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.

 

What tours or concerts are you excited about this year? January 25, 2011

What tours or concerts are you excited about that you know of so far this year?

TNT
I can not wait for The Get Up Kids to come around, their hiatus has been far too long and I’m dying to hear my favorite band live again.  Their new album There Are Rules was released today and I will share my thoughts as soon as I listen in.  I’m also excited for Flogging Molly’s Green 17 tour.  Opening acts this year include Money Brother and The Drowning Men.  As always, I am looking forward to Warped Tour 2011 and hope to see some great bands on the bill this year.

Angela
I think this year I’m most excited to see the line up for Warped Tour.  I’m not really sure what shows are coming up, or what other tours/festivals that will be held this year aside from the annual ones.  I have found I regularly check to see who is playing Warped to decide whether or not I go.  Moreover, considering the awesome time I had this past summer, I can’t wait to go.  On that note, I’d like to say I’m excited to see Tomorrows Bad Seeds again.  I haven’t been able to see them since Warped ’10 as they went back to California, but I’m hoping they make their way back to the East Coast soon so I can indulge my ear drums on their sweet musical stylings.

Stigz
It’s too early into the year to say, but I’m stoked that the 3rd Annual Electric Zoo Festival on Labor Day weekend has been extended to a 3 day festival – which is awesome considering it’s the closest thing to  Woodstock for Electronic Dance Music junkies that we’re ever going to get.

Klone
After missing them this Holiday season, I’m going to be watching for when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for comes back to the tri-state area, and of course we can all expect some American bastardization-laden attempt to re-create the fabled “Big 4″ concert.  Personally, as amazing as it probably was to be at and witness live, I take a skeptical moment to say, “Remember Woodstock.”  Lightning will NEVER strike the same spot twice, no matter how much money and promotion is thrown at it.  Think about it…original Woodstock (1969) = celebration of peace, love and rock and roll.  The last Woodstock (1999) = Limp Bizkit’s rape and bonfire extravaganza.  Total 180 and disgrace to the memory of what Woodstock (’69) was.

Mark
I am excited about the return of Charlotte Martin (although I have to miss her first shows of the year) and the possibility of Dead Can Dance’s Brendan Perry bringing his solo tour to the U.S. at some point this year.  Hell, I am even kind of excited about Motorhead’s tour, and I don’t even care for Lemmy and Co., but hey, he is a musical legend that should be seen at least once.  And fingers crossed, perhaps BT will finally tour in the NY/NJ area this year, as he seems to be too good to hit the area (hear that B to tha T?? FUCKING ROCK OUT IN THIS AREA FOR FUCK’S SAKE!  PROVE ME WRONG!)  I am even keeping my finger’s crossed that Jim Lindberg’s kick-ass new project The Black Pacific will tour this year.

 

A Walk Through Warped Tour- 7/18/10 @ Monmouth Park Racetrack August 13, 2010

Review by TNT

Bands I saw: AM Taxi, Face to Face, Left Alone, Anarbor, The Sparring, The Casualties, All American Rejects, Sum 41, The Mighty Regis, and Alkaline Trio
Bands I wish I saw: Reel Big Fish, Andrew W.K., The Flatliners, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Middle Finger Salute, and Riverboat Gamblers

It doesn’t feel like summer until the Vans Warped Tour rolls into town.  I’ve gone consecutively since 2003 and before I journey to the tour, I’m always convinced it’s Christmas morning.  Well, at least that’s what it feels like to me.  I describe it as one of the most exciting feelings in the world…knowing you’re going to see a festival that lasts all day with some of the greatest punk and rock n’ roll bands around (from legends to up and coming artists), knowing that you’re going to discover loads of new music, and meet some cool people who actually enjoy the same music as you.  Now, I know there has been an increase in posers at the Warped Tour, but if you think about it like that, you’re not going to experience the same overwhelming excitement-filled feeling.  There are posers everywhere, let’s face the fact that there isn’t much we can do about it other than try to set them on the right path (and perhaps introduce them to this website).

