My university days and beyond have mostly been filled with pop-punk and ska music. Proper feel good, summery tunes. So when I heard that the Vans Warped Tour was heading to London with a handful of my favourite bands on board I started counting down the days!
The Warped Tour triumphantly trundled into London’s Alexandra Palace to 10,000 hyped rock fans attempting to devour everything on offer from 28 bands across 4 stages. Hyped is pretty much an understatement for how I was feeling on the (what felt like) long trip across London. The line-up encompassed the soundtrack of my youth and to get them all under one roof was like all my Christmases coming at once.
I’m going to throw it out there straight away and get my one grievance over and done with early. The venue left a fair amount to be desired. The people traffic was unbearable at times and some rooms were shut off because of over capacity. Although health and safety is all well and good it kind of stuttered the flow around between the stages a little. Anyway, enough of that.
Wandering into the West Hall everything fell into place. We were greeted with the bright orange Jagermeister stage snuggled next to a huge vert ramp were some of the UK’s best skateboarders and BMXers strutted their stuff to the amazed crowd. There was also an extra special guest appearance from skate god Steve Caballero!
3OH!3 kick started my day and my word did they do a good job. They’re normally band I can take or leave but what a start to the day they provided. The crowd was bouncing and they really started the day on a high. That’s it I was in a good mood, I’d warmed up with a little dance and I was ready to be blown away by some of my favourite acts.
New Found Glory took to the stage looking like some sort of punk rock boy band in their matching basketball jerseys. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad performance from these boys, but they are my favourite band so I’m a bit biased, and this was no different. Every word was shouted back at them as they dedicated Dressed To Kill to Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour. They even through “the song you hate to know the words to,” Kiss Me, into their set. I could have gone home happy at this point but there was more to come.
Those Floridian ska-punkers, Less Than Jake, got my heart-rate up and wore me out as I bounced higher and higher to their awesome set. Needless to say Gainsville Rock City and All My Best Friends Are Metalheads blew the roof of and the crowd went wild. Whether it is because they’re awesome or if their stage time really was “the perfect time to go on because everyone’s got a nice buzz on and should take their shirts off, even the girls” as they announced or a combination of the two. Either way my chosen headliner had a tough act to follow.
But follow they did. If any one band epitomised Warped Tour and all its sensibilities it has to be Bowling For Soup. Their ethos is the same; have fun, drink beer, make friends! And what more could you want? Bowling For Soup rounded my day off perfectly in a way no other band could. My afternoon of reminiscence was wound up by Girl All The Bad Guys want and I practically floated out of the Ally Pally.
This was Warped’s first show in the UK since 1999 and if the banner on exit was anything to go by, we won’t be waiting that long for it to return. The weekend is already marked in my diary for next year!
Where you there? Who did you see? What did you think?
*This review was first posted on Glasswerk