Vans Warped Tour 2009 at Thunderbird Stadium Part 1

Photos by Alex Ramon

And so begins my childhood recollection. As A Tribe Called Quest would say, “back in the day when I was a teenager, before I had status and a two way pager” I had my angst filled music and my torn up jeans. I was a happy kid, don’t get me wrong, but I really felt a strong connection to the Vans Warped Tour. It was like everyone there was on the same page and would somehow fill in that gap that wasn’t really a gap, a void that wasn’t really a void. Fast forward to my 20’s and for some reason I really felt like writing this festival off. I think I’m a little too old for this, but being the professional that I am, I gave it a shot anyways. It’s not everyday someone gets to relive their past so I should take advantage of this glorious opportunity and look forward to the crazy adventures that might be in store for me. And so begins part 1…

Less Than Jake

Less Than JakeLess Than Jake came on playing the Star Wars theme song, and then proceeded to make the crowd mosh to their brand of ska punk rock. Maybe it’s all the underage girls I’m not supposed to look at or maybe I’m a little too clean cut, but for some reason it threw me off.

For some unknown reason this wasn’t like my childhood at all. I felt out of place and grown up (wow… I can’t believe I just said that!). But nonetheless, Less Than Jake did bring back memories of my wild adolescence and things I probably shouldn’t have done, like steal street signs or egg cars (I’m sorry mom and dad…).

At around noon the bad nostalgia was at its peak and hopefully it would wear off. As my buddy Anil put it best, this is the “I didn’t get enough hugs from my parents” festival, but I’m sure those gosh darn parents (or as I like to call them, PAYrents) tried their little hearts out.

Alana Grace

Alana GraceAs soon as this New York resident stepped on stage, I thought to myself, “finally a little eye candy I’m not ashamed to look at!” And of course Alana wasn’t bad on the ears too, which made a huge difference from all those screamo bands that inhabited Thunderbird Stadium.

Could she possibly be the next pop punk princess? She’s got the look (nothing says punk like a flannel shirt and skinny jeans… wait that’s what I’m wearing! I think we were meant to be together), the attitude and the vocal chops to do it, so I don’t see why not.

Just a random theory I have, but I believe that the less buttons she has buttoned up on that flannel shirt of hers, the more her bank account will increase (so if you think about it, cleavage has a linear correlation to money). For crying out loud, Katy Perry played at the Warped Tour last year with these screaming hooligans, so that only means a promising future for the lovely Alana.

Shad

ShadNow it’s time to bring a little hip hop flavour known as Shad to this punk filled festival, but I found it really interesting how they tucked the stage all the way in the far corner. I could be looking too deep into this, and I probably am, but at least George from Alexisonfire watched the set.

I did, however, see some familiar faces, not in the crowd but actually up on stage. Dave Vertesi and Dan Klenner, members of local group Hey Ocean! accompanied Shad up on that lonely stage. My day was turning around, slowly… but with the help of Shad’s introspective lyrics and water like flow, it sure did push it along.

But as I glanced at the crowd I couldn’t help but notice some odd people watching. There was a very manly man wearing a British flag imprinted jeans, while another girl wore a “I Heart Boys (in girl pants)” t-shirt. I guess hip hop really has no boundaries after all.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears PradaMy first thought as The Devil Wears Prada came on was, “Oh dear lord another screaming band.” They came on very promisingly to the Mortal Kombat theme song (it seems like a lot of punk bands like theme songs), but then proceeded to their screamo ways. I remember a time when punk required actual singing, even though some of it wasn’t the best, but I guess times have changed or maybe I have (I still had all day to decide that one…).

But I do have to give them credit for standing up on stage and entertaining the youth of today. That pent up anger sure was unleashed in the mosh pit, and I for one was deadly afraid to step in there with those kids. Oh and how can I forget about the choreographed head banging nicely displayed by the boys wearing Prada.

Fighting for Ithaca

Fighting For IthacaWith a screamo rock band playing in the background, these local indie pop punkers lit up the Ernie Ball Stage, also known as the “up and comers stage”. I must say though, that the sound quality here at this indie platform wasn’t good at all.

How can these bands showcase their music and gain fans with a crappy sound system? I couldn’t hear the vocals at all, which was a shame really, because they had enough energy to play on a bigger stage.

The only bad thing was that when I actually did hear some noise, Curtis Steeksma, the vocalist, couldn’t hit his desired notes. I hate to say it but they sounded a lot better on their beloved myspace than they did live…

So part 1 ends on a sour note, and will this continue onto part 2? You’ll just have to wait and see!