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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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Warped Tour 2011 - The Good, The Bad & The Holy F*ck It’s Hot Out
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Warped Tour is one of my favorite places to discover new music. Sure, I go see a few bands I know, and know I’m going to like - this year included Gym Class Heroes, who were very fun - but I’m more interested in hearing artists I’ve never heard before and I always leave adding at least one act to my list of artists I consider myself a fan of. This year I caught parts of ten sets. Here are some of the highlights, and lowlights, starting with the conditions the show had to take place in.

Weather or Not: Forget the “or not,” there was definitely weather, and a lot of it, in the form of extreme heat. I had to laugh during the drive up as the radio DJs were warning people to stay inside if they could. The previous day’s heat index hit 120. It was probably in the 100s on Saturday, but it didn’t feel as bad because we had all survived the day before. There was also a water truck where people could refill their water bottles, and splash some cool water on themselves, for free. Shockingly, the lines were never that long for it.

When Bad is Good: I was interested in seeing Bad Rabbits after hearing some of their music online and knowing that they were the backing band for Slick Rick for two years. I had no idea they were going to become one of my new favorite acts. They totally blew me away (and not just because one of their members was wearing a Charles Oakley jersey). Funky, soulful, and with a rock influence, I could have listened to Bad Rabbits for hours. I ended up buying two copies of their CD. They were selling it for $1 and I know I’m going to want to pass along a copy to someone.

When Bad is Bad: I wandered over to the stage where Bad Rabbits were performing a little before they were due to go on and ended up seeing the end of Blood on the Dancefloor’s set. The only redeeming thing about my time spend watching and hearing them was the reaction on the faces of two parents who were waiting to see their kid perform at an adjacent stage. Their “this really has an audience?!?!” look was priceless. Blood on the Dancefloor’s music, however, was worthless. Oh, and did I mention one of the members has been accused of pedophilia three times?

Girls Rock: I have always enjoyed female fronted bands, and all-female bands when I can find them. Sick of Sarah is the latter and they’re great. Their set was the first I caught and they led the day off perfectly. From the first note and lyric I commented to their tour manager, Colie, that I could easily imagine them playing a cover of The Outfield’s “Use Your Love,” which was previously covered by Katy Perry as the b side of her first single, “Ur So Gay.” They have a definite 80s influence and I really appreciate that. They also have quite a few beauties in the group, so they’re nice on the ears and the eyes (FYI - two members are pictured above).

Threepeat: This year’s Warped Tour was the third time I’ve seen Kelsey live. The first two times she was the lead singer of Kelsey and the Chaos, but now she’s gone solo and has an early 90s dance/party vibe. Backed by a DJ and two emcees, she showcased her new music, which she then gave away in the form of a free three song EP. Her crowd grew throughout her set to about four times the size it was when she first hit the stage, which shows she’s definitely doing something right.

Good Folk: A lot of people come to Warped Tour for punk, or metal. One of the highlights of the tour this year, however, is a folk act named River City Extension. Full disclosure - I’m friends with the label that’s putting out their vinyl. That being said, I’m friends with a lot of label owners and rarely like a lot of the stuff they put out. River City Extension, however, creates a feel good vibe and they had the crowd clapping along and dancing almost instantaneously.

Shady Interviews: In the late afternoon my totally awesome videographer, Natty S., and I found a shady spot by the press tent and my careful planning throughout the day to line up interviews back to back to back for when we knew we’d have an hour free totally paid off. It was 6pm and Kelsey, Sick of Sarah and River City Extension were all ready to do interviews with me. It was the first time in a very long time I’d done anything on video. I’m hoping I sound alright. I will say I was thrilled when not just one, but ALL of the artists said how much they liked the fact that I did so much research for the interviews. This is something I do all the time, but at Warped Tour there are a lot of last minute interviews set up. I refused all of them. I only wanted to deal with artists that I had time to get the back story on. This ended up working to my advantage. The interviews will be posted here in the coming weeks. Hey, that’s a pretty good reason to subscribe to my RSS feed, isn’t it? ;)

Nassau Coliseum Sodomizes Fans: When I interviewed Kevin Lyman about the prices for food and drinks at Warped Tour he told me about how he went to every venue to try to get prices reduced. In Hartford they were. At Nassau Coliseum they were at new levels of price gouging. From the $20 parking that had people turning around and going into the $7 lot (it was free in Hartford), to $7 hot dogs, $8 large fries, and water prices that were disturbingly high for a day that was so hot, Nassau Coliseum wanted every penny out of every person. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t have pay toilets. Aw crap, I just gave them an idea for next year, didn’t I? Thankfully this was the ONLY disappointing feature of Warped Tour on this day as the rest of it lived up to my usual high expectations.

Photos from the Show: Check out 54 pics at Photo Album - Warped Tour 2011

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