Jul 26, 2011

Warped Tour 2011 - Merriweather Post

By Bob Suehs


July 26, 2011

Columbia, Maryland


The yearly installment of the Warped Tour made it's way through the Maryland area on July 26, 2011 & this line-up was not the most interesting billing I've ever seen; the honest truth is that the bands on this year's tour were just so/so....I am not the only person who echoed this statement either, fans I talked to at the show stated the same thing that the tour had dropped the ball with the 2011 line-up, BUT The Warped Tour is not just about the bands...it's also about the vendors, the vibe & the overall party that takes place throughout the day.

The general misconception is that the Warped Tour is ONLY a "skater/kiddie" show....that is NOT the case & if you don't believe me look at some of the past artists who've played the tour...artists like Joan Jett, Killswitch Engage, Shooter Jennings, Vamps, Katy Perry, etc., all artist's whose musical genre's are NOT punk oriented...the Warped Tour is a fun all day music fest that travels all across the States every year & this year I had no problem picking & choosing which artists to cover....I started my day off with an entertaining behind the scenes viewing of Peelander-Z doing press in the interview area...the 3 members of the band were decked out in bright colors & came off like rock n roll-power rangers, they were animated & quirky & their costumes are what made them memorable.

The first set of the day I caught was on one of the smaller stages where Sick of Sarah played.

Sick of Sarah are an all girl band, the music they create is pure pop with elements of punk & I can sugar coat things or tell you the honest truth on the bands set...the simple facts are as follows:

The bands bass player is tall, cute & all legs...her bass playing is easily overshadowed by her looks...she looks more like she should be shopping at the mall than playing bass...she's the prettiest girl in the band.

The bands singer was the most talented member on that stage...she had a good voice, was in really good shape body wise & she reminded me of a softer version of Joan Jett looks wise...also, I can't forget to mention that when she took off her t-shirt in favor of a sports bra her nipples were rather hard to miss!

The bands drummer was decent & covered in tatts & their guitarists were sadly forgettable...one was rather dyke-ish & the other looked very 80's....the bands promo pics seemed more interesting than their onstage appearance because each member seemed to belong in a different band based on their looks....the music Sick of Sarah played was ok and I don't wanna trash them, they just couldn't compete when most of the bands on this bill were heavy/heavy/heavy!

Asking Alexandria played the largest stage of the day at 2 PM and their set was intense...they played hardcore music & added elements of rock & occasional electro elements as well...their singer was just a little annoying to me though because he tried to act tougher than he came off but the crowd ate up every note the band hammered out....there was even a nice sized "Wall of Death" towards the end of the bands set.

I caught a few minutes of August Burns Red's set & they rocked pretty hard & had a huge crowd in attendance for their set while local rockers Lionize played a bluesy & soulful set in the amphitheater area of the venue.

The Acacia Strain played on the mid sized "Advent Stage" & their set was pure hardcore, every song pummeled the crowd & if the band didn't take a short pause in between songs you honestly could not tell where one song started & the other finished!

The Acacia Strain's singer made me laugh at one point when he blurted out that he wanted the crowd to go off so hard that they would all "Shit their pants!" & he said it again, literally that he wanted the entire crowd to "Shit their pants!" & I think some people got the sarcasm in his statement while others were just confused or tired from the heat & the sun!

A Day To Remember was the next band I caught & they played at 5 PM on the largest stage at the show which was the "Teggart Stage".

A Day To Remember were non-stop energy from start to finish & this was a band that was kinda hard to photograph simply because the band members ran around non-stop throughout their set!

The pit during A Day to Remember was crazy & it got so hectic upfront that they ushered all photographers from the barricade area after the 2nd song!

For me personally there were 2 highlights to this day;

1. I got to share the Warped Tour experience with my friend/partner in crime for the day, Cara.....she made the day fun & I had an absolute blast being with her all day!


Black Veil Brides were the stand out band of the day clearly....if you missed their set you missed the best part of the 2011 Warped tour & I'll state for the record that while Black Veil Brides are not doing anything totally new, they are fresh with their approach & in an era where there's so few "rock stars" who look the part, Black Veil Brides bring excitement to the stage!

Black Veil Brides are an equal mix of Sigue Sigue Sputnik meets "Shout at the Devil" era Nikki Sixx...they all sport long dyed black hair, skin tight costumes, cool boots, lotsa studs, lots o' make-up & they come off slightly cartoonish in some parts yet totally memorable from the moment they take the stage till the moment they exit it!

"Fallen Angel" totally rips off "Shout at the Devil" by Motley Crue in various parts & the guitar solos BVB's guitarists play are almost annoying in tone...when you compare the shred licks that Synyster Gates from Avenged Sevenfold plays to what the 2 guitarists from BVB's play, on a musical level it's clear that BVB are not basing their career off their musicianship & that their looks are probably a tad more important than their musical prowess on some levels & there's nothing wrong with that because they have an ever-growing fan base that devoured the bands set!

Seeing BVB play in the 5:30 PM sunlight reminded me of the video I saw of Motley Crue playing the US Fest back during the "Shout at the Devil" era of the bands career....BVB don't really translate that well in the sunlight, the painted black physiques of each band member accompanied with their all black motif works best at night in the confines of a dark, dank club & the same thing can be said for the bands fanbase as well, but seeing this band in the afternoon in the sun....odd!

When the band finished playing their set they were ushered via security to the backstage area & a swarm of little girls flocked the band till they were unaccessible & in the backstage area of the venue....they stayed in character the entire time they were within public view & on a strictly visual level Black Veil Brides were the most interesting thing outside of Peelander-Z on this tour!

It's also random but interesting to note that the guitarist who sported the latex pants in BVB had a hole in the ass part of his pants....dude, watch out because that will eventually split all the way!

Interesting to note that once BVB were finished playing quite a few people left the show & there was still nearly 3.5 hours & 18 more bands to play on various stages!

I'll admit that after Black Veil Brides finished I walked past the other stages, said goodbye to friends & left the show as well because after BVB's set there was nothing left on the bill quite as exciting!

The 2011 Warped Tour is but a memory for the Maryland area for yet another year & while the bill this year was less than stellar I will admit this year is one I won't forget!