Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

Vans Warped Tour Review at Monmouth Park Raceway in Oceanport, NJ September 20, 2011

Review by Angela Blasi

The 2011 Vans Warped Tour made its annual summer rounds and I was fortunate enough to have the chance to check it out.  I found myself one gray morning making my way to Monmouth Park Raceway ready to see the likes of A Day to Remember, Big D and the Kids Table, Less Than Jake, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds and a whole host of others.

It would be next to impossible, or just a painfully long read, for me to sit here and list every single thing about each band that I liked and disliked.  I will tell you however, that I had the opportunity to catch the set of all but one band I was able to interview and that each group successfully stood and delivered both on and off stage.  With that, I’ll delve into some of the highlights of my experience at this years’ Vans Warped Tour.

Upon arrival and waiting in line to enter the venue, the crowd found the one and only MC Lars walking along the massed youth promoting his set.  I had no idea who he was yet, but I liked his DIY approach.  In just a few short hours I found myself sitting face to face with him and Josh of Weerd Science (formerly in Coheed and Cambria) as the two would be performing together as part of the tour.  In interview, Lars was quiet and thoughtful while Josh was the more animated of the two, energetically expressing his love and enthusiasm for music.  However, when it came time to catch the actual live performance, MC Lars seemingly crawled out of his shell and was absolutely spectacular.  Both performers gelled well together on stage, each with his own musical prowess.  It became clear quickly that the two were by no means all talk; they did in fact love every second of performing and creating music.  It was refreshing to see the happiness and passion still very much alive in artists who are no strangers to the music industry.

I ran into Patrick Salmon from Tomorrows Bad Seeds in the crowd and had a few minutes to catch up since I spoke to him last and his band mates the previous year.  Casually, we talked and he is still just as cool as he was last year and he brought me up to speed with the last 365 days and their continuing success.  I was able to catch their set and I’m pleased to report that they’re doing great.  Their live performance and sound quality coupled with the energy that is so unique to the band has not fizzled out despite rigorous touring and overall momentum.

The rest of the day consisted of back and forth from press to stage areas, interviewing bands I was familiar with and some I had never heard before.  I came out of this years Warped with a few new bands tucked away for further research and some of whom converted me to an instant fan.  From Sick of Sarah, who I might add are absolutely awesome, funny and badass on stage both in personality and musical styling, to the very theatrical and unique Venetia Fair, to one of my long time favorites Big D and the Kids Table, I was not disappointed with this year’s lineup.

Maybe it was just me, but I felt like this year’s show was more solid and musically diverse than last year’s event.  Did I mention Mr. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister himself paid a visit to this year’s event?  Yup, he did.  I have no idea why, but suddenly there he was surrounded by press conducting a group interview.

 

Vans Warped Tour 2011 Review September 8, 2011

Sick of Sarah

On July 23, 2011 I said screw the heat wave and headed to Nassau Collisuem in NY for my 9th Vans Warped Tour.  Complaining about the tortuous temperature was not bring relief, however, huddling in the shadows of merch tents and chilling on the air-conditioned Monster Energy truck did.  The first band I checked out was Sick of Sarah.  I am not usually a fan of female rock bands, but these chicks can play.  I enjoyed the live set more than their recorded tracks for the fact that there was more energy and less harmony.  The songs I recommend are “Bittersweet” and “Not Listening.”

Next I headed over to the Nintendo 3DS stage to check out Moving Mountains.  Before their set started, I caught the last couple of songs from Simple Plan.  I was slightly shocked to see them on the tour, but their new album is not too shabby.  Lyrically, the band grew up.  I really enjoy their single “When I’m Gone.”  They ended with crowd pleaser “I’d Do Anything”.  Oh high school, oh reminiscing.

Moving Mountains

I’m happy to now cross Moving Mountains off my list of bands to see.  When previewing the band, I was reminded of The Get Up Kids (think On A Wire) with a touch of Brand New, which is extremely rare.  The band owned the stage and their performance was nothing less than phenomenal.  “The Cascade,” “With One’s Heart In One’s Mouth” and “Where Two Bodies Lie” are my favorite tracks.  I can’t wait to check out their albums.  Emo music used to be good back in the day when it first became a popular, yet it is still a misunderstood and undefined genre.  This band reminds me of that; like when ‘emo’ wasn’t such a shameful word.  I deem this band mandatory to check out.

