THE FLATS @ ARROW HALL
By: Fridae Mattas
Warped tour! There were no larries chanting this on the bus, half the bands I have never heard of in my life because most are EMO punk bands and I cannot stand the My Chemical Romance types of bands. Friday July 15th was a why not kind of day, it was blazing hot not a cloud in the sky, there were many teenagers, Punk kids, Emo kids, Parents, a few seniors and everyone was of different races and blends, the usual for Toronto’s multicultural surroundings. Every year I miss the Vans Warped Tour, so for me this festival of music was a whole new experience, I had no idea what to anticipate. One thing is for sure, I definitely wasn’t expecting for them to have absolutely no idea what was going on until the day of the event. When were the bands playing? What bands were playing on this stop of the tour? All I knew from what was in the media email blast was doors at 11am and the first bands start at 1pm, umm…How about no, that didn’t happen! The performances started at noon, I missed one of the bands I wanted to catch because there was no schedule even emailed to me and if you wanted your own copy you had to buy one for two dollars. As we wandered we came to see this huge board of bands and set-times on the wall, finally some clarity. It felt like this event was just a carnival cash grab, beer was even more expensive than Edgefest at $9 a pop for a Bud.
I prepped eleven interviews but ended up doing none, why you ask? My phone was dying fast, it has been super haunted lately and the press office was all the way inside the convention centre’s airplane hangar type facilities, past crew catering which is a good five minute walk from where the stages were set up. Once in the office you had to sign up on the signup sheets laid out on a table of bands available to interview that day, some of the bands had six or seven other outlets already interviewing them. No way did I want to interview any bands who have just been asked the same questions a thousand times, I do have my own unique interview questions but some bands tend to give the same monotonous answers regardless how you word the questions. By the time two o’clock in the afternoon rolled around my phone died completely and so all hope for doing interviews with me was lost. Unlike the crew, I didn’t have a little golf cart to drive around the venue back and forth to get me to all scheduled bands on time. I would have missed every band on my coverage list if I just sat and lingered the media area like half of the other “Outlets” but I only missed two and one was because my intern-photographer disappeared and I was looking for her ass around the venue. There were a lot of people who came to check out the Vans Warped Tour, some bands were pretty wicked, others were complete shit-bombs who need to go back and flip burgers at McLarries.
As I tried to figure out what bands on my list were actually playing, I noticed people were sitting on the pavement, curbs and any little piece of grass they could find. The people sat more as the day progressed because they were getting tired. A huge suggestion to draw more people is; add more water stations, the one that I saw was amazing but the line was insane, I don’t recall seeing another. And, add more seating areas; chairs, benches or something along those lines for people to sit on and chill. It would make the festival a more comfortable experience, especially during the extreme heat of the sun (Someone forgot to tell the girl in the rain boots it was summer). Grassy fields are always the best option for these events a wide open parking lot does make sense because the International Centre in Mississauga has plenty of space, its humongous! All you need to do is add some chairs and benches next year and more people will come out.
Okay let’s get down to business, discussing the bands and Rap artist I saw that made the final cut. But, before we get into those here are a few bands that get a special mention for their charismatic live performances. They are: “Woe Is Me” who has a new lead guitarist former “Abandon All Ships” Rhythm Axe Andrew Paiano. The band itself has 6 members and they each have their own skills, there was a clip filmed but it was of the floor. I missed the other 2 tracks because I didn’t make it back quick enough from the other stage. Go see all everyone I mention, most are still on the Vans Warped Tour.
Another honorable mention is for “A Day To Remember” who is apparently very popular judging by the madness that ensued during their set.
In reality, Vox really needs a lot of work and at times he came off a little arrogant. The music is catchy and I think I have heard their tunes somewhere before but that goes for a lot of the bands I saw this day. Their performance was what gave them a pass in my books, meaning I will have to cover them again to see how they do next time around. People always tell me Warped Tour is like a full out Emo Punk fest but really there was an eclectic blend of musical performances to choose from.
Black Veil Brides are Andy “Six” Biersack – Lead Vox/Keyboard/Bass,Christian “CC” Coma – Drums, Jeremy “Jinxx” Ferguson – rhythm guitar/Violin/Backup Vox, Jake Pitts – Lead Guitar and Ashley Purdy – Bass/Backup Vox. This band also fall under the vocal work needed category but they do have something going for them, I sure didn’t expect Lead Vocals to be so Bass when he sang well. I don’t know how the heat didn’t melt their faces off because it was very hot. Although they are pretty gimmicky I do like their makeup, outfits and stage presence; I just wish it were more original. Black Veil Brides are like a blend of Kiss, Motley and Tokio Hotel.
The last honorable mention is D.R.U.G.S. who did well, performance and musically but Vox needs to work on those instead of always trying to look all seductive for the audience and photographers. His voice was very pitchy, my ears did not like that neither did my cameras from any angle, onto the next one. There the Pros and Cons to so many stages, pros being you could find a band playing at any time on one of the seven stages but the con was unless you were an Olympic sprinter, there was no way you couldn’t make it to every single one. On the bright side, if you didn’t like any of the bands currently playing you could always watch the larries flying around with skateboards on the Vans ramp. Most of the stages were having serious technical issues; you know you need to fix the levels when the screamer cannot even be heard five feet away. Glad they didn’t force me to patch into any soundboards, I hate recording from the soundboard it sounds too fake, might as well just throw in the album version of the song as many people do. For my publication I refuse because that is not an authentic live recording and my viewers and readers deserve the best genuine live footage and photos that I can capture, I intend to continue delivering quality.
