We got a chance to go to the Warped Tour this Saturday. We did so for several reasons. Firstly, there are some really good bands on it this year (Dillinger Escape Plan, Parkway Drive, Bring Me the Horizon, etc.). Secondly, the Warped crew (tour founder Kevin Lyman and others that keep the tour running smoothly) are top notch people that have worked hard to put on a popular tour in a down touring cycle. Thirdly, because with all the bands, managers, agents and others around, it’s a great chance to get to see people you wouldn’t normally get a chance to. And the ‘punk rock summer camp’ vibe extended to everyone on the tour, and Saturday ended with an epic barbecue for all with Kevin Lyman himself manning the grill (along with The Sparring and Burger Conquest).
However, for all the good, the Warped Tour can sometimes leave something to be desired. I’ve been going to Warped Tours on and off for a while, having probably attended more than half of them. And while there’s always at least three or four bands definitely worth seeing, for every one, there’s five or six shitty screamo or generic pop-punk bands. Many of these bands, he points out, aren’t even bothering to pretend they’re not lip-syncing. And the fashion, oh god, the fashion. Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley has played Warped before, and his band’s doing it again this year. Buckley sums up the Warped experience far better than I can in a post at AP.com.
What is it that drives you to assemble in masses and sing along to lyrics about “shots” when you are easily five years under the legal drinking limit? Why are you buying shirts that say “Fuck Bitches, Get Money” when most of you have never: a) fucked or b) gotten money? Why have you stopped doing embarrassing things like singing along to your favorite bands in front of a MIRROR and started doing it in front of a camera streaming to YouTube? The permanence of the internet is what made learning from mistakes and moving on now impossible.
While he might sound old and jaded, he brings up points that many musicians and true music fans have been saying for years. And sure, the swoop-haired emo kids and the 12 year-olds with ‘free sex’ written on their bikini-clad bodies with magic marker may just be Generation Z’s version of nu-metal 10 years ago and ’80s metal 20 years ago, but it still is enough to make everyone from me to Keith Buckley wonder when it’s going to stop.