i want to start this post by saying i’m over summer. i really, truly am. the month of august hasn’t been particularly kind to me, and in general i’m not a huge fan of summer. i’m more a basic girl who loves fall and ugg boots. however, there are things i love about summer; bathing suits, swimming, iced tea, shakespeare in the park, and warped tour.
warped tour has been a big deal for me since i was 14. i was always a music person; but that age signified a really special shift. it was when i really, really developed an interest in making my own music and got my first guitar. it was also when i started to find out the bands that would really shape me by becoming my safe haven during a really rough time; good charlotte, afi, my chemical romance, the used, fall out boy, etc. those bands introduced me to older bands like nofx, bad religion, the misfits. it was a my time. this was when i first started going to shows. as a teenager to me summer didn’t actually start until warped tour kick off. that was the beginning of summer and goofy teenage shenanigans (mostly reading fan fiction at the beach, i was lame as fuck). i can look back on that time with rose colored graduation glasses, but i was fucking miserable. depression, low self-esteem, lack of friends, etc. i will never say i was bullied, but i didn’t have the greatest relationship with my peers and i talked my way out of lot of fights (having given a boy a black eye earlier in life helped with that). i hated being a teenager when i was teenager. i didn’t know what to wear. i hated my body. i wanted everyone to just realize how cool and talented and smart and funny i was without putting myself out there, and then i was resentful when they didn’t. i was the only alt black girl at my school and most of the shows i went to. i always felt out of place. but, i still fucking loved shows. it’s a love that hasn’t ended. and while i am not yet the person i want to be, i continually remind myself that 15 year old me would be so fucking stoked by the person i am today and that’s a really affirming feeling. back in my day; warped tour kicked off in long beach and ended in ventura and it bookended my summer. i decided to go on a nostalgia kick this summer and i went to two dates; pomona (june 19), and san diego (august 5). both dates spoke to my soul.
i hadn’t been to warped in years before this summer. i considered going in 2013, because i really wanted to see black veil brides and walk the moon. black veil brides in particular remind me so much of afi, and my personal relationship with their music parallels how i felt about afi as a teen so much. i had a complete meltdown in 2013; i turned 25, i finished grad school and didn’t know what road to take to get where i wanted to go next, and my longest long term relationship ended “out of nowhere”. black veil brides and walk the moon were the only bands i could listen to without crying, because their music was new to me and i had no emotional ties to it. it helped me get through. it sparked that old passion in me, and i wanted to see them. but, i couldn’t go to warped alone. i just didn’t have the guts for it. i didn’t have the guts for much of anything then. i got to a place at the end of that summer when i was tired of being a bitch and tired of being angry and sad, and i was so tired of feeling like a doormat for the universe, that i needed to take some of my agency back. i called a truce with my ex. i dropped some friends who weren’t empathetic to my pain and confusion. i started to figure out what the fuck i wanted. while i’ve been building the life i’ve wanted for a long time in the past two years, i still regret not going to warped 2013. so, this year it was warped tour or bust.
ironically enough, i went to both warped dates alone. for pomona, i was supposed to go with a friend, who had a scheduling conflict. when he told me, i text another friend; she couldn’t go either. in the past, i would’ve just sold my ticket. i had done it so often before. but in the past two years i’ve learned so much about myself, i’ve grown so fucking much, and i’ve really started to like myself. it sounds crazy. i always loved me— at a distance. but i’ve been engaged in intense self love in the past two years. i can literally say i am my own best friend and my biggest cheerleader and not feel weird about it. and i love my own company now. so much so, that i could spend a day, by myself in the desert, and have the time of my fucking life. i had such a great time pomona, san diego wasn’t even a question. i bought my ticket, took a train down there, and partied my ass off. enough about me and my self-love train. let me talk about music.
