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Warped Tour 2013 at Canterbury Park, 7/21/13

Botzy
Botzy
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Warped Tour 2013
Canterbury Park, Shakopee
Sunday, July 22, 2013

Warped's tagline this year was "Best Day Ever." For some kids who wait all year for this day, that motto certainly rings true. The Vans Warped Tour plays out a little like a high school lunch room, but only with more misfits and kids that don't fit in outnumbering the popular kids. Each summer, the tour pulls up with its trucks, tents, and tour buses, giving these kids a chance to their rite of passage that summer affords them. With the rain out of the way early in the morning, the day cleared up to a sunny, delicious summer day perfect for muddy mosh pits and havoc.

See Also:
Warped Tour 2013: Rowdy music and fans
Warped Tour 2013: People and scenes

Warped creator Kevin Lyman's lineup this year seemed very ska heavy, including bands like Beebs and Her Money Makers -- who sound less like No Doubt and more like Save Ferris -- and veteran ska rockers Reel Big Fish and Big D and the Kids Table. Known as the band that is "always on every Warped," Big D has been playing the tour for nine years, and lead singer David McWane shares the story of how the band initially made their way into Lyman's radar, "He [Lyman] saw how hard working we were, and we just kept telling him, 'You can say no to us today, but we're still gonna be here tomorrow and the next day,' but we said it in a nice way."

Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Another person who "forced" her way onto the tour is a singer who recently starred on The Voice, Juliet Simms. The young performer followed the tour and snuck into tents to sing some sets; when Kevin found out, she charmingly convinced him to allow her to play on the summer tour. The singer had a chip on her shoulder when she was younger because of her thoughts on how people viewed her as a woman in the industry. She has since grown up and realized the world isn't against her and learned to use that view in a positive way. Although she was on television and The Voice gave her a bigger audience, Simms wants to be defined by the message of persistence and being able to achieve your goals by working hard no matter the odds.

Each stage has a corporate sponsor, and at this point in time, bands are no longer thought of as "selling out" when they play these stages, but rather proud to be backed by these names. New this year was the Spotify electronic stage that hosted DJs, rappers, and EDM performers that didn't fit in on the other stages such as MC Lars and Frankfurt native Kairo Kingdom. One to watch was Wallpaper from California. The band featured an interesting set that brought in dubstep, rap, and a talented band to accompany the loops -- not to mention the highest energy of the crowd whose energy was waning at that point in the day.
 

Blessthefall
Blessthefall
We Came as Romans
We Came as Romans
We Came as Romans
We Came as Romans
Photos by Anna Gulbrandsen

With more than 100 bands on the bill this year, Warped can be an iPod shuffle for live shows; if you don't like a band, there's always another stage to try out. Bands that defined the tour this year were guitar-driven Blessthefall (whose lead singer is Beau Bokan recently married Lights, who is oft-featured in our pages), pop-punkers Go Radio (a project that began when lead singer Jason Lancaster left his old band -- one of last year's headliners Mayday Parade), Billy Talent, melodic metalcore rockers We Came as Romans, and hippie pop-rocker Christofer Drew aka Never Shout Never.

McWane of Big D admits that he didn't know what Christopher was in a band until he performed. The tall, skinny performer is so unassuming until he takes the stage; while he writes songs with catchy pop hooks -- most of them about being happy and/or heartbreak -- Drew's voice carries over the crowd and commands the attention of everyone walking by.  

Billy Talent
Billy Talent
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Local musicians made a splash on the scene courtesy (for most of them) on the Ernie Ball Stage, which featured a Battle of the Bands event. Some of the bands were from around the States, but most were from the Twin Cities like pop-rockers The Role Call and Venus on Fire, a girl-fronted band that is a cross between Hey Monday and Paramore. Greg Grease and Rapper Hooks brought in the hip-hop and included local MC Botzy, but the highlight of the day came in the form of crowd-surfing-generating Motion City Soundtrack.

MCS were extremely excited to be playing to their hometown crowd, some of whom have never seen the band before. Bassist Matt Taylor admits that, "It's a little odd to be the "old guys" on the tour, but Warped is the perfect way to play for fans and get their music out to new fans." He says, "It's interesting to see how music -- and even the industry -- has changed over the years. We definitely are still working hard for new fans, and there are a lot of new bands that have to work even harder.

To get someone to even click on a link that you post is an achievement." Despite the small number of bands that "make it," Taylor was encouraged to pursue music since his father had to give up being a musician when he had kids. Matt continues, "Music is all I care about; I don't really have any hobbies outside of it. With Motion City Soundtrack, we've been together for 11 years, but I feel like we still haven't hit our stride. There's always a better song to be written." The same can be said for Warped.

Motion City Soundtrack
Motion City Soundtrack
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

Critic's bias: I hate sounding like "that person," but this year's lineup seemed a little lackluster for me. Perhaps it was due to me trying to hustle and walk around to see more bands than actually being able to see the bands.

The crowd: Teens as far as the eye can see.

Overheard in the crowd: About Venus on Fire, "What's this band called? 'Penis on Fire'?"

Random notebook dump: Make sure you wear your sunscreen. While being rebellious may be cool, heat exhaustion and sunburns are not.


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