Tag Archives: Warped Tour

brokeNCYDE leave Warped

bro1

I’m not one to usually recycle news without some sort of comment/insight (errr… at least, not on a consistent basis and based on reporting from other sites), but the following news (as reported by Aversion) certainly speaks for itself:

Much to the delight of uptight moms and punk kids alike, Brokencyde’s pulled out of the Warped Tour.

No reasons were given for the band’s departure from the last four stops on the package shoe commercial/sort-of punk festival.

I guess this is where I’d normally add some two cents to the mix, but I’m honestly a little confused by the news. Chances are something must have happened to affect one of the members of brokeNCYDE personally, which, despite any reservations one may have about scrunk/crunkcore, must be bad enough to warrant such an action and isn’t something to make fun of.

But, as of now, there’s nothing to support the following claim:

bro2

Hopefully some more info will be made available to clear up these questions…

EDIT: I knew something might be a little off about this info, as Warped Tour wrapped up yesterday… still no info about this, so unless something new comes out, put this matter aside…

Neon Shirt

Saw the above t-shirt at Warped on Tuesday. It may just be a shirt, but nowadays fashion is oft as important – if not the important – as the music that a band chooses to define itself. In My So Called Punk, Matt Diehl notes the clashes between “emo” kids and traditional “punk” kids at Warped came out in the t-shirts they wore. Just like during the earlier part of this decade, the same thing is happening currently, but pitted between scrunk and traditional “punk” acts. There were more black punk shirts in support of traditional punk virtues – though none as straightforward anti-scrunk/crunkcore as the photo above. And they faced a host of bright, neon colored shirts from acts such as 3OH!3, brokeNCYDE, Millionaires, Jeffree Star, etc. Take a look at some of the designs below:

3OH!3 shirt. They also had a shirt that said "This is a 3OH!3 Shirt," which I wasn't sure if it was a humorous send up of the "This Is Not A Fugazi Shirt" or not

 

brokeNCYDE shirt. Their crowns, when done by hand in concert, is similar to the 3OH!3 hand design. Also, not the most annoying brokencyde shirt

brokeNCYDE shirt. Their "crowns," when done by hand in concert, is similar to the 3OH!3 hand design. Also, not the most annoying brokencyde shirt

Even check out the Babycakes shirt, which screams (pardon the pun… or play on the situation) scrunk:

Anyway, that was an interesting aspect of Warped I took notice of.

As another aside, while stopping by the Vagrant merch tent on Tuesday, I noticed the tip sign by the guy running the tent. Most tip signs usually have some gaudy or humorous note to get people to drop a buck. The Vagrant guy’s merely asked people to donate to fly his girlfriend out to Warped. In many ways, this image (and I wish I could have gotten a picture of it, but the weather was really hit-or-miss, and this was a miss moment) is perfectly representative of Vagrant’s take on emo: there’s a clean cut guy with a simple message trying to get his significant other to come accompany him on a big event for the summer. And the guy was nice to boot and quite enthusiastic about their selection of $5 Dashboard Confessional albums. Couldn’t have been a more perfect match. Needless to say I dropped a buck.

That’s all for now… check in to Bostonist in the late morning, as the Warped piece should be online at that point.

Mayday, Mayday

 

Gallows Frank Carter in the mosh pit

Gallows' Frank Carter in the mosh pit

Got back from Warped Tour a handful of hours ago. For those eager to hear what went down at the Boston date, check out Bostonist in a day or two for a review with a smattering of pics such as the one I took of Frank Carter at the start of this post.

Sure, I felt a little “old” throughout the day, but that’s not all to be chalked up to the waves of teens, some of whom are a good decade younger than me (yikes); in actuality, the constant rainfall and sheer exhaustion is what did it to me. Many individuals consider Warped Tour to be a staple of their youthful summers, and it’s wonderful that one can rely on something to be a consistent part of their experience growing up (as there is so little that one can foresee and rely on when you’re growing up). For these folks, it’s easy to see how they may feel old once they age out of the 13-19 age range that Warped founder Kevin Lyman aims at appealing to; they took every moment at the day-long festival as a wonderful part of growing up, and with each new band they’re unaware of that ends up on the main stage, it can be a little odd. Scary even. Not I’m-so-old-there-goes-my-hip type of scary, but scary that something so comforting and reliable seems to have completely changed at the drop of a pin.

