffic a mile from the Post Gazette Pavilion entrance, I arrived before any of the bands I wanted to see had begun playing as had happened almost every other year I had attended. I checked the schedule and texted the times of the bands that I wanted to see to myself.
Almost all of the bands that I wanted to check out were playing on the two main stages right next to each other. The only problem was that there was a good half and hour between those bands with some crappy band in between. First up were the Casualties.
I’ve never seen the Casualties live before and they seemed so out of place with the current Warped roster and most of the kids looked scared of them. It was funny. They would have fit in perfectly five years ago. They were really good though and reminded me of a Mexican version of Rancid. They had to be roasting their asses off with all of that leather and studs. Two thumbs up for the Casualties.
This was the biggest gap of the day between the Casualties and Helmet. It was a good hour and a half so I took the time to walk around and check out all the merch booths and the side stages. The Shira Girl stage (I think that’s what it was called) had some decent female fronted bands throughout the day. I would stop there often between bands.
It was time for Helmet and I made my way to the stage just in time for “Unsung”. That particular song has become a favorite Guitar Hero song and it motivated me to check Helmet out. Coincidentally, they were on the Warped Tour this year. Nice! As Helmet ripped through their sludge metal act, I felt a feeling of Dj vu. I was no longer at Warped but I was transported to Ozzfest. Again, this band felt out of place but it sure was worth it to catch some hard metal rock. Some of their songs were a tad bit on the long side and it felt like they only played four songs their entire set. One and a half thumbs up for Helmet.
Once again, I had to wait about an hour or so for the next band on my list and my reason for being there…The Living End. I was sooo stoked dude. But anyway, I walked around some more and managed to catch Valiant Thorr. More metal=good. The lead singer dived into the crowd from the top of the speaker stack and talked about how much Bush and the war in Iraq suck so I quite enjoyed their set. And you gotta love matching denim vests. It was so 70’s it hurt.
Ah yes, it was that time. The Living End took the stage for some Australian punk rockabilly and roll to a surprisingly large crowd. They tore threw some old favorites like “Prisoner of Society” and “Second Solution” as well as some new favorites like “What Would You Do” and “End Of The World”. After their set, I realized why the Green Day show back in 2000 was so damn good as compared to their terrible show just last April…for the 2000 show the Living End opened, for the 2005 one My Chemical Romance opened. Now I know and knowing is half the battle. Eight thumbs up for the Living End.
The Living End began the stint of consecutive good bands playing concurrently. Shortly after them, and if I can recall the particular order were NOFX, Anti-Flag, the Bouncing Souls, AFI and Less Than Jake.
NOFX played a terrible set. They were probably drunk and on coke. Not the cola. After playing a medley of short songs and what seemed like one longer song and a bunch of gibberish, they ran out of time. Not a set to remember. Except for them making fun of all the emo bands on Warped. One thumb up my nose for NOFX.
Anti-Flag was alright, but they didn’t seem to play any of my favorite songs other than “You’ve Got To Die For Your Government”. They played a few newer songs that sounded good live but I just didn’t like the overall set list. I was surprised that they didn’t get the crowd reaction that they would get at Warped in the past. I guess you could chalk that up to the change of guard in the band lineups on the tour. Less punk=bad. I don’t think that its due to their jump to a major considering their new album is arguably their best showing to date. One and a half thumbs up for Anti-Flag.
I left for a little bit and grabbed a bite to eat and some grub and headed back over for the Bouncing Souls. They gave the Living End a run for their money for the best band there. It was unusual to see the lead singer with so much energy. He’s usually pretty mellow on stage almost to the point of boring at times but he was crowd surfing and dancing all over the stage. I wonder if he was sniffing white lines backstage with NOFX or if he was just delirious due to the heat? Anyway, the Souls played a great set list that included “True Believers”, “Manthem”, “East Coast! Fuck You!”, “Kid”, “The Gold Song”, and the cover of “Lean On Sheena”. And yet again, there was no “Ole”. I honestly don’t know why they never play that song live. Just once I would like to participate in some Oles dammit! Seven thumbs up for the Bouncing Souls.
I hung around the main stages and caught some AFI from afar. My interest in them has dwindled drastically over the past few years. I’m more of a fan of their earlier punk stuff I guess. They did play “Wester” though which is one of their better songs. They had a huge crowd though, probably one of the biggest there. I almost pity all of the gothic kids who were dressed in long black shirts and baggy pants. Nah, I don’t pity them one bit. I hope they all burned their pasty white marshmallow asses off.
Less Than Jake was the final band that I wanted to see. I really wasn’t going to stick around for them because I just didn’t seem to care about seeing them anymore. They were the only ska band that was on Warped but I had a feeling that the ska would be nonexistent. Yeah, I was right. They played some of the crap rock songs off of their new album and they played their ska songs like rock songs sans the ska and they complained about how much ska punk sucks anymore. They also made a comment about if it ska doesn’t suck then why they were the only band with a horn section on the Warped Tour and why Reel Big Fish wasn’t on the Warped Tour. Well for one, the Warped Tour sucks because it’s made up of nothing but bands that you see on Fuse who all have keyboard sections now and two, Reel Big Fish suck and they, much like Less Than Jake, don’t really play “ska” anymore. All they want is radio play. The best thing about the Less Than Jake set was the massive circle pit around the sound tent to the soundtrack of “My Very Own Flag” in which I had to participate in before leaving.
The Warped Tour does not mean what it used to for me. It used to be a day in which I could go and see so many bands that I was really into at the time. Where else could you go and see the Suicide Machines, Green Day, the Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, the Long Beach Dub Allstars, NOFX, the Bouncing Souls, Five Iron Frenzy, Mustard Plug, the Planet Smashers, the Dropkick Murphys, Pennywise and Bad Religion all in the same day for twenty bucks? Now, I’m lucky if one or two of those bands even appear in the lineup. I know that the music landscape has changed and Warped now caters to the younger kids and the music that relates to them which also happens to be a huge draw but as with the punk and ska scene of the 90’s, it’s bound to end as well. I suppose that a dinosaur like myself is just out of the loop with what’s popular but that’s ok with me because I never liked whatever was popular anyway. What that means to me is that I don’t see very many more Warped Tours in my future. It was fun while it lasted and it was good to see a couple good bands this year, but it just didn’t feel the same.