Warped Tour 2010
1255 Hempstead Turnpike
Uniondale, NY 11553
Its mid-July which means we’re in mid-BBQ Season and also mid- Vans Warped Tour. Now in it’s 16th year, this touring madhouse has become a staple for summer entertainment featuring dozens of punk, metal, hardcore and pop acts. No 2 shows are ever the same as the not only does the entertainment change daily, so does the schedule. Owner and creator, Kevin Lyman, switches up the rotation every single day to create an equality amongst the bands doing away entirely with the concept of a “headlining act.”
Known affectionately by those who are a part of the tour, this “punk rock summer camp” is about having fun as much as it is about business. Kevin makes sure there is some type of fun for everyone who attends be it bands, skaters, sponsor booths, signings or my favorite part, the BBQ! Each year Kevin picks one band to be “the BBQ band.” It’s their job to pull Kevin’s massive grill from show to show to show and at the end of the day, host and run a BBQ for all tour participants. It’s their job to feed the thousands of people that are a part of the tour. Every once in awhile along the route, Kevin steps up the game by throwing the biggest of BBQs and every year at the Nassau Coliseum date in Uniondale, Long Island, NY, the BBQ party is like none other.
3 years ago I jokingly hit up Kevin and asked how we planned to party as the Uniondale show was happening on my birthday. Kevin’s reply “we’re going big.” Little did anyone know at the time what exactly that meant. Last year’s party was complete insanity, featuring 234 LBS of meat, my Magic Burger Dust and a dance party complete with party costumes. I like to refer to this VIP style BBQ as “Kev and Rev’s Awesome Parking Lot BBQ.” This year both Kevin and I wanted to take it to a new level by serving a wider range of meat. The 2009 party featured trip-tip and whole chickens. For 2010, Kevin was adding in ribs. But that just wasn’t enough to satisfy the desire.
I reached out to the 77 year old famous NYC kings of sausage, Esposito and Sons. They’ve been hand making sausages and selling meats in their butcher shop in Hell’s Kitchen since 1933. There is no finer sausage in these parts. You can order them yourself from Amazon.com. They were more than happy to help supply the party. Carlos and David from Esposito and Sons hooked us up with 10 pounds of their hot Italian links and their cheese and parsley rings. I had to pick them up early the morning before the Warped date but was pretty excited to take my first step into a sausage factory (that’s what she said.)
While I was pretty damn excited about the sausages, it still felt like something was missing. This party needed one more item to make it what it needed to be…BURGERS!! A quick conversation with Jamie from Burger Maker and the problem was solved. They were going to donate 90 of their AMAZING hand crafted gourmet burger patties to the BBQ. After tasting their meat (that’s what she said) at the NYC Food Film Fest, I have been trying to come up with a way for us to do something with them again. Want some for yourself? Place your order with Fresh Direct.
We left Manhattan at the bright and early time of 9 am on a Saturday morning. That’s around the time they announce the day’s line up and with shore traffic, if the band you need to see is on at Noon, you gotta go early. Once you’re inside, look for the gigantic, red, inflatable Vans Warped Tour Band line up up balloon. It’s the easiest way to make your schedule for the day before the place fills up and the punk rock begins.
As Kevin began his initial prep of the dry rubbing, Cara, George, Rachel, Marc, Leo, Joe and I headed into the venue to catch some bands.
Motion City Soundtrack kicking off the main stage early in the day.
Alkaline Trio, holding down their veteran position on the tour, a personal fave of the day.
Joel, lead singer from The Sparring spent their entire show down on the concrete in the mosh pit. If that wasn’t fun enough, the official BBQ band won my vote for Warped Tour highlight of the day; all girl circle pit! Watch the video.
Emmure had one of the craziest and most intense crowd reactions of the day.
After their set, I headed back over to “bus world” to check in on the ‘cue. Kevin was up to his elbows making a cabbage salad with superstar Sarah Baer. The oak, an essential part of the flavor when smoking meat, was soaking in water while the meat was being rubbed and placed into the massive Pabst Smoker. I think this thing looks like a locomotive!
While the meat was being prepped and place, Tiffany Mink, more commonly known as @Minkus on twitter, and self-proclaimed meat-a-holic, stopped by to interview Kevin and I for the day’s Warped Tour Pit Blog. Check it out below or click the link. (Burger madness begins around the 2:45 mark)
With the meat on the grill with hours left to cook, I headed back into the venue to catch one of the bands I was most excited to see, Set Your Goals.
I was starting to get a little hungry in anticipation of all the tasty meats. Made a brief stop at the Wonka Candy tent for some free sweets including some delicious Kazoozles! Unfortunately that didn’t get the job entirely done and in fact, only made me more hungry. So it was back to the VIP tent for some free beers and some pretty tasty pulled pork on a roll. (Thanks to Adam for the wristband hook up!)
You Me At Six.
