Saturday, July 3, 2010

Warped Tour 2010

Scattered showers, smeared makeup, ear to ear smiles and grown men splashing in puddles. These were sights all too common at this year’s Warped Tour in San Antonio, Texas. People of every kind, size, ethnicity, style and age, gathered together to witness the bands whose lyrics they live by.

Upon arriving, my sister and I followed our ears and went straight to the Altec Lansing stage, where Breathe Carolina was playing a song off of their newest album, Hello Fascination. We didn’t dare try getting towards the front, for fear of getting trampled by any obsessed tweens and/or their parents (No offense, Breathe Carolina). It didn’t seem worth it anyways, and we decided to wait until a later crowd to risk that. After they finished their set, we wandered around in the big misty mess of people, stages and tents, until we stopped at the Truth bus where we played simon says and won some free shirts. We had only come to see Alkaline Trio, Eyes Set To Kill and Of Mice & Men, who were all three playing later in the day, so we continued the wandering, meeting new people and grabbing some other free trinkets along the way.

Much like many of the other people attending, we didn’t let the humidity and on and off condensation bother us one bit. The rest of the attendees, who were either unprepared or just not big enough fans to risk getting their hair a little wet, took shelter indoors whenever the rain decided to come down. It may have just been us, but my sister and I were more than accepting of the spontaneous showers. Rain, or one hundred and ten degree humidity? I’d chose rain every year. I can’t say the same for Of Mice & Men frontman, Jerry Roush, who encouraged the whole crowd to flip their birds at the sky while cursing mother nature, for giving us such “shitty” weather. This is the crowd where grown men were splashing around in the mud puddles, I might add. At a typical Warped experience, one would expect bikini tops and sunglasses to be as far as the eye can see, but this year, due to the hurricane on the coast, those were exchanged for umbrellas and plastic ponchos. Indoors, I even saw a man holding a tattered black umbrella in his fist as he ferociously charged towards the wall of death in the Bring Me The Horizon crowd. If that’s not brutal, I don’t know what is. After this set ended, Alkaline Trio came on, and the thousands of people who filled the stadium flooded out, leaving a small, cozy, intimate crowd. You could tell that every single person in there was a die-hard fan. Though there were obviously less than a hundred people, we all squished hard against the barricades as if it were a hundred thousand and we were the luckiest In the stadium. They played mostly new songs, but mixed in a couple classics like Sadie, Clavicle and Radio. This was the last show of the day, and it was the best I could have ever asked for. My sister caught frontman Matt Skiba’s glow in the dark dream catcher pick, and we exited triumphantly.

With the surprise showers, friendly faces and beautiful, mud-soaked crowds, I’d say that this was my best Warped Tour Experience yet. By the end of the day, my clothes were clean and sweat free (supposedly) from the rain, my feet were sore and my shoes were sloshing. My makeup was all washed away, much like many of the other girls (and boys) who stood strong up until the very end of the day. With new memories fresh in our minds and my new favorite band tees tied to my bag, we exited the grounds and drove home, only to wait another year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Story time.

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Picture this: It's well over one hundred degrees outside, you're surrounded by thousands of sweaty human beings from age five to what could be visually presumed as twenty times that. You drove three hours to get here, through the long Texas countryside, and you've finally made it. You're ten feet from the stage, and Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green walks out onto the massive, elaborate platform. The crowd erupts, and once In Fear And Faith begins, his fluid movements drive you to question if it is really him, or some mystical non-mortal being up there. You're finally here, Warped Tour '07, San Antonio, Texas.

If this was you, you must have been one of the hundreds of people like myself waiting to become a part of the religious experience that is seeing Circa Survive live. The movement of the audience was more like being in an ocean current than a typical concert crowd, and the fact that this was probably one of the most excruciatingly high-temperatured days i've seen didn't bother me one bit. The combination of the echoes of sound from all different stages with one of my favorite bands on stage right infront of me shot a quick thought through my head, this is what I want to my life to consist of. I have to be a part of this, somehow, whether i'm on stage, behind it, infront of it, it doesn't matter. This one hour set seemed to last for an eternity, and this performance landed a top spot in my mental hall of fame.

I've always been interested in people's most memorable concerts, and what factors etched them into their brains so thoroughly. It could be for good reasons or for bad, but whenever I get asked what my favorite concert was, this one always comes to mind. So I suppose I was lucky enough to have a good experience be my most memorable. I'm not saying that I've never been to a bad concert, but that's a whole other story entirely.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Alt kid for life.