pomona band count; beartooth, amity affliction, moose blood, pvris, set it off, miss may i, memphis may fire, metro station, set it off, motion city soundtrack, wonder years, bvb, and pierce the veil. okay. totally was unaware of who beartooth was before warped tour and now i’m in love. they put on a great show. pvris is EVERYTHING; i just want to be lynn gunn. like, i literally considered her haircut for five minutes. she and hayley williams are part of a vocal family tree i’d kill be to a branch on. my friend jon john texted me and told me to watch moose blood and i’m happy he did, because i dig them. SET IT OFF IS MY NEW FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME AND THEY WILL BE THE NEXT FALL OUT BOY, MARK MY WORDS. they’re also really great guys. i had them sign my venue map in pomona and accidentally forgot to take it out of the pocket of my high waisted shorts and ended up washing it. i had never seen miss may i live before pomona, and i was thoroughly impressed. i watched two metro station songs before feeling like i was about to pass out, and went to go get more water and a popsicle. and then, i went to the mainstage for what i like to call “barricade or bust”. meaning, i’d seen black veil brides three times before, but never from the front and goddamnit i wanted to be able to see every bead of sweat on jinxx’s face so i was waiting it out until i made my way to the front. i got to see motion city soundtrack and wonder years from a decent spot. i made it to the barricade. i got crushed during august burns red (who i want to try to like, but their singer looks like a stockier version of one of my ex’s and i just can’t get into it). also, since i’m talking shit right now, what’s with never shout never? i felt real old during their set, because i didn’t get it. i still don’t get it. ANYWAY. i heard memphis may fire, but couldn’t see them and it made me sad. but then, “barricade or bust” worked, because i was on the barricade DIRECTLY IN THE CENTER for black veil brides. andy spilled his goddamned monster right into my eye and he owes me for that shit. but it was everything.
san diego band count; memphis may fire, metro station, moose blood, atilla, sleeping with sirens, set it off, escape the fate, bebe rexha, mallory knox, bvb, pierce the veil, neck deep, cross faith, our last night. memphis may fire played first that day and i actually saw them instead of just hearing them and i cried like a baby, because their music just hits me in the feels. i saw all of metro station this time, because i was properly hydrated. people tried to give me dirty looks for all the dancing i did, but like…why are you watching metro station if you don’t wanna dance? there’s 6 other stages, go be grumpy somewhere else. i watched moose blood again, and they favorited my tweet about how good their set was. i watched like, an atilla song before trying to find a good spot for sleeping with sirens. pause. i love sleeping with sirens. i am a very big sleeping with sirens fan. like, i generally listen to them every day, no joke. i saw them once earlier this year at self-help fest and was so pissed they weren’t on warped. then lo and behold they played one date of the tour and it was san diego. and they were magical. well, what i saw of them. because…i bailed on their set to see set it off from the front, because I MIGHT LOVE SET IT OFF MORE THAN SLEEPING WITH SIRENS. set it off was EVERYTHING. i danced so hard i lost my sunglasses, and at their signing dan (their guitarist) called me out for acting a fool. they signed my map and i got a set list and they signed that too. i also told cody and max (their vocalist and drummer), a series of bad jokes. sidebar; i went to a thinkTEI songwriting workshop taught by cody carson later that day and it blew my mind wide open and made me even more passionate about being in a band again, so thanks bruh. escape the fate was great, but i wish they had played ashley. ben rexha was the bomb.com and when she told the story of how she sold “monster” to eminem it spoke to my soul. she sold him that song as she was going broke and wanting to give up on her dream and it relaunched her career. do not give up, just because shit looks bad. mallory knox was dope. watch black veil brides from the back this time and felt old when none of the kids around me knew the lyrics to rebel yell. pierce the veil was a giant dance party for me and the random next to me. i think neck deep is gonna be huge in a few years. and i had never heard of cross faith and ended up really liking them. our last night was AMAZING. just amazing.
after both shows i was covered in a layer of grime when i came home, my hair looked like shit, i sweat off my fake eyelashes, and was sick the day after, but i’d do it all again in a heartbeat. oh, i also got the worst sunburn i ever had in my entire life at san diego. i though my pomona sunburn was bad, and then san diego happened and i was looked like a piece of fried chicken for a week afterwards. as much fun as i had this year at both warped dates, i hope this is the last year i attend as a spectator and from this point on go as a performer.
warming up my vocals. see you later. <3