Vans Warped Tour made its stop on its eight day in Dallas Texas on July 3.  With nothing better to do on this questionable weather day, I decided to take in the event, risking the weather and getting pretty far out of my comfort zone, to see a bunch of mostly new bands and follow the original intent of this website to review live Concerts. So a review of Von’s Warped Tour is in order.  But this one has a different twist, as does the Von’s Warped Tour agenda. This tour is unlike others billed with a marketing sound bite (think Ozzfest, Cruefest, or even Rocklahoma).,  This is a one day event that features over 70 bands on what I think I counted to be eight stages.  There are no headliners. No schedule where the less popular bands open and leading up to headliners who is a name recognized band (Ozzfest and Cruefest end with?  Congratulations, your 7 years of college did not go waist). There are few things about this event non-musical related that are stunning apparant here

  1. This event is as much about selling shit than the music.
  2. The event format lends itself to shameless self promotion, and I am not talking about on the stages

The explain number #1, above, first let me explain the venue.  There are all of these stages spread out among the grounds. I suspect in every city the venue is a larger open air venue. Laced between the stages are what could be up to hundred booths selling things, promoting things, giving away free things, you name it.  Not sure how all these vendors do in this still crappy economy, but they are there trying to draw you in. (They leave me more alone as they do not know what to make of an older audience member….).  Then there is #2, above. There must have been at least 50 or parties paid to walk the crowd selling cds and books, posters, you name it, largely from the bands.  Then there were those self-promoting there bands, inviting you to listen to a bit of there band playing through their headphones.  Yup, thats what I want to do, put on headphones that have been shared by hundreds. Hell, there was even a guy there with a sign promoting his promoting services.  As you can probably tell by my sarcastic observance here, I am not across this much in your face selling, especially seemingly at the expense of the music

So why at the expense of the music?  Well, first, there was no place to be found a list of artists and stages, and play times. It would seem Von’s Warped Tour would do a better job of publishing this if they really cared about the music on stage.  As it is, I was left to try to figure out who I was listening to.  I heard easily 30 bands, and can only name a few (below).

For those of you resident to Dallas familiar with Superpages.com center, the main stage under the covered area was divided into two stages, right next to each other.  One band would play on the left stage while the other set up on the right.  Yes there was a pit area, largely accessible since it would move left or right depending on which side was playing and the popularity of the band.  One good thing about this tour is that walk up ticket prices were $40, and there is no seating, all GA (FYI. for my hate of ticketmaster, the tickets were $35 plus over $10 in bullshit fees).  So it was a less expensive and easier venue to move around the retailers on.

I could only confirm seeing 7 bands….all others from the thirty or unnamed because I could not figure it out, or, they were quickly forgettable in my book. The seven I remember or could identify are ShiraGirl, Suicide Silence, Eyes Set To Kill, I See Stars Alkaline Trio, All American Rejects, and WE The Kings.  Sorry other bands, next time put up your band name on a banner or on the drum head….to cover over von’s Warped Tour lack of promoting who you are. ShiraGirl, (shiragirl).  Was just OK.  Did not remember much about their performance, so that is not real good as you must stick out in this band overload that the Warped Tour provides.  Suicide Silence (suicidesilence), I hated.  This is just growling for no apparent reason.  Of course, they were liked by the violent young male audience sporting an IQ of maybe 50 who go to these concerts to draw blood in the pit.  Not music in my book.  My major surprise was Alkaline Trio,(alkalinetrio).  I had forgotten they would be on this tour, and if you have read this site before, I have recently seen them, and this was now my third time to see them.  Again, I recognized them only by hearing their songs playing in the distance….short set, as is all of these, but I once again enjoyed them

The best up coming group I saw was I See Stars, www.myspace.com/iseestars, a group of  barely 20 year olds from Detroit. This guys need to figure how to handle the big stage  better, but they will in time, and their music, I thought was great. Energetic, hard yet melodic, and yes, there was the growling in this also, just not a constant stream of it, and I thought thoroughly enjoyable. The crowd thought so two. I also learned new pit management techniques here.  Seems the pit is evolving from just slam dancing to a) now they dance in the pit wildly swinging their arms will dancing nearly like an Irish jig. Again, with the IQ level here, it appears the appeal is the casual destruction of other pit members that is of interest here. b) the lead singer had a name for this one, but basically he guided everyone to separate a large space, and on his command, you run full speed from opposite directions crashing into each other. Nice.  Kids are too bored with their lives and apparently need jobs.  The result is annoying, more space is need for the pit when these ecstasy laced banshees swing their arms wildly. Oh well….not often I go to a show with this young a crowd. But go check out I See Stars….good up and comer.

Eyes Set To Kill (eyessettokill) was a very popular band with the audience.  They flooded a side stage leaving little room for movement.  Does not hurt that these are fronted by two chicks pleasant on the eyes.  I thought they were decent.  Nothing special to warrant the enthusiasm of the crowd. Ironically, for crowd surfing on this one, it was mostly chicks.  Whats up with that? Hmmmm.

All American Rejects  (allamericanrejects) was terrific.  Great music, great personality, highly energetic, this group has it together. In fact, the only criticism I had is the lead talked a bit too much, or which, he then admitted it and shut up.  They are a tight group with pop/rock songs that are very catchy.  The crowd embraced them as well.  The lead singer was lucky to have had the rain come through and lower the temperatures from mid 90’s to 75 or so…as he was in a funky white suite and tie…he is the branding of the group.  Go see them.  Great band.

The above is stock pic (this was not our Von’s Warped Tour, you can tell by the presence of sun and water, and lately the only water in Dallas is that falling from the sky) of my favorite band that I heard.  We The Kings (wethekingsmusic) was an interesting outfit of great music, personality, and great crowd presence. I had heard a few of the songs before, but most not.  They are good writers.  They even played an acoustic song, slowing the pace way down, but held on to the audience. Not the tightest group I have ever heard, but very comfortable in their sound.  Once again, this is Pop/rock.  Most of the more popular acts were of this sound. It would be interesting to hear longer sets of these guys and the All American Rejects. I recommend seeing these guys as well.

It is the unfortunate situation that this is all I could identify. There were a host of other good bands there, many that I know.  This is not by prime listening area…but fairly familiar.  I would have loved to know who I was listening most of the time, because, Von’s Warped Tour, most really do go there for the music.

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