Something Like Sound

Tag: Warped Tour 2010

Countdown: Top 10 photos

by on May.02, 2011, under "Best of" Lists, Photos

Somewhere along the way I put aside my point-and-click camera and got serious about concert photography. The first event where I used a DSLR was the 2009 Mile High Music Festival because their photo policy prohibited any other kind of camera in the pits. From there on out I fell in love with the art of photography and tried to capture the experiences I had through photos. Looking back on the last couple of years, here are my favorite 10 shots.

The Fray – MHMF 2009: As someone who had very little experience with a more-professional camera, I was surprised at some of the great shots I got that hot weekend in July of 2009. The Fray closed out my experience at Mile High with a real spectacle: U2′s old stage rig, a big crowd, and a sense of completion.

Monotonix – Monolith 2009: While not a particularly great shot, I will always remember this set from the now-defunct Monolith Festival. It’s the kind of picture that would offend most anyone, therefore it has a certain charm and power that your average concert photo can’t achieve.

Paean – Hodi’s Half Note, December 27, 2009: Being from Fort Collins I found myself up there for the holidays without much to do. When I saw that Danielle Ate The Sandwich was playing a show with a few Act So Big Forest bands at Hodi’s (formerly The Starlight, as I knew it), I said, “Why not?” As it turns out Hodi’s has one of the best light rigs in Northern Colorado. This shot matches great lighting, ambient fog, and perspective in a way that I have seldom replicated.

The Knew – Pulperia release party at the Bluebird, March 6, 2010: At a time when people were just starting to figure out what Something Like Sound was, The Knew were preparing to get big. I ended up seeing the Knew 3 times at the Bluebird (and once at Hi-Dive), and they remain as one of my favorite Colorado acts. I recall seeing this particular shot floating around on their websites for quite some time.

Fellow Citizens – Skylark , October 8, 2010: I saw Fellow Citizens and Old Radio (now Amazing Twin) play two shows at the Skylark within one year. This photo of Fellow Citizens singer Eliza Boote was originally done in color and not cropped, however I edited it for print in the Oredigger newspaper. After looking at the two versions I decided that I liked the black-and-white more- it has a certain aesthetic that is reflective of that time and place.

Andrew W.K. – Warped Tour 2010 (Chicago): I had been to several years of Warped Tours before I decided to live in Chicago last summer, however none of that could prepare me for Andrew W.K. Perhaps one of the most energetic and bizzare performances I’ve ever seen, W.K. thrashed about the stage while putting himself into the most intriguing positions.

Safe Boating Is No Accident – Denver Does Denver 2010: The first show I saw after coming back from Chicago was Denver Does Denver (a fitting return, if I can say so myself). Safe Boating did a set of Pee Pee covers in the community space and something about the lighting in that room lent itself to some really dramatic shots.

Night of Joy – Denver Does Denver 2010: Sometime great photos are purely dumb luck. Another shot for DDD2010, I managed to catch the flash from a camera across the room at the often low-lit Meadowlark. The result: A photo that captures the face-melting nature of a Night of Joy set.

Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount, November 2, 2010: I bought my tickets for Sufjan nearly 4 months before he came to Denver. Fortunately I snagged some primo seats and was able to snap a few shots with my point-and-click. This photo was taken during a reworked rendition of “Seven Swans” which literally took my breath away.

FLASHLIGHTS – Split Cassette release at Larimer Lounge, February 23, 2011: FLASHLIGHTS usually like to party with the house lights down and their special Rande Kamolz-controlled rig in full operation. This, however, makes getting a decent shot of the group a challenge. I decided to experiment with long shutter speeds and zooming out while taking this photo.


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Warped Tour 2010: A review, part 2

by on Aug.05, 2010, under Concert Reviews

Following Pennywise we were hoping to catch Sum 41, but their set time had been switched with The Word Alive, another post-hardcore band. After taking a few photos (click here to see one), we realized that we could still make it to Andrew W.K.‘s set.

Upon arriving at the stage where Andrew W.K. was playing, the party had already started. In what I will describe as “the strangest, craziest, and most fun” set of the afternoon, Andrew W.K. & Co. had the entire crowd pulsing to their brand of heavy-metal infused, 4-on-the-floor, party music.

Music aside, the performance aspect of this set was mind-blowing (literally). Andrew W.K. and his wife danced around the stage and head-banged nearly the entire time. It was intense physically in addition to being a heavy-hitting listening experience.

I feel that I would have enjoyed staying around for more of Face To Face‘s set, unfortunately the group was scheduled to go on just 10 minutes before The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

I have made it no secret that I’m a big Rev. Peyton fan. Ever since I saw them at Warped last year I have been hooked. There’s just something refreshing about hearing country blues at a punk festival.

Although, despite the difference in genre, Rev. Peyton & the Big Damn Band still kept things fairly punk-rock by ending their set with the “polar bear of death” and a smashed washboard. During our interview with Rev. Peyton, he asked me to consider what genre they might be. My answer: Boot stompin’ fist pumpin’ country music for punk rockers.

Bands are often quoted with saying “This has been the best stop on our tour,” and most of the time they could be lying. For Chicago-based Alkaline Trio, there is no doubt in my mind that this was their best stop on the 2010 Warped Tour.

While the group did play a few songs from their recently released album This Addiction, they were in tune with the massive crowd that had gathered. Digging deep into their catalog, they played a few older numbers including “We’ve Had Enough” and “My Friend Peter.” As the half-hour set ended, the crowd cried out for more; but alas, it was Warped Tour and nobody got an encore.