So for many, it’s easy to see how the appearance of scrunk bands comes as an affront to what they’ve loved and understood Warped to be. Granted, Warped has always had a thing for including acts of all different genres and ideological backgrounds (Eminem anyone?), but this may be the first time that such hatred towards one specific act/sound is as directed as scrunk. Nu-metal had it’s bumps; so did the emo-pop wave. But scrunk bands seem to have appropriated the festival, at least in the eyes of some… because going from 0-60 in the span of a year is a sign of… well, something.

What’s so odd is seeing not the 19 or 20 year olds shocked, but the 16 year olds scared straight by the 13 year olds who fawn over Millionaires. They already seem nostalgic for a summer one year past, and that’s when you certainly can understand a kid for getting so angry at the appearance of brokeNCYDE.

I unfortunately (or fortunately? who knows) missed brokeNCYDE, but certainly made up for that by catching Millionaires, Breathe Carolina, and Attack Attack! of the scrunk stratosphere, as well as countless (literally, countless) acts that happened to be on whatever teeny stage when I swung around. Head to Bostonist soon for a full round up. Until then…

Scoop?

Well, I haven’t gotten out to Warped just yet, but even so, it seems that I got the jump on the New York Times with my piece on the whole scrunk thing for The Phoenix.

Ok, perhaps that’s a huuuuuge overstatement, but Jon Caramanica did notice the combination of electronics and screamo as sure as I did:

Each summer the Warped Tour traverses the country, surviving through big-tent optimism and style agnosticism. A few years ago it was selling emo, and after that, screamo. But 2009 will be remembered as the year the Warped Tour transmogrified into a rave.

Well that should certainly prove something to the kids commenting on my article on Jason Tate’s AbsolutePunk blog that I’m not the only one who can see an aesthetic realm where Attack Attack and brokeNCYDE coexist as peers.

Gonna check out Warped on Tuesday… I’ll be interested to see how Massachusetts kids react to bands like Millionaires, who (according to the Times article) got quite a trashing.

Also, I apologize for a bit of a lag on many writing fronts as of late (especially with America Is Just A Word). Summer has finally hit New England and I’ve taken to a bit of relaxation here and there. But, I shall continue onwards soon enough!

A Brief Scribe on Scrunk

The behind-the-scenes (or rather, behind-my-thoughts) on the Boston Phoenix piece I did on scrunk and Warped Tour is still to come, but consider this a little preview. A lots been said online since the piece went on the net about scrunk/crunkcore and its impact on Warped Tour, which isn’t to say that my article caused these comments (that would be a tall tale), but it’s certainly part of the ripple effect since the announcement that bands like brokeNCYDE and Millionaires.

I’ll discuss a chunk of that soon, but I think the most audacious claim is that the music of kids today is worse than yesterday. To hear “punks” say something like that is more than a bit odd and even counter-intuitive, making these folks appear no better than the old rock dinosaurs and their fans that helped spawn punk in the first place. Whatever you may think of Warped Tour, put that aside for the moment. True be it, the sheer number and impact of scrunk acts on the tour this year is more than noticeable, which is the reason I wrote the article in the first place. But, these bands are not a reflection of all of “kids today and their music,” or even Warped Tour for that matter. As of now, these bands currently fill a simple niche, that being a combination of being in the limelight, riding the tipping point of a trend in mainstream, teenaged alterna-rock, and yes, “controversy,” for whatever that word means nowadays in this context (I honestly think that, at this point, these bands words may be offensive and their music rather tasteless, but their actual existence is hardly controversial). And so, because of their infamy, many of these bands are highly regarded as the epitome of why music today sucks.

