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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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The Warped Awards for Warped Tour ‘09
Thursday, July 23, 2009

This past Saturday I spent ten hours, in gorgeous weather, in the parking lot of the Nassau Coliseum enjoying the sights and sounds of Warped Tour ’09. This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the event and the current installment features 60+ bands on seven stages. Obviously no single person could possibly see everything, but I managed to catch a few acts I was familiar with, make a few new discoveries (like Lights, pictured above), and see fifteen minutes of what might quite possibly be the worst act in the history of music. Although I have no fancy trophies to give out, the following are my awards for the best and worst of Warped Tour ’09. Enjoy!

Favorite New Discovery – Lights: I had no idea who Lights was going into Warped Tour, but when I wandered by her stage and saw a cute girl with a keytar I said, “I’m in!” It didn’t take long for Lights to win me over with her 80’s synth / new wave sound. Her entire set brought me back to the kind of music I used to hear on the radio when I was a kid and her vibe was so great that I couldn’t help but become enamored with her. I caught up with Lights after her performance and had a great convo about music and yes, she’ll be featured here soon.

Others that made the grade: Kelsey and The Chaos, TAT

Act I Knew Wouldn’t Disappoint – P.O.S: I don’t think P.O.S has ever given a wack performance and on Saturday he was in fine form, only spending a few minutes on the stage and standing on a metal record box in the middle of the crowd the rest of the time. He really embraced his crowd and even performed towards the audience that was gathering at the next stage waiting for their act to start. I have no doubt he made a few new fans that way. I kind of felt sorry for the writers who chose to stay backstage rather than get into the crowd and be a part of the performance. At some point you have to realize a large part of covering a show is experiencing it, and you can’t do that if you’re not in the crowd for at least a portion of it. Side note – P.O.S was wearing an Innerpartysystem shirt. Later in the evening I saw the lead singer from Innerpartysystem wearing a P.O.S shirt. I thought that was pretty dope.

Others that made the grade: Meg & Dia

WTF Act of the Day – Millionaires: When Kelsey of Kelsey and The Chaos ended her set by thanking the crowd for choosing her over Millionaires and included a little groan and an eye roll when she said the name of the group, I suddenly become really interested in finding out who, or what, Millionaires were. Any act that generates that kind of a comment and reaction is one I want to see because I want to know if they can really be that bad. As I wandered towards the next stage I heard what sounded like The Powerpuff Girls attempting to rap over pop-techno beats. I figured, “this must be Millionaires” and made my way over. I was so speechless at what I saw once I got there that I had to ask the security guy “is this real?” He assured me it was and that they were four songs in. I stuck around. I had to, because Millionaires are the musical equivalent of 2 Girls 1 Cup. They’re both positioned at the intersection of the Venn Diagram in our minds where the awful meets the intriguing. It’s like a train wreck, or a car accident, you slow down to see what’s going on because there’s a sick fascination with it all. We don’t really want to see the worst, but there’s something in us that keeps us watching. What I was “treated” to was a foul mouthed cheer squad of three “rapping” about everything from getting laid to getting “fucked up” off of white zinfandel. It was a true assault to the senses and just like with 2 Girls 1 Cup I stood there the entire time thinking “this can’t possibly get any worse,” but every time I thought that, it did. Also like 2 Girls 1 Cup, you kind of want to be there whenever somebody sees the group for the first time because people’s reactions to them can be pretty priceless. Don’t believe me? Just try to get through their video for “Alcohol” (NSFW lyrics). Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Best Picture of the Day – Millionaires: I only took one photo of them and it wasn’t even from the photo pit. I just wanted to get them all in frame and get one pic as evidence that what I was seeing was real. When I arrived home and saw the full screen image I realized I had really captured a special moment in time. Feel free to enjoy this image of the lead “rapper” lifting up her skirt and revealing her panties to the underage crowd.

Best Overheard Conversation: There was little competition after I heard this gem.

Teenage girl: “Your neck is getting sunburned.”
Teenage boy: “No, that’s just Gatorade.”

Biggest Disappointment – 3Oh!3: Oh, they’re still gonna be pop stars, I was just disappointed in how soulless their entire set was. I have much more on this in my 8/5 Fairfield Weekly column.

Most Random Cameo – Lil’ Jon: For reasons unbeknownst to anyone Lil’ Jon was backstage for 3Oh!3’s set and came out to give a trademark “yeah!” during their show. Sadly, this was the highlight of their set.

Most Pleasant Surprise – Innerpartysystem: I first heard Innerpartysystem when their 2007 effort, The Download EP, arrived on my desk. It was good. I liked the group's mixing of electronic music and rock as it kind of reminded me of Blaqk Audio, who I really dig. I filed their name in my memory bank and when I saw them on the big board for the show I decided to check em out. Boy am I glad I did! Even though they were the last act of the night their 35 minute set was pure energy. Lead singer Patrick Nissley moved seamlessly from singing to sampling and back again and by the end of their time on stage Innerpartysystem had firmly placed themselves on my sparsely populated “must see” list. Simply amazing.

Finally, props need to go out to MSOPR, who always do a great job setting up everything for the press at Warped Tour. This year press check in was especially quick and easy and the vast majority of the event staff / security thoroughly respected the press wristbands. The photo pits were also really well done. Kudos all around.

For 30+ exclusive pics from the show check out my Warped Tour '09 album on Flickr.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:37 AM  
  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger Kid said…

    Now I'm interested to see what Millionaire is all about. From the picture and your lovely description I was pulled in...probably for the worse, but now I have to hear it.

  • At 3:47 PM, Blogger Adam Bernard said…

    Ha ha! Well, you have been warned...

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