Chicago Tweeter Center June 29th, 2003
Summer has officially arrived!! The first of a long string of anticipated concerts has finally hit the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park. The Vans Warped Tour rolled into Chicago on Sunday bringing along the hottest acts in the punk, emo, hardcore and ska genres. The scene was colorful all around, from hot pink hair and Mohawks to piercing, tattoos and fishnet socks galore. Even if none of the bands tempted your musical taste buds, there were many events to keep you occupied for hours.
The show was stated with a start time at 1:00 p.m. The bands actually started taking stage as early as noon, but the line for security prevented any hopes of actually seeing them. There were a total of nine stages throughout the venue excluding the usual main stage seating area. The two main stages alternated between each other to make it easier for fans to run back and forth and not miss a set. The great technique made sure that people attended the entire day. The only way to find out the times was to struggle to the front of a gated blow-up set list. This area was unbearably crowded with fans cramming in to decipher when their bands will be taking stage. The next step was to FIND the stage that they were on, which was a task in itself. The stages are set far enough apart so that the music does not all sound like a jumble of guitars, drums and screaming.
The first band I had the pleasure of seeing was Poison the Well. This was one of the harder bands that the tour brought on but they were a great way to wake up the audience. The band played some new tunes from their most recent release called, "Ghostchant" and "Crystal Lake" but also included some old favorites like "Nerdy." Next to take stage were the "boys of summer," The Ataris. The veterans of the tour had an early start time of 1:30 and provided a half an hour of songs that included their hits; "In this diary," "Boys of summer" and "San Dimas" featuring a highlight with David from Simple Plan. I met up with enthusiastic Mike Davenport, from the Ataris, to get a little input on the bands hitting the stages as well as other topics.
Sarah: How's the tour going?
Mike: The tour is incredible, the first ten shows have been amazing and Warped Tour is growing in itself, its great. Hopefully we will play Warped Tour every year!
Sarah: How do you like Chicago?
Mike: Chicago is great.. this is like our 20th time playing here. We started playing at a place called Fireside Bowl like 6 years ago. It was one of the first places that caught on to The Ataris and started selling out way before MTV and radio caught on. Chicago is a great place to us.
Sarah: What bands are influential to you that are on this tour?
Mike: Face to Face and Rancid. Damone is really super incredible.
Sarah: Who are you listening to in general?
Mike: Bands from Saddlecreek Records.... The Faint, Cursive and then bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes.
Sarah: Where did the name The Ataris come from?
Mike: Chris collected Atari video games, but he never actually played the game. He had about 600 of them. So when we couldn't think of a name, that one was suggested and we kept it.
Sarah: What's next after this tour?
Mike: There is a European festival that we are going to attend. We are nominated at and awards show over there for the best album of the year, so we are excited about that and we are sharing a table with our buddies Less then Jake.
Sarah: How is your overseas' following?
Mike: Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have all been great. We started touring over there 5 years ago. We can't wait to go back.
Sarah: What advice do you have for other bands striving to make it to where you are at?
Mike: Do it yourself, don't wait for anyone!!!!!
Also in the interview it was stated that they have their own record store in Santa Barbara called Down On Haley, so if anyone is ever in the area, go check it out. The band is very fan friendly and wanted everyone to know that they have email addresses on their site and they try to email back everyone possible. Check out www.theataris.com. If your not computer friendly then make sure to catch them while on tour and chat it up because they are eager to talk to fans.
While walking around, there were many sights to see. The couple areas that caught my attention the most were Balls of Steel, Vert Demo, and the Code of the Cutz. The Balls of Steel featured motorcycle riders ranging from 16 to 17 years of age that were on motor bikes in a steel ball and also included audience participation. Vert Demo was an area in which skaters and bikers showed off their talent and just played around on the ramps practically all day. In my off time I actually spent the most time at the Code of the Cutz stage. This was an area that featured break dancers and incredible rappers. They were competing for time in between the stages but drew a particularly large crowd.
