This is your chance to see 3 amazing punk rock acts for the low low price of $13.
The Utters just started recording new material after a seven year break and rumor has it will be releasing a new album shortly. This will be my first time seeing these guys live. I swear, every time they have played Cleveland I either forgot or had to work. No way am I missing out on this chance to see them finally.
The Menzingers, one of my top punk acts of 2010, are just full of energy and are looking to have a good time. This will be my first time seeing them live on account of the band canceling their set at the NOFX show I attended earlier this year in Covington, KY. Needless to say I am psyched.
The Facials….suck. Show up late so you do not have to see them. I am kidding. The Facials are like family to me and have been in the Cleveland punk scene for years now. If you have not seen this local act yet do yourself a favor and get there early grab a PBR and enjoy.
Progressive indie rockers Coheed & Cambria return to Cleveland this week with special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter. I really didn’t think I was going to make it to this show but a pair of tickets landed in my lap and there is no way I am going to miss seeing them. Having been to multiple Coheed shows over the years I know they never fail to impress. Looking forward to seeing Porcupine Tree finally as well as taking in The Dear Hunter.
Last Wednesday Columbus, Ohio was the place to be if you were looking for an amazing rock show. New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem headlined the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion with special guests Chamberlain and Tim Barry and I must say, all who packed the floor knew well in advance that they were in for a good time. It was a show I had been looking forward to since it was announced in the Spring and luckily I was able to be a part of it.
Even if it down-poured on the way down there and careless drivers kept trying to crash into my vehicle my friends and I made it down to Columbus with some time to kill. Having never been to the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion before I was not sure if it was an indoor or outdoor venue. Turns out it was both but due to a baseball game at the neighboring stadium the show was going to be played inside.
While wasting some time I enjoyed a tall, cheap, and ice cold Natural Light (no I did not get paid to say that) as I conversed with friends and the people around me at the A&R Music Bar that stood left to the concert hall. Turns out we were not the only folk who traveled to see the show. One group of guys, who I swear I knew one of, were from Cleveland and another few came all the way from Indianapolis. I also got word that someone else I knew was traveling from Charleston, WV. When it is a show like the one we all had tickets to, it was worth the drive no matter how far away.
Making way into the indoor section of the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion I was impressed with what I saw. The inside was not only super clean but nicely laid out with a split level floor as well as an upper floor where one could see the stage just about anywhere you hung out. My only vice was that my photo pass only allowed access to the photo pit for Tim Barry, not that I am complaining. I just had never encountered a venue so strict with their press before. Regardless I was beyond pleased to be in the building that was about to host three exciting acts even if it were going to be indoors.
Tim Barry took to the stage with a beer in hand and a baseball cap shut down over his head. While most know Barry as the punk rock lead of Avail there were many who had no idea who he was. There seemed to be a lot in the crowd who were expecting more than a man and his acoustic guitar to fill the opening slot.
That soon changed as the Richmond, Virginian working class hero kept close to the mic stand and strummed his guitar playing “This November”. The punk turned folk rocker told everyone how busy he has been being on the road touring since January and pointed out at one time that he was not afraid of death at all but feared failure and especially being on stage playing a bad show.
I was most impressed to hear Barry not only play “Prosser’s Gabriel” but also state to the crowd before the song that he was planning on playing a free show on the parking lot in Virginia that lies over the burial site of Gabriel Prosser. The punk at heart bad ass was not kidding and even mentioned being told to bring along a lawyer because he knew he would get arrested. By the time the song was over just about everyone in the venue had their eyes on the one man show. Other tracks I enjoyed seeing live were “Avoiding Catatonic Surrender” as well as the end of the set chilling “Dog Bumped”. During that final song I could not help but scream along in approval (queue in Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison applauds) with the crowd during different moments of the track.
Barry might be a tough mother you-know-what, but he is also sincere and genuine as seen when he thanked the crowd for letting him play once it was time for him to exit. While the next act was getting set up Barry was actually walking around amongst the crowd where my two friend’s spotted him and bought him a beer. I was told that Barry said not only thank you to them but also yelled “that’s the biggest damn beer I ever seen!”
Tim Barry Setlist:
Moving on Blue
Church of Level Track
Avoiding Catatonic Surrender
Chamberlain hit the stage next and as much as I thought I was going to enjoy their set I didn’t. I have heard their material and recognized when certain songs were played like “Try For Thunder” and “Mountain Of A Heart” off The Moon My Saddle but just was not impressed. They sounded much rockier than what I am used to on their studio album and not to mention the lead singer was just acting off key. I am not the only one who noticed that either. Luckily for the band my thoughts about them were not shared with the rest of the crowd. They loved them and erupted with approval when the band stated they were happy to be back in Columbus.
