Thursday, August 20, 2009

Send The Kidz To The Gallows

The exciting sequel to SPF 666!

Warped Tour
Shoreline Amphitheare, Mountain View, CA
August 20, 2009

For the 4th time this year I found myself in a parking lot watching bands, but thankfully this time it wasn't under blast furnace Summertime heat conditions. As it has in recent years, the Warped Tour visited The Bay Area twice: In June it blazed inside S.F. city limits and here in its final days it returned to the gravelly confines of Shoreline. There were a whopping 82 (eighty-two!) bands spread across 8 stages and 9 hours on the bill today.. Yes, it's Warped Tour, but that's ridiculous, man! Not to slam my friends at Vans (Hey Kurt!) but there's truth to the saying "Quality over Quantity".. I'm just saying... but more on that in a bit.

Fishbone: I hadn't seen Fishbone since 1993... and they seemed ageless onstage here in the 21st Century. I've never really liked anything Ska related, but watching Fishbone on a gorgeous Summer afternoon was the shit... especially as Angelo dove into the crowd several times.

D.O.A.: Joey Shithead & Co. were great, but when they started playing there weren't many people watching them.. which bummed me out. However, after a couple of songs the area filled up nicely to the point where security took notice and brought in reinforcements... and as the band launched into 'Police Brutality' a pair of ginormous security guys sandwiched me against the soundboard rail... "Police, police, police brutality.. that's reality!"

However, the best part of D.O.A.'s set were 2 older bald punkers who gave off a total old school hooligan vibe.. One of the dudes was wearing a Manchester soccer jersey and the other a white tee with a vintage pic of a young punk flipping off the camera. For awhile, the oldsters watched The Kidz try to get a pit going... Then, as if on cue, the shorter of the pair (the one in the Manchester jersey) suddenly launched himself into The Pit and commenced slamming old school style and mowed through the kids, sending a couple of them flying.. It was actually pretty funny and reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer takes karate lessons with children and beats the shit out of them.

Meanwhile, his buddy expertly directed The Pit old school style and pushed the passing slam dancing kids to keep them moving... Watching the pair of oldsters take command like that only magnified the feeling I had all day that kids today don't even know.. Then, as suddenly as it began, Manchester Jersey returned to standing next to his buddy as if nothing had happened. As he did this, his buddy took out his Blackberry to check a message... Meanwhile, The Kidz in The Pit were still recovering from their old school slamming and seemed to be saying "Gee, Mister.. why'd you have to be so rough?" The oldsters repeated this a couple of more times, and by the last time one of The Kidz had given up and stood at the rim of The Pit flipping his elders off. Hilarious.

The Adicts: They hit the stage in full Adicts regalia and if it had been any other band it might have looked silly, but the band's songs and presence made it great! The Adicts also had the most youngsters sporting Liberty Spikes watching their set, which included some of the best songs of the day. After they left the stage, the line at their merch tent was massive. "I don't wanna die for England!"

UK Subs: During their set Photo Ray and I were standing at the edge of The Pit and a little Punker Kid slam danced past us and shoved Ray.. His "aggression" was so cute that Ray and I looked at each other and laughed. As with the other Old School bands, UK Subs may have looked older onstage but they sounded great. Their songs served as a massive reality check about how a good song is timeless and how attitude can make age irrelevant. However, the most entertaining part of UK Subs' set was watching the crap new band on the stage next to them (The Architects) waiting for the old Punks to finish their allotted set, which ran over by several minutes. The look of impatience on their young faces was priceless. As the UK Subs finished and they started playing, I flipped the young band off with both hands before heading off to wander the merchandise tents. Respect has to be earned, kidz.

Unlike past Warped Tours, where the Old School Stage has left me feeling sad because the bands performed like old men, all of the "old" bands who I watched this year were GREAT! Also, the dichotomy of the Old School bands having good SONGS versus the awful crap of the new bands was stunning. When I wandered past The Main Stage, The Kidz broke my heart with the crap bands they were worshiping. I tried to watch All Time Low and was completely stunned by how awful they were (Jonas Bros. style Pop songs marketed as "Punk") and the screaming adulation they received from the huge crowd of mostly little girls was soul sucking.

The massive crowd of young sheep watching All Time Low..

Then, while Photo Ray and I took a break for a cold beer next to one of the concourse stages, we witnessed Medina Lake take the stage in front of maybe 80 kids and the singer spent several minutes giving directions to the crowd BEFORE they started to play and then said "Let's have a Punk Rock show!" which cued one of the most godawful crap songs I heard all day. I literally slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand and said "What... The... Fuck...".

Thank Dog for Gallows!!

Gallows: If you follow Gallows you know that the band has been very outspoken in their public disdain for most of the bands on this year's Warped Tour. It's beyond refreshing to hear a band being outspoken and stating their opinion, even if they are biting the hand that feeds them. As they took the stage the look of road weary bile on Frank's face was searing; he wore his anger and fatigue on his sleeve... so when the band detonated into the first song it was first authentic outburst of Punk outrage I saw all fucking day. When Frank spit out the the line "We hate you!! We hate this city!" during 'London Is The Reason' his bile was like a gob in the face of Mountain View. As they did at the Warped show in S.F., members of the band performed most of the set from The Pit (!) and Frank again got a pit going around the soundboard during 'Gold Dust':

(Vid by Umlaut)

Note the kid ON CRUTCHES who jumps in at the 0:18 second mark and then again at the 0:33 mark!! FUCKING AWESOME! Right after this moment, Frank stopped the song because he was annoyed by all of the photographers standing around the edge of The Pit. I thought he was going to tell them to fuck off or something, but instead he announced that when they started the song back up it would be a photographers only pit... and then he said "Get ready to run!!".. the song kicked back in... and around a dozen people (including Photo Ray), all carrying expensive camera gear, kicked up some dust. HILARIOUS!

Warped Tour at Shoreline was where Umlaut was first punched in the face by the Gallows live assault back in 2007... This was my 5th time seeing the lads and they are one of the greatest live bands I've ever seen.. seriously. It's extremely rare to witness a band who seizes a moment like the Gallows and who can turn a short 30 minute set into an epic experience. They're the type of band that makes me fanatical about Music again. "Bring me famine, bring me death! Bring me more pestilence!"

Dog Bless Gallows!!

Somehow I left the show with a Gallows hoodie and a shirt.. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. After the show, Photo Ray and I returned to S.F. for an After Show at Toronado for beers and a delicious sausage from next door at Rosamunde as the likes of Mastodon played on the bar's jukebox. Fucking perfect.