I’d also like to note that Kevin Lyman, creator of the Warped Tour, does not pick the bands based on what YOU listen to.  When you create your own US/Canada tour, you can choose whoever you want to play.  If the bands were the same every single year or there was a limited variety of genres or if unsigned bands weren’t given a chance, I think it would get pretty boring and repetitive.  I also understand that if he didn’t go somewhat of the corporate route (mainly finding such huge sponsors in addition to Vans), this tour would not be able to go so far.  If you have beef with the tour because you think it “went corporate” or “sold out” then you obviously don’t know how expensive it is to financially support a tour of this size.  I would also like to thank Lyman for keeping the price of a ticket as low as possible and getting the tour to think and act green.

With all that being said, I did have a couple of gripes with the tour this year.  First of all, the NJ/NY dates were gypped out of seeing practically all the worth-while headliners: Anti-Flag, Big D and the Kid’s Table, The Dickies, Dropkick Murphys, Everclear, Street Sweeper Social Club, Streetlight Manifesto (they’re from NJ!) and The Bouncing Souls (also from the NJ/NYC area) were NOT in attendance.  What the fuck?  Without these acts, I feel like our ticket prices should have been cut in half.  Big freakin’ whoop; All American Rejects and Sum 41 don’t even compare to the bands I just listed.  I’m hoping some of them have upcoming concerts in the area, at least that would justify why they skipped NJ.  Secondly, due to an immense amount of traffic (half was from tour congestion and the other half was shore traffic), I was unable to see two of the greatest acts to play the NJ date.  Andrew W.K. and Reel Big Fish were the first acts to play.  I know I’m the only one to blame for this, since the acts are randomly picked for time slots on said day throughout the tour, but it still grinds my gears.  At least we snagged an interview with Andrew W.K. (will be posted soon).

Trying not to let the NJ line up bother me, my hungry ears and I were on the hunt for some new music.  The first band I stumbled upon was AM Taxi, a punk rock band from Chicago.  Let me explain filing AM Taxi under the punk rock category…they have both elements, in their natural form.  Punk lyrics are noted with simple chords and the guitar riffs are pure rock n’ roll, with driving drums beats that bring it all together.  There is also somewhat of a modern pop hook here, an edge that pulls you in.  I was impressed, especially with their lyrics and energy.  “The Mistake” is extremely well written with lyrics that stun you, (much like Brand New did for me back in the day) and the keys really bring this song together.  It’s hard to say punk music has a heart, but AM Taxi does, their music just hits home.  Right after their set, I made a personal note to pick up their latest album We Don’t Stand A Chance.

Coming back from an ever-changing line up and a long hiatus, Face to Face was the next band I sought out.  What a performance!  It’s been way too long and I was so excited to see them play.  I file Face to Face as one of the original Warped Tour bands, also included are Bad Religion, Anti-Flag, NOFX, and The Casualties.  Face to Face is fucking back and they’re releasing a new album this fall entitled Laugh Now, Laugh Later.  It was great to hear them play again and I pray they’re on the tour in 2011.  SoCal punk rock (F2F since 1991) will never die.

Left Alone was up next.  They remind me of Rancid so much; people look at me like I’m crazy when I say this, but that’s what I hear!  I guess Tim Armstrong and I have similar ears because after hearing Lonely Starts and Broken Hearts in 2004, he signed this band to his label, Hellcat Records.  Straight up, Left Alone is fast punk music with three chords and ska influences.  “Out of Tune Melody” made for a perfect circle pit.  I think I relate with Left Alone so well because they are a true DIY band.  Frontman Elvis Cortez started off as a roadie on the 2003 Warped Tour and when Lyman heard some music from the band, he appointed the band as the official Warped Tour BBQ band in 2004 and 2005.  I’m happy to see their hard work has paid off, as they officially played the tour this year.  See?  Sometimes all you need is good music and the rest will follow.

After Left Alone, I decided to check out what the hype was about with the band Anarbor.  Until today, I never gave the band a fair chance, but I’m glad I caught some songs.  I loved “You and I”; I feel that majority of pop rock bands would make this way more whiny and annoying.  Kudos.  I loved the lyrics in “Always Dirty, Never Clean” – ‘I’ve got bruises on my hands and knees/And a list of failures in between/Always dirty, I am never clean/Music is what you hear, and not what you see.’  When I get older and start doing needle-points and other old lady shit, I’m going to stitch this on a pillow.  “Gypsy Woman” has a great beat that makes it hard to stand still, but its not my favorite song.  I just hear Cage the Elephant and nothing else.  Anarbor released their first full length album on Hopeless records, 4/20/2010.

