Friday, June 22, 2012

Warped Tour 2012: Irvine


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.

Barely made it inside to catch half of Skinny Lister’s set. Hailing from the UK, this folk band may be one of the breakout surprises of the coming year. Playing to a small crowd due to a combination of not being well known in the US and half the world still battling parking, they nonetheless seemed a big hit with the onlookers. With the massive success of bands like Mumford & Sons, the door has certainly been opened for the unusual and quirky.

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.

The Full Sail University sponsored Acoustic Basement featured stunning yet casual sets from the like of Anthony Raneri, Kris Roe, Rome, and Mike Herrera scattered throughout the day. Unfortunately the tent was very small, as was the stage, so if you weren’t in the first couple of rows of people it was hard to see much. This stage seems like it would be an excellent candidate for increased size and scope next year as it offered a nice break of a shady place to sit down, hear some awesome music, and enjoy a little down time.

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.

Don’t know if it’s the accents, or the music, but the hugely female crowd for You Me At Six definitely walked away satisfied. Though they are much more famous in Europe than here, they drew a more than respectable crowd, and were quite good live. We The Kings similarly attracted a hugely female audience. 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.

New Found Glory were great, as always. As some of the ‘old men’ of the tour, they certainly showed that they still hack it in the rambunctious pop punk arena. The same could certainly be said for Yellowcard who have successfully renewed their career in recent months.

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.

Best act of the day honors probably have to go to the reunited Taking Back Sunday. It’s amazing to see the old lineup back together and really looking like they are enjoying themselves.




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