On the drive to Bonner Springs Ks, the weather seemed to be setting up for a perfect day. Cloudy gray sky, the chance for a few sprinkles, and a temperature around 85. The staff at Sandstone must have felt the same way as I was told to throw my sealed bottle of water away before entering the venue, being as a patron died at last year’s Warped Tour I was a little shocked. The weather situation quickly turned from chance of rain to the fiery pits of Hell, but it wouldn’t be Warped Tour if it was any other way. Sweaty kids with bad sunburns is almost a trademarked occurrence at this festival.
If protection from the sun and the search for hydration wasn’t enough to keep the 4,000 plus fans busy all day, their battle to see all of the bands that they wanted would be. With 60 bands performing on multiple stages a little pre-show planning was a must. If you were without a smartphone or a 2 dollar map/schedule you were out of luck. While the day’s schedule is inflated in front of the main stage it’s still hard to see every band that you came to see. During a festival like Warped Tour it’s almost best to pick a few must sees and then follow your ears for the rest of the day.
At the top of my must see list was a little band from Ohio that packs a huge sound, that band is Foxy Shazam! While the crowd that saw them was only in the hundreds they by far put on the show’s best performance. If you have never seen Foxy Shazam live I highly suggest you do. They never hold back and always out shine their last performance. While a mainstay of a Foxy show is Eric’s consumption of burning cigarettes it’s never the highlight of the evening. Even without the over the top antics and high energy Foxy delivers, it’s the music that really holds up. Songs like “The Only Way To My Heart” seem to stay in your head for days and leave you with nothing but a smile on your face as you remember Eric ripping up their merch money and throwing it into the crowd. After every Foxy show that I attend I end up liking them more and more. Though I must say to anyone that was at Warped Tour and witnessed Foxy for the first time, you must go again and see the whole show as you end up that much more shocked and surprised.
Besides the brush with greatness that is Foxy Shazam, Warped Tour offered a wide array of music, everything from the somber sounds of Windsor Drive to screaming angst of The Devil Wears Prada. For the fans there it not hard to find the right sound for them, but festivals like these are more for the experience than the music and that “Warped Tour experience” was seen clearly through the eyes of a kid pulled up on stage by Less Than Jake. Guitarist/Vocalist Chris Demakes yelled to the crowd asking for someone that wanted a mowhawk, after finding a willing participant he proceeded to make fun of his Bieber-like qualities. After a little shaving this lucky fan was fill on punk rock thrashing around on stage until Demakes asked him how many times he had been laid and with a quick response of “NEVER!” Demakes was on another mission. He asked the crowed if there was any girl out there that would make out with this newly formed verian punk. With little takers one girl eventually raised her hand and was quickly brought up on stage. The two made out for an entire song and then proceeded to jump around on stage. It’s in moments like this that you see what Warped Tour is all about.
Who knows, that moment could have changed that kid’s life to the point where he forms a band that plays Warped Tour and shaves another kid’s head. What I do know is that for the ten minutes he was on that stage he was bigger than life and didn’t have a fear in the world and if that’s not the point of live music I don’t know what is. While the show was hot and the tour a little too metal friendly for my tastes, it wasn’t without moments of greatness. If Warped Tour comes though your town I highly suggest you check it out, who knows it might just change your life.