And to that, I call bullshit. Since the dawn of time when humans found rhythm, there were countless individuals who followed in the paths of those who could morph these sounds into art. And a lot of the followers created stuff that is hardly up to muster. I hardly know the history of music in humanity because I wasn’t alive at the dawn of time, but simply looking at recent musical history, how many shitty bands and musicians tried ripping off everyone from Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Elvis, The Beatles, Ray Charles, The Sex Pistols, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Joy Division, Talking Heads, Prince, Metallica, Public Enemy, Fugazi, Nirvana, Liz Phair, Nine Inch Nails, The Fugees,Notorious BIG, Green Day, Moby, Ani DiFranco… hell, even any big-hit internet sensation today, far be it that they extend past their net-worth 15 minutes. Because for every Nirvana, you’ve got a Creed. And for every Creed, you’ve got a Nickelback. So to say that a band like brokeNCYDE shows why the music today sucks is not fair to brokeNCYDE (their music isn’t really deserving of that kind of responsibility) nor is it fair to youth or music fans. It’s a conceit that just pleases music fans who’ve decided to tune out on what is going on with people who are making music today and not make them feel bad for missing out, all the while claiming they were alive for the best music ever.

It’s all false.

If you want to talk Warped Tour, fine, let’s go ahead and do it. I’m particularly excited about Warped Tour this year because the more “fringe” acts may easily upstage those acts on the bigger stages. For the “punk is dead folks,” there are the NOFXs and Less Than Jakes to go around: those bands will never stop playing Warped, so please stop complaining about how Warped has “totally changed for the worse,” because the older acts are some of the highly considered groups on tour. 

But look elsewhere and you’ll find some really fantastic acts. Like P.O.S., who has really grown into his skin and rhymes to craft some of the best hip-hop in the past decade and puts on one hell of a show. Or Gallows, the UK hardcore band that took that country by storm for bringing passionate performance back to punk, on record and in concert. Hell, there’s even Shooter Jennings on tap this year, and his Southern country might be the most abrasive sound to a young “punk” on Warped. Considering punk is supposed to embrace anything that challenges the usual rock norms, the inclusion of these acts brings some heft and yes, cred, to Warped. And that’s just the tip of the iceburg.

So feel free and go ahead and bash the “music of today” for being shitty, but your scope will be fairly close-minded. True, I focused on a particularly insidious trend on Warped, but that’s because I was drawn to the “genre” and its mere existence to begin with and that inspired me to write the article. The idea to write a piece on the “non” “punk” acts would be a little odd simply because there’s a healthy dose of diverse genres and trends every year – hell, that’s what I look forward to catching if I check out Warped on a particular year. But the meteoric rise of scrunk really caught my eye/ear, and I felt it reflected a particular takeover of a chunk of Warped that hasn’t been experienced since the summer of 2004. The rest of it is merely a continuation of what Warped has excelled at: provide a mix of old and out-there acts among the trendy thing for 13-22 year olds.

Anyway, now I’m going into all sorts of odd directions and getting off the beaten path… I’ll be sure to cover some of this stuff a little more in due time.

In the meantime, below is the new video for the P.O.S. song “Purexed” (a highlight from his new album, Never Better), and a pdf of the scrunk article, which is in the Phoenix that hit newsstands a few hours ago. Enjoy.

P.O.S. – “Purexed”:

Scrunk Happens:

*Sorry it’s soo teeny, but I think you get the picture (as it were)

There Appears To Be An Event Happening

 

front page of the Boston Phoenix

front page of the Boston Phoenix online

So, the research I’ve pointed out in a few earlier blog entries has come to fruition in an article for The Boston Phoenix. On scrunk.

That’s right, the (un)holy matrimony between screamo and crunk as seen in brokeNCYDE, Millionaires, and various others. You can check out The Phoenix site for the article, or pick up the issue that will hit newsstands on Thursday.

I’ll be sure to give a proper, in-depth, behind the scenes look at the article for those really inquisitive individuals. But, right out the gate, I’d like to thank the following folks for the interviews I conducted for the article: Jessica Hopper, Jason Tate, Kevin Lyman, Mikl (of brokeNCYDE), and Melissa (of Millionaires). Each interview added an important perspective on scrunk/crunkcore/whatever name you want to toss at it, and I certainly enjoyed writing this thing.

