“When going for the Vans Warped Tour stay cool and re-hydrate!” That’s what the email notification from Ticketmaster said. With temperatures in the 100’s a couple days prior, even Ticketmaster was expecting a scorcher. The first surprise of the day was how mild the weather was on the day of the concert, 07-21-12 in Long Island at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum Parking lot. The Van’s Warped Tour was making its New York City stop here today.
Although it’s primarily become a concert for rock music, don’t be surprised at the variety of talent and genres on display at really close quarters, like the reggae band The Green.
The Vans Warped Tour is an astounding 42 city, 27 American states and three country tour, with three stops in Canada and one in London U.K. The 2012 tour started on Jun 16, 2012 and go through August 5 for the North American stops. The London, UK stop is in November. Now, if that’s not an organizational nightmare enough, on average at each stop you have close to 100 bands playing on about 10 stages for a total of about 9 hours.
The next surprise is you could actually miss the band you want to see play, so get there early. The time slot for each band at every stop is different. Every morning at each stop, the tour organizers decide when each band will play. This is because they want to mix it up, so that each band gets a chance to perform at different times of the concert. As it turned out, The Green was slotted on this particular stop to play one of the early time slots on the reggae stage called the Marley Stage.
The Green is a reggae band right out of Hawaii. These guys play some of the sweetest roots reggae or as some would call it jawaiian reggae. They’ve visited New York City three times beginning back in the fall of 2010. They’ve release two albums, available on iTunes and Amazon, which have won reggae album of the year awards and set Billboard records. These guys are friendly, personable, and very hardworking. They’ve probably spent most of this year away from home promoting their new album. They did the same for their first album, too.
In talking to the lead singer, Caleb as they broke down their booth for the day, he described in a very calm voice how their self-titled first album was really just four guys with a love of music coming together and expressing themselves. However, with the release of their sophomore album after having embarked on their first U.S. mainland tour, one senses an emotion of distance and time such as in the title track Ways and Means or in Love is Strong. Asked specifically about the song Love and Affection, a song you would be forgiven if you thought he was singing to a lady. But, by the end of the song it’s pretty obvious that’s not the case.
His response was a total surprise, enough to shake anyone who’s listened to that song over and over. He said, “music”. Music?! Whoa! He then recites part of the chorus, “she tell me lies, you give me pride; she hold me close, you hold me tight, …she might not be forever, you will never leave my side”. Whoa!! So true. Music is always with us, at times even when loved ones are gone. And even when we’ve lost the ability to express ourselves, music can be the one thing that can still touch us at our very core.
In rock music like many other genres with heavy beats, the drummer is the anchor, to which the bass player is his wingman, and as always the vocalist is the life of the band. In most other genres the guitar player is really the icing on the cake, and the same goes for any brass or other instruments in the line-up; their job really is to make the music much more enjoyable. The distinguishing feature in rock music compared to other genres, is that the guitar player takes on a life of their own. The guitar player and the vocalist are at times really on par. In appreciating the similarities between rock and other genres, even the non-rock music fan may find the music to be enjoyable to an extent, until the headache kicks in.
At the Van’s Warped Tour not only is crowd surfing allowed it is encouraged, so don’t be surprised. At each stage, especially at the large stages, are special staff dressed in blue polo shirts and brown pants. Their only task is to catch the crowd surfers as they reach the front of the stage, set them on their feet and return them back to the crowd. However, before crowd surfing at the next Van’s Warped Tour, read this.
Among the stages are tents of all shapes and colors, which makes the Van’s Warped Tour a tent city of sorts. Aside from the merchants selling t-shits and memorabilia, don’t be surprised to find record companies setting up tents. Also do not be surprised that the cool band that just played on the stage will be in these tents after their performance, up close and personal signing cd’s and t-shirts, and giving hugs.
In wandering around this tent city, were two major surprises. The Van’s Warped Tour 2012 is pretty much rock and metalcore dominated, so the first major surprise would be stumbling upon a tent were you would have found Anthony Raneri and his loyal crowd of lipsynchers in the Acoustic tent. During his performance, the tent was spilling out the sides with fans. Anthony Raneri, as the billboard proudly displayed is of Bayside.
