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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coming soon: a ton of show announcements!

Hey dudes. I'm all moved in to my new place, so get ready for lots of updates again! There have been a ton of shows announced, which I'll post here shortly. Something for everyone, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Warped tour -- Bonner Springs, KS -- July 9th, 2012

What a great time I had today. By far the best Warped Tour I've been to. It was pretty much cloudy and sprinkling rain all day today, until the sun came out for the final hours of the festival. Couldn't ask for a better experience. No sunburns, no dehydration, all fun!

I got to Sandstone (now Cricket Wireless, but I'll never call it that) Amphitheater around Noon and I could hear some music going on already. Warped was split up that the main amphitheater with the big stage, in front of the seats and the general lawn area, was one of the main stages. The rest were in the 2nd parking lot. As I got in and walked down into the lawn area, I realized the band playing was For Today. I walked down and the singer was screaming about how the only way for salvation was for everyone in the crowd to give themselves to Jesus Christ today and to not wait to do it. Right after, he wanted the biggest circle pit and for everyone to go crazy. The fact that what I heard of them was one big breakdown didn't help either. I quickly booked it over to the parking lot.

My first really big letdown of the day followed shortly. As I made it to the parking lot, I started to walk over to the giant blowup schedule they have to see when everyone is playing. Unfortunately for me, I walked by Man Overboard who were just finishing up their set. They were one of my must-see bands, so I was pretty devastated. I didn't really hear enough of them to give a proper review, so I can only hope that they'll be back soon. Rather than see half a song from them and judge them on that, I went and picked up one of the printed out schedules they have for sale (even though it cost $2, it's super preferable for me.)

I went over to a different stage and saw my first band of the day: Four Year Strong. Even though I was off to the side and in the back of the giant crowd there, I thought they sounded really good! Really heavy for their infectious brand of pop punk. I actually think they are creating the best pop-punk around right now. "It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now" was awesome and there were tons of people crowd surfing during their entire set. Great way to start the day off.

I had a good chunk of time until the next band I wanted to see, so I walked around a bit. Warped Tour is really cool because they have a ton of tents for each band on the tour, and then some more tents for labels, social things, etc. There was always something going on. I picked up a shirt and a vinyl from New Found Glory. At this point I walked over to the Ernie Ball stage and watched local dudes The Atlantic played, and they were great! They're kind of just straight up rock-n-roll and I'm really looking forward to seeing them again soon. I love the KC music scene so much!

As I walked down to the amphitheater stage, I passed blessthefall finishing up their set. Still as bad as when I had to suffer through their entire set. I just don't get them at all. Anyway, I got to the amphitheater pit area with a sparse crowd and waited for Streetlight Manifesto. As soon as they took the stage and started their "Saints Come Marching In" intro, the pit area had a good sized crowd. Literally for every song, the entire pit turned into a bunch of happy people skanking everywhere. I've never seen anything like it. The pit area was pretty full by the end of their set, and everyone was skanking! So much fun. The band was great and is pretty much the epitome of why ska is such a fun genre. They didn't talk a whole lot to the crowd, but that was alright. Great stuff! I hope I can see them again when they come back.

At this point it was the biggest break I had in between bands. I mostly just walked around and listened to a bunch of bands and went and got some more merch. I watched a little bit of Yellowcard - not enough to do a proper review, but I heard them play a new song and it sounded alright.

I made my way back to the amphitheater stage. I passed Rise To Remain playing, and they didn't sound good at all. Again, just a passing glance, but not my thing. There were a million people at the amphitheater stage, both in the pit and in the seats. They were there for The Used. I can maybe count five songs by them that I like, and they were pretty much their biggest hits, so I decided to check them out. As soon as they started, I could tell they weren't going to be very good. I don't know if it's because Bert was sick or drunk or a crackhead or a combination of all three, but his vocals were terrible. Especially for the old songs. I stuck it out for Take It Away, The Bird And The Worm, two more songs and The Taste Of Ink, then I got out of there.

At 3:30, New Found Glory was doing a signing. I wasn't going to do it because I thought there was no way I would get there early enough, but to my surprise it was about 3:20 and there were only about 20 people in line. I had to do it. As I waited, I listened to this guy called Troy Harley on the Ernie Ball stage. He was playing a cover of some pop song and his normal songs weren't that much better, but then he did a cover of The Pretender by the Foo Fighters, and that actually wasn't too bad. But I got my vinyl copy of Radiosurgery signed by all of NFG which I am still so stoked about. I was wearing my Final Four NCAA shirt that had both the UK and KU logo's on it, and Chad was like "Oh, nice shirt man! My family is from Kentucky and I love UK!" and I was like "UK? Don't you mean KU?" and he just laughed. They were the first band I ever saw live, so it was such an amazing moment for me.

