Sunday, June 25, 2006

Warped Tour, June 19, 2006, Part One

Joan Jett is older than me. So are Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle of The Buzzcocks. Otherwise, I was the most aged person everywhere I roamed at Kansas City's Warped tour stop on a scorching Monday afternoon. I was pleased to find that I hadn't missed many of my favorite acts when I reached this giant lineup board around 2pm.

I missed the whole fourth ska revival of the '90s. But Less Than Jake, pictured here, were really good at what they did. And the kids adored them.

Desperate for shade, I stumbled into the MySpace tent and the day's best music. Gym Class Heroes were funny and smart, and Helmet aside, were the only band I heard that understood the power of a deep groove. These guys have star potential.

I always liked Joan Jett as much as the next guy, but I didn't have much in the way of expectations for her at this late date. Boy, was I wrong. She was clearly out to prove something. She paced like a caged animal as Underoath wrapped up their set on the adjacent stage. She tore into "Bad Reputation" before Underoath's feedback faded out.

And just look at her!

Warped Tour, June 19, 2006, Part Two

Save me a seat on the "Induct Joan Jett Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" bandwagon.

I'm certainly not qualified to explain Saves the Day's popularity. All I know is that this is exactly the sort of band that makes me question my love of music.

I like that Aiden's singer made an effort. Too bad about the music.

The outdoor amphitheater's regular stage was split into two halves. It was really amusing to watch the fans of pop act Amber Pacific attempting to endure the screamo-thrash of The Bled before their heroes began their set. The Bled, by the way, were fantastic.

Attendance was light. The unbearable heat was a big factor. But the lack of a headliner like AFI, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance or Taking Back Sunday was surely the primary culprit.

The racket made by Helmet hits the sweet spot between Metallica's roar and Sonic Youth's arty experimentation. It could have been the heat, but their excellent set hypnotized me.

In 2005, I marvelled at the ridiculously long autograph line for a band called Fall Out Boy. It wasn't until a couple months later that "Sugar, We're Going Down" started to get break. Based on that evidence, Motion City Soundtrack is next. This line was well over 200 yards long.

Warped can be just as punishing for bands as it is for fans. I caught this band hanging their heads as the band at the adjacent stage played for hundreds of ecstatic kids. Based on their dejected countenance, they seem to know that they're doomed.

I'd never seen The Buzzcocks. Finally hearing "Orgasm Addict," "Fast Cars" and "Ever Fallen In Love" live was a big deal for me.

I commented elsewhere that I'm impressed by The Buzzcocks' adherence to the punk ethos- they obviously refused to waste even a moment of the last 25 years learning how to play their instruments.

Something tells me these guys were waiting for Anti-Flag's set. I went home when The Buzzcocks quit playing around 6pm. It took me a couple days to fully rehydrate.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Kansas City Kansas Street Blues Festival

This year the festival moved to an industrial district of Kansas City, Kansas. Hidden behind the warehouses, factories and silos is a park at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. Lewis and Clark spend the night at this location during their westward trek. I wrote a preview of the event for Patchchord, and took this pictures on Friday, June 23, 2006.

For the first time, the festival added a second stage. The "street stage" was actually in a parking lot near a highway exit ramp. Loud trucks would occasionally disrupt the performances at this stage. That's JJ Johnson- a soul singer, not the jazz trombonist- in red.

I was disappointed to find that the "river" stage was situated in a grassy park on a bluff above the rivers instead of in the lovely forrested area on the rivers' banks. That's guitarist Jimmy D. Lane in the flashy blouse.

David "Honeyboy" Edwards peformed on the street stage Friday night.

He was accompanied on harmonica by his manager, Earwig label owner Michael Frank.

The street stage faced downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Here's the pretty view at night.