The day started off with Confide, whom I was familiar with mainly because of their posthardcore cover of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights." The group threw down fairly well, though the screams seemed to be missing a little of of the glossy sheen that can be created in the studio. But still, good set.
Next was Enter Shikari, whom I listen to quite a bit but have never seen live. I surely was not disappointed. They brought the fire. In addition to busting out some favorites from "Take to the Skies" and "Common Dread," the show was wildly entertaining. It was obvious that these guys worked on perfecting stage presence as much as performance. Every member of the band, in perfect harmony, participated in planned theatrical events, everything from the standard "jump off the speaker at the same time" bit to falling over dead at the same time to end a song. The band spent plenty of time in the crowd as well, with the lead vocalist stretching his microphone chord to the limits as he commanded the crowd like an orchestra conductor. The guitarist also did a particularly stunning move.. balancing the guitar on his nose upside down from the tip of the neck whilst standing atop the tallest speaker. Bravo, sirs. Best act of the day.
Next came Pierce the Veil, who mixed old tracks and new while climbing across their multi-tiered stage. It's not enough to be a musician at Warped these days, you must be an expert hiker as well to reach heights like the tops of amps and speakers while carrying and playing your axe to obtain the most epic of poses. Fun set.
Alesana is always a fun time with lots of energy. I've always enjoyed the yin and yang relationship of the band's singer/guitarist and their screamer. The singer/guitarist strikes me as the kind of guy who would have been the drama class / literary type in High School while their hulking screamer was probably on the offensive line of the Varsity football team. Who knows, maybe their dreams fell short after graduation and they decided to form a screamo band. Either way, the spirit of 80's metal and modern emocore collide in great ways when Alesana takes the stage. The screamer's between-song-banter is generally hilarious as well.
Closure in Moscow has a few gems hidden on their otherwise mediocre debut album, and I was hoping to catch one of those when I did a drive-by of their set. No dice. Homeboy on lead vocals was a little hard to watch as well. I've heard of skinny jeans, but this dude was straight up wearing leggings and rubbing up on the mic stand while sporting a silvery shiny women's blouse... in 115 degree heat. Too bad cause they've got some great tracks on their album.
Breathe Carolina was a good break from the chugs and breakdowns that are industry-standard at Warped (although they do sport a slight few mild chugs and breakdowns every now and then, to keep up with code of course.) It was a dance party where thousands of kids could be found jumping up and down frantically, ignoring the fierce desert conditions. Homie's vocals sounded pretty great too.
Only got to see a little bit of Emarosa. They were in the tiny Ernie Ball stage and they started late, while being up against scene buzz band Attack Attack! in time slots, no doubt shrinking their crowd. Jonny Craig can definitely throw down, but crowd morale dipped a bit after he talked about how he hated Arizona.
I'll admit to liking Attack Attack's music. It is a hodge-podge of all sounds currently acceptable in the "scene." Chugs. Screams. Breakdowns. Big, poppy auto-tuned choruses. Hip hop interludes. Dance parties? Yep. All of the above. One minute, the crowd was thrashing around in a circle-pit as the lead screamer thrust his husky self across the stage. Next minute, the crowd was jumping up and down in a frenzy as the electro-dance segments kicked into gear. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't have a great time. Very backing track heavy, but nobody seemed to notice or care. Too busy getting crazy.
That's about where we wrapped up the day to go hang out with friends at the bar with cooling fans, misters, etc. Absent from the days festivities were Bring Me the Horizon and The Word Alive. Word was Oli Sykes from BMTH lost his voice... I guess that's what happens when you take your vocal chords through a cheese grater of screaming night after night.
Fantastic times at Warped. Hopefully A Life of Science can get on the lineup next year. Cross your fingers, friends.