Vans Warped Tour Toronto – Flats At Arrow Hall – July 9th, 2010

I walked around from photo pit to photo pit for most of Warped taking in bands I knew not a whole lot about. And while I don’t feel like I can honestly contribute entire reviews of some of these performances (seeing as I only saw two to three songs per band), I do have a few things of note to say about the festival.

If one band captured the ‘spirit’ of Warped on this current round of dates, it was Britain’s Bring Me The Horizon. They walked on stage, went right over the front of the stage to the rail and sung their first song directly to the crowd. I should add in here, that the ENTIRE front row in the crowd for Bring Me The Horizon was entirely composed of dreamy eyed girls all swooning over the band-members looming over them. Once BMTH got back on the stage, the crowd surfing ensued in earnest. Security guards present for this  performance earned their keep for the day – as flailing body after body was launched on top of the crowd half way between the soundboard and the stage to begin their swim to the stage. I say ‘swim’ because that’s literally what the crowd looked like from the side after I cleared the photo pit – a swimming mass of bodies in motion – all heading on the eventual trajectory of the half dozen sweating security guards up front. I haven’t seen a pit like that in years.

Kudos must also go out to Dillinger Escape Plan, for playing a set so rife with their signature pandemonium (both in music and stage presence) that the crowd literally didn’t know what to do. I saw a few requisite fans surfing, and a lot of devil forks in the air – but for the most part… the crowd in front of the main stage at 5:45pm for Dillinger’s live performance were simply humbled. Band members jumped around the stage like beads of water hitting a hot pan of grease. Photographers didn’t know where to look – as Dillinger band members launched themselves from speakers and drum kit towards the edge of the stage to sneer at the audience. It was like a crescendo of some twisted dance movement, as band members seemed to outdo each other for chaotic stage maneuvers song by passing song. The pinnacle was the guitarist flipping onto his back after leaping from the highest set of amplifiers and lifting himself up backwards by the feed and head, to howl at the audience while playing his guitar. If I hadn’t seen it first hand, I wouldn’t have thought it even possible.

I saw great performances from bands like Andrew WK, Whitechapel, We The Kings, Parkway Drive, Eyes Set To Kill and Breath Carolina as well – all fun for their own unique reasons.

I also caught Enter Shikari and loved them. Shikari are pretty much a band built on techno and chaos. They were kind of messy on stage, but that’s how they play. It’s also how they craft their music. Even as they were playing the build-up to ‘Mothership’ and the guitarist buggered up his guitar causing everyone in the band to start laughing as they played the same sequence of notes repeatedly to try and camouflage the fact that they were minus a guitar… the band managed to make it somehow worth seeing.

All in all, a fun day out.

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