Reflections on Warped Tour 2012 Milwaukee: Fun, Sweaty, Unforgettable
For a change, Warped Tour in Milwaukee was not scalding hot with horrible humid temperatures. We caught a break. 12 hours later it didn’t matter much as I was soaked in sweat of which a majority wasn’t my own. I threw down. I threw down hard. For at least two days after August 1st, I recall having had extremely sore muscles, specifically in my neck and back. (I mentioned I threw down hard?) This being my third time at Warped, I made the wise choice of bringing an actual backpack to store stuff in, though it proceeded to come unzipped with the contents flying out several times during The Ghost Inside’s set.
Well, one thing that should certainly stand out about Warped Tour at Milwaukee this year was the rather compact nature of the layout this year – in comparison to last few years; everything including the stages was much closer together. Apparently less walking distance between everything = winning. Later I found out that this meant that they had sacrificed the main stage this year at Milwaukee combining into two stages in the amphitheater itself. I, or more specifically the video’s recorded by my android there now weep for the sound quality that emanated from that stage in comparison to the outdoor ones.
Warped, of course, had it all; tents galore. Every kind of social cause, or at least most of the trending ones were there. I’ve never felt so loved by “To write love on her arms.” For the teenager who was thinking of “doing things” there was a Trojan Condoms tent giving away plenty of free condoms to the apparent delighted stares of the parents who had decided to come to Warped to “monitor” the behavior of their teenage daughters. That actually is a tough job when you consider what those parents were going to have to go through when they tagged along to see All Time Low, Sleeping With Sirens (Very manly voice), ect. The savage pits, dangerous jumps, and shrill screams whenever Kellen (OMG!) appeared were sure to make it a valuable observation of teen behavior. To make the parent’s cringe even more, Buddy from Senses Fail made sure to remind all of those males in the audience to trim themselves down there. (Buddy for president? Yea, I saw those shirts.) Speaking of parents, there was actually a “Reverse day-care” where kids could “drop” their parents off so that the kids could act the way they normally do when their paretns aren’t around. (Shudder) Now that I think about it, I don’t recall seeing the reverse day care last year. Our society these days, but I digress.
There was a tent for the robe dressed practicing white Caucasian Hindus bowing and uttering “Hari Krishnas” with random kids while tour goers walked past with puzzled looks. (Definitely different.) Apparently absolute atheism still has yet to rid the unenlightened rednecks from their stupor as this is just yet another indication that we have been and still are perusing various spiritual worldviews since the selfish decade known as the 60s. (Remember, the only absolute is that you ignorant.) Unfortunately I only got a picture of them packing up their transcendence meditation medium on poles.
Even the PETA people had a tent of their own with the “I Heart Hunting Accidents” shirt available for only 20$ to the meat haters, vegans, and other individuals who prefer to be as “different” from the norm of us animal holocaust transgressors and deviants as possible. This marks an additional approach beside their pestering outside the gates in attempts to prey upon kids and turn them into possible juggernauts/supporters for legislative action to punish all of us meat eaters.
Now that I’ve mentioned meat, I should mention the high cost of these obviously low prices, or as some people have put it, “highway robbery.” To make matters even worse, beer was $6.50 a bottle. Let me repeat that, $6.50. This wasn’t the price of agood beer, a fabulous and delicious import, or even one of our better cheaper beers like Rolling Rock; this was the price of a Miller Lite, Coors, ect. I actually considered getting one, but I figured it would be a poor idea considering the amount of moshing I planned on doing. (As WELL as spending it on merch to support the bands.)
There were plenty of bands that stood out. Memphis May Fire actually surprised me. I wasn’t planning on seeing their set, but I decided last minute to see them and I was rewarded for my wise decision. One thing has to be said for them; they sound better live, especially vocally, then on any of their albums. That’s always a step in the right direction.
