Vans Warped Tour at Bicentennial Park Recap

Categories: Concert Review
Ari Justin Rothenberg
Gym Class Hereos performing at the Warped Tour's Miami stop at Bicentennial Park.

Vans Warped Tour
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Bicentennial Park, Miami

It was hard to say whether any band or artist stood out most on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. The sounds varied from the whimsy girl croons of Charlotte Sometimes to mosh-pit hardcore roars of Set Your Goals. The tour bill included several acts that have been touring South Florida in recent months, which may have also contributed to the feeling that none of these bands were exactly a widespread hands-down favorite or must-see. Most of the kids attending had more of a catch-a-glimpse-and-go attitude, rather than sticking it out for an entire show.

Although tons of attendees donned Cobra Starship apparel, probably one of the most energetic scenes of the early afternoon was when Florida-based Anberlin took the stage. The band’s melodic hardcore sounds inspired hoards of fans to crowd surf into the pit and get bruised, crushed and shoved. One tween girl’s bikini top came off while another kid cried when she got knocked in the head. Front man Stephen Christian was sure to give a huge shout out to all the fact that this year’s bill included several Florida artists.

After Anberlin, Angels and Airwaves were probably the next contenders for the biggest turnout—although to my surprise a couple of girls asked me whom the band was while they were playing their biggest song. I repeated her question to be sure she was actually referencing Angels and Airwaves. She was. During the hefty rain shower, lead man Tom DeLonge told the audience that he asked God to make it rain today, and asked that we all relish the moment. Earlier, DeLonge had a small meet-and-greet that I happened upon when I saw a few kids holding Angels and Airwaves posters. This seemed almost like some kind of private signing since there were only about 25 kids in line. This was a perfect example of how the unpredictable nature of Warped Tour is both a gift and curse. You never really know what you’ll happen upon, but the lack of event maps and printed schedules usually means that even the artists themselves hardly know when and where they will host their meet-and-greets. One of the vendors couldn’t even tell me where to find the First-Aid tent. “I’m not sure where they set that up today,” he said. Uh, yeah, that could be something they might want to keep consistent, or at least make known.

Competing with the same set time as Angels and Airwaves, the trio Horrorpops entertained a decent, but smaller-than-expected crowd on the other side of the park. The band performed without backup dancers, and although they were novel, chatty and fun, it wasn’t enough to make me say I’d see them again. One onlooker told me: “I just like them because [the front woman] is a fat chick who wears tight sexy dresses.”

Against Me! had a surprisingly small audience, which had to be totally based on the fact that the band had an early set time—starting just after noon. Later on, tons of diehard fans that waited in a ridiculously long line to meet and greet the band.

Charlotte Sometimes put on a sweaty, flirty show to a mere handful of kids. It was obvious that this jazzy-pop newcomer was not in the same vein as the other more hardcore acts of the day, but her intimate group of onlookers seemed impressed with what they saw. Wearing a plaid button down dress, the lanky Sometimes shimmed and got extra-chummy with her keyboardist during her closing song, “Waves And The Both Of Us.”

A big downpour stopped just in time for Set Your Goals to play, but the rain protective covering on their speakers muffled their sound and gave a general lackluster effect to the performance. I know this band can deliver because they were incredible opening for Saves The Day earlier this year. The sound system quality was just not up to par, but the massive crowd didn’t seem to mind. The band even announced that this was their best turnout yet on the tour.

- Monica Cady


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