So, if you’re curious about scrunk, head to The Phoenix and read on. And, if you’re so curious as to some of my thoughts while putting together the piece, stick around for a while and I’ll post another entry on it soon. In the meantime, I’ll tide you over with my newest scrunk find, Confide’s cover of The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” (via Videogum):

*Yes, and if you think the topic of my article is in bad taste, the title of this post is a direct quote from The Happening, another item widely-held as a cultural catastrophe. (I still can’t believe I watched it… now that was a happening)

Break Break Break

Sorry for the lack of consistent updates… I’m laying a little low on the blog as I’m working on a little project and getting ready for a little vacation. In the meantime, check out this brief interview with a fellow I spoke to on the phone today (don’t mind the mall emo of the band that opens the video – the content is shortly thereafter):

Bloody Buddy

I’d been bidding my time, putting off writing about the new musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Why?

I’m not sure really. The musical sounds interesting enough, and The New York Times gave it a sparkling review. And for such a mainstream interpretation of emo, it’s got the idea of the genre in its current form down-pat; glittery pop-punk, that layers the romantic angst on thick… it’s a shame to admit that emo’s transformed into that, but in many cases, one particular strain of that is true to that form.

 

Image taken from The New York Times article

Image taken from The New York Times article

And the music certainly reflects that and it’s page-to-stage kind of performance. As Emo! The Musical creator Joey Price said in an earlier interview:

…they [emo and musicals] also have a lot in common since they both involve this incredibly over-emotionality.

To each interpretation his (or her) own, as long as they can cop to their self-induced standard, I guess… though I tend to disagree whole-heartedly. It appears to work in these two cases, especially the former, as The Times’ Ben Brantley dished out the usual tropes and stereotypes for his take on emo in the musical realm:

Emo, for those of you who don’t download your songs, is a postpunk rock variant that wears its shattered heart on its tattered sleeve, throbbing with the narcissism, masochism and frustrated powerlessness that come with being a teenager. The closest Broadway has come to incorporating emo was in Duncan Sheik’s score for the late (and much missed) “Spring Awakening,” a show about the agony of young lust.

Funny side note is that Spring Awakening is based on Igor Stravinsky’s The Rites of Spring, which was the nomenclature inspiration (and intellectual to boot) for the first emo band, Rites of Spring.

And, though these interpretations of emo are currently-mainstream-streamlined and stereotyped at best, their definitions do conform to their forms; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson takes a look at the American President in the perspective of the man as a confused, hormone-induced and angsty teenager. And with a song number entitled “Populism Yea Yea,” it provides a nice little double-induced defition that boosts composer and lyricist Michael Friedman’s interpretation of emo to a state of understanding its natural meaning; his musical work is emo as interpreted in its most populist form. After all, more kids today can name drop Coheed & Cambria than Christie Front Drive.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is playing at the Public Theater in New York until May 24th… so only a few days left to catch what sounds like a pretty entertaining and endearing show. And it’s only $10, which (especially these days) is cheap, and that, if anything, is a model of “emo culture” from it’s emocore days (Fugazi’s famous $5 door charge) to today (the insanely cheap $30 or so for the dozens upon dozens of bands on Warped Tour).

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson opening night preview:

Meg & Dia & The New York Times

Jon Caramanica reviewed the new Meg & Dia album, Here, Here and Here in The New York Times:

 

“When the Utah sister duo Meg & Dia released its strong breakthrough album, ‘Something Real’ (Doghouse), in 2006, it was a heady time for mainstream emo, with a generation of tattooed young men expressing themselves in scabrous fashion. And while that album had only a few strands of emo’s punk DNA, it was just enough to stand out as a possible corrective to that genre’s mopey egotism. At the very least, it proved that young women could whine just as compellingly as young men.

So much for all that. Meg & Dia’s follow-up, ‘Here, Here and Here,’ has left those boys in the dust, or at least taken wider aim. This is a curious album, appealingly imperfect, with hints of several intriguing directions. Once whispery singer-songwriters, Meg and Dia Frampton are becoming polymaths of a sort, working through various shades of pop and discoloring them with decidedly odd lyrical choices and unfaithful arrangements.”

 

It’s pretty interesting to see Meg & Dia highlighted in The Times. Partially, the existence of Meg & Dia gives some weight to the idea that emo, for all the acts that have misogynistic undertones, does have some appeal to women. Meg & Dia provide that much-needed band-as-an-example, well, example for individuals who can’t seem to see why some females are drawn to the genre… just because a majority of the artists are male, it doesn’t mean they have to be. After all, emo is a subgenre of punk, a genre that was created and billed as a revolution against the same-ole-same-ole business of the rock business. It’s not only right that there is an emo act lead by women, but it should be expected. Err… unexpected as the entire idea behind not doing things as usual is by not doing things as usual.

