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Comerica Park gets Warped

On August 2, 2010

As I walked through the entrance alone, a blazing sun shone down. Comerica Park was bursting with a diverse and enthusiastic crowd; all of us had made the journey to Detroit for a common cause: our love of music. I promptly made my way to the main stage where I found a few familiar faces.

After checking the schedule for the day I realized that the first band I wanted to see, Andrew W.K., wouldn't be on for a few hours. Wandering around, I perused the various booths and soaked up the atmosphere.

Born in California in 1979, Andrew W.K. is a multi-faceted musician and performer. This Ann Arbor native uses his feel-good abilities to motivate an ever growing fan base to "party hard." Andrew has released many albums, singles, videos and a DVD as well as created a TV show and made appearances on shows that appear on MTV and VH1.

He has been a motivational speaker at various prestigious universities including Yale and NYU, all the while writing a monthly advice column and book in Japan. The talented artist said he was happy to be home in Michigan and that he loves performing in Detroit. The 2010 Warped Tour is Andrew's second, where he is a headliner.

At last it was time for Andrew W.K. to begin his set. The crowd was restless with anticipation. "Are you ready to party hard?" was fired out from a plethora of speakers as he made his grand entrance.

Everyone rushed forward as he began singing "Party Hard," a song from his debut album "I Get Wet." "Circle pits," a version of the mosh pit that requires fans to run around in a circle, immediately started forming throughout the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd.

Andrew introduced his wife, Cherie Lily, who performed with him on stage, acting both as a back-up vocalist and "dancer," combining dance moves with Tae Bo.

Bodies as well as an assortment of bottles, shoes and garbage flew through the air. The final song, a continuation of "Party Hard," the first song of the set, spurred one of the largest circle pits that I have ever seen.

As my friend and I were sucked into the swirling mass, approximately 60 feet in diameter, I immediately regretted my footwear choice of flip flops.

We ran around, being pushed and running into other fans as Andrew W.K.'s set came to an end. Andrew praised the crowd for the immense pit as he left the stage and invited fans to meet him at his "red and white circus tent" for autographs.

With a dwindling crowd, leaving only the die-hard fans, I waited somewhat patiently for Andrew to make his appearance. At last he arrived about an hour after the conclusion of his performance and I was able to secure a quick conversation, autographs and pictures.

Then it was back to the schedule to pick out the next band. After a few minutes' deliberation and debate we decided to head to the Advent stage to see Pennywise.

Pennywise formed in 1988 in the south bay of Los Angeles in the same small coastal community of Hermosa Beach. The four band members, guitarist Fletcher Dragge, original bass player Jason Thirsk, drummer Byron McMackin and vocalist Jim Lindberg, began playing local backyard keg parties to increasing crowds.

Pennywise strikes a chord with hardcore fans and action sports enthusiasts alike. In defiance of grunge, Pennywise helped to define the then-emerging West Coast punk movement. After the tragic death of Thirsk the future of the collective was in serious doubt, however, they rallied and regrouped with new bassist Randy Bradbury.

Pennywise is no stranger to the tour, having headlined in the past. Pennywise as well as a handful of other influential artists have helped turn Van's Warped Tour into the longest running and one of the most successful American Music Festivals.

Approaching the growing crowd, I strategically picked a place where I hypothesized was less likely to turn into a mosh pit. I soon learned that in a crowd full of metal enthusiasts, there was no predicting such phenomena.

The mass of people ebbed and flowed like the tide as new pits formed and collapsed. However, I was able to escape the chaos for a majority of the show. As a relatively new Pennywise fan, my fandom was only strengthened by their performance. As we "head-banged like champs," a phrase I created in effigy of the crowd that surrounded me, I was introduced to new songs, a new experience and new people.

I was saddened when the set came to an end, feeling that it was pre-mature. But, I quickly went in search of their booth hoping to secure an autograph. After a fruitless search we made our way back to the main stage area, unknowingly arriving exactly where we needed to be.

At last it was in sight: the Pennywise booth. However, to my dismay I discovered that they had already finished their signing session at the start of the day.

We consulted the schedule and realized that yet again there was a large gap of time to fill before the next band we were gunning to see.

We made our way over to the Glamour Kills stage to see Iwrestledabearonce.

Iwrestledabearonce is an American metal band from Shreveport, Louisiana that formed in 2007. Their musical style is a menagerie of jazz, disco, swing, grindcore and electronica with a metalcore base. Their "spastic blending of genre" sound is known for having melodic "lounged-out" interludes in the middle of their songs. Current members include Krysta Camera, vocals; Steven Bradley, guitar, keyboard, samples and programming; John Ganey, guitars, keyboards, samples and programming; Mikey Montgomery, drums and backing vocals; and Mike "Rickshaw" Martin, bass.

Camera, a woman with powerful screaming vocals, had a powerful stage presence and although her attempt at a few jokes fell flat, her overall performance was entertaining and unique.

Although I had never heard this particular band before, I found myself enjoying the new take on a combination of genres.12

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