When Anthony Raneri sings you are transported to another place, a soothing and calming place. There’s got to be no better feeling for any musician, other than signing a huge record deal, than to perform live and have your fans sing along with you. Anthony Raneri is the lead singer for a punk rock band, since 2000, calledBayside. Named after the north-eastern part of Queens in New York City, Bayside has released 5 full length albums, the last of which was released in February of 2011.
Anthony Raneri seemingly stumbled into his solo work and subsequently released an EP in January of 2012, which goes for 5 dollars on itunes. The first song on the EP titled Sandra Partial, has a very delightful hook. At the second line of the chorus, Anthony surprises as he rises the musical scale singing “I would wait hear all the time” in a melodic fashion that’s enough to transport you to that soothing and calming place.
The second remarkable surprise comes when you hear live hip hop and rap coming from somewhere within this tent city. The “Bring It Back Tour” tent is pretty much the only source of live hip hop and rap at the Van’s Warped Tour. Not just any kind of hip-hop, but what’s popularly referred to as indie hip-hop or alternative rap. It actually does not appear to be an official part of the tour, because you will not find it listed as a stage nor will you find the artists featured here on the Van’s Warped Tour roster.
To hear One Be Lo rapping that afternoon at the Bring it Back Tour tent was like hearing a voice in the wilderness of rock. His rapping was like a gravitational pull towards the tent, begging the question “who or what was that”. One Be Lo is what you would call an alternative rapper from Pontiac, Michigan or as he would call it New Yak City.
Another artist at the Bring it Back Tour tent is J Ross Parrelli. While listening to her on the mic, at times Erika Badu comes to mind, then next minute it’s Mary J Blige, and then before you know it you are wanderingRihanna who? She has the vocal ability to go from a soft sweet melody to a guttural rap. When she and One Be Lo take the mic to do a remix of One Blood, if we were indoors the roof would have been raised.
This is a surprise….
That’s Ceschi literarily spittin’ it at the Bring It Back Tour tent. After going to so many shows it’s a good idea to really to never judge a book by it’s cover. The amount of talent that oozes out of Cecshi when he’s rapping is astounding. Raw, energetic, rapid fire, passionate… that’s how to describe him. Ceschi is a self-described indie hip hop artist out of New Haven Connecticut.
The Van’s Warped Tour actually began as a Ska concert tour, and although it’s seemingly transformed into a rock concert tour it has not forgotten its roots. So it should be no surprise to find a Ska band playing on the largest stage of the Tour, the Kia Rio Stage. From the size of the crowd at Streetlight Manifesto’sperformance, one immediately understands that these guys are that good. The crowd here was probably one of the largest of the afternoon.
Streetlight Manifesto is a ska punk band originally out of New Brunswick, NJ. The band released their first album back in 2003. The first thing you notice is that there is a ton of them on the stage. Aside from the regular’s you would expect in a band, drummer and bass player who were both in the rear of the stage, the front row consisted of a tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, trumpet, trombone and guitar.
Then the next thing you notice is that these guys playing all these instruments are also vocalists, and it’s a huge ruckus up there on that stage. The kind of ruckus you want to be a part of. This is because the real party is not happening among the crowd-surfing crowd, it’s on stage.
At first sight of You Me at Six, you might be a little surprised these guys are a rock band. These somewhat clean-cut guys with t-shirts and no make-up perform so effortlessly, and without all the gimmicks found among rock music artists.
You Me at Six is a British rock band out of Surrey in the United Kingdom. Their style of rock is a mild kind of rock or a popish rock. It’s a very fun kind of rock music that even the non-rock music fan would be surprised to be taken up by it. Overall, this seems to be where the young crowd had the most fun.
Other than the scale of the Vans Warped Tour, what is really impressive is that these musicians and artists have to get out there everyday of the tour, and sometimes this is one day right after the next, and put out their best. Watching bands like Streetlight Manifesto and You Me at Six perform with such energy and passion really shows how much these guys absolutely love what they do.
You Me at Six
Finally, don’t be surprised by the future of rock music, playing at Times Square on the same day just when the Vans Warped Tour was wrapping up at the New York City stop in Long Island.
These kids are known as Unlocking the Truth. They are 11 years olds’ from Brooklyn, New York. At first sight of these boys rocking with such precision and zest, it was necessary to confirm this wasn’t a scam of some sorts. Really, this was a surprise.