Koo Koo Kangaroo performing outside in front of concert crowd

Grumpy Dad and Happy Daughter Take on Warped Tour 2015

Music Festival Coverage

With this adventure to Warped Tour 2015 with my now 16-year-old daughter, I got to see the tour through her eyes and, in a lot of ways, understand the music and bands a bit through her ears. It helped me drop my cynicism—and also understand my kiddo a bit better.

First up on the slew of bands for the day was Senses Fail. During their set, the vocalist put out a good amount of energy, making them entertaining to watch, but the post-hardcore style and serious nature to start the day was kind of a downer. My very girl power–oriented daughter even griped a bit about a tirade the vocalist went on about a guy he saw in a “Meninist” shirt and how offensive it was to him.

Some of the bands we wandered to just out of curiosity or convenience, so a good part of the day was like a smorgasbord, just taking samples of bands’ sets, checking out a song or two, like Boston emo band Transit, who could put you to sleep easily. blessthefall had the crowd all rowdy and pumped moshing, but still, the feeling of the day was in the form of downer or overly serious music.

About midday came the main event, the band my kiddo wanted to see the most: pop punk band Set it Off. Right out of the gates, I see why she likes them, and I think her getting to see them live just ingrained that affection for the band for her further. Singer Cody Carson got the audience participation up huge, often hopping to the barricade to get close to the fans. At one point, he stood on the hands of his fans then did the brief crowd surf thing. This was easily the most energetic performance, but more importantly, it was endearing—the band loves their music and playing it live. Set it Off are definitely “Dad approved.”

For most of the afternoon, it was the really bad shows—Icon For Hire played bland, female-fronted rock/punk. The UK’s As It Is showed how a decent pop punk band can be ruined by vocals that sound like they’re sung by a 12-year-old boy that can’t sing. Black Veil Brides had girls screaming with them. I still don’t know what audience they appeal to and why the girls scream for them. They dress a bit glam/goth but play, well, crappy rock music. The brighter spot of the late afternoon came from the Welsh band Neck Deep, who delivered some pop punk to an appeased and fun crowd.

Last year, Teenage Bottlerocket stole Warped Tour for me. This year, in the most unexpected way—because at my request, I wanted to go see Waka Flocka Flame because the hip-hop artist was doing something extremely different for the tour—we ventured to their stage very early, catching Minneapolis-based dance party music duo Koo Koo Kangaroo. We arrived to see two guys in short shorts with gold fanny packs dancing and singing to pretty goofy electronic music and were immediately engaged and laughing. Singing songs like “No Crust,” “Everybody Poops,” “Fanny Pack” etc, the crowd participation was at maximum. The duo got into the crowd, got everyone dancing, and then invited the folks that had fanny packs onstage to dance with them. It’s goofy and silly, but they played a hugely fun set. It was the most fun I had all day, just seeing everyone smiling and laughing, in a day of mostly forced serious emotion or just dull tones.

To end our long day in the sun, we watched a bit of Waka Flocka Flame, who packed a huge and enthusiastic crowd. I’m not the biggest fan of hip-hop, but damn, he had his fans and the crowd, going and he was busting with energy. The last band of the day, Pierce the Veil, was an example of how musical tastes change. Last year, my daughter would have been extremely excited to see Pierce the Veil. This year, my daughter just seemed to go because it was there and it was a good way to close the day. The experience of it all again—the fun I had—was just being at the tour with my daughter and her help of just letting me to put my own personal taste aside for at least a day and experience something through the eyes and ears of a teenager. Strangely, though, I think I walked away with more energy left than my much younger daughter. I guess she should eat more veggies and less simple carbs. –Bryer Wharton

Warped Tour 2015: Set It Off
Photo: Lindon Brown

Warped Tour, to me, is more about the experience, people-watching and being in a relatively small area with people who share the same love as me—for the most part—and spending some quality time with dear old Dad. The music can also be fun.

I like to think that I know a lot about the music that I like, but when I see the Warped Tour lineup, I feel pretty ignorant. This year, I only knew about eight bands out of the 100 bands, give or take a couple, so I knew that this year, it would be more walking around and just taking in the chaos that is Warped Tour. And that is pretty much what we did.

Once we got there, Dad expressed interest in a band called Senses Fail. They were alright. The main singer—or should I say screamer—had a lot energy. Their music was really serious and kind of depressing for 11:40 in the morning. Then he went off on a rant about a T-shirt he saw in the crowd, which killed the whole vibe they were giving off. We only watched two of their songs and then moved on. We saw Night Riots while waiting for blessthefall, a band that Dad expressed interest in. I wasn’t a big fan, as they were just a bit too heavy for my taste.

Finally, it was time to see one of my favorite bands, Set It Off. This was the band that really made me want to go to Warped Tour 2015. I have liked them for a while. Most of their music is happy and catchy, and to see them live was amazing. It showed that their music isn’t fake and that they really are as energetic as they appear online. It was also really cool being able to talk to other people who like them as well.

The rest of the day went by in a blur. We saw Koo Koo Kangaroo, which was extremely fun. They engaged the audience in a way I had never seen and had music that my seven-year-old cousin would love. I don’t think I had seen Dad smile that much in a while. I was really glad we caught them, because they were a band that played right before Waka Flocka Flame, a rapper that I didn’t like at all. I felt he just threw racial slurs and gender slurs all over the place just to sound cool. We didn’t even stay for a whole song because I disliked him that much.

After that we watched a couple bits of other bands, but by then, I was pretty tired and ready to go home, so we called it a day and left. –Lindon Brown