Vans Warped Tour 2011 at Canterbury Park, 7/10/2011

Warped Tour 2011
July 10, 2011
Canterbury Park, Shakopee

Give me your tired, your cynical youth, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...and gather them all at Canterbury Park for Van's Warped Tour.  Despite the government shutdown and races being cancelled, the scheduled concert commenced as usual this hot July day, almost two weeks earlier than the past few years, which usually scheduled Warped Tour in August.

At Warped, the sooner you come to the conclusion that you will leave sunburned, sweaty, dirty, and possibly less one flip-flop, the more fun you will have.  The ultimate place for artists to connect and meet with their fans, Warped took place on the same lawn as this year's Soundset Festival in Shakopee.  One of the hardest working individuals in the music industry, Kevin Lyman brought Warped to the Twin Cities for its 16th year -- meaning Warped is officially legal to drive.

In previous years, the music spectrum was very much spread out along the alt/punk/pop-rock genre, but the majority of the bands on the circuit this year ran along the same screamo vein, with bands such as I Set My Friends on Fire, We Came As Romans,  and A Day to Remember.  When Attack Attack! took the Teggart Main Stage, a girl looked at the mosh pit, turned to her boyfriend and exclaimed, "I am NOT getting caught in that."  Even in the screamo genre, there are so many versions and spins that bands put into their music, which can run the gamut of dance (Dance Gavin Dance) to just plain screaming (Black Veil Brides, whose fashion ensembles and stage makeup bring to mind Marilyn Manson).

A band to watch among these artists is The Suit from Fargo, North Dakota; they played the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands in Shakopee last year, going all the way to California to win the whole battle and earning a 10-day spot on the tour.  Joel Knipple's pure polished vocals play well under Paul Olson's screaming, a balance striking a chord among many teens during their set, which included water guns to help cool down the crowd.

Devil Wears Prada

Devil Wears Prada

With seven stages, Warped promised to put one on sensory overload, but there were many gems to be found in the list of bands. 

Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter recently released her new album, The Kids Will Take Their Monsters On, sharing with fans her acoustic design, affirming that, "To be truly taken seriously and not objectified as a woman by this industry, which is so male-dominated, you have to be genuinely talented.  If you aren't, people will see right through that."  Juliet shared that she forced her way onto the tour a few years ago, when she was with Warped favorites Cute Is What We Aim For, and snuck her way into tents and played.  Despite eventually getting caught by Kevin Lyman, he expressed that he admired that kind of gumption and took a listen to her music, leading to her gaining a spot on Warped.

Moving Mountains was a recommendation for one-to-check-out, but until you see them live, you don't realize the talent can come out of these four guys.  When asked about his larger-than-life lyrics, Gregory Dunn says, "I write about the stuff no one else wants to."

Another lovely surprise was Madina Lake with their ever-bounding energy.  Not many lead singers have the voice and the stage presence, but Nathan Leone has that "it" factor, leaping off the stage and dive-bombing into the crowd; it's hard to take your eyes off of him.

Nick Westgor of Skies Alive said, "Roger Manganelli of Less Than Jake is the reason why I play bass; every time I watch him, I get mad because he is so good and he makes it look easy."  Less Than Jake was a breath of fresh air, bringing their brand of ska punk metal with a whole new generation of teenagers.  Trombonist Buddy Schaub shares that, "Many kids will come see us having heard our name, but not our music, and we always get new fans exclaiming, 'You guys are so good!'"  The band has gone through many changes in the music industry since forming in 1992, starting with record labels to currently releasing everything themselves, evolving with the prevalent DIY model.  Being together so long, members of Less Than Jake have had to overcome trials as a band, Buddy advises, "You are with these people 24/7 in a van, so the littlest things can set you off, but you just have to tough it out.  We've been so fortunate that we weren't one of those bands that made it big, and then eventually played to smaller and smaller crowds in bars.  Eventually you become a brotherhood, and hindsight is 20/20."  Their set was, if anything, fun.  Including their classics, the band played the theme from Animaniacs and Spongebob Squarepants, eventually leading to Chris Demakes to instruct the crowd to form a circle pit around a wheelchair-bound fan, adding a new spin to the oft-heard phrase "I want to see a circle pit!" on this tour.

Brian Venable of Lucero guides many new bands out there, "I feel that being a punk-rock lifer is being able to be able to take the passion and values you learned when you were young and idealistic, and applying them to the real-life situations you will encounter as you get older, hopefully with the same excitement.  I like to think that getting in front of the kids on Warped Tour will give them an opportunity to see that it doesn't really matter what you look or sound like as long as you're staying true to yourself and your sound, whether you are playing basements or arenas."

Besides the people picking up the garbage, the hardest working people at Warped are the bands that are not actually on the tour (and I do not mean the monks that seem to be at every stop on the tour, selling their books that one girl mistakenly called a Bible), but the bands that promote their music each morning in the line outside the gates.  People such as Francis of My Lady Four, Troy of INPASSING, Vic of Evelynn, and Nate Flynn are at Warped self-promoting, following the tour, and selling their music to each teenager individually.  There are your cynical, apathetic teenager, but if you look beyond that, so many are open to new music.  A kid wearing an "Asking Alexandria" t-shirt may just buy your CD, even if it's the total opposite of his musical tastes, so don't skip him when trying to promote. 

If this is the outlook to the new music industry, we may just have a chance.

Full Lineup of Shakopee's Warped Tour:

The Acacia Strain

The Aggrolites

Asking Alexandria

Attack Attack!

August Burns Red

Brother Ali playing with Grieves

Brother Ali playing with Grieves

Bad Rabbits

Big Chocolate

Big B

Big D & The Kids Table

Black Veil Brides

Blacklist Royals

Blood on the Dance Floor



The Bots

Cold Forty Three

D.R.U.G.S. (One of the most awesome names for a band meaning Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows)

Dance Gavin Dance

The Dance Party

The Dangerous Summer

A Day to Remember

DC Fallout

The Devil Wears Prada

Enter Shakiri

Every Avenue

The Expendables

The Exposed

The Fold

Foxy Shazam

Grieves with Budo

Go Radio

Good Guys in Black


I, Apparratus

I Set My Friends on Fire

Ill Scarlett

Larry & His Flask

Less Than Jake



Madina Lake

MC Lars with Weerd Science

Miss May I

Mister Fister

Motionless in White

Moving Mountains

New Year's Day

Of Mice & Men

Our Judgement

Paradise Fears



Pour Habit

Reliant K

The Ready Set


Set Your Goals


The Sheds

Shut Up and Deal

Simple Plan

A Skylit Drive

Stephen Jerzak

Street Dogs

The Suit

Terrible Things

There For Tomorrow

Unwritten Law


We Came As Romans

Winds of Plague

Windsor Drive

Woe Is Me

The Wonder Years

The Word Alive