Date: Sunday, June 17th, 2012
Line up: The Green, Ballyhoo!, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Echo Movement
Location: Sports Authority Field (Parking Lot). Denver, CO
The 2012 Vans Warped Tour kicked off its 18th year this last weekend with the 2nd date of the tour coming to Denver, CO on Sunday. While Warped Tour is notorious for showcasing a collection of it’s Hardcore, Hip Hop, Indie & Alternative Rock genre’s with acts such as New Found Glory, Yellowcard & The Used, The Pier was in attendance to support the years Reggae Rock representation with The Green, Ballyhoo, Echo Movement & Tomorrows Bad Seeds.
All 4 reggae-rock bands will be performing on the House of Marley Stage. The stage was far secluded from the rest of the day’s festivities and resulted in smaller turn outs throughout the day for our beloved Reggae-Rock groups.
As an FYI, the set times for Warped Tour are not released to the general public, yet alone the bands, until the morning of. Each morning they do a drawing where most of the bands set times are selected at random. On Sunday, the doors opened at 11:30am and we didn’t receive the set times for the day until about 11:00am.
I came in contact with a lot of fans who missed their reggae-rock bands because they didn’t know the set times and had a hard time finding the House of Marley Stage. So if you plan on going to Warped Tour, get there early and make sure you find the House of Marley stage! After their live sets, all the bands hung out with fans, took pictures, signed autographs & took time out to converse.
Sunscreen is a must as the sun was out bright and early providing concert goers with 95+ degree weather on the asphalt parking lot of Sports Authority Field. All of the reggae-rock group’s merch tables & booths were located directly across from the stage.
While taking in some shade with Echo Movement at their merch booth most of the day, I got a chance to speak at length with the group. Keyboardist, David Fowler, told me when he graduated high school, he sent a letter to The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, asking for guidance as a musician out of high school. Ironically, Manzarek responded to Fowler’s letter, with a letter of his own, advising Fowler to go to college. Manzarek advised that the band and music will always be there, but to first seek an education, which Fowler ended up doing.
The Green had the day’s best draw and by far the best merch booth with flags extending high above all the other booths making it easier to find the group’s location from far away. Like the rest of the groups, The Green only played for about 30minutes, which was as refreshing as a cold beverage in the shade on a terribly hot day.
Ballyhoo! certainly left a lasting impression with their presence & live set, as fans swarmed their merch booth all day to confirm set times, take pictures & get autographs. They played newer songs from their Daydreams release, including their latest single “Last Night”, pleasing the crowd with their original blend of Punk, Rock & Reggae
Tomorrows Bad Seeds just released their latest album The Great Escape & debuted some of the new songs for the first time live! Displaying more rock, than reggae, Tomorrows Bad Seeds gave the crowd a dose of their collective influences, before leaving the stage for the line at their merch booth to sign autographs. The Bad Seeds, probably had the day’s biggest line of fans following a show for a brief meet & greet, but being as they played the same time as The Used & Yellowcard, I don’t feel their crowd reached it’s full potential.
Echo Movement may have received the short end of the stick on Sunday playing the last set of the day while the main stages were packed with the tour’s headlining acts. Echo Movement had the remaining fans in attendance skankin’ away with their original blend of Reggae & Ska, making it an appropriate end to the day at the hidden House of Marley stage. They even played a couple new songs from their forthcoming album set to drop on September 4th, 2012. An album that includes their creative & well documented idea to take data gathered from two stars using the Kepler telescope and transform them into a reggae riff for their new album.
The peak of their set was when they brought out their fan favorite ”God Smokes Weed” and even dedicated their song “Red Sunday” to The Pier after spending the day together. We embraced the dedication knowing the song is about being surrounded by natural outlets for inspiration and self-entertainment. To that, we have to sincerely thank the group, not just for the dedication, but for the shade from the sun’s wrath.
It’s my hope that the Vans Warped Tour will work towards showcasing more Reggae-Rock groups on the mainstage’s, giving the growing genre a bigger opportunity for awareness. It’d be nice if the Vans Warped Tour were able to secure bigger named groups in the Reggae Rock community that can challenge headliners like The Used or Yellowcard on those main stages.
Aside from last year’s line up at Warped Tour that included Pepper, The Expendables, The Aggrolites, Passafire etc, it’s been since the 2000 lineup that I remember Reggae-Rock having a sincere impression on the tour with a line up that included Long Beach Dub All Stars, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Morgan Heritage, Hepcat, No Doubt & NOFX.
In 2001, Pepper & Bargain Music joined the party playing the Volcom stage where the boys from Pepper put in their dues tearing down and setting up the Volcom stage, each day of the tour. That same year, we also saw 311, Pennywise, Jurassic 5 and that good mix of what you hear today on an album blending Reggae, Rock, Hip Hop & Punk.
The 1998 line up was reflective of the huge ska-wave that hit the scene and included such groups as the Pietasters, Save Ferris, The Specials, Mad Caddies, Cherry Poppin Daddies, The Aquabats, & Hepcat.
There’s a growing demand for Reggae Rock music. Let your demand for the live Reggae show at Warped Tour be seen by supporting our Reggae Rock groups at this years tour.
Find the House of Marley stage, get there early to figure out the set times & let it be known you want your Reggae Rock music! All that’s required from you is to simply show up and support the groups during their set times!