Saturday, June 25, 2011
Concert review: Warped Tour at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas (June 24)
The first leg of the tour tested just how much heat young music fans can handle.
DALLAS Warped Tour in Dallas was the opening show for the national tour, and bands appeared extra enthused for a full day of shows. The lineup offered the usual array of genres, including ska, screamo, punk rock, reggae, and pop rock.
It was a hot one. But concert organizers stepped up to the challenge, offering free water all day long. The slip 'n slide was a popular addition. Of course.
Less than Jake, the veteran Warped Tour band, played early in the day, flowering their set with jokes about how the band had played Warped Tour in the '90s, 2000's, and now the 2010's. The crowd instantly sang along to “Look What Happened” as soon as it began. Their authentic ska punk is refreshing at festivals like this one.
Another Florida band, Go Radio, set up shortly after, bringing in a surprising amount of fans to the stage. Vocalist Jason Lancaster is from Mayday Parade, another Florida band, helping to bring instant fans to their circle. The group comfortably sits on the wall between indie and rock, thankfully shying away from auto tune and poppy keys. Three guitarists helped beef up the tracks while also adding their vocals, giving the songs room to expand on riffs and varied bridges. “Goodnight Moon” quieted the young crowd while Lancaster voiced somber words alongside keys, proving why Go Radio was on the bill.
As the hottest time of the day reared its sweaty head, masses piled into the pavilion for welcome shade and a chair. Big D and the Kids Table leveraged this opportunity, hoping to get everyone on their feet, skanking to their horn-infused ska punk. The Boston band did get a skanking mosh pit -- and it was practically violence-free -- full of surprisingly young fans enjoying the music. “Noise Complaint” was the perfect crowd pleaser, giving the audience a line to continuously yell throughout the entire song and keeping the energy alive. The 15 years these guys have been playing together has paid off; they were certainly loved in by Dallas fans.
Vulgar t-shirts seemed to be the trend for this year's Warped Tour, and many teens showed their attitudes loud and proud with curse words emblazoned on their chests, some with angry tattoos to match. That could be why English group Asking Alexandria attracted one of the biggest audiences of the day. Almost every song in the screamo bands’ catalog contains a cuss word and tells an angry message. Even the singing sounds demonic. But Danny Worsnop’s screaming is unique: He can sing the usual deep growls and can also hit a high note, giving him an unusual range and leverage.
During “I Was Once, Possibly, Maybe, Perhaps a Cowboy King,” Worsnop asked the crowd to throw each other into the air, bringing to life the visual of popping popcorn kernels. Of course, the young crowd wouldn’t possibly do that, right? Wrong. Needless to say, the Brit rockers made an impression for their first Warped Tour appearance.
While the sun finally set, A Day To Remember tried to pick up the pieces at the same stage where Asking Alexandria left off. Although they sing more than scream, the packed-in crowds were more violent. “All I Want” riled up the already-excited fans, sending many kids to security for help. A Day To Remember closed with “Downfall of Us All,” which caused the curtain of outstretched arms to pulse to the lyrics.
Warped Tour’s tents closed up shop as the last acts performed. As for the main stage, Against Me! had the honors. The politically-charged punk rock band didn’t take it easy; they came out guitars blazing, ready for a loud set. Tom Gabel's gravelly chords instantly made their music distinctive. But, the surrounding crowds couldn't keep up, perhaps because the heat had already tamed most concertgoers, or because the music wasn't quite enough.
With trash and flip-flops covering the Gexa Energy Pavilion's lawn, exhausted youngsters headed home after a glorified day of yet another successful Warped Tour in Dallas. If we had to pick a highlight of the day, it goes to the free water.
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