Summer Recap The Vans Warped Tour

Alanna Weissman

In the world of underground music, few events are as highly anticipated as the an­nual Vans Warped Tour. A summer long coast-to-coast music and skateboarding festival currently in its seventeenth year, Warped Tour annually features both well-known bands and emerging acts (such as Katy Perry, who performed at Warped prior to hitting it big) in all genres, al­though there is a significant emphasis on underground alternative music.

This year, I attended two Warped Tour dates: July 17 and 23, in Hartford, CT and Uniondale, NY, respectively. This year’s tour featured headliners Paramore and A Day to Remember, and presented a bevy of memo­rable moments. Here are the biggest, best and most unusual of the performances.

Less Than Jake: This band, which boasts a sound vaguely like the lovechild of a brass ensemble and an old-school punk outfit, took their performance above and beyond all expectations. Onstage an­tics included shaving fans’ heads to craft mohawks, performing covers of beloved cartoon theme songs and sharing a beer with the fortysomething mother of a con­certgoer. The set wasn’t just live music – it was live entertainment at its finest.

Attack Attack!: In an expertly arranged mixture of music from each of the band’s several albums, the set vacillated skillfully between an electronica dance party and a stereotypical (albeit enjoyable) hardcore concert. While songs like “Sexual Man Chocolate” gave fans something to groove to, selections such as “The People’s Elbow” provided excellent moshing material. It was also a nice touch that the band doused fans with Super Soakers mid-show – the heat was nearly unbearable otherwise.

A Day to Remember: In Hartford, this perpetually popular post-hardcore band drew an enormous crowd that was more than willing to engage in the full concert experience. Dozens of rolls of toilet paper unraveled as they were flung through the air, and a massive circle pit, wall of death and a continuous stream of crowd surfers stirred up so much dust that the stage was completely obscured and each attendee left covered with a thick layer of grime.

We Came as Romans: Though this year’s Warped Tour marked the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen this band live, their engaging, energetic show never fails to impress me, despite the near-identical qualities of every set they play. And, as I watched a front-row fan revel shamelessly in forcefully procur­ing a band member’s leg hair as he stood on the barricade and sang, I was introduced to a whole new (highly entertaining, albeit equally disturbing) class of groupie.

Pepper: Male fans were encouraged to wear “neck warmers” by hoisting female at­tendees up upon their shoulders. And, while I had never heard of the band before I saw them, the song “Point and Shoot” certainly left a lasting impression.

Asking Alexandria: In an unusual and probably dangerous stunt, the band asked everyone in the crowd to kneel on the ground and jump up simultaneously. From my perch on the VIP riser ten feet off the ground and about a hundred feet from the stage, the visual effect – although it lasted only a moment – was stunning.

3OH!3: The fun generated by a constant stream of wisecracks – including chastising a “slutty giraffe” (a large wooden giraffe cutout that had been brought into the crowd to ad­vertise for a clothing company) – and dance-perfect tracks more than made up for the duo of “Don’t Trust Me” fame’s sometimes subpar musical aptitude and seemingly short set.

Contact Alanna Weissman at [email protected]