As I was getting read for Warped Tour this year, pre-listening to the bands, I came across The Sparring (Old Shoe Records) and knew they could not be missed.  Lead singer Joel Bourne cleared a space for himself to perform in front of the stage, stopping festival goers to stay for some music and pouring Monster Energy Drink on fans waiting in line for some meet n’ greet.  He stated that you can’t enjoy live music if you’re waiting in line for an autograph.  I say right on brother!  Borne had much to say, screaming his sarcastic punk lyrics.  This trio is powerful and I predict a solid future for them in the DIY punk rock community.  I recommend catching a live show soon.  Fair warning, the pit will be dangerous so be sure to bring it!

Being crunched for time, I was only able to catch one song from The Casualties.  Watching from the side of the stage, I felt like I was experiencing The Casualties (and the tour) for the first time all over again.

All American Rejects and Sum 41 performances left me with one question: Why?  I love the singles by All American Rejects, but never listened to the rest of their music.  Their big hits were of course covered; “Dirty Little Secrets,” “Swing, Swing,” and “Gives You Hell” were all played.  It was a good performance, but I felt like the members were distant, didn’t feel a connection.  It wasn’t an absent of energy, that was there, it just felt a little forced.  Perhaps the weight of touring has gotten the best of them on this particular date.  Lead Singer Tyson Ritter was promoting the campaign “Don’t Hate on Haiti”, spray painted on his white suit, with a clear mission statement being that if you forget about this disaster, its hatred.  He stated that he was touring to help raise money to build clean water wells for the people of Haiti.  Very noble.

With Sum 41, it felt like they were trying to relive their glory days with hits like “Fat Lip,” “All To Blame” and “The Hell Song”.  Their latest album, All the Good Shit: 14 Solid Gold Hits 2000-2008, was released in November 2008 and rumors of a new album in 2011 are buzzing around too.  Honestly, I miss Dave Baksh.  He brought a heavier punk sound to the group with his guitar style and it is missed.  I was less than thrilled with Sum 41.  I do wish Deryck Whibley a speedy recover though.  In Japan, where the band was set to play the Summer Sonic Rock Festival, Whibley was attacked on 8/6/10 in a bar by three men (and police) and aggravated a slipped disk injury in his back from 2007.

I wanted to like The Mighty Regis, but I just couldn’t.  They had a great performance, but for me it felt too much like they were impersonating Flogging Molly.  Both bands have seven members (6 male, 1 female), play the same instruments, and are both Celtic punk rock bands from Los Angeles.  It’s similar to the great debate of The Grateful Dead vs. Phish.  I was never able to get into Phish because I’m a deadhead and never saw (or heard) the point of getting into practically the same band.

Finally!  It was time to check out Alkaline Trio!  What a stellar performance, as usual!  I was happy to hear “Armageddon” and “Private Eye”, as From Here to Infirmary is an all-time favorite album of mine.  Personally, I haven’t seen Alkaline Trio live in some time, so every song was amazing to me; tons of energy, guts and love.  Also, the crowd was huge.  On their speakers, they stenciled on “Free the WM3″ and “WM3.org”.  I am so touched that bands today are still supporting the West Memphis Three but furious that they’re still in jail.  Please visit WM3.org to find out what you can do to support and free the WM3.

In final summation, here are my thoughts on the tour this year:  Although I missed the majority of the bands I was excited to see, I made the most of the day.  I understand that set times are randomly selected every day of the tour, but it still stinks that I missed out on a few great acts.  Oh well, there’s always next year.  I discovered a lot of new music and look forward to checking out more music by said bands.  Nevermind the Posers has attended Vans Warped Tour since 2003 and we’re looking forward to the lineup in 2011.

Don’t forget, to check out the bands mentioned in this review simply click on their names; they are linked to their MySpace pages.