Every Time I Die was solid, as they always have been. They actually mentioned during their set that they played their first Warped Tour on a stage with about 10 people in the audience. Give or take 10 years later and that seems to have changed. What can I say, Every Time I Die deserve the success they’ve gotten. I was impressed with the way the set sounded in general.
For Today tore it up live, something they seem to do consistently. They actually still manage to surprise me when it comes to live shows, and no, I’m not talking about Mattie’s preaching. Mattie has a sick scream live, in fact it’s probably gotten better since the last time I heard them which was about two years ago. I noticed this because I’ve noticed alot of screamers and vocalists who can’t scream well live. Cough “Caleb Shomo” cough. I can’t recall the exact song set they played, but the songs were primarily from Breaker and Immortal, with at least 3 songs from Immortal if I recall correctly.
I personally fought invisible ninjas at least 3 times during the day, primarily during The Ghost Inside and Vanna’s sets. How can you not hardcore dance when this breakdown hits? My only gripe regarding The Ghost Inside’s set was that the rhythm guitar was too loud in comparison to everything else, but it wasn’t enough to subtract from the set. The songs I remember them playing were: Faith & Forgiveness, Outlive, Between The Lines, Chrono, and Slipping Away, not in that order. I noticed Vigil seemed to have worn the same shirt that day that he had in all of the live videos of previous Tour Dates. That thing must of have smelled awful.
My day led off with Four Year Strong at the main stage. I decided to be stupid and get on the floor level that was boxed in by the metal gates, which was of course a big mistake when the pits opened up and I and the others in front of me were pressed into the metal gate behind me for the entire set. I had my backpack on me at the time, but was unable to get my phone out to take any photos or video because I literally couldn’t move my arms. FYS started off with “What the hell is a gigawatt?” which I actually called. Their set was distinctly devoid of any of the songs of their new album with just one exception, though I can’t recall which new song it was. Final note about FYS; damn, can he scream live.
Sense Fail was incredible live, despite being on the “Main Stage”. For all you Senses Fail fans, they played 3 songs from Let It Enfold You. They also played the song , Warpaint, which is a new song of the Best Of album they just released recently. That was the first time I’ve heard that song and its probably one of the heaviest songs they’ve ever made, which means that they are still willing to be unique and not sell out. “Cough, Rise Against, cough.” Taking Back Sunday was probably the best live band of that day, specifically sound wise. The guest vocalists they had didn’t hurt either, hello Thursday and ETID. That was the first time I had gotten to see them, and they didn’t disappoint. As the picture implicates, I didn’t repeat the mistake of going to floor level, rather I sat/stood in the stands and deprived myself sweat and moshing at the main stage.
Some of the stages, specifically the Kevin Says stage and the Ernie Ball stage had bad sound quality. Seriously, it was bad. I’ve never heard After The Burial or Born Of Osiris sound so bad. Apparently that new French “metal” sensation, Captain No Captain Chunk, was the exception to the sound quality at the Ernie Ball stage. I must admit, I thought they were going to suck. (I may have let others opinions influence my initial opinion of them before hearing them live.)
I decided, or rather made sure not to stick around for Sleeping With Sirens. I prefer men to actually sound like men when they sing. Singing at a tenor so high that only dogs can hear it makes me queasy and downright uncomfortable, though apparently the teenage girls REALLY like Kellen’s voice. Shudder. One other highlight of late in the day was recalling rapper T Mills, who I thought might have been too big to be on Warped, call out in kind of whiny voice; “Is der any white gurls here today?” Rhetorical question at its finest with the audience in front of him was nothing but “white” girls screaming and jumping. (I had thought of staying around just to hear, but in my friends circle, I’m apparently already running low on those every sought after “man-cards”)
If you werent at Warped This year, know that you were deprived of proper culture, excellent music, (Well, that’s up for debate.) screaming highschool girls, the shade of friendly tents, insane amounts of merch, and the stench and feel of other peoples sweat – like this very happy security guard.
The set for that day: