VANS WARPED TOUR 2011, Pomona Fairgrounds, Pomona, CA, July 1st, 2011
Warped Tour 2011 made it’s way to the Southern California, delivering the goods in 100-degree heat at the Pomona Fairgrounds. With a fine mix of metal, metalcore, punk rock, reggae, and even some hip hop, there was pretty much something for everyone to be found on the various stages this year. Now in its 17th year of existence, the tour shows no signs of slowing down and remains one of the crucial events of the summer for many a music fan. While the heat was stifling, this reviewer caught up with some of the top acts. Here are some of the highlights that were to be seen at this year’s traveling extravaganza…
BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR
Not in any way related to the classic Michael Jackson song, Phoenix, Arizona’s Blood On The Dance Floor are infecting Warped Tour on the Skull Candy stage with their driving brand of electronic dance music. The core members consist of Dahvie Vanity and Jayy Von Monroe, touring with a complete band in tow. Even though they were playing earlier than anticipated, Blood On The Dance Floor turned up the heat, definitely drawing out a rapid following in their inherited 11:45 opening slot. Trashing it up in front of the California girls and creating musical mayhem in the process, Blood On The Dance Floor were hugely entertaining – and they had the catchy tunes that many in the crowd were singing along with. The songs are super poppy and yet the attitudes are punk as hell. Doing it all in the grand DIY style, Blood On The Dance Floor are sure to party it up on their own terms for a long time – and most definitely throughout the hot Warped 2011 summer. Their latest album All The Rage! is chaos personified, and now available on Itunes.
Still at the Skull Candy stage to catch the super cool grooves of Ivy League from Orange County California. The temperature was beginning to soar, but the cool reggae being unleashed from the band was positively refreshing. All this, and they had a special guest performer with them – Angelo from the legendary Fishbone was front and center, contributing vocals, sax, and percussive instrumentations into the mix. The effortless jam session had many in the audience dancing and waving their hands in the air. The musicianship in the band is first rate, and Angelo looked like he was having a terrific time in the company of such gifted performers. A classic Warped Tour set to be sure from a band we are likely to hear a lot more of in the years to come. Now on Skull Candy Records, it’s easy to see why the company has invested a lot of time and promotion into Ivy League. Be sure to catch this OC collective when they bring the jams to your neck of the woods. The members of Ivy League consists of Lucas George, Andy Martin, Jeff Hall, Nick Gomez, and Dog Marley.
Over the last year, Asking Alexandria from the UK has witnessed a meteoric rise in the band’s popularity. The first metalcore act to ever appear on The Jimmy Kimmel show thanks to their fans who voted them on, Asking Alexandria is now one of the headlining bands on the Teggart/Main stage area. There were people as far as you could see ready to witness the explosive and wildly unpredictable sets that Asking Alexandria is noted for. It was still very early in the afternoon, but the band nevertheless presented a solid performance while igniting the mosh pit in the process. Lead vocalist Danny Worsnop is wildly charismatic – one never knows what he’s going to say in between songs and he is definitely one of the most fascinating of the current crop of front men out there today. The band was remarkably tight, with top live songs being Not The American Average, Breathless, and A Lesson Never Learned. In addition to the aforementioned Worsnop, the Asking Alexandria lineup consists of Ben Bruce on lead guitar and backing vocals, Cameron Liddell on rhythm guitar, Sam Bettley on bass, and James Cassells on drums. The latest release is the appropriately titled Reckless & Relentless, now available from Sumerian Records.
GRIEVES WITH BUDO
Even if you are not a fan of hip-hop, it’s hard not to thoroughly enjoy the infectious tunes presented by Grieves with Budo. One of the big surprises on this year’s Warped Tour, Grieves (aka Benjamin Laub) is a talented hip-hop artist who has just released a smashing new collection of tunes entitled Together/Apart on Rhymesayers Entertainment. Laub is completely down to earth yet one could hear a lifetime of experience woven within the fabric of his multi-layered compositions. Opening with Smile For The Blade from The Confessions Of Mr. Modest, Grieves and his longtime instrumental collaborator Budo delivered a smooth, yet ultimately moving set of songs that left a lasting impression. I Ate Your Soul was another highlight that was received warmly by the audience – complete with a keyboard solo from the mightily resourceful Budo. Other grand compositions that really stood out included Sunny Side Of Hell, Light Speed, and the dynamic closing song Gwenevieve (Burn It Down). A summer at Warped is sure to expose Grieves to a whole new fan base looking for emotional depth in the lyrics to go with wondrously catchy melodies. On Warped Tour 2011, Grieves with Budo is the live performance not to be missed.
WE CAME AS ROMAN
Not even the excruciating heat,van problems, or equipment mishaps could dampen the spirits of We Came As Roman, who delivered a standout performance at the Advent Stage late in the afternoon. Breakdowns and infectious tunage abound, and one could clearly see why the band has gained such an impassioned fan following over the past few years. On the verge of releasing their sophomore release for Equal Vision entitled Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be, We Came As Romans debuted a terrific new song from the recording entitled Mis//understanding. Songs unleashed from their To Plant A Seed album included two of their very best – Broken Statues and Intentions. After their headlining appearance on the recently wrapped Rock Yourself To Sleep tour and now with showings as dynamic as what was witnessed at this year’s Warped Tour, We Came As Romans has truly made it into the big leagues. It will be exciting to see what’s up next for the band once their new CD has been issued.
CONCLUSION AND LINKAGE
Interviews of the day included The Wonder Years, The Ready Set, and Sharks – all to be featured soon here at Highwire Daze Online. Next Warped stop for the Daze will be the cool beaches of Ventura, CA!!!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)