Sucks to hear that Act As One will be playing one final show as a band. Never got to see them live...maybe I'll make it out to the show! But that's a drive and a half to Michigan :/
Thick Shakes released some new tunes last week. These psychedelic songs are called, Deep Pockets and Gimme Time. Again, two raw tracks delivered with some odd timing in a noisy/poppy fashion. Thick Shakes have two shows coming up, one on Wednesday, July 20 (details here) and one on Thursday, August 11 (details here).
The last time I went to Warped Tour was in '99 in Hawaii. Some bands I remember playing that day were The Deftones, Hepcat, MxPx, and Pennywise. Some local bands were Imminent Riot, Go Jimmy Go, and Unit 101. I also attended Warped Tour '98. That was actually the better of the two because it had more of my favorite bands like Reel Big Fish, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Blink 182, Kemuri, Generic, The Vandals, 311, and the Sticklers. Both tours were held in a huge ranch field (Waimanalo Polo Field). And I believe there were only two stages. I think there was a third stage for '99. So to attend Warped Tour twelve years later in a parking lot on the mainland was of course, going to be an interesting experience.
Up until last Thursday, I had no idea a hotel existed by the simple name of, Plaza. Really? Oh geez. I couldn't find Warped Tour. Been driving around Ogden and Main St for about 20 minutes all ready. I decided to look for it on foot. It had to be somewhere close. I park at a familiar casino, the California. The garage is full and it's not even noon yet. I go to the next best place, Fremont. They never fail. Now it's time to find this place. I can't listen for music because it's loud as hell outside. Lots of construction going on and there's people everywhere. So what do I do? I follow the scene-kids. Pretty lame, I know, but they lead me to it. I walk past the Plaza. No shit? The place is called Plaza? I see tents, crowds, and security. I'm here. Warped Tour 2011.
I took a glance at the lineup a few nights before. Eh. It should be fun though, I have the day off. I get to check out some bands I never thought I'd see like Larry and His Flask, Unwritten Law, Against Me!, and Dance Gavin Dance (just to name a few). Well, I get a call from work the morning before Warped Tour and was told to come in Thursday on the grave shift. OK, but I'm still going to Warped. I have to. I need to at least see Big D and the Kids Table.
I get in line for a ticket. I'm thinking admission is around maybe $25-$30. Not bad for a full day. No, it's $35 and I'm leaving early. Oh well. I get in and there's a good crowd. It's all ready 12:46 pm. I get a pamphlet thinking it's a schedule (no those were actually $2 somewhere else), but instead it's some information (a lot of it actually) about vegans. Useless! Music is all ready playing. I catch a glimpse of a punk band playing. Pretty sweet, don't know who they were, but they were pretty cool. I walk on and see some dude playing what I'm guessing is dance music (it was coming off his laptop). I move on to find a wall with a schedule. This shall be my goto spot. I see that Pepper is playing at 1 pm. Nice.
Pepper open up with No Control. The crowd is moving. I'm enjoying it. And the thing with a Pepper show (or set in this case), is that they're very interactive (and vocal) with the crowd and the music is a continuous jam. The songs never sound how they do on the record. For Pepper, that's a good thing. It makes the show more interesting. Highlight of the set is a two-parter: They do a Public Service Announcement, which was actually a 30 second doom-death-metal song (pretty funny) and their mention of the “Punani Neck Warmer” (cracked me up). They continue on with more favorites like Ashes, Stone Love, Your Face, and Too Much. I honestly can't recall if they played anything off of Stitches, although, they did mention that they'll be back in August. I think at the Hard Rock. Even better. Longer set, more songs. They closed with, Give it Up, although I wish they would have done something else. I guess that was the crowd favorite, might as well.
I walk back to the wall to see who was scheduled to play next from the seven different stages (I think it was seven). The Acacia strain was up next on a different stage. Awesome. It wasn't for another 20 minutes or so. I walk around checking out various merch booths. I see Big D and the Kids Table's tent, and see that they're playing at 6 pm. Ouch. It's going to be a rough night at work. I catch a glimpse of some Larry and His Flask right across the tent (they're playing right outside theirs). It was really energetic and the crowd just singing along. Not bad really. All their instruments were unplugged and they just fed off the crowd. I leave after a couple songs to check out other tents. Sideone Dummy had a tent and I believe they were selling the newest Warped Tour comp. And Fueled By Ramen had one too. Lots of posters were up advertising for the upcoming Swellers and Sublime with Rome albums. Should be sweet.
I get back in time to see The Acacia Strain. I'm really excited to see this band, as it was my first time seeing them live (as well as most of the bands that day). They start playing and the crowd sort of expands outward. Oh yeah, time to get your mosh on. The Acacia Strain are just tearing it up on stage. Vincent Bennet (vocalist) mentions later to those not familiar with their music, that he's full of negativity, hates the world and what not. OK, cool. Maybe a few songs afterward, a fight breaks out in the pit. I didn't see what exactly happened, but what I'll say is that I saw a kid (#1) bump into another kid (#2), like he kind of lost balance or something, the other kid (#2) threw a punch, the first kid(#1) bumped into another kid (#3), and that third kid (#3) went for it. That kid (#3) wailed on the other kid (#1). All the moshers get into it. Really? And then in the middle of the song, Bennett yells, “Stop fighting!” Wait, really? I was a bit surprised. He goes on to say, “Warped Tour is predominantly 13-year-old girls, who are you trying to impress?” It seems he doesn't support fighting (I'm glad), but I think he likes violent shows. He later said a bunch of other things about fighting and then , “wait, I'm contradicting myself, I don't want you to fight, but I want you to hit people, does that make sense?” That was the highlight of the set. I hope I see these guys again.
