Warped Tour – Pomona Fairplex – Pomona, CA – August 11, 2010
The final days of Warped Tour were now here, as the traveling show made their last stop in Southern California at the Pomona Fairplex. For being so hot, it was surprising at how sections of the grass were so muddy – but at least it wasn’t the blazing asphalt or torrential rains the tour has encountered throughout many parts of the country. Dates in Idaho and Oregon were to follow, but now palm trees and good times were the order of the day. Here are some of the bands we caught up with at the Pomona show…
One of the highlights from each and every stop of Warped Tour is seeing the best of local talent on the Ernie Ball stage. One such band playing at a rather early hour was Harris Grade, presenting a lively set of rock and roll for those just arriving to the Fairplex. Performing songs from their recently released CD entitled Lipstick Politics, the band raged through a terrific set of tunes. One of the best songs performed was Dirty – a super catchy tune that should really gain the guys a good deal of attention. Other noteworthy selections included Wildfire, The City By Night, and Hold On To Your Life. Possessing a talent for good tunes and a lively stage show, it will be exciting to see what the future holds in store for this promising new band. The Harris Grade lineup consists of Caleb Healey and Alex Von Hollen on guitars, Robyn August on vocals, Jason Friday on bass, and Greg Fulleman on drums. Be sure to see Harris Grade when they play in the area and always support the local music scene. You can be sure that Warped Tour does!
Where on earth is Greg Puciato? Those were the words on the lips of all when five minutes into their set, the lead singer of The Dillinger Escape Plan was nowhere to be found. Finally a member of the band arrived onstage and asked if anyone in the audience knew the words to the DEP songs. Apparently a kid crammed in at the front of the barrier did, so up onstage he went, and he became the INSTANT new lead vocalist for The Dillinger Escape Plan. Warped Tour is always filled with those magic moments, and this kid no doubt was living a long time dream. About half way during the second song, he looked over to see the MIA Greg finally making his way to the stage – and they sang together for the remainder of the tune. Greg gave the kid a big hug, and then sent him on his way back to the audience. Then their set blasted into sheer oblivion, showing all in Pomona why DEP is perhaps one of the greatest bands in existence. They can play math core like no other, and lately the band has expanded into more accessible tunage. Songs in their extremely well received set included Room Full Of Eyes and Sunshine The Werewolf. One has to commend Warped Tour on welcoming such as intensive, innovative band as Dillinger Escape Plan. Definitely one of the high points of Warped Tour 2010. (If anyone knows who the mystery person was who did the guest vocals at the beginning of the DEP set, let me know so we can give him and his band, if he’s in one, the proper credit…)
Our Last Night from New Hampshire is a band that has grown tremendously throughout the years. Their second release on Epitaph is entitled We Will All Evolve, and the band has certainly developed into a force to be reckoned with. Performing a few dates at Warped on their off days from their Buff Chicks Tour, the band crammed a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm into what would become a short four song set on the KIA Kevin Says Stage. One of their most intensive tracks is The Devil Inside, and the band delivered it with a good deal of passion and conviction. Another song, Across The Ocean, was melodic and at times serene, showing just how diverse and inventive this band is capable of being. Trevor Wentworth is 17 now, and his screams have become even more brutal and impassioned. His older brother Matthew Wentworth shreds on guitar and supplies the compelling clean vocal interludes. Colin Perry is also an accomplished guitar player, contributing to the overall wall of sound. The Our Last Night rhythm section remains tighter then ever, courtesy of Alex Woodrow on bass and Tim Molloy on drums. Here’s hoping we see the band on an entire Warped run in the years to come. They’ve been working hard and gaining a good deal of fans along the way and deserve a slot on next year’s lineup. For now, it’s back to the Buff Chicks for them…
After doing four interviews in the press tent, it was back to Warped for the Breathe Electric dance party on the Skull Candy stage. Having the distinction of being the only unsigned band on the entire Warped Tour, Breathe Electric has probably gained an even bigger following that ever – especially when a band can get their bands dancing and jumping up and down in 90-plus degree afternoon heat with as much enthusiasm as Grant Harris and Company can. Although they are classified as an electronic band, Breathe Electric has the aggressive moves of a rock and roll outfit, and certainly appealed to music fans all across the spectrum – judging by the looks of the audience. Songs such as Emotion, Lovestruck, and Let Go were set highlights – so insanely infectious that they were sure to plant themselves within the heads of the collective audience at large for the rest of the day. Grant Harris and his band were living the dream that many a musician all across the country definitely shares – and there is little doubt that Breathe Electric and their newfound fans will remember the Warped Summer of 2010 for the many years to come. A little info on the band: Grant’s brother Carter Harris is the keyboard player and bassist Kyle Fassel is also a member of The Fastest Kid Alive. Be sure to catch Breathe Electric at the following Southern California dates: October 16th at the Chain Reaction and October 17th at The Whiskey.
