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Arts & Music

Enduring 'Warped' tour brings music mix to St. Pete


Published:   |   Updated: July 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Some big-time tours might have been louder (Ozzfest) and some received more hype (Lollapalooza). But then there is the longest running summer jaunt in North America. That honor belongs to Vans Warped Tour, which has been attracting fans of punk, pop and a number of other genres since 1994.

"I never dreamed of this when Warped started," Warped founder and CEO Kevin Lyman said. "But the fans come back every year and a lot of the bands return as well."

It's a pretty significant feat to lead with most performances at the Vans Warped Tour. Anti-Flag leads the pack with 10 Warped jaunts to its credit.

Motion City Soundtrack, which is part of the 2013 contingent, is number two with eight Warpeds on its resume.

"We obviously love doing the Warped tour," bassist Matthew Taylor said. "It's a lot of fun. We're in Mesa, Ariz., for a show today. It's hot as can be. The air conditioner broke down. It's unbearable in one way and amazing in another way because we're on the Warped tour."

Taylor and the rest of his band love the egalitarian manner in which the Warped tour is run. You never know when you're going to hit the stage. "You can be a veteran band like us and we could be on at 11 a.m. and a new, young band can be on at 7 p.m. Who knows what will happen? It's fun doing the tour since we get to hang with friends and barbecue backstage every year. We play poker and we watch bands play. That's something that happens every year."

But there's something very different, as well, that happens every year. "There's always something new that goes down," Taylor said. "This time out we're having these wrestling matches after every show. It's like the circus within the circus. It's between the crew and band members. We just had one wrestling match in Ventura (Calif.) that went from the venue to the Pacific Ocean, which was a few blocks from where we played. It's just one more wild and unpredictable thing. It's always fun at Warped."

And then there is Motion City Soundtrack, which also includes vocalist-guitarist Justin Pierre, guitarist Josh Cain, keyboardist Jesse Johnson and drummer Claudio Rivera showcasing its material. The band, which will perform today at Vinoy Waterfront Park, has five albums worth of effervescent punk-pop to deliver when it hits St. Petersburg.

"We have more than enough to choose from," Taylor said. "The thing that's great about Warped tour is that the fans are so enthusiastic. You have people that know our stuff really well and those who just jump aboard and get into what we're doing. This is the most fun tour you can be a part of. That's why this is our eighth time on the Warped tour. I would expect us to be back again and again. How could we ever say no to this?"

Fortunately for Lyman, recording artists do have a hard time turning down the Warped jaunt. "It's worked out great for us," Lyman said. "This is the tour you want to be on during the summer."

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