Photo by Jeanne Rice The Warped Tour
Cal State Long Beach
Friday, July 11
When you're at something as ugly as the Warped Tour, its impossible not to note the buttwad of atrocities, most of which have nothing to do with what's happening on a stage—though there were a few of those, too.
Let's begin with organizing. Whose dazzling idea was it to hold a huge music fest in a big field but include only two food stands—a burger booth and a Dominos? At peak periods, gargantuan lines stretched out at least half a football field from each. At Hootenanny a week earlier, there were plenty of food vendors for a crowd probably half the size of the Warped mob. And we're sure, had any been around Warped, that health inspectors would've been as appalled as we were at the sight of uncovered mayonnaise packets slow-roasting in the July sun (botulism—it's the new punk!). Particularly bizarre was the Subway sandwich stand with no food of any kind—a fact hungry, desperate kids didn't know until they crawled up to the booth and were met with rude, hand-drawn signs proclaiming, "NO, WE DO NOT HAVE ANY FOOD HERE!"
Water was plentiful. And Warped was educational: parents were invited to hang out in an air-conditioned room while their kids ran off to realize how hopelessly vacant bands like Sum 41 really are. But with a silly sign on the tent flap that announced PARENTS ONLY, the only spot people could go for genuine heat relief became idiotically exclusive. Why not also an air-conditioned space for the Warped youth, too? Or were promoters afraid that their target market would hang out there all day and not buy band swag?
Let's continue with scheduling. Our ticket, at least, said the thing would start at noon. So we were quite surprised to receive a copy of the set schedule when we arrived that revealed several bands had already played and left, some as early as 10:45 a.m. Popular and on-the-rise acts like Andrew W.K., the Suicide Machines and Vendetta Red had wrapped up their half-hour sets before noon. Apparently this had something to do with a carved-in-stone 7 p.m. curfew, yet, as far as we could tell, zero effort had been put into letting ticketholders know, even on the Warped website. Were refunds given to anyone who asked for one? God, we sure hope so.
Two easy suggestions for Goldenvoice, who really ought to know better from the way they operate the much-better-run Coachella fest: give everyone who enters each Warped venue a map showing where each stage is so people don't have to search (yeah, we know the layout for each tour stop is different, but spend a little extra money; you can make it happen). And knock it off with switching band set times around, too, which is how Rancid could close a show one day and open the next. Bands may like it like that, but it just aggravates customers.
For those who've become accustomed to cable news, we conclude with this crawl across the bottom of your screen: The venue was directly beneath the approach path of Long Beach Airport, and the roar of jet engines was frequently more preferable than the music . . . The best band we saw was an unbilled act called the Angry Frenchmen, a slice-o-shtick crafted by four guys who played relatively unlistenable screamcore dreck, but did so in tight, horizontally-striped shirts, berets and Magic Markered-on moustaches while insulting all things American—in French, of course . . . The hip-hop/freestyle booth was great fun; it seemed like the farther we got from electric guitars, the better we felt . . . To the girls who asked us what time New Found Glory were going on: just because your fave band played the Warped Tour one year doesn't mean they play it every year . . . The Dropkick Murphys looked like a good time from a distance, yet there's something uncomfortably Aryan about their music—even more so with their fans—that's always stopped us from totally embracing them . . . Kids: trucker caps look stupid on you . . . To all the Thrice fans who kept booing and finger-flipping Simple Plan: just because you're all 11-year-olds doesn't mean you have to act like 11-year-olds . . . Worst band of the day: a hunk of dickcheese called 1208, whose spoken profundities reached no greater heights than "Fuck!," "Let's party!" and "Fuck, yeah!" Actually, they're the worst band ever. (Rich Kane)
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