To be honest, I've always enjoyed Bamboozle more than Warped. There's only one thing that I can constantly say about Warped (over Bamboozle), and that is that I would still go even if there was one band that I knew playing.
Warped Tour just always had something special that draws me in. Where as Bamboozle tries harder, Warped doesn't. Bamboozle has hints and secrets and games, but Warped Tour keeps it simple.
This year I went with less interest in the lineup than I had the past five times that I had attended. To my surprise, I am left with a new outlook on the whole experience. I now realize Warped is an event that shouldn't be missed. It has one thing Bamboozle never had... Passion!
The first band that I had planned to see was Hey Monday. This was my second time seeing them and I was extremely impressed. Singer Cassadee Pope knows how to control the crowd. Whether it was the constant crowd mimicking jumping or the simplicity of an acoustic ballad ('Candles'), Cassadee and the band owned the attention of the audience.
I left Hey Monday earlier to see We Are The In Crowd from Poughkeepsie, NY. Good job to whom ever scheduled Hey Monday and We Are The In Crowd at the same time. In my opinion half of the crowd chose Hey Monday over them, otherwise ...In Crowd might have packed a decent size audience. Having lived in Poughkeespie, I was eager to catch their set. The songs were simple pop anthems brushed with catchy synch and duel vocals. I was impressed with the bands energy and the amount of drive that they put into their set. One song called 'Easy' caught my attention and I was instantly sold. Its catchy chorus touched upon brilliant and sexy: 'I would do things that you couldn't say no to...'. Afterwards, I caught Motion City Soundtrack's set. They simply are one of the scene's brightest bands. They never seem to fail to please a crowd. I was even more excited when I noticed their guitar tech (and manager) was also Brian from The Receiving End of Sirens.
The next batch of bands that I had to see all played at the same time so I caught parts of each. First up was This Condition from Long Island, NY. Thankfully this band has managed to give hope to anybody who felt that Long Island's music scene was dying. With lackluster bands like Stereo Skyline representing Long Island, This Condition proves that we still can produce good bands. The opening song ('The Timing') proved that This Condition is the real deal. They easily had one of the best and most diverse crowds of the day. This Condition truly are hometown heroes.
After leaving This Condition, I caught up with Alkaline Trio's set. I wasn't too impressed with the few songs that I heard but I will give them credit because they did put on an excellent performance. I rushed over to see Of Mice & Men's set. They had a decent crowd and I was interested to see if they live up to hype. Sadly, I couldn't really judge them performance wise because it was difficult to hear or see them. I stayed long enough to hear their single 'Second and Seabridge' which only left me disappointed.
I was excited to catch I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business. I am a huge Ace Enders fan despite the fact that I have never been a big fan of The Early November. Ace put on a great set but sadly didn't attract the crowd I hope he would or felt he deserved. Either way the small crowd made it better to enjoy his music which consisted of older and newer ICMAM songs, as well as one TEN song. It was funny to see that a lot of the crowd was made up of band members from some of the bands on the tour. Ace is a genius and sadly overlooked.
Eyes Set To Kill is another band I was interested to see. I am not too familiar with them other than their song 'Darling'. A lot of people have told me to check them out but I failed to see what the hype is all about. It felt as if I was "waiting for the bus" (as my girlfriend says). They had packed a nice crowd who seemed very into the set and especially during their final song ('Darling').
I was interested in hearing both Sum 41 and The All American Rejects, who had conflicting times. For me, catching their sets was more for the "nostalgic" memories that rush my mind when I think of bands such as them from when I was at the age of many of the other attendees. I decided to catch some of AAR's set then catch Sum 41's full set. The first five minutes of AAR contained songs 'Dirty Little Secret' and 'Swing, Swing' which was about all I wanted to hear. After those two songs I went to catch Sum 41 just as they were starting. At times I felt like Sum 41's set dragged on but remained as pleasing and fun as one could imagine. Sometime during the set, the band halted their performance to address an issue in the crowd. It appeared that some had gotten hurt and the band didn't play the next song until things had been figured out. Happily for me it all occurred while AAR was playing 'The Last Song', which is one of my favorite songs from them. Sum 41 predictably closed their set with 'Fat Lip' from their breakout second album. Their set was long and bland but extremely entertaining. I only wished that they played 'Handle This' from that same second album (All Killer, No Filler) or something their first album.
I feel that Warped Tour gave a little something to please both the older and younger majorities. With bands like The Casualties and Face To Face or We The Kings and The Summer Set, the tour successfully gave a diverse crowd a diverse lineup providing plenty of exposure. I could never not go to Warped Tour, it is a world that once you enter you never want to leave.