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.

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