The Used took stage at 2:00. This was the most disappointing set of the show. It was hard to distinguish the songs from one another. The hits were barely recognizable until the fan next to you would start humming or singing along. What did keep my attention was the lead singer's, Burt, banter with the audience after each break from a song. The rest of the set was bland. Once again Burt drew excitement with a spectacle of climbing up as high as possible from the stage and dropping into the crowd. He then surfed his way back to the stage. To have that much trust for the fans was breathtaking.
A pleasant surprise would have to be the Suicide Machines. While walking around, I saw a huge audience and much hyped up fans responding to a spunky singer by the name of Jason Navarro. Even from afar I could see the energy POURING out of him with each note that he sang. The entire band clearly were enjoying the time that they had on stage in front of a huge crowd. Distinct words are recalled as I watched the band interact with the audience, "100% NO separation between us and the fans!!!" Jason stopped the show and wanted to point out the diehard fans. He split the audience in half and told them to run as fast as they can at each other and just mosh crazy!! What did the fans do?? Exactly that!!! Then during another catchy tune, Jason organized a group of people to stand still, and a circle was to mosh around them making a donut. Once again the fans complied. It was clearly an all around wonderful experience for everyone.
During the entire day it was hard NOT to notice the outfits and bands that people were sporting. One band that had an incredible following was Thrice. The band hails from Irvine, California and is releasing their new album, "The Artist in the Ambulance" on June 22. They are receiving some great press lately one of them being named "Next Big Things" in SPIN magazine. The band has been having extremely early start times but today they have the late spot of 8:00. Before the set I sat down with Teppei Teranishi to talk about the band.
Sarah:Who has been your favorite to watch on tour so far?
Teppei: Poison the Well are always great. Glassjaw. AFI but they aren't on for awhile but will be back later and Rancid are one of my favorites.
Sarah: Your new album is coming out July 22nd with an extremely interesting name, how did that come about?
Teppei: It was actually taken from a short story called the Burn Collector by Al Burian and was a quote from one of the stories.
Sarah: What are you currently listening too?
Teppei: Bob Dylan this morning.... The roots. Anything from jazz and classical to Radiohead and Bjork.
Sarah: Whats up next?
Teppei: We are going to Europe for about a week and then planning a fall tour but it's in the works on who will be with us. Reactions overseas have been amazing. We actually just went over there for the first time right before this tour. It was for the Deconstruction tour. The UK was awesome. We did some club shows there. London was amazing seeing the kids singing along.
Sarah: What's changed the most since you first started?
Teppei: When we first started we were clueless. We didn't know how to get a demo, it was just a slow process. We didn't know what we were doing. It was fun though. Sacrifices all came after we got signed. We quit our jobs, and school to pursue this. We are on tour 8 months out of the year and I'm married so it's pretty tough.
Sarah: What can we expect to see tonight?
Teppei: Mostly stuff on our previous records...a couple new ones are thrown in as well.
Sarah: Any Advice to give?
Teppei: Stick to it. Try to push yourselves and make the best possible music you can. Record a demo and keep at it!!! Thank you to everyone who has been listening and supporting.
An amazing fact that I found out during the interview was that a portion of their sales for the upcoming album will be donated to charity. The band have done this with their previous label and our continuing to do this with Island Records. The charity is called the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment (SSE) and this provides chemotherapy and other medications for individuals who cannot afford the treatment. In a time in which many bands are just struggling to survive, Thrice performs an inspiring act of chivalry. Their set was just as moving as their actions. They performed songs such as "Shallows," Betrayal" and "idols." The band just ate up all the energy produced by the crowd and put on a great set. The Warped tour was closed out on the Brian Stage with an 8:30 start time of Sum 41.
Each show changes the line up in every city. Some bands are added and some are depart. To be on the safe side make sure to check the schedules of the bands in your town on www.warpedtour.com to make sure that you don't get disappointed by arrival. This was a huge topic of conversation at the show. A pleasant treat will be given to the fans in Flordia with the added bonus of Nonpoint taking over the Ernie Ball Stage. For more details check out www.nonpoint.com or the Warped Tour Site. The tour provided hours of endless excitement and was terrific way to start the summer. Each band did a short, sweet set of 30 minutes but it seemed as if they all jam packed it with enough energy and enthusiasm to last for hours afterwards.
Vans Warped 2003 News Vans Warped Tour Web Site