Warped Tour: Part One

The amount of times I have gone to Warped Tour over the years is in the double digits. I have never gone for a full day in all these years until today. The triple digits routinely found here are the biggest reasons. However, armed with a photo pass for the first time and a ton of bands I didn’t want to miss, I made sure I was there at open. The only casualty was not glancing at the schedule to find our local girls in Doll Skin were a 1PM set, so I did miss them.

On the flipside, I was able to catch one of the first new discoveries of my day in Forget Your Friends. They were one of the rare non-punk acts I caught in the nine hours at Warped Tour. I’d consider them more of a rock or alternative rock. Probably associate them more closely to New Years Day, who was another Warped band this year.

With them there were some fantastic vocals from Pony. She worked to get the early crowd engaged. The band, and her, have a fantastic enthusiasm and energy to their performance. A victim to an early time slot, I highly recommend people go check out their music and when they pass through Phoenix again.

Following up their set were the great guys of Valient Thorr. I last caught these guys when they came through with PEARS. They bring a rock ‘n roll with a style. They embrace the rock gods from another planet motif. With that was Valient pointing to the cloudless sky of the day talking between songs about the flying ships from space.

Their entire set is in great fun. Valient himself moves not only on the stage, but off it to bring the performance to the crowd. This includes him bouncing over to the grass, getting a cardio going for the fans watching the set. Valient Thorr is a blast to watch. They haven’t disappointed me in two outtings.

Following them were the gals and guys of War on Women. The last time they passed through with Anti-Flag, I had to make the tough choice between that and the Toasters. This time, there was no competition so I was all in. It was off to a good start before it started.  Jen, on guitar, noticed my Less than Jake shirt. Found out she was in a band with Roger called Greenhorn. That alone turned into a great conversation before there was music.

The set itself was full of happy faces and blasting punk rock. Shawna, lead vocals, brings a great and strong voice to the songs. Plus, she brought a squirt gun to this hot crowd in front. As the name of the band suggests, songs focus on issues confronting women in our current society. In a hard punk sound, the lyrics bring direct and sometimes haunting descriptors for the issues.  War on Women is strong voice for women and does it with kick ass music.

Missing a few songs of the last set due to overlap, I ran over to catch the local boys in Playboy Manbaby. They brought their unique punk act to the Full Sail stage. What I caught was a mix of the most recent tracks from these guys mixed with the more familiars. The heat not a looking like a factor ensured the personalities and charisma of the band shown from the stage.

The crowd itself fed off of it and was moving too. It probably helps that this was their hometown, so the people present knew exactly how to move to a Playboy Manbaby set. This is a follow up to their second Punk Rock Bowling appearance too. Playboy Manbaby keeps getting onto bigger shows, and I’m rooting for them every step of the way.

Then I bounced back over to the stages where my genre of choice was concentrated to see the ladies of Bad Cop/Bad Cop. Right off the album release of Warriors, they have been on the Warped Tour. Nearly half of the set included songs off of that excellent new album. The tracks are a little faster and more political than their past albums. There are some strong messages on it down to the upbeat, but sad song “Victoria.” The album is an early leader for one of my favorite albums of 2017.

As the heat settled in during their set, I saw no damper on their performance. They had great vocals across the board and Linh Le her usual ballerina across the stage. They were yet another band today that was smiles across the stage throughout the set. Catching the Bad Cop/Bad Cop set was another reward of getting out to Warped Tour early.

After taking a break to get some food, I returned to those same stages for some Strung Out. Speaking of energy, starting at Jason and going through the entire band they probably take the cake for most charismatic.  In addition, I noticed Rob sticks his tongue out while playing more than I have in the past. Chris was fantastic on bass and one of the guys who noticed the camera, giving me an occasional pose.

For the latter part of their set, I spent it watching it from Sonic Boom Six’s merch tent. This was the time I had an interview scheduled but between Strung Out and the heat, agreed it was best to move that back. Still, that made a great place to watch the Strung Out set, with some shade and cool people. There is no doubt that Strung Out puts on one of the best stage performances of any band I’ve watched.

Next up would be my first time seeing the Barb Wire Dolls. They would make for yet another strong, punk female fronted band that I was catching at Warped Tour. They have more of an eighties punk rock and metal sound. My thoughts on them leaning more punk rock are down to the songs pushing to be free to be who they are and enjoy what they want.

That entire band is dancing, moving around and having an enjoyable time during the set. Isis brings a strong stage presence and voice to their music. I can see why she would take on lead vocals. They put on an amazing performance all encompassing. After that set, probably not the last time I catch the Barb Wire Dolls.

Stay tuned for the second part of my Warped Tour updates and pictures. In the meantime, check out the gallery of shots from the bands mentioned in part one.

Forget Your Friends

Valient Thorr

War on Women

Playboy Manbaby

Bad Cop/Bad Cop

Strung Out

Barb Wire Dolls

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