Right after the Acacia Strain, I'm walking back toward the wall schedule, but catch these two kids playing some fast, punk, rock stuff on another stage. It's one guitar player and a drummer, in what looked like their early teens. I'm digging the drummer, who looked the youngest of the two. The guitar player is dancing and moving all over the stage, never staying in one spot. This duo are called The Bots. Really cool stuff. I stay for the whole set and forget what else is going on. The singer/guitarist throws in a couple cool solo riffs backed by some continuous beats by the drummer. He seems very versatile, especially at a young age. For their last song, the singer jumps into the crowd and it's just drum beat after drum beat. For a couple youngsters, they knew how to put on an energetic show. I'm glad I stayed for the set.
Listen to The Bots here.
I decide it's time to get something to eat. I settle on a burger and a lemonade, which cost me a total of $9. I saved the cup because later I saw that you could get refills of water with any size cup for only $2. Pretty cool deal if you've got a decent size cup. I walk back to catch a couple songs from Set Your Goals. I've seen these guys in Portland, Oregon and thought they played a cool set then. I tried to enjoy this set, but I couldn't help but think my burger was just so damn dry. And then one of the singers said, “this next song is about having fun in the sun, it's called Summer Jam.” My initial thought, well, I think I'll check out some other bands I haven't had a chance to see yet. I walk past another stage and I think Attack, Attack, was playing or it could have been Asking Alexandria...or I Set My Friends on Fire...I really don't know, but I wasn't going to wait to around to find out. I go ahead to check out the schedule again. I saw that Street Dogs were going to be playing soon and go ahead and wait at the stage. Relient K is playing right before them so I catch some of their set. I've heard some Relient K before, but not too much. They then did a cover of Cindi Lauper's, Girls Just Want to have Fun. That's cool I guess. Relient K ended and then came on Street Dogs on the stage next to theirs. It's now about 4 pm. I've probably heard only like a track or two from these guys, but now I'll probably be listening to them more often. Really awesome set. Great songs, tunes and a sweet performance. The crowd kept moving. They were able to get a pretty sizable circle pit going. And the sun was sort of coming down pretty hard around that time. Perfect timing.
I stayed around for the next two sets, as Hellogoodbye played right after Street Dogs and the Aggrolites were going to follow up. Hellogoobye played a really good set. Really great set of songs, and the sound was fantastic. A lot of people thought so too. You could smell it in the crowd. Even Forrest Kline mentioned it when he said, “I could smell someone is having a good time, but be careful!” That was the highlight of the set. They of course ended with Here (In Your Arms). I was actually kind of waiting for that song the entire set. I love that song to death. The Aggrolites soon followed.
The Aggrolites signature, dirty-reggae style is so smooth. And it's even better live. Their sound is very heavy on the organ, and you can hear it in most of their material. It drives a lot of the songs, but also with the help of their really groovy bass lines. Every one just flowed along to the songs as I did too. I even saw a couple guys blazing next to me (wait, what?) The Aggrolites sure knew how to keep the crowd moving. I've been wanting to pick up their new record for a while now. I purchased it immediately after their set. I wasn't so much interested in the band after them, so I cruised around.
It was still a while before six and the sun stopped scorching, but it was still hot. There were tents specifically for people to sit in for shade and the one I saw just had a giant crowd of people sitting. I don't know if they were exhausted or just hanging out, but it just looked weird to see that many people just sitting under a tent. I figure you'd be out and about or something. Anyway, I planned my walk through for my exit and checked out more bands. I caught a glimpse of some Of Mice and Men. I stayed for a song or two. I think the only Rise band I've seen before this year's Warped Tour (and there were quite a few Rise bands on this tour) was Coretta Scott. That was a little while ago. It's sort of interesting to see how much of the bands have changed on that label. It definitely has grown since then.
Now the moment had arrive. After whoever played got off stage, Big D came on with each member sort of taking their time. It was a pretty good size crowd. The band opened up with the tune, Modern American Gypsy, from their new album, For the Damned, the Dumb and the Delirious! It was followed up with Little Bitch and Noise Complaint. Later, David McWane announced they were going to be playing another show that night @ the Divebar. Oh great, awesome. I'll be working in a few hours. But I still enjoyed this set. They played a couple more new tunes as well as Shining On, and Hell on Earth. Strictly Rude is definitely my favorite album of theirs. They end the set with LAX. Nice. It seemed like a short set, but I guess time flies when you're having fun.
I contemplated sticking around for Against Me!,but that wasn't going to happen. I went back to the Fremont and went home, ate and slept for about 40 minutes before heading in to work. Was it worth it? Yeah. I enjoyed the short time at Warped Tour. Will I be going next year if it stops in Las Vegas again? More than likely.
They are actually playing a show tonight too. It's their record release show. Details here. Pick up the record here.
Survival Guide are currently a two-piece made up of Jaycen McKissick and Emily Whitehurst, both formerly of The Action Design. The band announced its formation sometime in April 2011. They recently released a 7” record titled, Hot Lather Machine, through Side With Us Records. The record features two songs, The Walls and Symptoms. The pop gem that is, The Walls, is a fantastic track with ambient guitars and wonderfully placed synth-work. It keeps with a consistent electronic bass in the background with some cool keyboard parts in the the foreground. On Symptoms, the track continues on with the EPs spacey themed format, but is more of an acoustic driven song and also features some pretty string arrangements as well. The EP also features a bonus digital only song titled, Escape Velocity, but in order to know what it sounds like, pick up the record. Survival Guide is a great collaborative effort between McKissick and Whitehurst. Very Good Stuff.