Anyway, it’s also nice to see the duo/band do as well as they have… I remember waiting in line at Warped Tour 2006, outside the carefully constructed chain-link fence sealing the festival in at the Fitchburg airfield. Out among the kids in line were Meg & Dia, walking up to each and every person in line, passing them flyers for their album and asking that they come see their set later in the day at one of the side stages. It was refreshing to see a couple of musicians truly care not only about their fans, but about their music, and go to all lengths to actually get the chance to play their music as a job. It’s something you have to admire, even if you don’t like their music.

Meg & Dia – “Monster” (video):

Hey! What?! No, Really… What?

I wish I could blame this sort of thing on April Fools Day, and perhaps the timing is all-out irony, but it’s stuff like this that reminds you how everyone lives under their own rock at times. What am I talking about specifically?

Scrunk.

That’s screamo-crunk.

The Guardian already “discovered” scrunk a year ago. That same time, the genre was added to the definitive online dictionary for pop culture, Urban Dictionary:

picture-1

(It’s important to note that, the number 1 spot for scrunk on urban dictionary is “the act of being stupidly crunk,” a definition that I have heard, making me feel not quite as old-for-my-age as the above definition.)

And glancing at the myspace pages for scrunk acts BrokeNCYDE and I Set My Friends On Fire and seeing the millions of listens that have occurred in these groups’ short life spans, you have to wonder… sometimes it’s a little hard keeping up with the speed of information and culture dissemination these days. This does, however, explain the presence of a number of headlining bands on Warped Tour that I’ve never heard of… they’re in the scrunk scene.

 

BrokeNCYDE

BrokeNCYDE

Then again, there doesn’t appear to be much of a “scrunk scene” as the term scene would indicate… just a couple of bands from different parts of (most likely suburban) America combining two seemingly disparate genres. In many ways, this sound is something that can be traced back to a number of influences, many having cropped up within the past few years. Scrunk can be seen as the screamo extension of the infusion of electronics in emo and pop-punk, a sound glorified in the music by bands such as Panic! at the Disco, The Higher, and Hellogoodbye.

The mass popularity of these acts could conceivably trace their way up to the scrunk sound; the combination of different genres with an emo subgenre isn’t that hard to conceive. In many ways, it’s a monument to the power of technology, the dissemination of information, and the high speed with which our culture travels. In that, it’s not inconceivable to consider groups of suburban kids picking up a hip-hop genre from Atlanta and other southern urban areas, and fusing it with another popular genre that they listen to extensively. In many ways, crunk is no more foreign than anything else when you consider its pairing with screamo. With the exception of notable acts such as Thursday, screamo has been susceptible to many of the pains (no connection to actual content by emo/screamo acts) that emo is criticized for adhering to. Shallow music about romance, sure thing. Sometimes taken to extremes with strong hints of misogyny that Jessica Hopper so eloquently pointed out in a 2004 Punk Planet article entitled “Emo: Where The Girls Aren’t?” Set that level to “scream” and you’ve got that tenfold. The violence and oft-stereotyped images of hatred towards women that can be evoked in some emo songs can be taken to extremes in screamo. So, when you’ve got a hip-hop sub-genre that’s known for misogyny, repetitive and stereotyped beats, and an extreme version of its former electronic essence (“electro” or “Miami bass” – take your pick) and post-hardcore sub-genre that’s equally extreme, musically stereotyped, and known for romanticizing the problems in romantic longing, all while it’s original part (emo) is making waves by moving in the direction of using electronic instruments… well, the math adds up pretty clearly.

Don’t believe that crunk and screamo can be equal? Well, BrokeNCYDE have had no problem adapting the two in a matter of time… 

Perhaps someday scrunk may change, but if it doesn’t, it just may just fade away… and probably for the better.

Still, you have to marvel at just how quickly these bands have managed to crop up, generate a sound, and gain millions of fans and hits… it’s quite mind-numbing…

 

BrokeNCYDE – “Get Crunk”:

I Set My Friends On Fire – “Crank Dat” (Dora the Explorer-themed video):