Tsk, tsk, tsk on whoever thought Irvine Great Park was a good place to hold Warped Tour this year. Some of the worst traffic ever for a show, both in and out of the venue. With All Time Low hitting one of the main stages first, a huge percentage of the crowd was still struggling to get into the venue and get parked. Complaining aside, the weather was definitely better than Pomona, so maybe that makes up for the crappy location.
With certain stages running late, while others were close to on time it was only possible to catch partial snippets of the sets of Of Mice & Men, Four Year Strong, Hydro Da Hero, Senses Fail, Funeral Party, Living With Lions, and The Jukebox Romantics. Four Year Strong drew a massive crowd and some of the best moshing of the day, and though a much smaller crowd, The Jukebox Romantics got a lively little mini pit of their own going. They are a seriously underrated and underappreciated band that you need to check out if you can this summer.
On the harder end of the spectrum, Miss May I and Memphis May Fire turned in great sets, although if Levi of Miss May I continues to whip his hair that hard all summer, he is going to end up with a lot of chiropractor visits by the end of the tour. Having just released a new album, he and his Miss May I cohorts are primed to have the year of their lives, with massive media attention starting to come their way.
First time seeing We The Kings live. Their unique brand of catchy pop punk translated really well live. Their set created a sunny, happy vibe perfect for a gorgeous day in So Cal.
Falling in Reverse’s Ronnie Radke may have a lot of faults, but he has successfully put together a really good band to back him on his second run at rock stardom. Of particular note was recent addition to the band Ronnie Ficarro (ex- I Am Ghost), making an excellent counterpoint to Jacky’s hyperactive guitar work. It was a bit of off-stage hilarity to see Radke make his way through the crowd (probably on his way to a signing) with a trail of kids following after him like the Pied Piper.
Nearly every year of Warped Tour there is a band that surprises and converts new fans. This year that would have to be Breathe Carolina. Resoundingly hated by a number of the more punk/rock/metal - centric crowd members, those that took the time to watch the set tended to walk away shaking their heads and sheepishly admitting that as a live act Breathe Carolina are actually a lot of fun.
After the lackluster cd release show in Hollywood a few months back, there was justifiable concern over how The Used were going to be. Thankfully the answer to that was AWESOME! Bert's outfit alone was worth showing up for. They ably tore through a short but thoughtful set, hitting new material but nodding to the stuff that made them famous as well.