All Warped Up

*guest posted by The Artist Formerly Known As Brian Thompson

My daughter, Mali, is my daughter. Not my step-daughter. That word “step” is just another barrier. A very unwanted one when blending a family like Lonna and I. Further arguments for her being as real a daughter I could ever create are her wit, her tenacity, her near-genius intelligence, and her passion for the things she’s passionate about. The latest passion being music and while all the previously mentioned attributes could (and should) be credited to Lonna’s parenting, the music Mali is passionate about is more than Lonna can handle.

When Mali asked to go to a “real” concert for her birthday, I knew I would be the one to take her. Mali’s taste in music would be hard to stomach for most parents but having raised myself on a healthy diet of punk, hardcore, hip-hop and metal, I can see it for what it is: the scare your parents bar being raised by her generation. My generation made lots of noise, said outrageous things and wore ridiculous clothes. This generation is continuing the tradition. I found that out at this year’s Warped Tour.

Mali’s favorite band, Blood On The Dance Floor, was her main attraction. She wanted to see some other bands but if it wasn’t for BOTDF, we would have been going to see Slayer (and some band she wanted to see) at the Mayhem Festival.

BOTDF plays a danceable mix of music that gives a healthy “we don’t give a…” attitude nod to punk rock. They are far from my Warped Tour favorites of yore (1997), The Descendents. These guys are “sexy”, “hot” and “cooler than you”. These are all Mali quotes so we’ll take her word for it. Besides, it doesn’t take much to be cooler than me.

Upon entering, Mali proclaimed that she didn’t feel weird here. Apparently, she feels most comfortable surrounded by facial piercings, tattoos (I have those!) and kids splattered with dayglo paint (nu-raver kids?!). I can identify. I often felt ostracized as a youngster. Because I was. I still am but I no longer care what people outside of this house think. I was glad she a felt a part of something rather than apart.

The first band, Vampires Everywhere, reminded me of Marilyn Manson. They were strange but not too bad. They even played a Nirvana cover (I quickly pointed that out to Mali for cool points but…). I protected Mali from her first pit opening (I like how that sounds like an open house) and she got to roll her eyes at two guys performing what looked like football blocking maneuvers on asphalt minus the football and pads. They weren’t too bad. I would say they were my favorite if I had to pick.

Mali’s next mission was buying records and trying to meet the bands. So, we went to some merch tents to purchase music and find out if the bands were having signings. She made plans to get some stuff signed but when she found out BOTDF was having a signing, I could see the gears turning. She was determined to meet these fellows. Off we were to watch some more bands.

Blood On The Dance Floor’s stage act was a sight to behold. Very playful, loud and lots of fun. Well, if you’re into them, I’m sure it was lots of fun. These guys are very colorful characters and their show reflected it. Lots of dancing, crowd participation, and I was delighted to see a slight grin of excitement grace Mali’s face. She loved it and I loved seeing her so stoked. I was impressed when they called for a moment of silence for the victims of the Aurora, CO shooting the day before and encouraged the crowd to “celebrate life”. It seemed they may even be nice guys.

I tried to encourage Mali to eat but I think all the excitement was filling her up. I had a belly full of vicodin (hurt my knee a few days prior playing with our son at Sesame Place) and water. I was in need of something so we meandered by the PETA booth. I was hoping they would have some animal friendly treats. No treats. They did succeed in getting me to sign a petition, giving us some stickers and recipes, and giving Mali some propaganda that made her shun meat. Lonna and I have been vegetarians for a while now so this was a nice, unexpected consequence of the Warped Tour. I ended up eating a nasty pretzel.

The final and all important mission of the day was Mali meeting the BOTDF dudes. We had planned to see one more metal band afterward but we didn’t anticipate spending 3-4 hours trying to get Dahvie Vanity & Jayy Von Monroe’s (BOTDF’s frontmen) autographs. I was impressed by their commitment to their fans. Mali was able to get her picture taken with Mr. Von Monroe and have him autograph her new CD. He even complimented her on her knee high custom converse. My daughter was hyped. Mr. Vanity, however, was another story. After waiting forever (with my knee pain, it really did feel like FOREVER), the security people shutdown the signing. Four hours and we were four people away and shut down. LAME. Mali was disappointed so we left. I think we both had had enough.

I’m glad I got to do this with Mali. I don’t get many firsts and the ones I do get involve tween/teen stuff. Warped Tour with my daughter was worth bad food, a cortisone shot, painkillers, slight hearing loss and not going to see Slayer. Next time, I’m taking her to see a hardcore show.

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