What The Kids Are Up To: Warped Report 2010

This weekend, I hopped in a car with two girls I didn't know and drove up to the twin cities for a rock show.  Just a rock show?  No, my friends, the Warped Tour is more than that.  It's a fascinating cross-section of the messed-up American music scene, it drives trends in the industry, it entertains probably a few million people every summer.  Kids go to be seen, "adults" go to get wasted, and everybody gets a big dose of music at the same time.  Say what you will about the jaded bands, needy emo kids, and $5 drinks– Warped is a good time for your 40 bucks.  I saw quite a few bands this year.  If you care about music, or are very bored and would rather read about my Shakopee Warped experience than do something useful, keep reading.  I don't even have any pictures- left the camera in the car with no regrets.

VersaEmerge:  Chiodos wannabes with a female lead.  Shrill high-pitched synth scales running up and down over a double-kick-bass foundation.  Add a wall of rhythm guitar and a convoluted bass line with occasional bass drops and tell the kids to mosh.  At least they were melodic, with some very catchy lines.

We The Kings: Toward the end of a long day of rock, this pop group was actually a welcome relief.  No screaming and no anger, just puppy love.  They were definitely playing for the ladies, but their cover of Jimmy Eat World's The Middle made it worth sitting through the show with the girls.

Flatfoot 56: A great celtic punk band out of Chicago, and they're Christian.  These were the only guys I really wanted to meet after their set, because their stage presence was so unpretentious.  I did, and bought a shirt.  Have you ever moshed to Amazing Grace?  That's the emotion the song deserves!

Tip The Van: Girly ska, what??  Yes, a female-fronted ska band, with energy to spare.  They had a small enough circle pit that I got a chance to actually skank instead of fight for survival.  I don't really remember the music, though it was good.  I just remember high fives all around in the pit and I rocked out hard enough to lose my earplugs (found 'em back, even!).

Reel Big Fish: When you think of third wave ska, it's these guys along with O.C. Supertones and Mighty Mighty Bosstones.  They played a really fun set, including covers of Enter Sandman and Take On Me.  Even though it was the hottest time of day and everybody was dripping sweat, the energy in the crowd was huge.  I'd like to see them again.  Well, any punk band with a trombone and trumpet, really…

Alesana: Shrill screamo.  I didn't enjoy it much.  Am I too old?

Mayday Parade: pop punk with just enough distortion and heavy drums to let the band appeal to girls and their boyfriends.

The Casualties: You could call this real punk, but you'd be at least ten years too late.  Angry they are, but it's a very contrived rage.  They've been around long enough to perfect the art of bottling angst and selling it to the young audience.  Drinking three beers on stage instead of the provided Monster brand water isn't rebellious; it only demonstrates alcoholic tendencies.  The band does have a classic punk sound.

Pennywise: Ditto.  I don't have much more to say about them than The Casualties, but they played a very accurate cover of Blitzkrieg Bop and their ever-popular anthem Bro Hymn.  Which are two very good songs.  Drunken fans provided some entertainment value too.

The Rocket Summer: Pure, undiluted pop with a prominent keyboard part.  They did some cool live mixing though.

Haste The Day: An honest, if unremarkable Christian metalcore band.  Enjoyable for the headbanging and lack of gimmicks.

Notably Absent: We left too early to see Alkaline Trio, and Sum 41 didn't perform due to sickness.  We did meet Tom, the guitarist of that good old Canadian pop-punk band.  Lindsey spent the next half hour texting all her friends about it.