Last year I wrote a love letter to nostalgia disguised as a discussion of the Warped Tour. True, much like how your first love always has a small part of your heart (or so the cliché goes), part of my summers will always belong to the touring ball of chaos known as Warped, but what I wrote was as much about recapturing the past and facing down old demons as it was the tour itself.
So when the tour rolled around again this year, writing about it seemed a lot more difficult. Not only did I no longer have the ability to view the tour through a prism of nostalgia, but it was also taking place the same day as the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase.
Still, it seemed like a waste for Warped to come to town -- actually ending the tour in Houston this year -- and not check it out for a little bit. So I did. Here's what I learned in the whole two hours I spent on a hot parking lot.
1. That thing that Douglas Adams said about towels is legit. Five minutes out in the sun and I was already a puddle.
2. "Smile In Your Sleep" by Silverstein is a really good song.
3. If Silverstein as to be believed, it's totally cool to cover other bands on the tour. (They did a cover of a track by The Chariot.)
4. A skip the line pass only allows you to skip a line. You'll still be waiting a bit to get in.
5. Line is a relative term. See that photo above? Those were the gates as people tried to get in an hour and a half after they opened.
6. This year parents got in free if they came with their kid. Fewer people took the tour up on this than you might think, but it's still a cool idea.
7. Whoever came up with the idea to print the schedule/map and sell it for $2 is a genius, straight up.
8. Spending two hours at Warped is a total crapshoot when it comes to who you might see. The joys of shifting the schedule every day.
9. The place to see the face of defeat at Warped Tour is in the Adult Day Care. So many sad faces.
10. "Integrity is what black eyes were invented for." So said a british rapper who dropped an amazing a cappella verse about women's rights that I can't do justice to. Seriously, give it a listen.
11. If you need more positive rock in your life, Tonight Alive is a good place to start.
12. If you ever expect them to organize the tent area in to something less chaotic, you'll be waiting a long time.
13. The most popular question at Warped Tour is, "What is this line for?"
14. It's not that free water isn't popular, it's just that free water isn't as appealing as rapsas.
15. Warped has started hooking up with local food trucks. Awesome to see Waffle Bus, Golden Grill, and other local buses serving up food to the masses.
16. People will always find shade to sit in, even if it means sitting in the shadow of a garbage container.
17. Something that is true 18 years in, and will be as long as Warped is around: rock music will always live as song as there are kids willing to wait in the sun to sing out loud. You can complain about the heat, the lines, and high merch prices all day, but the moment a band starts playing a song you love you forget all about that. Thanks for "Whoa Oh (Me vs. Everyone)" Forever the Sickest Kids.
18. It's possible to sweat out all your body weight in two hours. Keep an extra shirt in the car. It'll be clutch.
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