Thursday, July 16, 2009

Five Years Too Late: Two Hours at the Warped Tour

Because I am a well-connected, basically famous person, every once and awhile I get to do something cool for free. More often it is something that would not be as cool if it hadn't been free, but it was free and thus we arrive at the same cool conclusion. On Tuesday it was to spend a few hours at the Warped Tour's stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

I had never actually attended a Warped Tour, but the ambience was as expected: the stench of meat, cigarettes and pot permeated the air as people milled and swayed about to music bouncing and rolling off the trees and sculpted hills of the Pavilion. It was fun; I got to see Flogging Molly for the first time in almost four years. They are just as Irishy and cursey and bouncy as I remember. I wanted to join the moshers but got self-conscious at the last second, partially because I was clearly one of the oldest people there who were not parents, and partially because I was pretty sure I would die viz Mufasa in the stampede.

On the Devil's Dance Floor!

What was neither expected nor fun for me was the fashion display, and my own intrinsic old woman reaction to it. Because of course everyone looked terrible, it was an outdoor concert for which the average age of its participants was about fifteen. Sweat, grease, and bad hair conquer all!

But this was incredible. It was like every bad fashion idea since the sixties had taken up residence in this tiny square. Pants with waistbands well below the cheek line and what in the 90s might have been called "bustiers" but are now just "Target bras." Leather headbands. Shutter shades. Mullets! And not even the "I'm fine with my deer rack and pickup" mullets, the really trendy "this is totally not a mullet because it's called 'scene'" mullets.

I actually found myself yelling at a staggering pubescent in front of me with roughly five inches of I-kid-you-not-blue-boxer-briefs, "That was ugly when MY generation invented it!!!" At this point my concert buddy and kind host was severely regretting bringing me, but I couldn't help myself. It was that bad.

One larger girl was dancing intensely in the 90-degree heat wearing a yellow plastic poncho, hood up. If that's not the dumbest reason to pass out and get trampled, I don't know what is. I did manage keep that one to myself, though this time my host agreed.

Maybe realizing you're too old for Warped Tour is just another aspect of growing up; going back and realizing that not only do you not fit in with certain aspects of youth culture, but you have no desire to participate in them. For instance, I can't think of one situation in which I would prefer to walk around for eight to ten hours with markered messages from friends all over my body. I have no interest in thickening my eyeliner to the width of the actual pencil. And I really only want a poncho if it's raining and I'm walking home from the grocery store.

Whatever it means cosmically, it was a good reminder for me that adulthood is not without its perks (particularly experience and 20/20 hindsight), with some good music and dancing in between.


David Pratt said...

Mr. Schlafstein's own fame granted he and I access to the Warp Tour for free some years ago, and I was confronted with the same stark realization. I did see a few bands I enjoyed, I did meet some people who were generally nice, but by and large I could not fathom the fashion and hairstyle choices these people were making.

I would like to hope that aging brings clarity universally, but if that were the case I doubt so much of the world would be so poorly run.

Scotty said...

Sounds a lot like my memories of Warped Tour 2000...

Bad fashion choices are a rite of passage for youth, and Warped Tour is a perennial exhibition for those toeing the threshold of adulthood to strut their "because I can" outfits. I say let the kids have their moment - in time, they'll realize how ridiculous they were, nostalgically.

B.Graham said...

@Scotty -

So true. I mean, we are the perpetrators of the Curled Bang and the Skater Shoe, and we (most of us anyway) eventually moved on to have meaningful, slightly less Trendy lives.