Punk Rock Tour May Need a Make Over
The Warped Tour ended its summer run this year in Carson California and as with many long running summer tours; the punk rock summer camp may need to re-invent itself in order to live up to its promise to keep it all “punk”, all the time. Emo has slowly but surely become the go-to, sub-genre of the festival but this year it seemed to eclipse all other facets of what punk rock is.
Yes, there was the Kevin Says stage and yes there was an old school stage featuring LA’s Fishbone, but these two stages seemed to be an after thought. The two biggest stages were a showcase for the younger, prepubescent set. Early in the day, Thrice and All Time Low had the majority of the crowd singing and bouncing along to their melodic take on punk rock. Thrice had some degree of edge to their brand of pop-punk. All Time Low coupled their snotty, power pop with a contrived, snotty attitude. At times it was hard to distinguish between being at a punk rock show or on the set of Dawson’s Creek. Boy texts girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl to a facebook friend, seemed to be the theme of the day on the big stages. Veteran bands such as Less Than Jake and NOFX tried to break up the “teen angst” vibe but their efforts were met, for the most part with fans just leaving the big stages to catch up with the other young bands who dominated the tour. Aforementioned LA alternative rock veterans Fishbone showed up to the festivities but the band is a mere shell of itself with only two original members, thus making their “party at ground zero” not much of a party at all.
Even with such an emo-heavy line up, there were some stand out performances. West Bound Train is a ska band from the east coast and they did a tremendous job integrating reggae and Stax-Volt era soul into their ska sound. POS was the lone rapper on the tour this summer and he seemed to revel in the idea of the musical deck being stacked against him. POS brought his brand of punk influenced hip-hop to the masses by diving into the crowd and rapping from the concrete. It was a great performance that was sadly seen by few attendees.