Saturday: Vans Warped Tour

Categories: Music Festivals

Saturday: Vans Warped Tour
Piers 30/32 (The Embarcadero)
June 22, 2008
Review and Photos by Edward Paik

Better Than: Panic At The Disco!

Max Bemis winced under the onslaught of Saturday's sharp sunlight before launching into "Every Man Has His Molly," which the mostly-teenage crowd helped him finish.

“You goddamn kids,” sang the Say Anything frontman, picking up where the crowd left off.

Bemis was just one of many singers who showed up Saturday at Piers 30/32 in San Francisco for the 15th annual Vans Warped Tour. The second stop on its nationwide tour this summer, the Warped event has come under criticism over the past years for a shift from its skate punk roots.

Even skateboards are now prohibited at the front gates.

But the crowd remains the same -- teenage kids in bug-eyed glasses, tight-ass jeans and the latest in eyebrow-raising hair trends -- like the one where you try cover an entire eye with a hairline combed way beyond the middle of the scalp.

Max Roldan, 15, has waited nearly a month for the tour to come into town and all day to see 30 minute performances from Norma Jean and Reel Big Fish, just a couple of names from the 59 others on the Tour’s band list. “They're so sick,” Roldan said.

Though the tour has made attempts to diversify its lineup, some have argued that this year's festival suffers from a lack of well-known artists - last year had bigger names like Sum 41, Yellowcard and Alkaline Trio.

Others voiced their complaints about the lack of skate punk and hardcore bands that faded from the lineup over the years.

The original vision for a skate punk tour has gone with the half-pipes and ramps that no longer exist. The Warped Tour is now the face of our newest generation, the ones who believe emo is the new cool.

But among names like Cobra Starship and Angels & Airwaves remained the old-timers: Pennywise and Reel Big Fish.

“It was nice to see these bands here,” said Cate Lee, who kneeled against a fence near main stage left.

But the 14-year-old admits that it was the newer musicians like Kate Perry that drew her to the event.

Dressed in heart-shaped shades and a one-piece, Perry took the opportunity to climb off her small scale stage to reach into the crowd during a performance of “I Kissed A Girl,” an option not possible in venue concerts.

Even for Warped Tour veterans like Gym Class Heroes drummer Matt McCoy, who participated three times before and is currently touring on the main stage, the festival is still an occasion to interact with fans on a personal level.

He remembers being that kid in a Warped Tour crowd, being able to see and speak to bands on the fringe.

“Warped Tour is something all of us in the band would go to every summer it came around,” he said. “I didn’t care if I went to a show all year, just as long as I got to go see Warped Tour.”

Attempting to remove a strap button from a guitar strap with a screwdriver, Evan Smith said backstage: “It’s a good tour for kids.”

Critic’s Notebook:

Random Detail: A guy without a T-shirt, ran out from behind the barricades after being pulled out for crowd surfing -- the third time in less than 30 minutes. Slowing down to pull up his baggy jeans he whispered to himself, “I got to stop drinking.” He continued his way, again, to the back of the crowd.

By the Way:
For those of you who missed the Vans Warped Tour in San Francisco, the event returns to the Bay Area on August 15 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.


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