Over the Weekend: The Vans Warped Tour at Superpages.com Center

Van's Warped Tour
Superpages.com Center
July 3rd, 2010

Better than: last year's Warped date.

Thank you, Hurricane Alex. Were it not for your rain and wind, the thousands of folks at the Warped Tour would have felt like those dropped in the desert in the movie Punishment Park.

Instead, the thousands who showed up at Superpages.com Center and its parking lot were treated to a brief, big rainfall late in the afternoon, and, for much of the rest of the day, a rather cloudy, breezy affair with spots of sunshine.

As for the lineup, this felt much more like the traditional Warped Tour than recent outings, thanks to its mix of pop-punk, emo rock, hardcore, and metal. Without novelty acts like 3OH!3, Millionaires, and Brokencyde, more bands that might actually be worth a damn down the road got to play.

Given the wall-to-wall music, there was a lot to intake. Only in the bathrooms did people get some peace and quiet.

Alas, there were exceptional acts throughout the day.

You had plenty of metal crunch: some bands brought the pop with it while others just kept it gritty and unrelenting. Suicide Silence was quite good during their late afternoon set, but Every Time I Die seemed to hit all the right notes--the New York quintet easily fused hard rock, metal, hardcore, and (gasp!) an element of fun throughout their set.

Kicking off their noon-time set on the main stage (aka, the Taggert Stage), Every Time I Die set a tone that would remain quite high on that stage for the rest of the day. Alkaline Trio, Andrew W.K., Motion City Soundtrack, the Bouncing Souls, and Face to Face all delivered quality sets filled with songs people wanted to hear.

But it was the mighty Dillinger Escape Plan that pretty much stole the entire show.

With a set featuring a number of fan favorites and songs from their latest album, Option Paralysis, the band proved that they are a band that can still play their hearts out in the sunshine instead of their usual dim lights and strobes.

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As usual, vocalist Greg Puciato and guitarists Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle used the stage as an obstacle course for chaos, jumping off of amps and flinging their bodies around. Towards the end of their set, Tuttle even lunged into the audience with guitar in hand and kept playing.

On the other stages, many bands drew crowds, but as far as noteworthy sets, it was Dallas's own The Rocket Summer who brought the goods. Mastermind Bryce Avery led his band members and an adoring (and packed) crowd. At one point, Avery decided to create a song on the spot, looping a drumbeat and then churning out a walking piano line. That kind of spontaneity was a welcome change from the many pop/hardcore metal bands that obviously spent a long time on their "rock moves" instead of writing decent material.

Roaming around the whole venue, it was hard to say if there was more of one kind of crowd over the other. Sure, there were plenty of teenagers, but quite a lot of college age and up and even people well above the age of 21. Almost every kind of variation of tattoos were spotted--full sleeves to one-offs to guys with 80 percent of their bodies inked.

On top of that, there were plenty of parents roaming around--some with ink and some without any at all. A few even looked like they went to the Warped Tour as teens in the '90s, and now come to show with their young children in tow.

Overall, it was a worthwhile day-long festival. For the thousands willing to brave the elements, they got a show worth remembering.

Critic's Notebook:
Personal Bias:
You know at shows where there's a guy going crazy about a band while everyone just stands around? Well, I was "that guy" during Face to Face's set. They're one of my all-time favorite bands, and I could not help myself.

By The Way: Pizza only cost six dollars, and bottled water cost four.

Random Note: Lots of good shirts at this year's fest. "Stop listening to awful fucking music," read one. "Fuck BP," readd another.

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