joe zorzi looks at the 2012 edition of the famed punk rock festival…
I’ve been to the Warped Tour many times in my day and I have to say this was one of the best ones. Let me start by giving props to the crew members who were able to set up such a huge event in a matter of hours. It’s amazing how much they set up within such a short amount of time.
The set up this year was much better than I remember in the past. Susquehanna Bank Center was a great spot for a tour like this. The (semi) indoor portion of the venue was used for both main stages and they would play back to back. In the past, the main stages would be at different locations which made it harder to see all the main acts.
Now let’s get to the music. This year had one of the best lineups I’ve seen in a long time. There were a lot of classic Warped bands mixed with some great new acts. There was a good amount of reggae and rap artists which I think added a great diversity to the show.
Here are my thoughts on some of the artists I saw:
Sleeping with Sirens: These guys played on one of the main stages and they were the first band I caught. While they’re really not my cup of tea, they put on an energetic show and the crowd loved them. I wouldn’t be against seeing them again.
Machine Gun Kelly: This dude the ultimate example of a non-punk artist who was meant for the Warped Tour. He absolutely killed it. He had a dj, drummer, guitarist and hypeman on his stage with them and they kept their set live and rowdy. MGK is known for putting on crazy shows and I wasn’t let down in the slightest bit. The crowd was insane. Circle pits galore. For a rap artist. MGK is breaking boundaries. You can tell the guy loves his fans and really gives it his all at his shows. He jumped in the crowd multiple times and during Flocka’s part of “Wild Boy” jumped on a trailer splitting the crowd. I’d love to see him play a longer set one of these days because the energy of that set was matched by no other.
The Chicharones: I stumbled upon these guys at random while walking around the venue. They were playing in a small little tent and when I first arrived there were only a few people. They grabbed my attention right away because their sound was just so different. It was part reggae, part Rage Against The Machine, part Beastie Boys. Their style made so little sense that it worked out perfectly. The band was tight and you could tell they were all having a great time. The crowd grew throughout the set and rightfully so. They’re a group I’d keep an eye out for.
Breathe Carolina: This was painful to get through. Everything about their music just felt incredibly trendy. They jumped on the dubstep bandwagon and it just felt as if they were trying so hard. The kids were going ape-shit for ‘em though. Don’t ask me why.
Taking Back Sunday: This is going to be biased because Taking Back Sunday is pretty much my favorite band of all time. I’ve seen with each incarnation of their lineup and I’m never disappointed. This was my second time seeing them with John Nolan and Shaun Cooper back, the first being their Starland comeback show (which was mindblowing). For a band with five full length albums it has to be hard picking out which songs are worthy in a thirty minute set list. But these guys nailed it. They opened with the raging “El Paso” and kept up the momentum by jumping straight into “Error Operator”. The set was really well balanced and included “What’s It Feel Like to Be A Ghost”, “Cute Without The E”, and “Faith” among others. I couldn’t have asked for a better half hour of music.