The band played through a good set including “Manhattan’s Iron Horses”, “Stars In The Streetlight”, and the impressive live sounding “Raise It High” which I later picked up a 7″ of at their merch table. They were solid and on point but again I just was not feeling it (until the last song). I really need to give these guys another chance live as I love their albums and especially adore their previous act Split Lip.
The rock band of the night, hell -the year, Gaslight Anthem took the stage while Jay-Z’s “Empire State Of Mind” blasted over the PA with all smiles to the packed house. Wasting no time the band jumped into their latest album’s title track “American Slang” followed by “Boxer”. Brian Fallon and crew looked so happy to be on stage and gave the crowd the show they paid for continuing with my favorite track off American Slang “The Diamond Church Street Choir”. During the song I was curious to see if Fallon would be able to sing his Billy Joel-like ending and to my satisfaction he nailed it.
Keeping the momentum the band moved along with “Old White Lincoln”, “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues”, as well as “Mile Davis and The Cool” and “The 59 Sound”. Needless to say the entire crowd helped sing along throughout the set as well as danced, moshed, and just lost all control. After “Film Noir” Fallon spoke to the crowd but be it my bad ears or him strumming his guitar a little too hard, I could barely understand what he was saying. He mentioned to the crowd something along the lines that his Mom loved and shared this band from 1959 that featured a bunch of African-American men playing on an album with some guy named Elvis. The band immediately broke into “Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?” – Again, the place went insane.
After about six more songs including “Blue Jeans and White T-shirts” and “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” the band finished up their set with “Great Expectations”. Knowing that there would be an encore in just a few moments I was already fully satisfied or so I thought. With the crowd cheering in a soccer like chant of ” Gaslight Anthem” followed by claps the band returned to the stage and announced they would be playing a few more songs starting off with a cover of Lucero‘s “The War”. All I could think was how awesome it was going to be to hear their version when all of the sudden Tim Barry came out and sang along. I was speechless.
The encore, which lasted longer than most opening acts I have seen in my day, also included “We Came To Dance”, “Senor and the Queen”, and another cover from a band called The Who. It has been quite some time since I have seen an entire venue participate during a song but the moment “Baba O’Riley” started that all changed. The Gaslight Anthem’s version was exceptional and the moment they finished Fallon screamed “Yeah! So much fun!” He was correct in that statement, it was. I thought the show was over and that was the band’s farewell but they kept playing and I was not complaining one bit. Ending with “The Backseat” it was clear that I was not the only one who had just witnessed an amazing performance by a young and growing talented band.
The band exited the stage, the lights came on, and that was it – the show was over and it was time to go on our separate ways. Immediately the saying “the memories will last a lifetime” rolled thought my mind and I could not agree more. Throughout all of the shows I have seen this year this one will stand out a little more over the others. I was treated to an amazing performance by a band I have been a fan of since they were playing small clubs as well as finally grabbed the chance to see a good man named Tim Barry. That night is what live music is all about to me and I am grateful to have been there.
The Gaslight Anthem Setlist:
The Diamond Church Street Choir
Old White Lincoln
Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
Bring It On
Miles Davis & The Cool
The ’59 Sound
Red In The Morning
Angry Johnny & The Radio
Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
Boomboxes & Dictionaries
The Spirit Of Jazz
The Queen Of Lower Chelsea
The War – Lucero cover w/ Tim Barry lending vocals
We Came To Dance
Senor & The Queen
We’re Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner
Boba O’Riley – The Who cover
Here’s Looking At You Kid
It’s no lie, the Vans Warped Tour is the longest running traveling festival of all time. The punk rock summer camp has been going strong for 15 years now and once again has shown no signs of quitting any time soon. I am sure it is safe to say that Kevin Lyman, the Warped Tour founder, has no intention what so ever of shutting down his vision that has brought bands and fans together yearly all over North America.
The festival for myself has been more or less a ritual over the past 15 years. I have gone with my friends to Warped Tour almost every summer since I was a little 18 year old punk kid without a care in the world. Some of my best memories come from spending hours in intense heat watching bands I love with others who share the same interest. I have written about many of those memories last year so I am not going to repeat myself but I will say that “Eiffel Tower” and “FAFGAD” will always bring a smile to my face when one of my friends happens to bring them up.
Now I will admit that last year I announced my retirement to the Warped Tour. At the time I was serious and felt it right to stop going while I was still having a good time. I stood by my decision and was ok with it. After going to the Warped Tour for 14 years I decided I saw all the bands I could ever want to see and just did not have it in my anymore to continue going.
Well I lied. Sort of…
I just came out of retirement early and it was all because of a little Californian band called Face To Face. The second I found out that they reunited and were playing the 2010 Warped Tour I had no choice but to go again. Can you blame me?
So yes, I am a liar like Henry Rollins. Oh well. I might as well talk about my day at the 15th annual Vans Warped Tour in Cleveland. I will warn you that there may be some shocking material in this post featuring yours truly. So without further adieu…my review.
“I’m getting too old for this sh*t” – Me upon entering the gates of the Tower City Amphitheater.
It was ridiculously hot on Thursday as I got my ticket scanned for entry to the festival. When I say hot I am talking 95 degrees with a heat index of at least 100. The sun was a bastard and just scorched all who got in it’s way. I knew to dress accordingly and to bathe in sunscreen so I had no worries about getting sun burnt but I was pretty damn miserable the moment I set foot into the grounds. I laughed at myself knowing that I might have made a bad choice by coming out of retirement but decided what the hell and chose to make the best of it.
Before I even got started roaming around I wanted to say hello to my cousin who was at the tour as well but not as an attendee. He was working EMT in one of the first aid tents near the entrance. When I greeted him there was a young kid in the tent already with a war wound like none other. Half crying the young music fan was holding a towel to his head and was just covered in blood.
My cousin smiled at me giving indication that he was in for a long day. He called for an ambulance as the kid needed stitches due to a 2 inch gash in his forehead. Apparently the kid was watching metalcore act Confide and fell in the pit – headbutting the ground with his skull. I felt band for the little guy mostly because I knew that not only was his day cut short but I was also pretty sure his parents would never allow him band to the Warped Tour again.
Every Time I Die was already opening the day by the time I arrived to the main stage. I was bummed out to see such a killer act play the early slot but that is one thing Warped has always been known for, no set schedules. In fact one of the reason I missed some of their set was because I had to partake in my little ritual of going to the inflatable schedule and writing down what bands I wanted to see. Closing with “We’rewolf”, the band thanked Cleveland for coming early to see them and was positive that they had set the level for the day. I could not agree more.
I took one, count ’em, one lap around the festival grounds. Why? It was too freaking hot. I just wanted to see if there were any interesting merch booths and maybe take in a band I had not heard of before. I had intentions of spending more time exploring but found myself stopping at the Kia / Kevin Says Stage to see Left Alone.
As they rifled through their set playing songs like “Sad Story” and “I Hate Emo” the kids in the crowd showed their support and early on energy by dancing around as well as forming a circle pit that spun around the soundboard. Lead singer Elvis Cortez enjoyed the insanity but did call out one long haired kid who clearly was moshing like an a-hole. Elvis Cortez was also the only original band member on the stage. What was up with that?
I shook my head in disbelief as I walked past the AP stage and saw apparently a popular Mike Posner on stage swooning hundreds of little girls with his R&B soul music. All I could think of was what in the hell this guy was doing at a punk fest? I did not even give him a moment of my time and headed to the main stage where I would remain for the next few hours.
Before staking ground under the giant shade tent I detoured to the Skullcandy stage where a band called AM Taxi was playing to a very small crowd. The band, who features members of Luck Boys Confusion, put on a good rock show and impressed me with their sound. I will be checking them out more in the near future.
Alkaline Trio took to the main stage under the shade tent that seemingly served no purpose. Even if the sun was blocked it was still 100 degrees under that giant tent with no airflow at all. Even if I was a sweaty mess I still enjoyed AK3’s set including “Cringe”, “Armageddon”, “Dine, Dine My Darling”, “This Addiction”, and also “97”. There was little movement on stage by the band during their set but overall they put on a good show.
New Jersey metal act The Dillinger Escape Plan were without a doubt the most energetic group I’ve witnessed at the Warped Tour for a while now. Lead singer Greg Puciato was all over the stage causing fans to go insane and at one point hopped on top of some stacked amps and leaped without a care. A few songs after, guitarist Jeff Tuttle, who joined singing duties repeated the feat and leap off another stack of amps. It was an insane performance and one of the highlights of my day.
I had many the option to check out other acts while the bands on the main stage while their sets were being broken down and new ones were set up but I was finding myself overheating. I consumed more water than I thought my body could handle so it was nothing to do with hydration. I was just finding myself exhausted to the point where I just was not caring anymore. It was a scary thought as I used to go to Warped Tours with intentions of just pounding beer after beer but in reality I am getting up there in age so I was not completely shocked.
The whole reason I came out of Warped Tour retirement, also known as Face To Face, finally took to the stage to a much smaller crowd than I had anticipated. Trever Keith and company sounded absolutely amazing and played the radio friendly “Disconnected” as well as “Walk The Walk”, and one of my favorites “I’m Trying”. The band announced they were finishing up a new album and even played a cut off of it.
In the middle of their set Trever Keith called out to the huge group of young kids just sitting down under the amphitheater seeking shade who were clearly ignoring his band. He shouted at them “I just want you to know there was music before 2005. You should go ahead and Google it.” The true punk rock fans applauded in approval while the kids – just sat there clueless. It was depressing to see such an influential punk rock band have such a small crowd. Not letting it affect them they played their hearts out to the older Warped Tour crowd.
A few more people seemed to enter the main stage area before the Bouncing Souls were to take the stage but still it was nothing in comparison to previous years performances from bands like NOFX and Bad Religion as well as the kiddie pop punk act Paramore and (cough, cough) 3OH!3. It just seemed as if the people who paid the $40+ for a ticket were more interested in the younger acts playing the smaller stages. Honestly when I thought about it, things were running as designed (bands playing for fans) but I just was hoping for a little more respect for the bands that made the Warped Tour what it is today… The main stage just did not seem to be the focal point of the day.
The East Coast punkers took to the stage with Dillinger Escape Plan’s Jeff Tuttle who ran all over the stage getting the crowd riled up. Greg Attonito took things a step further and jumped down from the stage and started singing songs to the fans at a more personable level from the barricade. Countless kids crowd surfed their way towards Greg Attonito and each time one came close to him he would hold his hand out and pull them closer.
A few songs into their set they brought out UK act The Exposed to the stage with them to play along. Seeing members of other bands hit the stage with them through their just screamed how punk rock they really are. The band sounded great and clearly was happy to be playing to all their fans on summer day. Hearing “The Something Special”, “Lean On Shena”, as well as a handful of other Souls’ songs put a giant smile on my face and at that moment I forgot about the sweltering heat and sang along enjoying every moment. Ending their set with “True Believer” I could not be happier with what I just saw. Long live the Souls.
It was about 5 o’clock and there were could other bands I wanted to check out before Andrew WK was to hit the main stage. I sat there and contemplated which stage I should check out and if a lap around the grounds was in order. Sum 41 was to play as well as All American Rejects and Polar Bear Club in that 2 hour span so I had plenty of options but chose to do something completely different.
I threw in the towel.
That’s right folks, I gave up. As happy I was at the end of the Souls’ set my body was pleading with me to get the hell out of dodge and find some air conditioning. I sat there for at least 10 minutes trying to convince myself that leaving was a good idea. I knew I was going to miss some of these bands and most of all would be missing puke rocker Andrew WK, someone I have admired for years.
I finally grabbed my gear and headed for the exit. As much as I wanted to see Andrew WK, I knew those 2 hours until showtime were going to kill me. It just made sense to head out and hope the puke rocker comes back to Cleveland another day. My few friends who were there were not even bothered by the fact of me bailing, some of them followed my lead.
I do not think I will be returning to the Warped Tour ever again. This is my letter of resignation. It is not because I have issues with the way the festival is running, it’s more or less issues with myself. Feeling like I’ve been caught on fire for an entire day is just not my idea of fun. The kids, on the other hand, love it and I hope they continue to do so for another 15 years.
If by some chance next year has an amazing line up that can not be missed then maybe, just maybe, I will succumb. Until then I am done. I just do not have it in me anymore to do a day long festival on asphalt. I’m still all for festivals and hope to hit Bonnaroo again but as far as the Warped Tour goes, I am out. Fifteen years is good enough for me.
This years line-up was a little weak for me personally because I just had not heard of any of the bands on the roster or had no interest. Again, that is just my opinion because I saw a whole lot of other music fans in their glory. I looked at them and remember the times when I was younger and was just overwhelmed. As for myself I only cared about eight bands total and had no intentions of exploring for more music.
So yeah, this is a half assed review since I bailed and decided to get pizza and go record shopping. Well, that is kind of punk rock if you think about it too right?
So am I getting too old for this sh*t? Not really. Mentally I am with everyone else, physically on the other hand is a different story and I know when my limits have been met. Face it, the Warped Tour is for the kids. I was there once…
You didn’t think I actually forgot about Those Darlins now did you? I admit it has been quite some time since I talked about the band I was pretty much obsessed over in 2009. After all I only saw them four times live and probably posted way too much about them but whatever…I like to share what I love.
Those Darlins have not really been around these skirts of town in a while. Earlier in the year they played a folk festival down in Southern Ohio but I was unable to make it there. Sadly Nikki Darlin broke her left forearm in two places while there forcing the band to cancel their tour. If you want the full story of what happened click HERE.
Honestly I am not sure they have even been to Cleveland yet this year.
Well that is all about to change as Those Darlins have set a date for a Cleveland show. So mark your calenders on September 21st and head on over to the Beachland Tavern to see one of my favorite acts do their thing.
Opening for them is rock act Turbo Fruits hailing from Tennessee, home of the Darlins too. It’s going to be a great night. Cowboy boots optional.