Warped Tour 2013 @ Alexandra Palace, London 17.11.13

On a typically grey and drizzly Sunday morning in London, many folk of a religious nature turf themselves out of bed and head off to their respective places of worship. On the Sunday in question, many an eager teenage reveller (and those like me, feeling a little over the hill) climbed the hill to reach Alexandra Palace, to worship at the altar of punk rock. World’s famous Warped Tour swaggered into London town, complete with resurrections from the dead, and, er, Hatebreed.

Nov 17th, 2013 at Alexandra Palace, London / By Dave Reynolds
We are the Ocean Opening up the Punktastic Acoustic Basement was Northcote, a grizzly Canadian dude with an acoustic guitar channelling the spirit of Canadian Brethren City and Colour, and dare I say it, a little of Bryan Adams. A wander downstairs to a restaurant room gave us a taste of Page 44’s MOR rock. Lead singer Adam Stanford apologises for wearing what he describes as ‘his gran’s curtains’ and channels his Brummie accent through his singing voice, particularly on ‘Answers’.

One of the first acts on in the main hall were RDGLDGRN who have recorded with Dave Grohl, Pharrell Williams, and Angel Haze. Of course, if a Mongolian throat singing group worked with those three, it’d probably be worth watching. The group created an eminently watchable set, with Hyro Da Hero reminiscent rap set over indie rock; flashes of Two Door Cinema Club guitar riffs on ‘Bang Bang’, and a few fun ideas for crowd involvement. The sight of a Warped Tour crowd essentially doing the Cha Cha slide isn’t something that will be forgotten in a rush, but neither was what happened next.

First Wax and then Watsky played one after the other on the West Stage. Much of Watsky’s Zebrahead cum Scatman John set will be forgotten now, but within the final throws of his final track ‘IDGAF’ he climbed a rigging ladder, stood atop the lighting rig 12 metres high, and took a leap of faith. Unsurprisingly, not too many people were super- keen on catching a falling human travelling from such a height. Ultimately, one woman received a broken arm for her troubles. Genuine shock tore through both the crowd and Watsky’s band to see if he had actually survived the fall. Miraculously he rose from the dead and was carted off to hospital, but later apologised over social networks for the stupidity of the jump.

With a crowd suffering from a feeling of shock and awe, it fell to We Are The Ocean to ensure the show must go on as all rig ladders were tied firmly away by nervous backstage staff. They did their best to re-ignite the mood with their increasingly Foo Fighters gazing brand of rock, playing tracks from their latest record such as ‘Bleed’ and ‘Machine’. By the time Hatebreed had growled at every living soul in Ally Pally, it was time for Coheed and Cambria to take to the stage. They presented a fiercely commanding and watchable stage presence, without the need to interact with the crowd, or in lead singer Claudio Sanchez’s case, to gaze out at the audience from behind his enormous mop of hair. A mix of old and new kept the crowd happy, with the likes of ‘Ten Speed’ and ‘Welcome Home’ providing more than enough air guitar and sing-along opportunities.

A Watsky sized leap next door to the Jagermeister stage saw Yellowcard still pushing the case for a violin wielding pop-punk band. A set heavy on new material from Southern Air that sounded less-catchy than their breakthrough record ten years ago had me shuffling back to the main room. Billy Talent were in the process of tearing through their second set of the weekend, and completely owning the enormous room. During ‘Try Honesty’ singer Ben Kowalewicz paid his dues to the origins of Warped Tour, thanking the likes of forefathers such as NOFX and Alkaline Trio. He also took the time to say that some of what he heard on Warped Tour these days was cool, but some of it was a little weird. While there may be some evidence to support his comments, variety is the spice of life; we need the odd oddball. From cha-cha slides, rappers with base-jumping aspirations and, yes, even violins, the crowd packed in to Ally Pally over two days is testament to Warped’s appeal.