The old adage of “getting there early to get a good place in line” didn’t entirely hold true for Warped Tour Phoenix 2017. We got there a little after 8 am and were hoping to get a jump on the crowd. What we found was a growing line of cars parked along 99th Avenue in front of a locked gate. The temperature was already approaching 100°, and they weren’t letting us in. Even worse, kids walking down the path to check out what was going on were being turned back.
Our air conditioning was in good working order! We were thankful, because we were waiting there for over an hour and a half. Even once the gates were opened, there was still a hassle dropping everybody off. We really wish that [fear farm] there was better planning involved in admitting people into the event, especially considering the extreme heat. It would have made things more comfortable and potentially safer for everyone. Once we got in, the music made us forget about all the initial nonsense getting into the place.
The demographic of people attending Warped is apparently changing, and the crowd had a somewhat larger proportion of folks in the 30-40 year old range than it has in years past. However, the younger crowd still dominated, and there were plenty of acts like Doll Skin to attract them in large crowds. This is a fresh, new band that is really starting strong thanks to killer playing and fantastic management (David Ellefson of Megadeth and EMP Label Group). You need to check them out if you have not already. Watch their interview. Support girl bands!
Doll Skin | Shut Up (You Miss Me) [Official Music Video]
Valient Thorr was good enough to travel all the way from Venus to perform here at Warped and give us an interview amidst his old-school jams. A long-time Warped attendee, he did not complain about the temperature. Surprisingly, Venus is apparently not at hot as the Venera probes say it is, but is actually quite frozen. Thorr likened it to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. For a Venusian, he certainly has strong opinions on U.S. politics. As he says, “It’s not about where you’re from but about where you are and where you’re going and what you do with your time while you’re here.” Truth straight up, no ice.
Valient Thorr | Sleeper Awakes
The Brooklyn-based “urban fusion” of Candiria offered a sound that was distinctly more modern and 300% denser. Despite the mingling together of so many different genres (Hip Hop, Punk, etc.) in their compositions, they blended and distilled these elements down into tunes with alchemical perfection. Check out their interview!
Candiria | Without Water [Official Music Video]
Isis Queen and Pyn Doll of the Cretan band Barb Wire Dolls delivered up some hard-edged sound as well as some frank talk about their music and the message it conveys. Just say yes to girl-powered Greek Punk. Check out our interview with these folks to find out more. Activate your thunder! Ενεργοποιήστε τη βροντή σας!
Barb Wire Dolls | Blind to Your Misery [Official Music Video]
Very prolific and dedicated Reno hip-hop artist Feeki revealed to us that he releases a new single every two weeks—that is a very enviable rate of post-production! Few artists seem to be as harassed by the weather and mechanical gremlins more than he is. Watch Feekie as he tells his story during our interview.
Feeki | I have a Mullet and Ripped 100 Rhymes in 16 Bars!!
It is difficult to nail down the band Knocked Loose into any specific genre. They just call themselves “heavy”. We kicked back with them as they told us about their members, their development, their sound, and their love of Southern food. Watch their interview!
Knocked Loose | Last Words [Official Music Video]
Silverstein was one of the older and more prominent bands we spoke to. Named after the author Shel Silverstein, whom they admire, they often get fans bringing up copies of Where the Sidewalk Ends for them to sign. This band spoke to us about past adventures (and misadventures) of the Warped Tours they have played at. Interestingly, Silverstein revealed that they are not inspired much by other bands. They seem to find inspiration from within.
Silverstein | Smile in Your Sleep [Official Music Video]
We also were happy to speak to Shawna Potter of the Baltimore band War on Women. This band advocates for all women’s empowerment and for raising awareness of women’s issues across the world. Some of their future album plans are “top secret”, but Shawna did share with us her experiences so far in Warped Tour and about what shaped her early music aspirations. Do not miss reading the interview that TPF’s own Kiya Gaskin did with Potter on her TEI Workshop Safer Spaces. At the upcoming Tinley Park Warped Tour on July 22, Tour Press Force will be covering her forum addressing Safer Spaces at Warped and beyond. She encourages all women in the music industry to keep going with their dreams and to never stop working to improve themselves and their skills.
War On Women | Say It [Official Music Video]
It is alarming how many bands have had vehicle troubles on Warped this year. Not only Feeki but Barb Wire Dolls was almost not able to continue with the Tour at all due to a bus breakdown. It was only due to the generosity of other members of the Warped community that they were able to perform. The other groups Volumes and Naked Walrus have had similar issues this year, and the scariest story was about the bus belonging to Being as an Ocean and Hundredth erupting in flames.
“It’s a dry heat”, they say. Who cares, though, if the wind almost blows the press tent over? The 113°+ temperatures did a number on some of our equipment, even with homemade mylar covers to help shield it. Some components just shut down after a while and we could not use them—we were not the only people having this problem. Even we were ready to shut down after a few hours in this inferno. And sunburn—you put on 1,000 SPF sunblock, and the UV says, “hold my beer”.
Many thanks to our new intern Mickey Johnson for putting up with the fire elementals and helping us pull off some great interviews. What’s in store for the next Warped? We do not care, as long as we are not melting.
Text highlighted in YELLOW will be active soon. We wanted to release our review in advance of the many rad interviews we did during the Phoenix Vans Warped Tour stop. Check back soon for more!
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