VANS WARPED TOUR 2011, Cricket Amphitheatre, San Diego, CA, August 9th, 2011

It was the great summer heat wave all across the country – where Warped Tour went, the heat was also present, greeting the bands and the crowds spiraling well over 100 degrees.  A relief from it all finally arrived in the city of San Diego, California, where Warped Tour 2011 would kick off its final week on the road.

It had been over a month since Warped had been in the area, and now towards the end of the tour, while everything was beginning to wind down, there was still celebration and good times to be had. Here are the bands we reviewed at the San Diego date…


Those who made their way to the Tilly’s AP Stage were in for a euphoric hard rockin’ surprise. Based out of Silver Spring, MD, Lionize put on an explosive set of time traveling tunes reminiscent of such greats as Led Zeppelin, Steel Pulse, and anything else from the 70’s when music was truly inspiring and original. The musicianship is within Lionize is beyond superb, as the band brought a sense of timelessness and some super groovin’ tunes to the Warped crowd. Especially impressive with the grand retro keyboard sounds that sent the entire Warped crowd spinning into another dimension. Hope some of you were able to catch the musical roar of Lionize at Warped this summer, because they were arguably the best damn rock and roll band on the tour. Their current album Destruction Manual is now available from the folks at Hardline Entertainment.


An unsigned band based out of San Antonio, Texas who made their way to San Diego for a single Warped Tour is Not So Lucky. An interesting moniker for a band who seem headed well on their way to the big time. Not So Lucky performed a super catchy brand of pop punk and easily won the over the San Diego attendees who stopped by the Kia Kevin Says to check them out. Performing songs from their self-released EP Questions and Answers, top tracks in their set included the memorable Haylie, a brand new song entitled Something Great, and their rousing rendition of the Jay Sean song Down. Not So Lucky was playing as a three piece, yet retained their sense of fun and excitement. Only at Warped Tour could an unsigned band from out of town such as Not So Lucky be given a random slot – and Not So Lucky should be commended for a lively show filled with wonderfully infectious tunes.


On Warped Tour, this is surely turning out to be an epic summer for Of Mice And Men. The crowds have become so enormous in size for their sets, don’t be surprised to find these guys graduating to the Main Stage next year. Especially notable has been the return of their founding lead vocalist Austin Carlile, who delivered a super impassioned performance – he really put his heart into the material and the audience response was just as thunderous. Some of the fantastic tunes in the set included Farewell To Shady Glade and They Don’t Call It The South For Nothing as well as many new songs from their new Rise Records album entitled The Flood. Of Mice And Men are sure to be one of the band’s most remembered when people refer to the breakout acts of Vans Warped Tour 2011.


What Southern California Warped Tour experience would be complete without an appearance by the legendary Lee Ving and his band Fear! Kicking off with the punk rock anthem of all time I Love Living In The City on the Kia Kevin Says Stage, it was a classic circle pit in overdrive as Fear plunged headfirst into their set. Yes the playing was a bit sloppy, but the sharp Lee Ving wit was still ferociously intact. The grand old tunes never let up, with songs such as F*ck You Let’s Rodeo and Have A Beer With Fear really riling up the Warped crowd who were looking for some old school punk rock action. What a treat it is to see Lee Ving and Fear assaulting Warped Tour each and every year with memorable sets and brilliantly random onstage banter. Long live the great and wondrous Fear – and here’s hoping we are graced with some new music soon!


The Wonder Years is another up and coming band who are delivering triumphant sets at the Warped Tour on the Nintendo 3DS Stage and gaining a huge following in the process. Presenting a show filled with positive, inspiring songs, The Wonder Years performed with an intense passion and the crowd response was just as tremendous. Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing (released on Hopeless Records) has been the album of the summer for many, and the songs from the recently released effort were certainly powerful when performed live. There was a good amount of crowd surfing and jumping up and down to be witnessed, as the audience sang along to each and every song.  It is good to see such a hardworking, dedicated band finally receiving the attention and accolades they deserve. Judging by the sheer numbers gathered around the stage and beyond, one can only expect to see The Wonder Years as one of the big headliners next year.


There was a major sense of disappointment and disbelief when Jim Lindberg left Pennywise after over 20 years with the band. Older fans have only to rejoice, because The Black Pacific retains a sense of urgency and melody that made Pennywise so hugely popular. The Black Pacific performed a mid-afternoon set at Warped Tour San Diego on the Tilly’s AP Stage, and clearly won over many in the crowd with their glorious punk rock anthems. Songs such as Put Down Your Weapons, When It’s Over and The System are classics in the making, and in their live shows, The Black Pacific performs with an intensity that is absolutely exhilarating. Bands like The Black Pacific bring the early years of Warped Tour back with a vengeance when punk rock ruled the fest! A definite triumph for Jim Lindberg and The Black Pacific!  Do whatever you can to see this band live!  By the way, The Black Pacific’s cover of the Jawbreaker classic Boxcar was outstanding!


Back to the Nintendo 3DS Stage to check out Every Avenue from Marysville, Michigan. Performing a rock solid brand of melodic punk, Every Avenue definitely had something for everyone in their lively set. With instantly memorable songs and top-notch vocals, the band has grown tremendously and has gained quite a fan following. Performing tracks from their brand spanking new Bad Habits release on Fearless Records as well as a few older cuts, the audience was singing along and really enjoyed the refreshing songs that fit in perfectly with the sunny San Diego afternoon. Crowd favorites included Whatever Happened To You, A Story To Tell Your Friends, and No One But You. Possessing the right amount of edginess along with a keen knack for writing thoroughly infectious melodies, Every Avenue deliver the goods with skilled precision live and are well worth checking out. The former headliners of the Rock Yourself To Sleep Tour will hopefully be back in the Southland soon to thrill the sunburnt masses again with their fantastic tunes!


Speaking of the Rock Yourself To Sleep Tour, another headliner from the Motel 6 extravaganza We Came As Romans took to the Advent Stage very late in the day. I remember seeing this band a few years ago at the Cobalt Café, and since then, We Came As Romans has become a force to be reckoned with. Performing songs from their breakout album To Plant A Seed as well as previewing cuts from the forthcoming Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be, WCAR unleashed a tremendously powerful set. The combination of clean and screamed vocals was particularly effective, and the entire band has grown tremendously tight with all of the relentless touring they now have on their resume. Impressive cuts from their live show included Intentions, Mis//understanding, and To Plant A Seed. Not one to rest of their laurels, expect heavy touring and an even larger fan base once their new Equal Vision album is released.


Interviews conducted today were The Devil Wears Prada, The Word Alive, and We Came As Romans – all coming soon to Highwire Daze Online!

And thus ended our day in San Diego at the Cricket Amphitheatre. It was now on to Carson for the final Southern California Warped Tour date of 2011. No rest for the wicked to be sure…

(Reviews and Photos by Kenneth Morton)

Lionize on Facebook
Not So Lucky on Facebook
Of Mice And Men on Facebook
Fear on Facebook
The Wonder Years on Facebook
The Black Pacific on Facebook
Every Avenue on Facebook
We Came As Romans on Facebook
Vans Warped Tour Official Home Page


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