WARPED TOUR – Home Depot Center – Carson, CA, 06/25/10
You know summer has truly started when the Warped Tour swings into town. Still the show many look forward to the most after all these years, kids flocked down to the Home Depot Center in Carson to check out the bands and vendors. The selection of bands this year ranged from electronic pop, old school punk rock, all the way through to brutal heavy metal.
There was certainly something for everyone this year, as promoter Kevin Lyman presented one of the strongest, most varied lineups the Warped Tour has seen in quite some time.
Of course it’s impossible to see each and every band, so presented below is a mere sampling of what went on at the first Warped 2010 date in Carson, CA.
The first full set I saw was Sparks The Rescue from Portland, Maine, who found themselves playing the Glamour Kills stage at the very early rock and roll hour of 12 Noon. There were many people in attendance to see the band nevertheless. Chemistry Set was an especially impressive song about heartbreak that should be a hit if radio airwaves actually played anything good. Hello Mexico was about drinking margaritas in the snow – quite a visual considering it was beginning to heat up in Sunny Southern California. Pine Tree State is a wistful anthem to home state of Maine while We Love Like Vampires was clearly the crowd the favorite that had everyone singing along. Although they’ve been around for nearly a decade, Sparks The Rescue remains vastly underrated. Let’s hope a summer at Warped changes all that. Their current release Eyes To The Sun is available from Fearless Records.
Allura is a local band from the City Of Angels who performed outside on the Family Stage for the last three years. This year, they were invited back to play a few of the dates inside, including an appearance at the Kia/Kevin Says stage in Carson. Playing mostly newer material from an expected year-end release, the guys have plenty of charisma to spare and the material to back it all up. Best in their too-short set included a fantastic new song called Don’t Look Back and the wildly impassioned False Hope.
Rise Records was well represented this year, with many of their noted roster playing the tour. One of their bands, In Fear And Faith, took to the Skullcandy stage and unleashed an explosive set of metallic hardcore tunes. Performing songs from their recently released Imperial CD, the audience definitely gave the guys a heated, very appreciative response. Especially well received was their clever cover of Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio. The fiery combination of extreme brutal and higher singing vocals worked very well and really make this collective stand out.
Although Modern Day Escape are from Orlando, FL, the band had more than enough fans to win them a much a much coveted spot on the Ernie Ball Stage here in Carson. With a vast Internet presence and the songs and talent to match it, there is little doubt that Modern Day Escape will find themselves on the entire tour next year. These guys rock it hard and heavy, performing tunes from their Standby Records release House Of Rats including the too hot sounds of Let’s Get Sweaty and their anthem Maybe Holding Hands Wasn’t Such A Good Idea. James Vegas is a tremendous, charismatic front man, fearlessly bringing the show into the crowd. NXE and Marti Rubels shred it up on guitars while Shep on bass and former 5 Years and Counting member Corey Goode made for a tremendously solid rhythm section. Fans of Escape The Fate and Black Veil Brides must absolutely check these guys out and prepare to meet your next favorite rock and roll sensation.
After an interview with Grant of Breathe Electric, it was back into Warped Tour action with I See Stars on the Glamour Kills stage. It was great to see such a talented young band being given a shot this year, and they certainly had A LOT of kids who already knew about them judging by the sheer size of their crowd. Mix in Drop Dead, Gorgeous with a mad dash of Breathe Carolina, and you are only just imagining the mayhem this band is capable of. The little girls certainly were screaming like crazy, and the guys could appreciate the fine musician I See Stars exuded. Performing songs from their Sumerian Records release 3D, I See Stars also did an emotionally charged interpretation of Your Love originally by The Outfield. They’ve been in the studio recording all new material, so it will be exciting to see what this Warren, MI collective comes up with next.