Right after the signing, I checked out Transit on the small Ernie Ball stage. I knew I would like them, but I had never really listened to them before. They were one of the biggest surprises of the day! I'd definitely say they were like a cross between Man Overboard and Fireworks. That Melodic Hardcore/emotional pop-punk type of stuff. It was really infectious! The crowd was definitely into it, and during the last song the vocalist dove into the crowd while everyone was jumping on each other to scream into the mic. I'm really glad I caught them. Will definitely be checking them out more.

I was pretty worn out by this time, so I skipped walking back down to the amphitheater stage to see Miss May I, and headed over to the Kevin Says stage to check out After The Burial. Before them was a band from New Zealand and/or England (lol accents) called We Are The Ocean. I thought they were really, really good! It's kind of weird, but they gave me a vibe kinda like Muse and Rise Against mixed together. After their few songs, ATB started setting up. As soon as they took the stage, the crowd in front of them swelled to huge numbers. So many people came just as they started. Their first song was nothing special, but then they did "Berzerker" which is just a fun song. I don't know how anyone could not at least headbang to that song, especially to the breakdowns. Luckily the pit was full of actual pitting and no dancing. The bass sounded non-existant, although the guitar players are just as good live as they are on album. And I really thought their vocalist was good, especially his guttural lows. I left after Berzerker, knowing that they could only go down from there.

On the Monster Energy stage was Every Time I Die. They had another huge crowd waiting for them, and as soon as they started the pit turned into absolute mayhem. A million billion crowdsurfers and moshers. Craziness. I didn't stay for ETID's whole set, but I know I saw them play We'rewolf, Underwater Bimbo's From Outer Space, and Wanderlust which I thought was a brilliant song. I wouldn't mind seeing them in a smaller venue with better acoustics.

Before my main band of the day, I stopped at the Tilly's stage to check out We Are The In Crowd. They're like old Paramore and if All Time Low wasn't terrible now. Not a whole lot of people there, but a lot of people singing along, mostly screaming underage high school girls. You know, that kind of band. But they did Paramore-worship adequately!

FINALLY, it was time for New Found Glory. They came out to Gary Glitter's "Rock And Roll" AKA The Song They Play At Chief's Games. They took the stage in matching NFG Basketball jerseys and kicked right into Hit Or Miss. The entire place erupted: people were circle pitting, tons of people were surfing from the back of the crowd up to the front, and EVERYONE was singing along. It was so much fun. I sang to every single song and it was such a fun experience. They went right into Understatement and there was a huge circle pit for it. Jordan went out into the crowd and was letting people sing and kept giving the mic to crowdsurfers. They shot out t-shirts into the crowd to whoever was on someone else's shoulders and they were having a ton of fun on stage. We got Truck Stop Blues, which was awesome, and Truth Of My Youth. Truth was a fun song, although I wish we would have gotten At Least I'm Known For Something, or another Radiosurgery song. I really hope they take out the Green Day cover after Warped. It's a TON of fun and everyone sings along, but I'd much rather have another NFG staple. The set-closer, My Friends Over You, is pretty much a perfect example of pop-punk. It might even be the pop punk anthem. It gave me chills to everyone singing along, especially in the quiet part. Great way to end their set.

After NFG, I booked it over to the Ernie Ball stage again, which thankfully wasn't far away, to catch the last half of Fireworks. I'm really glad I went, because even though I saw half their set, they were amazing! Their vocalist is really talented, and all their songs ooze of melody and catchiness and amazing lyrics. Again, not a huge crowd for them, but everyone that was there was super passionate about singing along with them. They ended with "Detroit" which is super easy to sing along with, even for people who really don't know them. After their set, I went and got a shirt and their AMAZING album Gospel, which the vocalist autographed for me! One of my favorites.

At this point, I was dead tired. I contemplated just going home, but thankfully I stuck it out for the last two bands I wanted to see. While waiting at the Tilly's stage, the Monster Energy stage started with Sleeping With Sirens. Good Lord almighty, I don't think I've ever heard a worse vocalist in my entire life. I can't really comment on the music, but I had to move closer to my own stage so I wouldn't have to hear him sing anymore. So bad, but people were going nuts for them.

The smallest crowd I was in that day was the 20 - 30 or so that was there for Polar Bear Club. I was kind of surprised they were on a big stage, so I kind of assumed that they might rotate with some other smaller bands. The vocalist was super appreciative of us checking them out. He got down on the barrier and we all swarmed him. They were playing at the same time as Sleeping With Sirens on one side of them, and Taking Back Sunday on the other, so he was so happy for the people that showed up for them. The one song I know by heart for them is Living Saints, and it was amazing live. Screams In Caves and Killin' It were also fantastic. They played like they were in front of 10,000 people and it was such a great experience. Please, PBC...come back to Kansas soon!