2003. In my oppinion, this was the most heavily influential year for music. Modern-day alternative music(I'm not talking Nickelback here), that is, and all of the many genres and sub-genres that surround it. This is the year that Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue, Billy Talent's self-titled album, Brand New's Deja Entendu, The Used's Maybe Memories and many other albums that formed the musical taste of myself and the average alternative kid were released.

Given a little slack, 2002 and 2004 can be tied in with 2003's big bang of angsty alternative goodness. Releases by The Used, Hawthorne Heights, Taking Back Sunday, Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance, and tons more that share the genre can be included in my list if these extra years are taken into account. 2003 was definitely the most concentrated year, but all together this three year span popped out every single one of my all time favorite albums. At the time, my older sister was around the age of 13. So, she was obviously at a very media influenced age. Her taste in music became my taste in music, even as a little eight year old girl just venturing into third grade. None of my friends ever had the same taste in music as I did, and I could never figure it out.

Now, looking back, I realize that the generation gap is to blame. Five years is all it takes. Popular music changes as fast as the way people wear their jeans, one year flaired and the next skin tight. And now it's cut-offs, but I digress. The alternative craze died out by the time that my teenage years came into play, but my love lives on. I still remain one of the few die-hard fans of Brand New in my generation, and the same goes for Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, Alkaline trio, too many to list. These bands shaped my musical taste, my outlook on life (probably not the best thing), pretty much most of who I have come to be today. These are the bands whose lyrics are burned into my brain and will be until my dying day. these are the years that shaped it all.

Here are some of singles and my favorites from the albums I mentioned earlier.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

More music, less meat.

Popular belief: vegetarianism isn't ideal, it's unhealthy, it's too much work. Most non-vegetarians say that what's stopping them is the accessibility to vegetarian-friendly foods, but I find that to be an easy excuse out. I believe it's just a lack of inspiration. What's the point anyway?

I was lucky enough to be inspired into vegetarianism at a young age. I was nine years old, and in third grade. None of my friends were vegetarians, nor were any of my family members. The Korean half of my family ate lots of red meat, as did the strictly Texan side, so it was a bit of a stretch. I decided to be come a vegetarian because of my dominant role-models, the members of my favorite bands. My idols. Many of them had taken their personal time to speak out against animal testing, the meat industry, the dairy industry, and countless other issues that must be faced. Music is what led to my vegetarianism, and I am positive that it's led to many others in this urgent generation.

Jepharee Howard of The Used speaks out against the cruelty of animals for commercial purpose out of compassion for the defenseless animals hurt in the process. This is the same as countless other known musicians, such as Colin Frangicetto of Circa Survive, Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, Kathleen, J.D. and Johanna of Le Tigre, and even Members of Anti-Flag. Vegetarianism and animal awareness are spreading, thankfully. It's great that bands with such impressionable audiences have began to join the cause. For the younger crowds, it probably isn't the greatest idea to put PETA videos and cold hard statistics in their faces, because they won't take it as easily as older folks may. Seeing why these musicians were so passionate about their vegetarianism (the practice of following a diet without meat) and veganism (the practice of following a diet without any animal products, no milk, eggs, etc.) is what made me want to see what it was like. I'm hopeful that my generation and generations to come will see vegetarianism as I have, through the eyes of music and who I want to be. As I've grown older I've backed my beliefs with more and more facts from the horrors that go on behind the scenes of the animal industries. For instance, on many factory farms raising chickens for food, arsenic (a harsh chemical used in pesticide) is added to chicken feed to stimulate growth. This chemical stays with the chickens, and in result is taken into the bodies of the consumer. In the fur industry, animals are put in cages that don't even give them enough room to take a step to the left or the right. They spend their whole life burdened by stress, disease, and psychological hardships. “If you have to murder another creature to be cool, you're not very cool to start with.” Says Kathleen of Le Tigre.
As said by Colin Frangicetto, guitarist of Circa Survive, “If you can save anything from suffering, it just makes sense.” Vegetarianism, cruelty free consumerism, it's all been a normal part of my life since I made the decision to switch six years ago. Its was the most worthwhile decision I've ever made, and it wasn't even hard. So go ahead and try-- It's what the cool kids are doing.

Here are some sites with nice tips on adapting to a vegetarian or vegan diet-

And here are some videos of popular musicians for Peta2.