Warped Tour Wrap-up

Warped Tour in Barrie yesterday - perfect weather, insane dust and so many kids! Kelly and I were expecting to be on the old end of the scale, as is the case whenever we go to all ages punk shows, but man was this crowd young. Made for some hilarious people watching. For a punk crowd the kids are awfully sensitive, with their earplugs (I thought the sound could have been louder) and bandanas over their faces to block the dust. What's the matter with kids these days?

So here are the day's highlights...

Band That Sucked Live - NOFX
This was the band that we came to see and were a little disappointed to find them playing a half-hour set at 6:00pm instead of closing out the show. They sucked live, of course, which just makes us love them all the more. Their hilarious and extremely vulgar banter made all the other bands on the tour seem over-rehearsed and insincere. They played Linoleum and She's Nubs and a few songs from
So Long and Thanks for All The Shoes (though I would have preferred It's My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite over Eat The Meek). Just like the last time I saw NOFX on the Warped Tour, they drew the biggest crowd of the day. Also like the last time I saw NOFX on the Warped Tour, we thought we were well back from the mosh pit - then they started to play.

Band That Truly Sucked Live - 30 Seconds to Mars

Worst Sound - Rise Against
This was the other band that we came to see and they rocked the stage (as far as we could tell through the huge cloud of dust generated by the mosh pit) but suffered from horrible sound. It was all vocals and drums without enough guitar. But we still pumped our fists in the air for Give It All and were relieved that they didn't waste our time with Swing Life Away. They'll be playing T.O. again in January with Billy Talent and Thursday, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle all the emo kids that'll be at that show.

Best Trip Down Memory Lane - Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
First band I ever saw live, when I was nine years old. I begged Dad to take me to see them at the London Gardens. Looking back, I now realize how super cool that was of Dad to take me to the show - don't think he really knew what to expect until we got there. Still remember it too. How loud it was. How Joan wailed on her guitar. Dad carrying me out of the show on his shoulders. Well, Joan is still punk as fuck. She played her old hits and her new stuff wasn't bad either.

Surprise Highlight of the Day - Helmet
Hands down the best set of the day! Not many kids in the crowd as Helmet tore up the stage with a full-on grunge/metal assault. Their guitars sounded like buzz saws and the bass was so heavy it made the air vibrate. Kelly and I screamed for all the face melting guitar solos and couldn't take our eyes off their super hot drummer who hit the skins so hard we thought he was going to beat a hole right through his drum kit.

Best New Discovery - The Fully Down
A group of young punks from Ottawa - singer, drummer, three guitars (!) and a bass. They played the smallest stage in the whole venue but tore it up like they were headliners. Those who have discussed music with me know that I lament the lack of guitar solos in modern punk rock. I like my punk with a healthy side-order of metal. Well, TFD restored my faith in the latest crop of up-and-coming bands. No surprise when I checked out their web site to find that Lagwagon and Strung Out are listed prominently among their favourite bands. Kelly and I skipped out on the Billy Talent set to hit the TFD merch tent for CDs.

Seriously, check these kids out...