Van’s Warped Tour: Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN 7/10/11

Once again the hot and humid Minnesota air could not keep the Vans Warped Tour goers from gathering to watch 75 bands perform on seven stages, all within the same day. With temperatures in the 90’s, it was definitely a shorts and flip-flop kind of day. Sunburns and sweaty teens filled Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota on the Vans Warped Tour’s 16th visit to the state.

The Vans Warped Tour seems to be moving further and further away from the punk/alternative bands of the past years and more towards the hardcore/screamo acts with such bands as Of Mice and Men, Attack Attack!, The Devil Wears Prada, and Asking Alexandria. When I asked a group of teens on what they thought of this year’s lineup, one Girl replied, "I miss all the punk bands we used to have on warped tour, but I’m still having as much fun as I do every year."  The warped tour lineup did consist of some punk bands such as; Street Dogs, Sharks, Less Than Jake, and Pour Habit.

It is always difficult to watch a band knowing that multiple bands are taking a different stage at the same time. You choose your favorites, or ones you think you might be interested in, and hope you made the right choice. A few of the acts I personally got a chance to watch were; Blood On The Dance Floor, Good Guys In Black, Big D and The Kids Table, The Bots, Asking Alexandria, Street Dogs, Black Veil Brides, A Day To Remember. Less Than Jake and Of Mice And Men.

Blood on the Dance Floor is an electronica band that played early in the day. The two singers (
Dahvie Vanity & Jayy Von Monroe) had creative makeup, colored contacts, multicolored hair, and were also wildly dressed, one in leopard spotted pants and the other in red and black vinyl. Unfortunately, the band played to one of the smaller crowds of the day. The fans that were in attendance really enjoyed when one of the singers jumped off the stage and had the audience sing along with one of their songs.

Mixing hip hop with punk rock Good Guys in Black was a unique group to see. Some people might recognize the lead singer, Rick Thorne from being a professional BMX rider. He made an appearance on the show “Stunt Junkies” and has had a character in the Tony Hawk video game series. Good Guys in Black really sparked the crowds’ interest when they did a great cover of "Killing in The Name Of" by Rage against the Machine. The crowds’ response was unmistakably positive.

Regular participants of the Vans Warped Tour, the Ska/punk band Big D and The Kids Table have built a loyal fan base. One fan in the audience said that she has been a fan of the band for 8 years and that her sister has been a fan for about four or five. The band formed in 1995 in Allston, Massachusetts when its members were attending college. Playing their catchy ska tunes and the energy of their lead singer, Dave McWane, they had no difficulty getting the audience skanking and moving to the music.

Walking to main stage, my attention was drawn to a boy playing guitar/vocals (Mikaiah Lei) and a drummer (Anaiah Lei) on one of the smaller stages calling themselves, The Bots. Mikaiah  asked the crowd if they liked punk rock and started to play a song. Immediately, it was obvious that this young man feels his music within his entire being. His body language and facial expressions made is a pleasure to watch him perform. Mikaiah and his brother Anaiah attend school in Glendale, California and both are involved in music programs. Their sound pulls from reggae, rock, punk, and the blues. “The Bots” were my surprise find of the day and I would recommend a listen to anyone who is into punk, rock and blues.

Drawing numerous teen fans at this year’s Warped Tour was Asking Alexandria.  They formed in 2008 in the UK, releasing their first album, Stand up and Scream in 2009. In April of 2011 they released their third album, Reckless & Relentless. The band claimed that the Minnesota warped tour date was the hottest so far. However, they also boasted that they were the best band in the world. It was unclear whether they were joking or not. The band gave their teen fans what they had come to see, a good show, and the crowd was not disappointed.

One of the few punk bands on the tour this year Street Dogs played a really tight set. This is the third appearance on the Vans Warped Tour for the Street Dogs since it s formation in 2002. Lead Singer, Mike McColgan, former singer of the Dropkick Murphy’s, started the set giving it his all, swinging the mic stand up and down as the first few chords played. McColgan continued the pace thoughout the 30 minute set, much to the pleasure of the audience.  

One of bands exploding in popularity over the last few years is Black Veil Brides. Wearing heavy makeup and all black clothing creates an image that is unique and helps the band standout compared to other bands out there today. Black Veil Brides gained a huge following after posting a music video called "Knives and Pens" on YouTube in 2006. Since that video, BVB have only gotten bigger. The band plays metal with an 80’s glam feel due to the bands look. At one point during their set, an audience member walking by and flipped off the lead singer Andy Biresack. As Biresack returned the favor, he asked the entire crowd to flip him off stating, anyone who wanted to give him the bird had their chance right then. The band put on a good show and was as much fun for their audience to watch as well as listen to. However, due to some recently shattered ribs and a short visit to a hospital, Biresack performed with his ribcage bound and restricted his movement on stage but the fans didn’t seem to mind.

Probably the biggest if not one of the biggest bands on this stop of the tour this year was A Day to Remember. The band took the stage around 6:00 pm and, of the bands I was able to see, they had the largest reaction from the crowd of any band that day. The setting included an inflatable blowup of all the members’ faces on the top of the stage. The crowd was thoroughly entertained as every band member constantly moved, running from side to side of the stage. The band played a lot of their hit singles such as “The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle,”  “The Downfall of Us All,” “ All I Want,” and I’m Made Of Wax” and “Larry. What Are You Made Of?”

Veteran Warped punk/ska band Less Than Jake hit the main stage towards the Evening. The band still has its humorous jokes and can still seem to draw a large crowd. LTJ recently released a 4 disc DVD anthology and an EP titled Greetings From Less Than Jake that diehard fans are loving. During the set, the band brought a man on stage claiming that he had the biggest dick in Shokopee, MN so he got to request a song and he chose "All My Best friends Are Metal Heads". The band also played a few other classic songs such as "Science of Selling Yourself Short and "Johnny Quest Thinks Were Sellouts".

Of Mice And Men, a post hardcore band from California, were one of two bands with the final 8:00 pm slot to close the show. The band has recently gained a lot of success due to their recent studio album The Flood rising to number 28 on the Billboard Top 40. The band’s performance was very fan orientated as singer Austin Carlile interacted with the crowd more than any other band of the day. One of his favorite movements was repeatedly swinging his head and upper body up and down as fast as he could.
The Van’s Warped Tour lineup may be changing but the crowds keep coming back in hopes to hear a favorite band, hear something new, and to hang out with friends. It is a chance for teens to hear a lot of music in one day and apparently in Minnesota, the heat and humidity of a 90 degree day isn’t going stop bands or the fans.


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