The 2012 Vans Warped Tour has lived up to it’s reputation, providing day after of day of high energy music and packed venues.  Heckler’s visit to the sold out San Francisco stop lived up to our expectations in every way.  The music was sick, the people were rad, and the fun was non stop.  The extreme energy Of Mice and Men got us into full gear as we checked out the signature Vans skate ramp.  The combination of the two, presented itself as to make no mistake… this was classic Warped Tour style… and it was on! 


filmed and edited by John Foy / music, Anti Flag – Broken Bones


Throughout the day we chatted with a few bands and band members, including Pat Thetic, drummer of the iconic punk band Anti Flag.  Through our chat, one thing was apparent, punk is not dead!  In recounting Warped Tours of the past versus the current state of punk music, it seems to have morphed into a more all-encompassing mindset.  An independent thinker’s mindset where you stay true to yourself and what you believe in, damn the consequences.  Anti Flag is an adamant supporter of the all girl punk band, Pussy Riot, who are currently being held on charges of “Hooliganism” in Russia. Pat remains faithful to the cause, wanting to help be a vehicle to share their plight in an unjust and oppressive society.  This was publicly shared via their website and perfectly sums up the current state of punk as we discussed it:

 Dear Friends and Family,

Punk rock is much more than a t-shirt, a sound, a record, or a band, and it knows no borders or nationality. Punk rock is a community and a family that spans around the globe. By now you may have heard that three members of our community, three young women who are members of the band Pussy Riot, are being detained by the Russian authorities for performing their protest song ‘Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin’ in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February 2012.  The three have been charged with “hooliganism” under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code. If found guilty, they could be jailed for up to seven years.

Pussy Riot embody the spirit of punk rock which speaks truth to power that inspired the members of Anti-Flag to start our band and dedicate ourselves to the punk rock community and the planet. The Russian authority’s actions against Pussy Riot are clearly an attack on freedom of thought, opinion and artistic expression which must be protected for any society to be free. Anti-Flag calls for the immediate release of Pussy Riot and all prisoners of conscience. Whether it be trumped up charges levied by police against Occupy protestors, or the trumped up charges levied by the Russian authorities against the members of Pussy Riot, there is no difference in the police-state tactics that those in power will stoop to in order to oppress those who are willing fight for equality and justice for all, not just the wealthy few.

We need everyone’s help in this fight! We are trying to help in our small way by releasing this cover of Pussy Riot’s ‘Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin’ in order to raise awareness.

Here are some ways you can help…

-Spread the word to your friends and family about Pussy Riot’s unjust incarceration.


Anti Flag’s set was intense, with one of the largest circle pits we’ve ever seen.  Guess that’s pretty achievable when there’s 20,000+ in attendance.  All in all, it was a huge highlight of the day.

What was once a strictly skate punk tour, is now evolving to include various other genres including hip hop acts, like Champagne Champagne, whose influences range from punk, rock, and electronic music have fused with their unique style. I chatted with two of the members of the Seattle based group, Rapper Pearl Dragon and DJ Gajamagic. Their super fun vibe and quick wit are infectious, to say the least, and I had a blast getting to hang out with them for a minute. Check out their totally legit video for their track “Soda and Pop Rocks”.  They’re definitely worth notice!! Like what you hear? Follow them on their Facebook and Twitter

Dead Sara was a band we were seriously excited to catch live.  Their performance was powerful and memorable, and in no way did they disappoint. Unfortunately, they had to make an early exit from the tour on July 19th, due to guitarist, Siouxsie Medley, having fractured ribs. She is currently doing well, and the band will be touring again soon.  I had the chance to speak with both her and singer, Emily Armstrong, briefly at the San Francisco stop of the tour.  Check out that Heckler interview here.

After a quick stop off at the beer garden (which oddly lacked garbage bins for drunken trash at a “green” event, go figure) we headed to the main stage to catch The Used, that days headliner and perfect way to end the festivities.  More details on our coverage of The Used.

Other noteable mentions include:

Stepdad – Think M83 meets Toto (yes, the 80’s band) and the result is infectious and highly addictive.  Check out their album, Wildlife Pop. Some of my favorite tracks being “Show Me Your Blood”, “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails”, “Treasure Hugs”, and “Warrior”. 

Soulphonics & Ruby Velle – The super soulful Ruby Velle meshes perfectly with the retro R&B group the Soulphonics, all Atlanta, Georgia natives.  The combination is a perfect down tempo and funky sound to chill to.  Majorly talented and most certainly worth a listen. 

We left content with the amount of face melting metal, rock, hip hop and overall awesomeness that was so perfectly orchestrated for optimum enjoyment.  For such a large event, the transitions were seamless, and the action? Constant.  The Warped Tour is going strong through August 5th, so check the remaining stops and make it out if you can! 100% Heckler approved. Enjoy!


photos by Tina Barnes

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