Kicking off its 16th year, the Van's Warped Tour held a preview at the Key Club in West Hollywood Friday night. Performing were a number of bands skedded for the summer jaunt, including party-rocker Andrew W.K. and Gossip Girl Taylor Momsen with her band the Pretty Reckless.
Momsen channeled her best inner Courtney Love, displaying a surprisingly strongvocal prowess and ease on stage. The banddebuted tracks from their upcoming album, along with the ever popular "MakeMe Wanna Die" off the Kick Ass soundtrack.
A little later, Andrew W.K. made a convincing argument that there's no substitute for high energy as he kicked off "It's Time to Party."
Yet what has made Warped so popular isn't necessarily the big names, but rather the tour's up and comers. Warped's side stages birthed the likes of Kid Rock, The Deftones, and Katy Perry.
"I think a lot of people have prejudged the Warped Tour, and that's been the biggest mistake," explained founder Kevin Lyman. "The people that have actually come and enjoyed this, or just come to check it out, always walk out saying, 'Wow, I came to see this...but I [loved] this instead!'"
An example from this year's tour is San Diego's Pierce the Veil, who commanded the stage by sampling Ludacris and covering MJ's "Beat It."
Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band displayed another facet of the night with their finger-picking country blues. Their washboard stylings were the perfect break from the metalcore of Death Punch, a promising screem-o act homegrown on past Warped Tours.
This year's outing will also feature amateur skate competitions, freestyle rap-offs, and over 100 artists, who will each get 30 minutes on stage -- no headliners, no egos, no problems.
Vans Warped Tour Kickoff Party Line-up:
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn band
Grind Time Now Emcee Battle hosted by The Rolling Rockers
Beacher's Madhouse (Ooompa Loompas)
The Pretty Reckless
Pierce the Veil