What is a more perfect place to launch the Vans Warped Tour Acoustic Basement Tour than in the best subterranean all ages venue? Nothing. Friday night that is exactly what happened. The tour kicked off in Hamden bringing members of the 2012 Acoustic Basement Stage to town. And all-ages it was. From the 14-30 segment of Warped's demographic to the 50+ who included those nearest and dearest to the artists. Audience members not only had a chance to meet the musicians but some of their parents, family and old neighbors.
This was a very local show for all the members of the tour. Brian Marquis, founder and producer also former member of Therefore I Am, has his roots in CT. He was born here and grew up in Oakville, Bethany, Woodbury, Watertown, Litchfield, and Morris. Geoff Rickly, although best known for his New Brunswick New Jersey cred, spent some time in his early years in Stratford and Stamford. A Loss for Words in from Boston and Koji waxed poetic about his Amtrak ride from Pittsburgh earlier in the day. Vinnie Caruana made the short jaunt across The Sound from Long Island.
These are artists shared many tracks they have written and recorded as solo artists but those who are known for other groups brought some of their music to the stage also. A Loss For Words also chose cover a song by some friends from 2012 Warped Tour, We Are In The Crowd who are also relatively local, hailing from Poughkeepsie. There were a few other interesting covers rolled out including two performed by Thursday frontman, Geoff Rickly. Rickly paid homage to "the patron saint of New Jersey" with The Boss's "Atlantic City. Later he took on an Usher track.
Based on just the title of the tour, one might assume a boring night of "wgwg's". Honestly singer/songwriter material along with punk rock which is where all these artists have their roots has never been big on musical composition or guitar skills. However, what the music that comes out of the "punk tribe" as Koji so aptly termed it, is about the words. The lyrics are the guts and they speak of the dark side of the current human condition. But it's not in a way to just whine about it. These musicians are trying to stir people's righteous indignation and get them out there to try to fix it. Sure there were songs about love lost and found. However, even those included lessons learned and picking back up and moving on.
As with opening night of any tour, there were a few glitches which were the source of the 4-star rating for the show. The nice thing about it being an acoustic tour though was that sound problems were easily worked over and around. Most of these guys are used to playing real basement shows, in people's houses so they know how to project without a mic. Obviously guitars still worked even without juice for the pick-ups. In a few situations where they couldn't play through the problems, they proved what commensurate storytellers they really are.
Special thanks to Brian Marquis for coming up with the idea for this tour and doing an amazing job producing it. Hopefully it will draw more attention to The Acoustic Basement Stage at VWT2013.
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