The Narrative


The Narrative was up next at Kia/Kevin Says stage.  Local natives to Long Island, NY, the crowd filled rather fast, and more were gathering as each note played.  I loved “Fade” and “The Moment That It Stops”.  Their voices (Suzie Zeldin and Jesse Gabriel) are just so pleasant to hear with melodic hooks and lyrics.  When I take my next train ride, I know “Trains” will be on my iPod.  The music paints a great picture of the best train ride you’ll ever take; like you’re 5 years old and it’s your first time on one.  I get Tim Burton vibes from this song, but that’s probably just me.  The band may not have been something I would expect on the tour, but hey, the times they are a changin’.  We’re All Warped.

Finally.

A break between bands to check out the sites and find some shade.

I love the cloths from Sooshi Clothing Company.  They have these adorable plush wasabi/ginger duo and sashimi.  Sadly, they’re only up for raffle, so I opted for a shirt, this oneSkull Candy was selling head phones for $10 on top of throwing some free pairs into the crowd.  There were giant drinking water trucks with “durkin water” to fill up your water bottles and misting tents to cool down.  The Monster Energy truck was on site providing air-conditioned seating and free Monster drinks.  I love the Absolutely Zero; it’s energy without the guilt.  Oh, and of course I couldn’t forget to catch some skaters!

Middle Class Rut

I have to admit, I had no idea Middle Class Rut consisted of only two members Zack Lopez (vocals/guitar) & Sean Stockham (vocals/drums).  Before there set, I had only heard their single “New Low,” which I love.  I wish I could say the same about their other tracks, but didn’t care for them.  Was it lacking something?  It still felt like a full sound on stage, but it got repetitive after a while, and this coming from a gal who loves her jam bands.  I didn’t stick around for the full set and of course, “New Low” was played last.  I heard it half way across the venue and thought to myself “Fuck,” but sang along to the chorus anyway.

Lucero

When I was checking the lineup of the tour this year, I knew I had to make a stop and hear Lucero.  Again, a sound I thought I’d never experience on Warped Tour.  This alternative/country/punk band from Memphis had just enough punk rock in their veins to spark my interest.  I’m picking up Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bruce Springsteen and at times and Gaslight Anthem.  It’s something that everyone can enjoy and I appreciate them being on the tour.  “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo” is a must hear.  Listen here.

Roger Manganelli, Less Than Jake

The highlight of the day was watching Less Than Jake perform while standing on stage left.  Taking pictures in a photo pit is awesome, but stage shots just rock harder.  Less Than Jake takes to the stage like a fish to water (or the smell of weed at The Expendables’ set); they are natural performs and there was never a dull moment on stage.  They were fast to point out some visions of Long Island; Chris Demakes told a young girl who flashed her tits to “Put them away!”  Rightfully so, good move Demakes.

Less Than Jake

Another issue/concern they pointed out was the haircut choices of the crowd; lots were sporting the Justin Beiber do and that was not going to fly.  The band pulled up on stage one of the look-a-likes and made it a point that this had to change.  JR revealed the mohawk strip and buzzer.  The original kid chickened out, thus proving the wimpy look and demeanor the Beiber cut holds, and a true punk rocker was selected.  He let JR and Buddy shave his head into a mohawk.  Not over yet, the band pulls a girl from the audience for the freshly mohawk rebel to make out with on stage.  Only downfall to the onstage mohawk was my location and the direction the wind.   Thank God for giant speakers to duck behind to dodge the hair.  “Mr. Personality” from their new EP Greetings From… was a big hit, as were all the classics.  They deliver so many songs in one set it feels like they covered everything I wanted to hear.  I was happy to hear three tracks from TV/EP released back in October 2010, the theme songs to Animaniacs, Spongebob Squarepants and i-Carly.  Before I knew it, we were asked to leave the stage and the band was performing their last song.  What a great experience!  Coming soon, NVMP’s interview w/ JR!