Then, when I thought I had seen everything, I saw this: Michael Jackson Oompa Loompas. No further description needed.

Reel Big Fish took the stage after Alkaline Trio, bringing with them one of the best ska sets I’ve ever seen. After their first (and second)  songs they proceeded to begin exiting the stage as if the set had ended. This type of fun-interaction continued throughout the set.

In addition to their on-stage presence, Reel Big Fish kept the crowd engaged through several dance-genre short songs and a handful of covers. Their ska renditions of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and A-ha’s “Take On Me” were truly a highlight for the end of the day.

We headed back to the main stage to hopefully catch Sum 41. Unfortunately all we got was Warped-founder Kevin Lyman explaining that singer Deryck Whibley had come down with some variety of severe sickness and the group would be unable to perform. At this point my colleague and I were tired, so we headed home from what had been an excellent day.

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Warped Tour 2010: A review, part 1

by on Aug.03, 2010, under Concert Reviews

Covering Warped Tour in Chicago this year brought about a whole slew of different expectations and experiences. Unlike previous years in Denver, Chicago’s date of the festival felt bigger, both in actual size and in perception.

The day started off slowly, beginning with a backed-up single-entry-point parking system. Despite the slow going getting in to the festival, the parking was free and the venue staff were friendly and helpful. After getting settled in and booking our requested interview with Rev. Peyton, it was off to Haste The Day. The post-hardcore act was just that, a frenzy of heavy-metal guitars, some screaming and some singing. It might just be me, but I feel as though this type of music has become pervasive on the Warped Tour within the last few years, often to the chagrin of old-school punk fans.

Up next was The Summer Set, a markedly poppier group that drew a crowd of mostly teenage girls (it didn’t help that they had girls lining the back of the stage, just to reinforce who their primary audience was). In either case, I definitely felt out of place and decided to wander around the festival grounds after getting a few photos.

Wandering led us to the Kevin Says Stage, a small spot where up-and-coming, mostly unsigned acts have a chance to play. While there we heard Gardening And Architecture, a one-woman band with a sound strongly reminiscent of The Postal Service. Electro-pop beats mixed with live bass and thoughtful lyrics to produce music that matched the hazy atmosphere. The highlight of her set came at the end when she was joined on stage by a full band, giving her song a fuller, more rounded sound.

Finding our way back to the main stage, I was overcome by the sounds of Mike Posner‘s “Cooler Than Me” a pop-dance radio single that has been receiving substantial play on local stations. None of the politics of punk-rock really mattered though, everyone was too busy dancing. Directly after Posner was I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business, the side project of Ace Enders from the now-defunct The Early November. This set was another that showed the diversity on this year’s tour. The songs were soft and blue, a bit like Pedro The Lion, but with an electric guitar. At one point Enders asked the crowd to “squaredance !@$#”

Having sufficiently mellowed out from I Can Make A Mess, it was finally time to go old-school. Most of the traditional punk bands occupied the afternoon and evening sets, beginning with Pennywise. Still singing about rebellion against authority and war after over 20 years, Pennywise struck a chord with the audience, a mix of impassioned youths and laid back-tattooed 20-to-30-somethings.

Stay tuned for a review of the rest of my day at Warped Tour, including more photos and sets from Andrew W.K., Alkaline Trio, Reel Big Fish, and more!

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Video Interview: Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

by on Aug.01, 2010, under Interviews, Videos

Covering Warped Tour yesterday was a marathon. Between photographing sets I had a chance to talk with The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (specifically I talked with the friendly Reverend and his wife/washboard player Breezy). They gave us a great interview that I would consider to be one of the best I’ve ever conducted.

So, while I get to work on the mountain of photos taken yesterday, enjoy this video and be sure to catch the Big Damn Band at Warped Tour in Denver next Sunday.

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Warped Tour 2010: A Preview

by on Jul.29, 2010, under Blogs

It’s that time again. Time to go to a parking lot, be punk rock for a day, and avoid heat stroke. Summertime just wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the Van’s Warped Tour which will be making its way to Chicago this Saturday (7/31) and Denver a week later (8/8). Having gone to several years of the Warped Tour, I can say that this year’s lineup has its gems. Here are a few of my picks.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: I saw these guys for the first time last year at Warped, and it was definitely the highlight of the entire day. This punk-grass band is probably the most animated and entertaining of any on the tour; just be aware of flaming washboards.

Andrew WK: I think this photo of Mike Marchant and Mr. WK pretty much sums up why I’m going to see the Andrew WK set. It’s going to be a strange one.

Face To Face: Most of the kids at Warped this year probably won’t know Face To Face, but the group should not be missed. Back in the 90′s they were one of the more influential bands on the national punk scene, despite remaining less hyped than others (blink-182, Pennywise, NOFX, etc.). After breaking up in 2004, they recently reunited and are heading out on the Warped Tour trail.

Reel Big Fish: Year after year, ska bands remain a staple of the Warped Tour lineup. Last year saw Less Than Jake, Big D and the Kid’s Table and Streetlight Manifesto, while this year just has Reel Big Fish. I’ll be on the lookout for any group with a horn section so that I can get my ska fix.

The rest: There are quite a few bands that are veterans of the tour. Among the groups that I never miss are: Alkaline Trio, Pennywise, and Sum 41. I’m also planning on catching I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business, a side project of Ace Enders, lead singer from the defunct group The Early November.

I will be covering the Tinley Park (Chicago) date of the tour, so expect to see photos, reviews and interviews next week in advance of the Denver date.

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