From past experience, I know that parking at Invesco Field can be a bitch, unless you’re willing to pay the $10 or $15 dollars for the event parking lot. Plus, I’m trying to do my part by riding my bike whenever I can instead of driving my car. But this day would have me taking advantage of Denver’s mass transit system. It would be my virgin voyage on Denver’s Light Rail, meeting my friend Serena at her place that is just a few blocks from the Louisiana station.
Boarding the train, it was evident that many others were on their way to a day of music, sun, garbage dodging, sun, people watching, more music and more sun at Van’s Warped Tour 2007. A stream of people left the train when it arrived at the Invesco station, and we all wandered in the direction of the stadium. It was an awkward path we would have to travel to get there: over train tracks (where you do have to wait for a long line of trains to pass), down a street with a blind corner that has no sidewalk…get my drift? Not the safest pedestrian set up, especially if you have to walk at night to make your way back to the station, and actually remember how to find you way back.
As in the past, asking the workers at Invesco was a waste of time. No one seems to know anything other than they’re wearing yellow shirts with EVENT on the back. So we figured out where the press tent was all by our lonesome.
Heading back stage we got the schedule for the day, noting in order which bands we would check out, beginning with The Briggs and ending with Family Force 5. Luckily, most of the bands we wanted to see flowed through the day rather nicely, which helps to reduce our running from stage to stage.
We had a few minutes to kill before The Briggs started their set, so we headed through booth land, coming upon our friends at TS skate and snow shop. Bryan and his crew were already busy spray painting the TS logo on concert goers, using their handy stencil to brand the arms and calves, one after another. We would come back later in the day when they would perform their infamous on-the-spot Mohawk or Mullet haircut stylings.
When The Briggs kicked off their set with “One Shot Down” it was all the fans needed to shoot everyone’s right out of the cannon. It seemed as though these dedicated lads and ladies in the crowd weren’t as familiar with the new album, Back To Higher Ground, since the penchant to sing along subsided when the band moved into the album’s title track. The bouncing and air-punching picked up again as The Briggs boys gave it their all on “Songs For Us” and “Dead Men.” I was a bit bummed that “Everyone’s An Actor” from BTHG didn’t make the cut on their 30-minute set, but overall, they did the Warped tradition proud by propelling the classic vibe this tour started with back in ’95, jumping off the stage to bridge the gap between them and the kids behind the barricade.
Next on the schedule was a band I had been hearing about from our writer, Jef Hoskins. The Automatic is just starting to get things revving over here in the U.S., after already making their mark back in their native U.K. The release, Not Accepted Anywhere, had also landed this week in the U.S., and I was definitely looking forward to seeing Alex Pennie, singer and keyboardist for the band, perform his infamous “Kicks! Stretch AND kick!”
I was not disappointed. There was so much going on at one given time, it was one of my more challenging photo opps for the day. But the whiplash was well worth it, as Pennie and the rest of the gang put it all out there as if this was the last day on the tour. One of the last songs (which is not included on the release) was “Golddigga,” where Pennie took over vocals and Rob (lead vocals/guitar) broke out a flute. That’s right, a flute, for one of the most dance heavy tracks I’ve heard from the group. Loads of fun.
In between sets we took shelter from the sun and heat over at Brooklyn’s, devouring a plate of nachos disguised as a salad. While downing a few pints of ice water, the bartender was informing the other patrons of what was taking place just across the way. “If you’re over the age of 25, you won’t know who any of these bands are.”
What he should have said was, when you stopped keeping up with new music after Led Zepplin broke up and your radio dial is stuck on The Fox, you won’t know who any of these bands are. But he was right about one thing. There would be a Brooklyn’s patio invasion of both concert goers and bands later in the night, as Warped ended and the night cooled.
Heading back to chaos, Serena ran across Kurt Soto, someone she’s known since junior high who is now a big man at Vans, having been with the company since its inception. He was also a veteran of Warped from day one and had all the tricks for survival, which included wearing some type of insulation that kept out the heat (dude was wearing a long sleeved black sweat shirt and was as cool as a cucumber) and some kind of super foot insoles. Good advice.
While those two were catching up, I ran backstage again to meet up with Solomon, aka Soul Glow of Family Force 5. I also ran into the guys from Mania TV, so we all followed Soul man back to the air-conditioned tour bus for a quickie, interview that is. I commended SG for his band’s ongoing audio blogs, which they post regularly on their myspace.com/familyforce5.
Part TWO: Tune in next week for our interview with Soul Glow from Family Force 5, plus the rest of our Warped 2007 review and pics.
-Kim Owens, July 13, 2007 (photos by Kim Owens)
Frost, The Automatic
Alex Pennie, The Automatic
“Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady!!”
“Here ya go kid. Sell it on eBay.”
Rob gets a little help from his friends.
The Automatic’s Party Balloon
We’re hoping the mic doesn’t hit him in the head.
Alex Pennie demos punk rock jump rope exercises
Briggs fan belt it out to “Songs for Us.”
“Dude! Stop pushing! We’re already at the front.”
Ryan Roberts, The Briggs
Joey LaRocca, The Briggs
Chris X, The Briggs
Jason LaRocca, The Briggs