By: Jaime’ En Fuego
Nothing lasts forever!
As much as many of us may want our lives to never change it’s inevitable that they do and especially when we don’t want them to. It’s an acceptance we must come to terms with eventually as we age throughout this wacky existence but also a fact that throngs of potential Vans Warped Tour attendants seem to have slip their minds as every summer festival marks its dates in the nation’s respective regions. That forgetfulness is usually embodied by a pretty constant cry factor about how the bands that those dissatisfied fans would prefer to see are not playing this year or that the ones actually there are totally terrible. This incessant bitchery obviously does not come from the legions of followers these allegedly ‘terrible’ groups bring to the table, so dedicated they bought online pre-sale admission and their Black Veil Brides t-shirts at Hot Topic with their parent’s hard earned skrilla, yet instead from those who are really no longer in-tuned to the Warped world and everything encompassed within it. Bless founder Kevin Lyman’s heart for occasionally attempting to appease the unhappy by booking some heavy-hitters from the past that will bring in the veteran crowds and perhaps even heighten the curiosity of the youngins to scope things out and become fans themselves. As much as they love the tour getting older and its audience staying the same age it is common sense on Lyman’s part to lure those attendees of yesteryear back because by now most of them have probably stopped shot-gunning 40 oz’s and skateboarding to instead pursue positions that pay salaried dinero instead of hourly which means a TON more disposable dough to blow on things like merchandise, comida y cervezas, even if it is amongst the company of a bunch of pimply tweens with braces. It was that exact emphasis on a throwback approach to 2012’s incarnation of the annual ‘punk,’ and I use that term VERY lightly, festival which made it oh so memorable for someone like myself who joined the Warped familia over a decade ago when it was really starting to see a serious surge in popularity, and why the 2013 incarnation feels to some like a bittersweet return to reality.
Yes, the previous year’s version of the Vans Warped Tour was seriously just like a time warp in every sense of the term. The line-up was filled to the brim with bands that had established themselves a decade ago when EMOtional punk was again digging its claws into the mainstream world by often crashing the party at MTV’s Total Request Live and seeing heavy rotation on VH1, FUSE and even pop radio stations across the country. In turn, groups like The Used, Yellowcard and Taking Back Sunday, all of which performed on the 2012 main stages, essentially crafted the soundtrack to the adolescence of one-time kids who are now pushing the big 3-0, yet the EMOtional chord those group’s struck still must ring resoundingly based on the fatty crowds who watched them play just last year. That walk down memory lane was quite cathartic for many reasons. These were songs which defined not only my childhood but that of countless others. The angst of maturing captured perfectly through melody. Seeing those bands immediately transported me directly back to that time, and ironically enough so did seeing the girl, now a woman, whom I spent most of my 20’s with and associated most of that music with as well. If that isn’t everything coming full circle at a concert I don’t know what else is. As we walked past each other and no words were spoken it was another healthy reminder that people, just like our favorite bands, may not always be there for us but the memories they leave us with sure will, regardless of how different life becomes.
And that’s why more people who feel slightly out of touch with the Warped Tour because their favorites are no longer constant fixtures need to accept that perhaps instead of viewing the festival as a chance to catch up with some homies from back in the day they should rather approach it like an opportunity to meet a bunch of nuevo Amigos. I mean the show has become so flippin’ diverse as it’s progressed that you’re bound to stumble upon something special when there’s a mixed bag like Gothenburg melodic death metal worshippers The Black Dahlia Murder, helium sucking pop punkers Motion City Soundtrack, female driven alternative from awesome Arizona locals Lost In Atlantis, plus hip-hop, electro, reggae and just about everything else under the hot summer sun. Of course, a group like The Ataris was added to the bill last minute to coax a few extra old schoolers out to fry in triple digit temperatures with the kids. Hopefully many of those particularly jaded, opinionated fans will randomly discover at least one newer band of major merit if they go, leaving them more inclined to return the following year in an attempt at accomplishing the same. Which is why we all must keep in mind that music is not necessarily getting better or worse. It’s merely different. It’s changing because our lives constantly are. And change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The Vans Warped Tour 2013 is currently increasing the skin cancer quotient across the country. GOOGLE Jaime En Fuego to connect via my articles for Examiner, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Kick out some feedback, talk some smack, whatever floats your boat ya’ll! And as always a GRANDE Gracias to you all for reading Amigos!