Review: Warped Tour Toronto 2009

Warped Tour Toronto 2009 By: TJ Liebgott
July 15, 2009

Warped Tour celebrated its 15th anniversary with a punk rock smorgasbord that combined the future of Warped Tour with the roots of the original festival.  Among those playing were such classic punk bands as Bad Religion and Anti-Flag and newer scene/fashion groups like Lights, Millionaires and everything in-between.  The day aimed to entertain both old school punks and today’s attention deficit MySpace fans.  The following are the bands that stood out of the 60 plus band lineup.

New York band TV/TV played a short set of aggressive, in your face pop rock to a small but energetic crowd mostly made up of pre-teen girls.  Mostly playing off the buzz brought on by having songs placed on hit MTV shows and their current EP Not Enough Red, TV/TV proved that they are more than a marketing hype machine and deserve attention for their musical skills.  Check out songs like "Fire Island Freakout" to see what this band is all about.

For more information on TV/TV check out:

Its unfortunate that for the 15th anniversary, Warped Tour pitted Anti-Flag and other legends to either side stages or sets in the middle of the afternoon, but Anti-Flag made the most of things.  After a few songs into their set, Anti-Flag organized the biggest circle pit of the day to commemorate the anniversary of Warped Tour.  Perhaps the most memorable moments of their set consisted of an amazing cover of The Clash’s "Should I stay or Should I go" and inviting fans onstage for what they called their "Punk Rock Orchestra."

For more information on Anti-Flag check out:

The Flatliners Play Warped Tour 2009 The Flatliners
Every time I see Toronto band The Flatliners, they keep getting a larger and larger audience and their live chops just keep getting better.  They definitely kicked it up a notch from their performance at last years Edgefest and gave it their all for the show.  Lead singer Chris Cresswell, whose voice began to strain as the set went on, refused to give a half-assed effort.  Instead, he proclaimed "Fuck Montreal" and gave his voice up for the home crowd instead of trying to save it for the Montreal gig the following day.

For more information on The Flatliners check out:

A Day To Remember
After roaming from stage to stage checking out run of the mill punk bands, I happened across Florida hardcore band A Day To Remember who were exactly what I wanted to hear at that moment.  Playing melodic hardcore songs to a very generous crowd, A Day To Remember resembled a light version of Toronto band Cancer Bats, 50 percent of the heaviness, but only half the calories!  Regardless, A Day To Remember played one of the heavier sets of the day and put on a great show.

For more information on A Day To Remember check out:

Alexisonfire Warped Tour 2009 Alexisonfire
After a bit of a hiatus, hometown hero’s Alexisonfire showed that they are just as relevant as ever in the punk community.  While having the biggest crowd of the day by far, Alexisonfire wowed fans with past favorites and new songs of their newest LP Old Crows/Young Cardinals, which seems like it has more balls to it than previous releases.  The crowd became so overwhelming that vendors located anywhere in the vicinity of the main stage had to move back 10 feet to make room for those rabid fans in attendance.  I am very interested in whether Alexisonfire garnished the same kind of attention on their American Warped Tour dates. 

For more information on Alexisonfire check out:
The Ocean Buried
Don’t tell anybody, but The Ocean Buried is a guilty little secret of mine.  With their catchy vocal hooks and pop punk sensibilities, it’s easy to see why the Ocean Buried got a decent sized crowd on the Kevin Says stage.  Playing songs off their debut album Can You Spill A Secret?, the Ocean Buried made the most of their one night stand on the tour playing crowd favorites like the title-track and "Whisper These Words.”

For more information on The Ocean Buried check out: The Architechts Warped Tour 2009

The Architects
Kansas City band the Architects have a very true, honest, hardworking, blue collar sound to them.  Their crowd was small and those not in attendance surely missed out on this riveting foursome.  Perhaps this no bullshit band got overlooked amongst a sea of scene bands, either way, the Architects played their hearts out.  Perhaps one of the best moments was when they dedicated their final song to Scarborough, cause it’s the wrong side of town and as the band said, "sounds fucked up."  Standout songs included "Bastards At The Gate," "Don’t Call It A Ghetto" and "Daddy Wore Black." 

For more information on The Architects check out:

Bad Religion
On the main stage, the second last spot of the night went to old school punkers Bad Religion.  While Bad Religion played a tight, well-polished set, something seemed off with them.  Vocalist Greg Graffin seemed uninspired at times and at others genius.  Whatever problems or headaches the band has had backstage seemed to creep into their live show.  Perhaps it had to do with the crowd itself, which had been cut into at least half of what Alexisonfire had.  All of Bad Religion’s hardcore fans had planted themselves upfront, while the rest of the crowd seemed like curious onlookers hanging back in small cliques.  Sadly, after 15 years of Warped Tour, Bad Religion may not be relevant to today’s punk fan.

For more information on Bad Religion check out:

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