Friday: The (Very Wet) Vans Warped Tour At Sam Houston Race Park
As they always have, teenagers get a bad rap these days. In our minds, any kid who was willing to brave the dirty side of Hurricane Alex on Friday afternoon to see their favorite bands, eat a shit-ton of free Willy Wonka candy, and get soaked for eight hours straight by rain and wind is our kind of kid.
Friday afternoon's Vans Warped Tour in the lot next to Sam Houston Race Park off the Beltway was a wet and miserable affair, but only weather-wise. Musically, this year's edition was a sight better than some of the previous years, and the first one in recent memory where we were actually clamoring to see a band or two.
This year seemed to be one of the tours more even-keeled and well-rounded lineups in recent memory. There was barely any hip-hop or pop to be seen. In the previous years acts like Katy Perry and 3OH!3 confounded us older Rancid and Bad Religion-loving cats who were Warped vets and didn't see the value in say, "I Kissed A Girl" versus "Atomic Garden."
Warped's schedule this year had something for everyone, making older punks happy and soothing new-school metal kids alike. We showed up just in time on Friday afternoon to catch the latter half of the Alkaline Trio's main stage set, but missed the Bouncing Souls a few stages over.
Those two bands were headlining just five or six tours ago, and now seem like curiosity pieces for the younger set. Some in the crowd looked like they were causing havoc at the day-care center while we were at Warped in June 1999. Still, Trio got more than a warm reception, and a few Trio tats were visible in the crowd.
Pop-rockers All-American Rejects showed off a playful yet grittier side midway through the afternoon, running through the eight or nine core singles they have amassed since their 2002 self-titled breakthrough album.
Lead singer Tyson Ritter was decked out in a white suit in spite of the big 'ol stinging rain still drifting through the area, reeling off crowd-pleasing one-liners throughout the set. AAR songs are the stuff of FM radio gold, and every piece in their collection was on display for their set.