Last year was my first Warped Tour experience, and while I made it through alive, I missed several opportunities that I wish I hadn’t, and this year I’ve made sure to be more prepared. Experience is wisdom, and all of that. Well, something like that.
Entering the line last year I learned two things: it is going to be awhile, and talking to people is the best thing you can do. You learn who is there for what band (sometimes the same bands you’re there for) and you meet the “starving artist” bands who are playing their music through headphones and boom boxes alike. Don’t push those musicians away. Listen to their music, buy it if you like it, and support them. They will appreciate you and you’ll thank yourself later.
If you’re there for bigger bands and your 5’4, you’re going to have a problem. If I wanted to see a bigger “Unicorn” or “Shark” band (the Kia stages in 2014), I would either have to get there early or settle for not being able to see…anything. I was ten minutes late to Mayday Parade and couldn’t see above everyone, and when a band sounds just as good as the record, it’s less enjoyable just to sit around listening to them. And when you’re that small, it’s actually very hard to push your way through the crowd.
The first thing you do is check set times. The second thing you do is check meet and greet times. There are some bands that meet within the first few hours and if you put off checking you’ll miss them entirely. This is what happened to me when I wanted to meet The Summer Set and it’s one of my biggest regrets of that day.
Obviously, bring a good sized water bottle and eat before. The food isn’t worth the money, and you’ll end up spending it all on bands anyway. Don’t forget sunscreen, and tell people when you like their shirt or hair. It’s a good feeling.
At this point in my life, big bands are not even exciting to me. I like being in the front of a crowd, I like being able to wave at the band and I like supporting bands who aren’t that big. Yeah they’re good and popular, but that’s exactly why I don’t care. I’ve heard about them, I’ve heard them, maybe I’ll stop by. What I want to see is the ones that aren’t household Warped Tour names.
PVRIS (pronounced Paris)
Fronted by Lynn Gunn, this band captured my interest by being female fronted, first and foremost. The first song I listened to, “My House” immediately set the band on a different level from the long list of Paramore sounding pop-punk bands led by girls that I had been overexposed to. The electronic feel of the song and Lynn’s powerful voice made it easy for me to enjoy the song. But after listening to the rest of White Noise, I realized something with fear. The sound, while different from other bands, is really similar throughout PVRIS’s music, and Lynn’s lyrics have repetitive themes making it hard to be wholly interested in the band.
The only thing that could save them for me is their stage performance. Most bands stay forgettable, hidden in my music library because they left no impression on me. PVRIS gets the chance of impressing me, and I hope they do. Their music is good, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to dedicate myself as a fan of the band (I’ll be a fan of Lynn and her girlfriend though). We will see.
Last year, when I went to see Neck Deep, a pop-punk band out of the UK, I only knew one song. I waited awkwardly through songs I had never heard before to hear “A Part Of Me”. I was not disappointed by the energy they brought, and when that song came on I couldn’t do much but stand there and cry. I had been moved by the song one night in a hotel bathroom and since then it had resonated with me. I went and bought a CD and took it home with me. While not every Neck Deep song appeals to me- some are too chaotic and hard to follow-, the ones I enjoy mean a lot to me now.
More familiar with their music, I am prepared to be part of the moving audience and energetic experience of seeing them live. I hope to meet them and get another CD. The style isn’t for everyone, and the accent can be off putting, but for me it was never a question. I definitely enjoy them and expect a lot out of them again this time around.
From the featured music video, “Road To Paradise” alone, I’m beyond excited to see what else British punk-rock trio has in store. The beginning of the video addresses the sexism of the music scene with “but why do you want a drummer good especially for a girl you just want a good drummer” and that’s where I was sold for their personality. I was happy to know that Tatiana could bring that tough and sassy personality into their music. Another unique female-fronted sound that hopefully won’t disappoint live.
Our Last Night
Usually I would pay no attention to a post hardcore band playing Warped Tour unless I was already familiar with them, but after seeing how excited my girlfriend was about their appearance I decided I would take the time to acquaint myself with them. The first thing I noticed is the way they blend. The clean vocals are not unbearably contrasting to the screams; the range is just as good by any but it’s less…feminine, dare I say, than other bands. In “A World Divided” the beautiful introduction and melodic verses flow just as well as the breakdown; I don’t feel like I’m being whiplashed or overwhelmed at any point. A band with such good intentions and such a great sound should have a great stage presence to match. I’m sure they will.
The Nearly Deads
It’s no secret that I am extremely biased toward the Nearly Deads and have been since meeting them in 2012, but after a nationwide tour this year they’ve grown to be a big name in the scene, and Warped Tour is always a good opportunity for bands that are gaining speed. The “polished grunge” group may quickly overshadow female fronted bands that paved the way for the sound they’re dominating. It’s a plus that they give a great performance and are incredibly nice people!
As always, I never put it out of my mind that there will be other bands there that I will stop to hear and fall in love with. Last year it was Beebs and Her Moneymakers. This year, who knows.
If you see me there, say hi and support a band!