I did not do the concert scene as a kid, and aside from the one Prince concert I attended (and loved) as an adult, my preference remains cranking the volume on my radio or CD player in my own kitchen as my mood for music moves me. Always up for a new experience, however, I was more than willing to take my daughter and her friend to their first concert, the Vans Warped Tour, a touring music festival.
The Warped Tour was in Kansas City on Tuesday and my understanding is that there were 70-some bands there. It was hard to tell as there were multiple stages going at once and thousands of young people milling about for the 8+ hour event.
Fellow parent attendee, Shane Schneider, summed it up best. “It’s crazy, isn’t it? How doing something that makes your kid so happy makes you happy.”
There aren’t many activities (except sleep) that I would volunteer to do for eight hours straight these days, but for my daughter, the eight hours (plus travel time) were totally worth it. As well, it helped that she and her friend split the cost of my ticket, so I was mainly in it for time and gas.
Initially, I was a bit worried that the music would be too far from my tastes to be enjoyable, but early in the day I came across a band called Echo Movement that gave me a whole new attitude about the potentials of the day. Listen for yourself…
I even bought their CD... and had it signed by the band members. What can I say, my inner teen thought the lead singer was quite a cutie.
I spent far too much time wandering through the heat of the day. I took a break in the “reverse babysitting” tent, kindly provided by AT&T. There they had air conditioning, movies with headphones, electronic games and lots of magazines. Finally, I settled on a stage where I could stay out of the direct line of the speakers and just listen to the music and watch the crowd with my friend, Melissa, whose kids were also attending the event.
Some of the bands were truly what I had feared, the screaming into the microphone to a backbeat of drums and guitar that sent my fight or flight reflex into high gear, but I would say that more than half of the bands (that I heard anyway), were entirely tolerable if not pleasant to listen to… I would categorize most of them as rock. But there were a few very pleasant exceptions, such as Streetlight Manifesto. They had more of a jazz beat with a saxaphone, a trombone, and a trumpet in the band.
I was a little disappointed that I only saw one girl band, Meg and Dia. I had never really thought about it before, but the music business seems to be exceedingly heavy with testosterone.
What I spent much of the late afternoon thinking about was how often I was hearing the F-word. Apparently it’s a noun, verb, and an adjective in the music business. I had to wonder how many of the band members would benefit from sitting in the audience for a while, to hear how seriously unoriginal they sounded between songs… F-ing this, F-ing that. How the F are you Kansas City… if I had a dollar for every lead singer who led with that one… I figure these kids pride themselves on their creativity, right? Do they have any idea how much their schticks just kind of blended?
Ah, the band with the potty-mouth… yeah, like I remember that one.
Aside from the group who started off with “Hello Kentucky” there were only a few that really got my attention between songs. And guess what. They were the singers who said things you could imagine them saying in front of their grandmothers. One actually addressed the negativity… the F the world attitude that seemed to be so prevalent. Hearing how much the other bands sucked did nothing to make me want to remember a band’s name or look up their music when I got home. That singer then talked about a new group that had recently joined the tour who was full of positivity and just plain fun to be around.
I’m pretty sure he was talking about this guy, the last act of the day, and one I am glad I stayed for.
The band is Never Shout Never and this kid did not drop the F-word once. Not only am I going to remember him, I‘m going to be buying some of his songs and cranking up the volume in my kitchen.