An entire summer on Warped Tour has easily made Fight Fair one of the breakout bands of the season. If you mixed the Beach Boys, The Ramones, and New Found Glory into a cocktail blender, you would have the fun, party tunes of Fight Fair. Celebrating the release of their debut album California Kicks, this San Diego based band has been bringing their poppy surf punk tunes to all sides of the nation. In Pomona, the crowd response was tremendous as charismatic front man Alex Bigman and his crew presented a set jammed packed with groovin’ anthems such as San Diego and California Girls. When Bigman took off his shirt towards the middle of the set, several screaming girls in the crowd asked for it – to which the Fight Fair front man replied, “No! It’s 70 dollars!” You may not get rich enough to give away the shirt off your back, but there is little doubt that Fight Fair gained fans galore over the summer. Another star making performance from a band destined to party and rock it into the big time.
From the melodic punk of Fight Fair to the dark and stormy metalcore of Eyes Set To Kill, one of the headlining bands on the Ernie Ball Stage. Once again showing the grand diversity of this year’s Warped lineup, Eyes Set To Kill had quite a few fans packed around the stage awaiting their arrival. Based out of Tempe, Arizona, the band presented their fans with a stunning performance, with tracks culled mainly from their thrilling Broken Frames release. Started in 2004 by sisters Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez, the band has achieved a massive following over the years. Alexia is especially impressive on lead guitar, and sang the haunting lead clean vocals with an ntensity that certainly heated up the Pomona crowd. Anissa is also extremely charismatic, and delivered her guitar parts with the verve and tenacity of a seasoned pro. A welcomed addition to the band is their new screamer Cisko Miranda, whose imposing presence and mesmerizing vocal delivery meshed well with Alexia’s poignant inflections. Song performed included The Listening and Falling Fast. Lots of pretty girls were crowd surfing for this band! As a side note, Sean McDonald from the amazing 5 Years And Counting was assisting the band as a stagehand. Hopefully we can see 5YAC up there performing on a Warped Tour stage some day.
Over at Altec Lansing, right after a set from Hey Monday, Attack Attack! overtook the stage and performed a devastating collection of tunes for fans who pretty much packed out the entire area – most of it muddy grass. Performing selections from their just released Self-Titled album on Rise Records, the band mixed scathing metalcore sounds with passages of techno-dance, and had the audience enjoying each and every minute of the assault. Even Hey Monday vocalist Cassadee Pope joined the band for a song – quite an odd pairing, but it’s Warped Tour and by this time, you should well know that anything goes musically in this arena. Songs performed included Renob Nevada, Dr. Shavargo, Pt. 3, The People’s Elbow, and the sweet and sticky sounds of the crowd pleasing Sexual Man Chocolate. Hardcore dancing and chicken fighting were the activities of the moment, and mass chaos reigned supreme as the sun was beginning to set on a heated Pomona desert day.
The last band to appear on the Skull Candy stage was Disco Curtis, who played out the event as dusk was beginning to set upon the horizon. Plenty of people were still around; ready to party, and Disco Curtis gave a performance that really revved up those who were staying until the bitter end. Amongst the impressive songs in the set were their two new singles Ammunition and This Gravity, now available on Itunes and absolutely tremendous in a live setting. And then there was a killer rendition of Just Dance by Lady Gaga, which pretty much had all the girls in the audience shaking their hips and singing along. Based out of Texas, many of the members of Disco Curtis have known each other since the fourth grade, and the quality and exuberance of their music clearly shows that. Tanner Howe is a highly effective front man, drawing the listener in with his expressive voice and super cool guitar licks. Garrett Perales shines on lead guitar while Brendan Barone on bass and AJ Novak on drums make for an impressive rhythm section. Fans of All American Rejects and Dashboard Confessional will absolutely thrill by what these Lone Star state musicians have to offer. A tremendous way to end the day, and a great conclusion to the Highwire Daze experience at Warped Tour 2010.
Congrats to Kevin Lyman and his crew for a successful year! And here’s looking towards Warped Tour 2011!!!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)