Now to the main focus, the bands who made the cut! There were about fifty bands, I filmed so many bands and only nine actually made it into the editorial, three of which were honorable mentions. First up was ‘August Burns Red’ literally they were the first band covered and I couldn’t have asked for another band to kick off the day. The crowd was chanting the bands initials “ABR! ABR!” hundreds filled the main stage area in anticipation, the minute ABR hit the stage the crowd erupted, it’s like they couldn’t hold the excitement in anymore. The bands almost ten track set kicked off with one of my favorite tunes “Composure” off of their second record released in 2007 “Messenger”. August Burns Red just recently released a new LP titled “Leveler” which is available to purchase everywhere. The band is JB Brubaker − Lead Guitar, Brent Rambler − Rhythm Guitar, Matt Greiner – Drums/Keyboards/Piano/Programming, Dustin Davidson − Bass Guitar/Backup Vocals and Jake Luhrs − Lead Vocals. August Burns Red is a MetalCore band I have to see again and if you like the heavier music definitely should go check this Lancaster, Pennsylvania band live they were incredible, everything I had expected and more.
People keep telling me how amazing Paramore is live so of course when I was making my schedule I put them down as a band I needed to see. Well, although there were some clear issues with vocalist Hayley Williams’ microphone she did entertain the crowd with a lively performance. Very high energy but her vocals were less than stellar even when they managed to fix those technical issues. There really was no excuse for her voice to be in such bad shape unless there was something medically wrong or her pipes could just be tired. This was day 17 of the tour and I don’t know if they perform everyday or not. It’s not like she was doing any crazy runs or holding some long ass notes when she was jumping around so clearly she’s more of a performance and studio artist rather than an actual singer. All of you who told me she was incredible live…Liars! I was disappointed, expecting her to blow me away vocally because everyone was ranting and raving. I was trying to make excuses for her lack of vocal talent because I do feel sorry for her she does have some talent but when I played back my clips I was reminded how it actually sounded.
Their name is what drew me to them other than my intern telling me she wanted to check them out. I thought, why the fuck not? They have a wicked band name; I’m already close to the stage, so they couldn’t be that bad. Or could they? There is always that slight chance they could make you run like the wind to find another band fast but we made a very good choice. Winds Of Plague is: Johnathan “Johnny Plague” Cooke – Vocals, Art Cruz – Drums, Nick Eash – Lead Guitar, Andrew Glover – Bass, Nick Piunno – Rhythm Guitar, Alana Potocnik – Keyboards and they have a new record release in April titled “Against The World” available to buy. The intro was a recording of United States President Barack Obama’s voice saying that Osama Bin Laden is dead and then the band came out and proceeded to tear up the stage as the people gathered around accumulating rapidly, some even running once they heard what was being unleashed on the Advent stage. You can find a clip of their performance here as well as the other bands that made the FridaeTV Warped cut. Also waiting for your eyes are more photos on Facebook, where you can find two albums with many bands from Warped who didn’t make this editorial review.
Well, this band was a total accident for me; I didn’t think I was going to make it because I was at another stage. I have never seen this band live before but have heard much about them from friends and there were signs all over the venue with their name on it so I had to check them out. On my mind all day was my mission, keeping the trend of discovering uncovered bands at festivals instead of repeats! Glad I did because this band right here from St Albans, Hertfordshire England is amazing!! I arrived as the chaos was in escalation, vocals were crystal clear which was rare because the only others that had proper vocals form my coverage that day were August Burns Red and Winds Of Plague. Enter Shikari had the best energy with the most genuine vibe of the Metalcore bands, Rou Reynolds – Vox/Electronics, Chris Batten – Bass/Vox, Rory Clewlow – Guitar/Backing Vox and super hot Rob Rolfe banging on those Drums topless. They all gave the crowd 10,000 percent and I believe still on the Vans Warped tour go check them out they come highly recommended and when they head back across this pond I am definitely going to see them again and film a full song or two!
Last but definitely not least this date Friday July 15th Day 17 was his first official performance on the Warped tour. The one I am speaking of you will hear a lot about very soon! That is, if you haven’t already heard of Mr. Michael Wayne Atha also known as “YelaWolf” already. He was recently signed to Shady Records with Distribution by Interscope, naturally my ears perked up when I was listening to his songs I have heard people speak his name even heard some of his tunes before but never put the face to the voice and a name, now I had my chance to see firsthand why he was signed to Shady even after people say he’s like an Eminem replica. After listening to some of his tracks I can see why people think he sounds like Eminem. A) He’s White and Eminem has influenced his flow and B) Eminem produced a few of the new tracks and you can hear the similarities to the music he has produced for himself.
Marshall Mathers here’s a tip, Try not to be like Chad Kroeger and make him sound like he’s your brother, help him make beats and songs for him not for you. Now onto his flow, when he was performing live in my face there was no comparison to Eminem, Yelawolf sounded new, fresh and different. I was very impressed because a lot of rappers these days auto-tune the shit out of their songs and don’t stand a chance live. This Rapper has some crazy rapidfire flow, he reminded me of Twista at times but each track he has a different tone and vibe. The crowd was too funny especially the guys this was a case when the males are more excited but it wasn’t too long before the females started in with their whistles, wishing he would choose their Cats to lick. There wasn’t too many people when his performance first began, about sixty or so but once Yelawolf’s set was under way people from the other stages migrated over to witness the greatness taking place at the Skull Candy stage! Go see YelaWolf while you can, I know I’m gonna check him when he comes back here! No wonder Mathers signed him to his Shady Records family this rappers flow is mind blastingly supernatural, like nothing I have ever heard.
That’s all folks I will leave you with a clip of YelaWolf’s set, go see The Vans Warped Tour when it comes to your area and all of these bands mentioned! Huge thanks to the amazing people at MSO, LiveNation, Vans Warped Tour and everyone who helped out! Maybe I’ll do this crazy festival all again next year.