I have to give Dillinger Escape Plan a nod for having one of the best performances of the day. They’re hyper-spastic-metal-hardcore-punk-noise whirlwind is the audio inspection of an aneurysm. I’ll never know how they play so perfectly with all the jumping, running, flailing and hyper-activity the members exert on stage.
Following them was the other band to have one of the best shows of the day, VersaEmerge. Vocalist Sierra Kusterbeck wails her heart out over the band’s punk rock gone prog-alternative. Their latest release, Fixed At Zero, is one of my favorite records of the year.
Made a quick stop by the Skullcandy stage to check out Far From Finished. Was really into their post-hardcore meets garage rock sound.
It was time for a much needed beer and thankfully my buddy Kenny, was able to quench my needs with a can of Beer 30 Light from the Melanie Brewery. Maybe it was the purple can but this tasted like Keystone Light with a hint of grape soda. Whatever. Kenny and I headed over to watch the band he manages, Detroit’s very own The Swellers.
Made my way over to the side stage to see Sum 41 who easily had the biggest crowd of the day on the stage.
Enjoyed a couple of songs from Four Year Strong.
Then it was back to check on the meat (that’s what she said.) Everything was going great and it was smoking away on the grill. Even though I have attended the Warped Tour nearly every year since its inception, I have never seen how the running order of bands is determined. I had no idea that for every stop of the tour in the last 16 years, Kevin sits down and hand chooses and writes out the schedule. I finally got to see the magic in action and it was like watching Edison inventing the light ball (I imagine.)
With only a limited amount of time left, I ran across the parking lot to cat
ch Bring Me the Horizon. The band played their hearts out to which the crowd responded by going totally freaking bananas.
Whitechapel was the last band I got to see was the band that gets the Burger Conquest nod of appreciation. Why? check out their dope t-shirt!!
THE BURGER AND BBQ
As the show portion of the day was coming to a close, that meant it was time to get Kev and Rev’s Awesome Parking Lot BBQ started. Kevin was just starting to pull the meat from the coals. Kevin asked me to try a piece of the chicken. WHOA! It was juicy and spicy and I couldn’t wait for more. Kevin pulled the meat to the side so we could convert the smoker to a grill by switch from wood chips to charcoal as a heat source.
While the meat was coming off the grill, we started to set up the serving tables. This photo grossly misrepresents the amount of buns we had but is still pretty fun. Same for the tray of meat as this was like 1 of 25 or 30 that was placed out across the night.
The Sparring guys had totally taken control of the grill while Kevin sliced and served the chicken, tri-tip and ribs. It was time for The Rev to jump in and bust out the Burger Maker burgers. Kevin’s massive grill can easily hold 50 to 60 at one time and it took both me and Jay from The Sparring be able cook them properly.
As delicious burger after delicious came off the grill and into the hands of the Warped Tour VIPS, my hunger really started to kick. That’s right when Sierra from VersaEmerge offered to step in as a relief griller. For someone who doesn’t eat beef, she did an amazing job. She did promise me however that at this exact BBQ next year, she would return to eating beef. You can bet I will be holding her to that promise!!!
Next up…Esposito and Sons Hot Italian sausages. I emptied the entire box onto the smoky hot grill and surrounded it with more burgers. Kevin added some corn on the cob and we were at full grilling fever pitch. The Hot Italian sausages were among the best I have ever had. Not too hot but hot enough, the spicy pork flavors were so good and the casing when cooked right, the casing has a real snap to it.
Once the hot Italians were gone it was time to load up the grill with the cheese and parsley rings. They were a little harder to cook as they come in long cased links which have to be carefully grilled. In retrospect, probably not the right choice for a BBQ attended by thousands of hungry people, as far as the grill masters are concerned. However, on the serving tip, everybody loved the sausages and wished we had brought more.
After several hours or mastering the Q, I needed to take a break. When you’re grilling for thousands, it takes a toll and damned if all the great smells don’t make you hungrier than Paul Bunyon after a day of chopping down the forest. It was finally my turn to have a Burger Marker burger. No cheese or condiments needed, just beef and a bun. It was as succulent, juicy, flavorful and delicious as I remembered.
An essential part of the Kev and Rev’s Awesome Parking Lot BBQ are the cheap costumes! Opting out of a theme this year, I just bought any silly hat, chain, lei, patch, tiaras, glow sticks, coconut bras, etc, etc I could get my hand on. Angelo from Fishbone was manning the wheels of steel and DJ-ing up all kinds of fun jams for the parking lot dance party that accompanies the BBQ.
I woke up the next morning with an email from Kevin that simply said “Happy birthday..I think those nights take a couple of years out of me.”
Regardless of the fun times at the VIP BBQ, the Vans Warped Tour is one of the most fun days of the summer. Kevin and crew always make sure to put on a fun show for all. It’s the BBQ that makes the Uniondale stop a stand out on the tour.
Thanks to Kevin, Kate, Sarah, Paul, Tiffany and the rest of the 4Fini and Warped Tour crew for a fantastic and awesome time. I’m already looking forward to next year.