Since its inception in 1995, Vans Warped Tour has been the premier destination to get your fix of live punk music. As the years have progressed, the line-ups have become increasingly diverse, and this year’s tour continued that trend. Thrash metal, rap, hard rock, metalcore, and of course pop punk acts graced the tour’s seven stages, attracting music fans of all types.
This year I attended the tour when it made a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, and watched band after band perform for their adoring fans. As someone with diverse musical interest, I hoofed it across the festival grounds to catch bands that I had been dying to see live. Municipal Waste, Beartooth, Hands Like Houses, The Ataris, and GWAR were some of my personal highlights, some being standout performers and others just flat-out fun. While all these bands deserve a review, I want to focus on two bands in particular.
First up is Hundredth.
Born as a melodic hardcore band, they have made a transition to what could be classified as indie rock with shoegaze influences. Their most recent release, Rare, has essentially completed the transition, and to much acclaim. Our staff writer Michael gave it a glowing review and it made our feature Top 25 Records Of The Year (So Far), so it’s safe to say the band is excelling through this evolution.
I made my way to the Mutant South stage to catch their set, and found myself in a modest crowd of maybe 70 people all staring into the sun awaiting the start of the set.The banner serving as a backdrop for the band had their name, with the Rare graphics in full display and this clued me in that I was going to get a heavy dose of new material. Chadwick Johnson, the lead singer and guitarist for the band, modestly stepped up to the mic and introduced the band, thanked us for coming out, and then broke into “Disarray.”
What was immediately noticeable was the quality of sound that the band had, both in terms of fidelity of the PA as well as musicianship. The band played the song flawlessly. After seeing them perform “Vertigo” and “Youth”, I was beginning to wonder if we would be treated only to tracks from Rare. It was around this time Johnson stepped up to the mic and thanked us once again, saying that it can be tough for an audience to sit through a set of entirely new material. This to me was an affirmation that the band is fully on board with their new direction; refusing to play old favorites on the road is a strong statement that this new sound is where they wish to plant their flag.
As they played on, the crowd thinned a bit more, perhaps due to the sunlight in our eyes, perhaps the lack of familiarity with the material, or maybe tour attendees wished for a more raucous energy and sought it elsewhere. It occurred to me that perhaps Hundredth were booked on the tour ahead of the release of the new material, and the promoters were still banking on filling the melodic hardcore slot with them. While this may or may not be the case, it would be understandable to leave mid-set if you were looking to mosh, dance, or crowd surf.
The band was noticeably subdued during their performance, rarely straying from their mics. It could be that their style of rock doesn’t lend itself to on-stage antics, or the fact that they were playing to a smaller group of people. Whatever the case, the band played their songs pristinely and made a strong statement about their direction in the process. As you can see from the complete setlist, only songs from Rare were performed. If you find yourself at Warped Tour this summer, be sure to catch them!
Setlist: “Disarray”, “Vertigo”, “Youth”, “White Squall”, “Hole”, “Neurotic”
Alright, on to Dance Gavin Dance!
After checking my schedule sheet for the hundredth (see what I did there?) time that day, I realized that I had to make my way to the pavilion that housed the Journey’s Right Foot stage where DGD would be playing at 6:50. Knowing that this band was hard to categorize into a specific genre, I was excited to see how the crowd participation would play out.
By the time I got to my spot in the pavilion, the place was packed and ready for the show. When the band entered the stage, they were met with an upheaval of applause, and the band broke right into their hit, “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise.” The first thing I noticed was that DGD’s special brand of fun was in full display by the band. Singer Tilian Pearson bounced around the stage during the instrumental and unclean vocal parts, swaying, dancing, and smiling the entire time. This inspired the audience from the very start.
As expected, their new song “Summertime Gladness” was played next. Those in attendance showed themselves to be dedicated fans, as they cheered loudly when it was announced that this would be the next song to be played. Aside from the lack of saxophone, the track’s performance could have passed as a live playthrough of the song. It’s an excellent addition to the setlist and really fit the mood and the environment.
The closing song, “Inspire the Liars”, got the crowd moving in a way that I hadn’t seen all day; the number of those crowd surfing, dancing, moshing and more or less thrashing about increased dramatically during this one. For a band as musically complex as this, who stray into math and prog rock, it was interesting and refreshing to see so much participation and appreciation.
This was the first time that I had seen DGD live, and am completely sold on the band as a live act. They were energetic, entertaining and proficient in every aspect of their performance. I’m not sure if the smile ever vanished from my face the entire time that they were on stage. I would highly recommend seeing them if their tour stops near your hometown.
Setlist: “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise”, “Summertime Gladness”, “Lemon Meringue Tie”, “Betrayed By The Game”, “We Own the Night”, “Inspire the Liars”
Photos: Jake Walters