 

Tomorrows Bad Seeds August 10, 2010

The 2010 Warped Tour held a lot of promise this year with another amazing lineup and packed draw.  The first band I was able to speak with was Tomorrows Bad Seeds, a rock reggae group from Hermosa Beach, California whose name was abuzz all over the tour this year.  I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to Matt McEwan and Sean Chapman, both guitarists and vocalists for the group.

Angela Blasi: I was doing my homework on you guys and I had read that you fused many different styles together, I got a little bit of a sublime feel at first listen…in terms of influences, what is your main goal with what you are trying to do with that?
Tomorrows Bad Seeds: There is no real aim…we kind of just take of all the influences we have and try to mend them with the talent that we have.  There are some bands that we like and we draw from their influences without copying.  Absolutely Sublime is a big influence and being from Hermosa beach area, them being right next door,  it’s an obvious influence…but we’ve also been influenced by bands like Pennywise, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, all those LA bands that have influenced us to create an edgier sound as well.  We kinda just do whatever comes to us.  There’s no one thing that we try to do.

AB: As far as Warped Tour goes, how’s it been treating you?
TBS: It’s been great.  Really, really good.

AB: What are some of the highlights?
TBS: Being a part of it and meeting the other bands and all those bands coming to check out our sets and everybody being really humble.  Everyone is really equal, it’s all about the tour, not just one band, one headliner.  Everyone has to work and put in their time, from doing press to waiting in line for lunch.  Our set times are randomly picked every morning, everyone is all the same.

AB: Your tag line – Conscious music for your mind – how could you define that for me and tell me how you embody that running motto?
TBS: That’s exactly what our music is- music that stops and makes you think about everyday life.  We write about our life experiences and we try to bring that out, maybe other people can relate to it.  There are a lot of  things in the music industry and the entertainment industry that go on that are really desensitized and are really shallow; we try to dig deeper with our music and really affect (people).  We want someone to listen to one of our songs and not only let it dig deep so that it sticks with them, but also make what they want out of it as well.  We write pretty broadly where it’s like: ok, you can listen to a song and imagine it how you want it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean one thing or tell a certain story, it’s more like: here’s a song, how does it fit into your life?  But at the same time we want to spread a message with our lyrics of positivity and consciousness.

AB: As far as the creative process goes, do you write collectively as a group?
TBS: Yea, for the most part.  If one of us gets an idea we’ll bring it to the table and work it out; whatever works best for the song is what happens.  There is always the obvious, one guy may write the song but it gets finished and arranged by the whole band to make it what it is.

AB: Are there any bands that you as fans are excited to be sharing the same venue with?
TBS: All of them.  Reel Big Fish, All American Rejects, Sum 41, Fight Fair, Suicide Silence…especially the bands we don’t even know.  We get to hang out with them and then we become instant fans.  Everyone is really, really cool.

AB: What are your plans post Warped Tour as you gain momentum and things happen for you?  What are you plans from this point forward?
TBS: Touring and touring and touring.  We love playing live, it’s what we love to do.  We’re also involved with this film, Lions Gates “The Expendables”.  We do a signing with them every day.  That’s another huge highlight coming up.  And we’re also getting ready to hit the road with a band from New Zealand call Katchafire, a great roots reggae band.  We’re gonna headline a tour end of September into October.  We also just came out with our second album Sacred for Sale and have been touring for that since it came out.

AB: What could someone whose new to your music, and has never seen you before, expect to see standing in the crowd at your live show?
TBS: Feel good music that you just want to groove to and dance, hang out and try to relate to it; not just go out there and slam your head against the floor.  A high energy performance, for being a mellow band, we do mix it up.  Our set goes up and down; we bring a lot of energy to the stage but we also bring a groove.  We don’t just come and blow your head off, . . . it’s like reggae up your ass.

AB: For my last question, and being that we are Nevermind the Posers, what’s your definition of a poser?
TBS: Someone that switches their style up every couple of weeks, whether it’s listening to a different type of music or the way you dress, the lifestyle you lead…someone that isn’t true to themselves.  Someone who basically will change everything about themselves to what they watch on TV or the music they listen to instead of just being themselves or genuinely liking the music or maybe something they saw.

Click here for Tomorrows Bad Seeds website
Click here for more pictures of Tomorrows Bad Seeds

 

 
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