Big D

Big D & The Kids Table was up next, another Warped veteran on bill.  I wasn’t able to catch their entire set, but still had a great time.  They played some tracks off of their new album that dropped on 7/5/11, The Damned, The Dumb and The Delirious.  Ska music is getting scarce these days, so you have to appreciate the classics.  Sure, there are new bands coming out w/ brass sections trying to keep Ska alive, but remember your roots;  both LTJ and Big D have been around since the 90s.  Ska is a genre of music.  If you don’t like it, then you don’t have to listen.  Fact is, the sound has never changed; ska music is known for having a horn section to tie together the elements of a rock/punk band.  Ska music will always have a place on my iPod.

Go Radio

Another new band I’m happy to have discovered this year is Go Radio on Fearless Records.  Hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, these rockers have some dangerously addicting songs that had me practically paralyzed at the stage.  The lyrics are catchy and the hooks are strong enough for me to have just used the word “paralyzed”.  This is Jason Lancaster’s band since leaving Mayday Parade.  I got a good taste of this band to make me definitely dig deeper into their music.  “Goodnight Moon” was #8 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and sold more than 15,000 copies in 2010 off of Do Overs And Second Chances.  “Any Other Heart” was great live; lots of passion and energy, and definitely a song that drags you in and leaves you wanting more.

The Expendables

Blacklist Royals

No strangers to the tour, up next were The Expendables.  Ryan DeMars made a quick statement before their set, something to the tune of ‘light ‘em if you got ‘em.’  A minute later, the audience smelled fantastic and the mood mellowed out.  I love reggae.  I love punk.  I love The Expendables.  “Down Down Down” and “Sinsemilla” are my favorite tracks.

Another new band to check out was Blacklist Royals.  I hear Rancid and the Ramones with a taste of Gaslight Anthem, which means it grabbed my attention immediately and deserves a fair listen.   Their stage presence was pure energy and they knew how to keep the attention of the crowd.  Great set and will definitely be checking out more of their music. 
“American Hearts” and “Sick of Sin” are great tracks to start with.

illscarlett


The last band I was able to catch was illscarlett.  These boys are certainly no stranger to VWT, and this year, Lyman selected them to play the entire tour.  You’ve come a long way illscarlett, from playing your music at the gates of Warped Tour to rocking out on the whole festival!  Dub rock is a type of music that is extremely hard to hate, or at least that’s how I feel.  Yet again, their live set was able to get the crowd to unite and puff, puff pass.

All in all, it was another successful year at the Vans Warped Tour.  I can’t help but to feel that the theme this year was fusion bands.  With acts like Larry and his Flask, Lucero, Lionize, Peelander-Z, MC Lars and Weerd Science, River City Extension, all combining different elements of various genres, it lets us hear music we might have never listened to.  IE- I’m not a fan of country, but Lucero is pretty damn sweet.  In River City Extention there are eight members and that alone is enough of a fusion to create a unique sound.  We’re all warped, see you there next year!   Thanks for everything.

Here is a slide show of the best pictures I took at Warped this year, enjoy!

Review and Pictures by Tina Nicole Teresi

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Westboro Baptist Church Protest a Less Than Jake Show in Pensacola, FL May 2, 2011

by Angela Blasi

The Westboro Baptist Church has capitalized on the old saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, even if you’re in poor taste.  Which they are, all the time.  The group of old Testament, like religious zealots are notorious, if not infamous for their protests at events such as fallen soldiers’ funerals and pop culture events.  However, their  latest endeavor on 4/20/11, protesting the beloved ska band Less Than Jake, makes even the more apathetic of us raise an eyebrow.  Really guys?  Apparently somewhere in Leviticus it made a reference to skanking being the dance of the devil or some shit.  See?  And you thought all that gyration was wholesome.

Faced with slightly more than a dozen picketers with “signs that talked about whore mongering, adultery, sin,” Vinnie Fiorello was a bit perplexed by the reaction.  “It had to be a slow night at the bible study last night… Or they heard the truth that we are a traveling band who love Satan but hate guns,” he told AltPress.com.