The last band I wanted to see was on the same stage, and they started early! It was I Fight Dragons, and they are certainly a different band than the one I saw years ago opening for mc chris. They are definitely more rock oriented, going so far as to re-tool some of their older songs to appeal more to a live setting. They still had their goofy keyboard player (dressed up as The Stig from Top Gear) playing his Guitar Hero controller and Power Pad, and all the members playing SNES controllers during The Faster The Treadmill. I really wish they would have played Heads Up, Hearts Down, but I loved everything they did. I really need to check out their newer stuff. Oh, and their lead guitarist can SHRED.

And that was it. IFD started a little early, so I got to leave while Rise Against played behind me, and I passed a huge crowd waiting for You Me At Six. It took me a million years to get out of the parking lot, but this was by FAR the best Warped Tour I've ever been to. No dehydration, no sunburns, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Hung out with some great friends there (including Nick_to_the_face who watched IWABO) and it was one of the best days ever!

Four Year Strong

Tonight We Feel Alive (On a Saturday)
Stuck in the Middle
What the Hell is a Gigawatt?
Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
Heaven Wasn't Built to Hold Me
Maniac (R.O.D.)
It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now
Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)

Streetlight Manifesto

Intro (The Saints Go Marching In)
Would You Be Impressed?
Watch it Crash?
(New Song)
We Will Fall Together
Down, Down, Down to Mephisto's Cafe
Somewhere in the Between
A Moment of Violence
Here's to Life

The Used

Take It Away
The Bird and the Worm
Put Me Out
The Taste of Ink
All That I've Got
Pretty Handsome Awkward
A Box Full of Sharp Objects


Listen & Forgive
Long Lost Friends
Asleep at the Wheel
Please, Head North
Skipping Stone
All Your Heart
Stay Home

We Are The Ocean

Trouble Is Temporary, Time Is Tonic
What It Feels Like
Nothing Good Has Happened Yet
The Waiting Room

Every Time I Die

Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space
Bored Stiff
I Suck (Blood)

We Are The In Crowd

Rumor Mill
Never Be What You Want
Exits and Entrances
For the Win
The Worst Thing about me
Kiss Me Again
Lights Out
Both Sides of the Story

New Found Glory

Hit or Miss
Truck Stop Blues
All Downhill From Here
Something I Call Personality
Anthem for the Unwanted
Truth Of My Youth
Basket Case (Green Day cover)
My Friends Over You


I Grew Up In A Legion Hall
X's On Trees
When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out The Sun
The Wild Bunch

Polar Bear Club

Bottled Wind
Our Ballads
Living Saints
Burned Out in a Jar
Screams In Caves
Killin' It
Most Miserable Life

I Fight Dragons

Save World, Get Girl
The Faster the Treadmill
(Goldfinger cover)
The Geeks Will Inherit the Earth

Four Year Strong - 8.5/10
The Atlantic - 8/10
blessthefall - 4/10
Streetlight Manifesto - 9/10
The Used - 6/10
Troy Harley - 6/10
Transit - 8.5/10
We Are The Ocean - 7.5/10
After The Burial - 7.5/10
Every Time I Die - 8/10
We Are The In Crowd - 7/10
New Found Glory - 9.5/10
Fireworks - 9.5/10
Sleeping With Sirens - 3/10
Polar Bear Club - 9/10
I Fight Dragons - 8/10

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Black Cobra -- Kansas City, MO -- July 2nd, 2012

Black Cobra is heavy. That's all you really need to know. In front of a crowd that maxed out at about 75 (hey, it was a lot more than the last time I saw them), they absolutely destroyed. They rarely stopped playing, segueing into each song and only talked to the crowd about three times. But they played a ton of songs. The set I have is out of order but I'm almost positive they played those songs, plus maybe another 4 or 5. One guitarist had the heaviness and crunch of a full-fledged sludge band. It was a riff-filled night of doom. My neck is still sore from headbanging!

(Out of order + missing another 3-4 songs.)
Somnae Tenebrae
Corrosion Fields
Negative Reversal
Storm Shadow
Five Daggers
Red Tide
Dragon & Phoenix

Hardcore duders Gaza opened for Black Cobra and they were a lot better than the first time I saw them. They sound a lot more like Converge now, which is definitely not a bad thing. They're also a very political band, but one that makes you so pissed off that you want to do something. They are still as chaotic and dissonant as ever, though. Good stuff.

There were two local bands opening. Tycho Brahe opened the show and they were kind of fun. I'd say they're a bit like a proggy (sorta) grind 'n' roll band, if that makes any sense. Definitely wanna see them again. Second band was Canyons who are usually really good, but their vocalist had lost his voice halfway through there set. That really sucks, because I know how great these guys are live.

Black Cobra: 9/10
Gaza: 8/10
Canyons: 6/10
Tycho Brahe: 7.5/10