Vans Warped Tour Molson Park, Barrie ON - August 14, 2004

Vans Warped Tour Molson Park, Barrie ON - August 14, 2004
After heavy rain turned the previous day's Montreal stop into a muddy mess, the warm, almost-sunny weather of Barrie was a welcome respite for the bands, many whom openly and frequently bitched about the crappy weather. Making the annual pilgrimage to the day-long festival of everything punk rock (or even vaguely punk-related) were the many different kinds of people one hopes to see at a gathering that seeks to celebrate the incredible diversity of rock'n'roll's offshoot genres. From emo kids to goths and gutter punks to ten-year-old girls, they came in droves, braving the horrendous traffic. With a line-up drawing from every nook and cranny of the "punk" spectrum, this year promised to deliver in whatever fashion you saw fit to be served. The infectious ska of Montreal natives the Planet Smashers won over all those gathered around the Union Stage for their mid-day performance, finding everyone skankin' like mad to a selection of some of the bands best known songs, such as "Super Orgy Porno Party" and "Pee In The Elevator." St. Catherine's screamo poster boys Alexisonfire drew what was clearly going to be the largest crowd of the day. Opening with their most recent single, "Accidents," the band seemed to sound tighter than ever, until drummer Jesse Ingelevics messed up three times in the first song. Though the energy and excellent live sound served to buoy the band's performance, there is no hiding Ingelevics's limitations in a live setting. New Found Glory, one of only a handful of major label acts on the tour's roster, unleashed a set of tight pop-punk for a crowd that, though certainly younger than the crowd that gathered to see, say, the Casualties, seemed appreciative of the band's earnest and energetic style. More aggressive live, one could see a few cynical faces bopping their heads to their short, hooky tunes. Drawing a considerably smaller crowd was the (International) Noise Conspiracy, whose conspiring seemed more focused on their attire than songwriting. Disappointing to say the least, the crowd of listeners had barely grown by the end of the band's set, making for a somewhat embarrassing spectacle. Underoath tore up the Smartpunk.net stage, drawing in any and all passers-by with their insane musical mix of what Metric would sound like if they listened to more Fugazi as kids. Bedouin Soundclash was one of the day's great highlights, and though the crowd they drew may not have been spectacular, not a person there could remain stoic through the band's extra long (thanks to a plea from Planet Smasher's Matt Collyer) set. With a perfect "summer" sound to end a wonderful day, the band could have closed the show. Bad Religion, by comparison, offered a disappointing set that relied heavily on such banter as, "People from Montreal are pretty crazy, but we think people in Toronto might be just as great!" Reworkings of oldies like "Generator" were somewhat interesting, but for the most part, the band's set was dull. When the dust clouds finally settled in front of the Brian and Teal stages at the end of the day, however, it's unlikely that anyone was leaving the park feeling unsatisfied.