Clearly, none of these Westboro Baptist Church members have ever been to a Less Than Jake show, or any ska show for that matter.  If they ever did open the narrow scope of their ignorance-coated blinders, they would see a community of kids all coming together for music; picking each other up off the floor from pits, skinny baby-faced boys with arms out to keep the girls from getting hurt and a color spectrum of skin tones and flushed cheeks.

What exactly is “whore-mongering” anyway?

Less Than Jake recently re-released expanded versions of 1996’s Losing Streak and 1998’s Hello Rockview on their own label Sleep It Off and are gearing up for some major announcements shortly.  The band just wrapped up a handful of Florida dates and are preparing for the entire Vans Warped Tour this Summer.

 

New Music and Videos September 17, 2010

Well, now that we got that soupsandwich out-of-the-way, aka MTV Video Music Awards, we can all move on with our lives.  A big thank you to all who joined in our boycott, we appreciate your support.  ANYWAY…here is some new music for you guys, things that have been buzzing in my ears.

Believe it or not, this lady is loving Two Door Cinema Club.  I can’t even give you a favorite song, they’re all amazing!  I started with “Cigarettes in the Theater” and have checked out others songs from the group ever since.  Hailing from Northern Ireland, this band has caught my attention with their addicting, fun-loving beats, mixing electronica with indie rock.

Madball has a new album dropping on October 12th entitled Empire.  Their highly anticipated new release introduces new drummer Jay Weinberg and is produced by Eric Rhutan (Misery Index, Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore).  Keep it hardcore, know your roots.

Less Than Jake also has a new album coming out on October 12th entitled TV/EP- A Soundtrack to Your Couch Potato Life. This album is entirely television theme songs and commercials.  They’re not releasing any track names until right before the release, so stay tuned for that. 

Midnight Spin is a band I’ve listened to for a while now and I’ve decided to share this musical gem with the rest of you.  Their debut EP Through the Mojo Wire was produced by Nic Hard (The Bravery) and is available for digital download via iTunes.  Check out “In The Air (Revival) below.

Time for TNT to get honest- I can’t get this song out of my head.  Backin’ up Video, my daddy taught me good.  Maybe I’ll buy the sheet music.

So, is this the new trend?  Auto-tuning real clips from the news?  Two things are running through my mind here.  One, that people are running out of creative juice and are turning to news clips or two, someone was trying to get the point across that using auto-tune does not make you a musician.  Both are valid facts.  I believe this new trend started with the Bed Intruder one…

Check this video out.  Props to J9 who introduced it to me; she sensed I was in danger of douchebaggery Saturday night and that I was.  I used to think living in Williamsburg Brooklyn wouldn’t be so bad.  It’s not a bad area, it’s extremely close to Manhattan and it’s a total up and coming music scene.  While all these facts may be true, I just did not seem to understand what I was seeing.  Did I magically travel to Europe in a time machine and arrive in 1981 with bicycle gangs (people who ride together but mean no harm)?  Out of all the crazy things I saw (facial hair, over-sized glasses, that creepy pedophile look), no matter what the trend, it was in style.  It felt like the odder you dressed, the cooler you appeared.  Well, not in my eyes.  All I could think of was the line ‘to each their own’…while knowing that everyone I encountered was dressed a certain way to impress someone else.  Sorry Williamsburg, I am just not trendy enough for you.  Anyway, here is a video that described every moment of Saturday night, every single moment.

I love Ok Go, but was not impressed with their latest album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky. One of two songs I can tolerate is “This Too Shall Pass”, which has an amazing video.  If I ran my own company, I would have a set up like this for team building exercises (team building exercise ’99).  This video is sick.  Klone pointed out the broken TV’s in the background, counting the number of attempted takes.

Oh, was that not enough for you?  Still need some fresh talent to check out?  Okay, you twisted my arm.  Check out Frankie F!Gz with some fresh hip hop out of south Jersey.  Check out his latest video “I’m Gone”.

 

 
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