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Ro's Rock Show Review: WARPED and Loving It!

When my daughter asked me could we PLEASE go to Warped Tour, my first thought was, "Why the heck not?" I'd already taken her to the Rockstar Uproar Festival, The Mayhem Festival, and several other indoor and outdoor concert events. Two years ago I attended Rock On The Range in Columbus, OH... A three day event with over fifty bands playing on three stages. I figured I could handle some teen angst on a Saturday in June no problem!

First off, let me just say that Warped Tour is a tremendous opportunity for new bands, community service-oriented groups, and Youtubers, who are folks who have made themselves famous by hosting shows about everything from serious issues like cutting to band interviews, to parodies on current pop-culture phenomenon. It is also the weirdest concert I've ever been to. Overall my experience was great, besides the fact that I was not feeling great from possibly food poisoning or some other intestinal distress two days prior, but I do have some bones to pick...

Who's ever heard of a rock show that ends at 9:00? Who's ever been to a show where one of the biggest selling bands goes on at 11:45 a.m., while people are still getting into the venue? And why the heck isn't this a two-day event? Ok, rant over. Now onto the things that I believe are genius about the tour.

TEI. The Entertainment Institute is an organization that has come up with the brilliant plan to put fans in front of their "gurus" in small groups for short periods of time for Q&A on specific topics. At our show, for example, you could pay $25 to meet Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides and hear him speak about being true to yourself, or you could listen to the lovely Ash Costello of New Year's Day speak about Artist Development and Marketing. We chose to pay the extra $20 (day of the prices dropped! SCORE and Parents got in free!) and listen to Bryan Stars of Youtube fame talk about being successful as a Youtuber. Stars talked about how he got started five years ago and how he has grown making videos with his friends into a moneymaking career.

In addition to listening to Stars speak, which was a highlight for my daughter and her BFF, we got a sneak peek at the action backstage. A woman played fetch with her dog, groups of artists and crewmembers passed by with plates of food, talking and laughing, but probably the most intriguing site, was an impromptu gym session by some of the band members (I couldn't identify them, but enjoyed the view!).

Oops. Sorry. Distracted by boys... Happens all the time... Anyway, TEI is providing a once in a lifetime opportunity to these kids and I'm so happy my daughter got a chance to meet one of her idols. The OTHER Youtubers she watches like mad were in HIGH demand at their signing tent. We waited in line with about 150 others to meet them and get autographs and only got about halfway to their tent when they closed up. Thankfully we happened to catch them later in the day and the girls got to meet Johnny Guilbert, Damon Fizzy and Jordan Sweeto (I hope I got the spelling right.) These young men are so poised and charismatic! My daughter raves about their videos and their positive message. One of my purchases from the day was a Damon Fizzy tank that says "Your Flaws Do Not Define You." I love it! They've formed a kind of collective called "My Digital Escape" that again, my daughter raves about. I'll have to watch it now that I met these kids! Fizzy thought it was "cool" that I brought the girls. My daughter assured him "She's the one who got me into this music!" He was kinda shocked. Poor guy.

Speaking of music, which was the whole reason I was interested in going, the lineup did not disappoint. There was such a wide variety! Punk, Alternative Rap, Hard Rock, Almost Metal, and some strange band called Family Force Five. The dudes had mini trampolines. I just can't even describe them. My favorite sets of the day were by Escape the Fate, Black Veil Brides, New Year's Day, and The Amity Affliction. All are bands I've heard on Octane, my go-to SiriusXM channel, but not all of them get play on traditional radio. MANY of the bands never get radio play, so Warped Tour is their chance to shine! We missed a lot of bands we wanted to see. I only got to see about four minutes of Mallory Knox, who I'd seen before and they are fantastic, Set It Off, again, we'd seen them before but we just couldn't get there this time due to the lines for the Youtubers! New bands I wanted to see and didn't included Hands Like Houses, Pvris, and Beartooth. This is why I campaign that Warped Tour be held over two days so you can really see all of the bands. We heard snippets from different stages as we passed them, but didn't always know who it was because they didn't post who was playing, and if your band didn't have a banner, too bad for you.

All in all, a great day. Would I go again? Sure, if the lineup was this good, I was in better shape, and had better shoes! The look on my daughter's face throughout the day kept me going and NOT ONCE did I go to the Reverse Daycare, or "Mommy Tent." Rock On!

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