Warped Tour 2011, Columbia Maryland

Tuesday July 26th was just like any other day. I woke up, showered, got my camera equipment together and drove to the Merriweather Post Pavilion to go to Warped Tour. Okay, scratch that. On any other day I usually wake up and go to work. But not the 26th, no sir. I used one of my comp days so that I could cover Warped Tour for Two Senses. And let me tell you, it was worth using the comp day.

I got there around 10:30 (the door opened at 11) and the line was already massive. I parked my car and wandered to the front of the line until I found the press tent and checked in. Well I thought it was the front of the line, turns out the front of the line was a few hundred people more towards the gates. Being press I (and another photographer) sidled up to the gate to wait to enter. The people checking tickets were cool about it and just told us to wait about 10 minutes. Before I knew it there was a mass of screaming teenagers (okay, pre-teenagers) behind us, clamoring to get in.

I never though I’d say this: but I felt old at Warped Tour this year and I’m only 22.

Anyways. I shot 16 bands this year and to be honest I really only was a huge fan of six of them: Peelander-Z, MC Lars and Weerd Science, The Wonder Years, Handguns (yes, Handguns played Warped), Veara and Enter Shikari. Of course I saw other bands because I knew they would put on a good show but I wasn’t a die hard fan. I also only shot two bands on the main stage (ADTR and Gym Class Heroes) because to be honest it was rather high and the photo pit was packed. Best to stick to the smaller stages.

Battling heat exhaustion, dehydration (staved off by the wonderful refill station) and hunger, I made my way through the crowds of pre-teen scene kids and people trying to convert me to their religion. I bounced from stage to stage as the day progressed and ran into some familiar faces, photographed the metalcoreness of Miss May I and Of Mice and Men (oh Austin Carilile you have not aged well). I saw the pop-punk charms of Peelander-Z and female fronted Sick of Sarah. I almost got lost trying to find the Ernie Ball Stage so I could see Handguns play and ended up hurting my foot in the pit after my three songs were up (it was worth it). I sang along to The Wonder Years as I snapped photos of Soupy and the Gang. All in all, it was a pretty good day and the music wasn’t bad to boot. I got to see one of my favorite up and coming pop-punk bands Veara play to a crowd that was far too small (check them out now)

But it was all leading up to one moment, one moment that I knew would define Warped Tour for me this year: Enter Shikari. Those Brits know how to put on a damn good show and they did not disappoint this year. Halfway through the first song frontman and keyboardist Rou Reynolds chucked his keyboard offstage only to lament over it’s broken fragments later.

I didn't mean to hurt you I promise

Guitarist Rory C and bassist Chris Batten ran around stage like chickens with their heads cut off (and I mean this in a good way) and at one point Rory took this guitar off and swung it around him running up the stage. Rou ended up climbing on top of a speaker (after literally running into the crowd) and then rappelled down using one of the cords on the stage. I will say this: you need to see Enter Shikari as soon as possible. They were the highlight of Warped Tour.

Hit the jump for  a photo gallery.

Continue reading Warped Tour 2011, Columbia Maryland

Single of the Week – The Vaccines

It’s been a few years now since surf rock and chillwave (my personal list topper for “worst genre name of all time”) have become a mainstay in the hearts of indie kids, Pitchfork readers and casual music fans alike. Vampire Weekend burst out in 2008 with a debut record determined to be the soundtrack to your imaginary beach house on Cape Cod. Acts like Wavves and Best Coast took it a step further in 2009, combining surf pop with the fuzziness of shoegaze. And in 2010, artists like Washed Out brought chillwave into the world with even fuzzier vocals and ethereal sounds and beats lost at the bottom of your pool. The Vaccines aren’t bringing anything too revolutionary to the mix with their debut record other than ongoing fun and music demanding night drives and beach trips. But, seriously, isn’t that all that’s needed for summer music? Their album, perfectly titled What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?, lays out punky pop jams at Tokyo Police Club speeds with competing wit and catching hooks. Try getting the chorus of “If You Wanna” out of your head on first listen. It’s impossible and you’re gonna be humming it for a week or two. One of the album’s best songs happens to be the shortest, clocking in at a minute and thirty eight seconds. “Norgaard” is a 50s beach dance party in a song, coming with jangly guitars and singer Justin Young commanding with a Morrissey-esque swagger and sense of self-deprecation. The video adds to the good time as the band cavorts with an incredibly beautiful model. What can you expect from The Vaccines? If the album and videos are any indication, a really boisterously good time.

“Norgaard” by The Vaccines

Review :: The Dangerous Summer – War Paint

Continue reading Review :: The Dangerous Summer – War Paint

Single of The Week – m83

Synthy music has practically always been in my blood. As some dads threw Springsteen and Led Zeppelin at their kids, my dad chose to bring me up with the likes of Styx, Journey, ELO and various other ’80s arena rock worship. With the synths swirling around on Styx’s “Come Sail Away” and the arena rock quality of Journey so massive, your body is virtually forced to go on autopilot fistpumping, I was prepared at a young age to assume all music was meant to sound big and nerdy. Thankfully, for dorks such as myself, m83 exists. Taking constant hints from the ’80s, he’s mastered electronic music to not only connect with mainstream audiences, but to add enough teen emotion and angst to make John Hughes weep tears of joy. His new single, “Midnight City”, was released today along with the announcement of his double album, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, coming out on October 18th. If this single is any indication, we have around three months until the best record of 2011 conquers the world.

M83 – Midnight City

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