Concert Reviews

Warped Tour - Gexa Energy Pavilion - 7/3/12

Warped Tour Gexa Energy Pavilion Tuesday, July 3

See also: Talking to Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It

See also: The fans and bands of Warped Tour

Per usual, the gates to Warped Tour opened a few minutes after 11 a.m., and what was available to see was spotty.Though the folky jig of London's Skinny Lister was entertaining on the Kia Rio stage (aka the large pre-existing stage at the old Starplex), bands like We Are the In Crowd and Sleeping With Sirens came off like bland knock-offs of bland knock-offs. We Are the In Crowd sounded like a younger Paramore/Hey Monday, and Sleeping With Sirens sounded like a junior version of A Skylit Drive.

The number of elder statesmen on this year's tour was lacking. No bands like the Bouncing Souls or Pennywise here. Instead, the oldest bands were acts like Streetlight Manifesto and Senses Fail. Anti-Flag, a longtime staple of the tour, gave an impressive performance on the Kia Rio Stage. The pit was full and a majority of the audience had fists in the air.

Given the fact that the Warped Tour is a 360-degree experience in mass-marketing and music, there was no shortage of merch. Certain special interest groups were set up and out in force, like PETA, Mercy for Animals, and But the best tent was none other than local Lone Star Percussion. Offering free drum lessons by Robert Anderson (Deathray Davies, Nervous Curtains), plenty of people stopped by for some pointers.

Nestled between the large Kia Soul and Tilly's stages were the Acoustic Basement, Silent Disco and House of Marley stages. House of Marley offered almost non-stop hip-hop and reggae while Silent Disco was all about modern house and electronic music. Acoustic Basement completely lived up to its name. Acts like Anthony Raneri from Bayside, Kris Roe from The Ataris and Evan Weiss (aka, Into It. Over It) certainly helped the afternoon go by with intimate acoustic sets filled with jokes and stories.

With 5 p.m. rolling around, it seemed like more people sought shade over everything else. All Time Low played to an enormous crowd on the Kia Rio Stage while Polar Bear Club played to a small yet devoted audience on Tilly's. Also in view during PBC: a seemingly never-ending line for Blessthefall's signing appearance.

More stages and tents were torn down as the sun set and Bayside and Falling in Reverse played an audio tug-of-war. Falling in Reverse sounded massive, even though their sound is an embarrassing blend of metalcore, hair metal and Radio Disney pop. Bayside sounded much smaller, but the black-eyed pop-punks were charged.

The last rays of sunlight disappeared around as Taking Back Sunday closed out the day. Performing a set very similar to last year's appearance at the House of Blues, the guys were quite the highlight, playing for an incredibly large audience with songs from all over their back catalog.

Personal bias: I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a drum lesson from Robert Anderson. Instead of talking about blast beats, we talked about Bernard Purdie shuffles and the groove on Bill Withers' "Use Me."

By the way: Six bottles of water kept me going through the day. Yet when I play golf in weather like this, it's usually only two. Go figure.