After Midnight Project (on the Skullcandy stage) is another Los Angeles band who have found themselves on the entire Warped Tour this year. Their new Universal release Let’s Build Something To Break is a pretty terrific endeavor, but to know the band is to see their energetic live set. Jason Evigan is a dynamic front man, conveying the lyrics with a keen sense of passion and conviction. Top songs included The Real Thing and The Becoming – both radio ready and live crowd favorites. For trivia buffs, Jason’s dad is none other then Greg Evigan of the TV classic BJ and The Bear and his sister is actress Briana Evigan from the horror movie Sorority Row. Jason and his band are loaded with star quality and they are going to be huge!
Alesana was kicking off another year at the Warped Tour, performing on the Glamour Kills stage. This band has always been unique in the otherwise overcrowded post hardcore market, mixing in a wondrous sense of Gothic madness to the proceedings. Lead screamer Dennis Lee presents an ominous performance, and can really belt out the terrifying vocals as if he were heading up a Black Metal band. Performing tunes from their recent The Emptiness CD as well as many other crowd favorites, Alesana has gained quite a fan following over the last few years. They are certain to thrill music audiences from all walks of life for many moons to come.
Hot off the heals of the Alternative Press Tour, Hey Monday is now having a Warped summer, slated to appear at all of the dates. Fronted by the highly charismatic Cassadee Pope, Hey Monday played to quite an enthusiastic crowd on the Altec Lansing Stage. Pope has the classic pop rock voice and really sends the thoughtful lyrics soaring. Opening the set with How You Love Me Now from their breakthrough album Hold On Tight, Cassadee and her band had the crowd thoroughly entranced for the duration of the set. Wish You Were Here and I Don’t Wanna Dance from their forthcoming album Beneath It All were also performed, giving the crowd a sneak preview of the glorious pop rock anthems Hey Monday has up their collective sleeves.
Caught a brief glimpse of the amazing Bouncing Souls doing Night On Earth (an all time favorite song here at Highwire Daze) before it was time to head back to the press area for a late afternoon interview with Sparks The Rescue.
Back out in the quickly cooling temperatures to see Bryce Avary and The Rocket Summer on the AP/Advent Stage. What an effective artist Avary has become over the years, with the capability to tremendously move the audience with his cheery yet highly introspective songs. Performing tunes from his various releases, live selections included Brat Pack from Hello Good Friend and his breakthroughl hit single So Much Love from How Do You Feel. On a much more serious note, Walls from his new album Of Men And Angels was performed, a tremendously cathartic song about struggling with depression. At one point during the set, Avary went to each instrument, playing for a bit, creating several loops that would emerge into a full on song. Definitely one of the highlight sets of Warped Tour 2010 so far.
One of the very few unsigned bands to be on the entire Warped Tour, Breathe Electric may be electronic-based, but they sure managed to rock it out on the Skullcandy stage in a later time slot. Front man Grant Harris possesses a good deal of stage presence, winning the crowd over with his all out enthusiasm and highly infectious tunes. Songs such as Lovestruck, Emotion, and Let Go hit big with the audience, and certainly had his young fans dancing and bopping around to the beats. If you mix with melodies of Ben Folds with the driving synths of Depeche Mode, you’re just beginning to envision what Breathe Electric has in store for you. Expect Breathe Electric to turn a lot of heads throughout their summer debut at Warped.
And only at Warped Tour could you go from the sunny beats of Breathe Electric to the classic punk rock tales of The Adolescents. One of the most influential bands on the early Los Angeles scene, The Adolescent still deliver a packed set of driving anthems that set pits into sonic overdrive. Opening with the mighty strains of No Way where front man Tony Cadena wailed, “I cannot live in a world this gay,” The Adolescents had punks of all ages slamming it out by the stage. Even Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman walked over to hear their impressive set. Welcome To Reality and Who Is Who were also played, but when The Adolescents unleashed their classic Amoeba, the throngs went wild singing along with the words “We are scientists in our lab, looking through the microscope…” They’ve played the Classic Punk Rock stage for three years in a row now, and are always one of the big highlights of the day. Look for a brand new CD from The Adolescents entitled The Fastest Kid Alive to run you over later this year. A glorious finale for yet another Warped Tour day in the sun.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)