I don’t know what I did in a previous life to deserve this kind of treatment. I really don’t. As if it wasn’t enough to subject me to the sheer unfiltered horror of Camden Rocks Festival, our esteemed and incalculably cruel editor Rhian took it upon herself to drag me through the ordeal that is Vans Warped Tour. And there wasn’t even a parting shot of nostalgia in the form of Bullet For My Valentine to rescue me.
It began, as many eventful days do, in Nandos, where I was soundly derided for the COMPLETELY FUCKING NORMAL choice of double mash to accompany my chicken. Then it was the long slog (by bus) up the hill to Alexandra Palace. On entering those hallowed halls and working out where the bar was, I felt slightly more confident about what was about to happen. Then the main doors were opened, and a tidal wave of preposterously dressed teenagers swept into the venue. I’ve never seen anyone cautioned for running inside a gig venue before, but I saw it a hell of a lot in that first ten minutes. Children skittered everywhere.
Seeking respite in the cool embrace of alcohol, I balked to realise that it was five English pounds per pint – like some kind of tax on the beleaguered parents and elder siblings trying to drown their boredom. The choice – Fosters or Strongbow. The equivalent of Tramp’s Urine or a different Tramp’s Urine. Luckily I spotted something in the corner that swiftly raised my spirits –
YES. Bodeans are the purveyors of some of the best BBQ in our fair capital city, and I am not ashamed to say I did a small happy dance upon seeing/smelling them there. At least if I couldn’t get shitfaced or enjoy any of the bands, I could gorge myself on delicious ribs. (Bodeans – if you would like to sponsor either myself or MOSH, please be in touch – if not, Other smoke houses are available)
Oh yeah, this is a music festival. Let’s talk about bands.
The World Alive- Sub-Bring Me The Horizon-post-hardcore guff. To their credit, they play with as much energy as if they were closing the show rather than opening it. Completely forgettable cookie-cutter breakdowns. Fringes.
Ghost Town – A dire mix does them no favours. I’m pretty sure they stole that riff from ‘Walk’ by Pantera. Lead ‘singer’s voice is grating and nasal. Fringes.
Rob Lynch – actually pretty good. If you can’t afford Frank Turner to play your birthday party/vegan lunch hall opening, Rob will provide a more up beat but less lyrically astute equivalent. No Fringes.
Metro Station – What year is it?! Absolutely appalling, somehow worse than they were the first time around. Horribly processed, their hollering of ‘how many girls here like Metro Station’ seems a bit inappropriate considering most of the girls here are still at secondary school. Apparently they’re ‘here to stay’. Fucking hope not. Fringes.
Fearless Vampire Killers – Fine. Command their half of the stage with a lot of energy. Feels like there’s an awful lot of them on stage. Fringes.
August Burns Red – decent metalcore, but someone needs to tell them that it’s not 2006 any more. Predictable, but strong vocals. Some much needed grit among all the pop-punk nonsense. Less Fringes.
Creeper – Like watching grunge-tinged pub rockers who have gotten to big for their boots. Lots of driving riffs, but they aren’t driving anywhere. All a bit too clean to be credible. 33% Fringes.
Attila – *cracks knuckles* I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time. I couldn’t make our much of their misogynistic, immature lyricism, but that’s a good thing. Heavy for the sake of it, somehow summon a circle pit around the mixing desk. Crowd reaction would be undeserved if they knew any better. Utterly abrasive and unlistenable. Beat down after pointless beat down. When you are responsible for 14 year olds wearing t-shirts with ‘suck my fuck’ written on them, you need to take a long hard look at yourselves. Fringes.
If I saw any other bands, I absolutely don’t remember them. A lot of people had a very good time, and it’s very heartening to see the generation after mine take to guitar music in such a way, but most of the bands here are just One Direction with worse hair and better songs.
As I slid on my arse down the wet hill outside to the bus, I laughed. Not just at my own clumsiness, but at the uncaring, desolate universe that surrounds us all. And at how anyone who knows any better could enjoy Warped Tour. Same time next year?