Summer festival season is back in full force as the Vans Warped Tour returned to San Francisco for the first time since 2009 with a sold out show … apparently the first show on the tour to sell out. If you attended, the sold out status would have come as no surprise to you; at 11 am the 5-people-wide line encircled the venue, crossed the 3rd street bridge and wrapped around AT&T park via the Bay Trail. Absolutely insane and daunting enough that I would have turned heel and gone home if I had to wait in it.
The thing about the Warped Tour is that you never know who’s going to play at what time until you get inside the gate. What the length of that line said is that this year’s line-up had enough going on to make an early arrival a necessity. Unfortunately for the bands that drew the short straw this day, very few people made it inside the doors to catch the first bands on all the stages which went on anywhere between 11:10 and 11:30.
With 9 stages in play and the the set length ranging from 25-35 minutes, this year’s Warped Tour hosted a whopping total of 93 acts (holy crap). Even if you wanted to visit all the stages during the day, the time required to maneuver through the masses would have likely cost you a few songs of whatever band you were hoping to catch. With that in mind, I focused my limited time between the main stages and the Monster Energy Drink Stage (which looked suspiciously like previous year’s Ernie Ball stage) so that I could shuttle back and forth through the backstage.
Still early in the tour, the bands were all fresh (and clean/not smelly), chipper and ready to get on with the show. A perfect summer day in San Francisco terms had a few bands commenting about being cold but by the time the crowds packed in, the blue skies and sun made for pretty much the perfect day for a show.
The pop punk and screamo on the bill was entirely to be expected but it was great to see some diversity from acts like Dead Sara (straight up rock n’ roll) and Skinny Lister which I would label as folk-Americana except for the fact that they’re from the UK. What does that make them?
Aside from that, it felt as if I’ve seen these bands many times before which brought me to agonizing over the demise of the Old School Stage and dreaming of the Reverse Daycare tent. But taking a look around at the mobs of kids screaming along word-for-word, it’s hard to deny that maybe Kevin Lyman is on to something here. Hot Topic crowd or not, lining up a stuffed-to-the-gills show for a bunch of bands that never EVER get played on local radio is no small feat. To top it all off, they somehow manage to uproot this whole enterprise around 9 pm and are ready to do it all again in another city by 11 am the next day.
Anyways, here’s what you get with 5 hours at Warped with nary a pee break …
All Time Low
Every Time I Die
Miss May I
Motionless In White
New Found Glory
Of Mice & Men
Rise To Remain
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