The air was hot and damp, punk and pop sounds blared, teens ran amuck in band T-shirts, the primary color of the day was black. This weekend at Cruzan Amphitheatre, the Vans Warped Tour blasted through West Palm Beach.
After watching Beartooth and a few other acts (we couldn't make out some of the screams, but we think we heard, "College never worked out for me, but I like this gig."), the Maine caught our ears. Greeted by a slew of screaming fans, its set kicked off with lead singer John O'Callaghan, a clean cut Kurt Cobain look alike, lifting his shirt to show off his tattoo. Nasally high school fans sang along to the poppy and infectious "Girls Do What They Want," drenched in sweat. Toward the end of the song, O'Callaghan pulled a guy with shades onstage named Alex. Alex fumbled with the lyrics, but still got cheers. The Warped crowd is a nice one.
A bystander squealed and grabbed her boyfriend's hand when she recognized the first seconds of "Right Girl." She was 20-year-old Chandal, aged the same as the now classic tour. When we asked what she thought of the Maine, she said, "Honestly, I've loved them since sixth grade. They used to be into a lot of love songs but now they write about adult stuff, like life. It's like I grew up with them!"
We managed to get an interview with the band's drummer Patrick Kirch. The 24-year-old told us about Florida shows and the Pitbull shoutout O'Callghan kept giving on set.
New Times: You haven't played at Warped Tour in about 5 years now. How has it changed?
Kirch: Not much at all, actually. We're still kind of out here doing the same thing, trying to take advantage of being on the tour, trying get as many people we can to hear the music. We wake up early really every day and walk with our set time [on a sign] and try to get people to come and watch our show. We're trying to do the exact same things we used to do now.
How has your style of music changed since then? What has it evolved to now?
When we recorded the first album, I was 17. Now, I'm 24. You just grow up. You hear other bands, and you get exposed to different things that you wouldn't have been to then. I would think that if you're not evolving, it would have to be because you're just making an attempt to sound how you did then. It's just a natural thing that just happened. I would think just an average person would do the exact same thing in an eight year time frame. You just change.
The last album you guys did was Forever Halloween in 2013. Any new albums or music in the works?
Yeah, we're doing a couple dates in October, then after that we're going to record a new record.
(At this point, a concertgoer interrupts, saying, "Excuse me, but I'm going to have to use this sink because I'm covered in beer." OK, back to the interview.)
Any thing you guys have in store for the new album?
We are in the very beginning stages of figuring out what the record is going to be but we want to make something fun, something loud and in your face.
How long do you guys think you'll keep playing Warped Tour?
I have no clue [chuckles].
You plan to be doing it "as long as you can" type of deal?
We haven't done it since 2009, and we're doing it again now, so it could be in 2020 or it could be really soon. It just kind of depends on what happens with the vibe that we wanna go with and stuff, but we're having an awesome time, so I would think that it will happen again.
Besides the humidity, why is Florida such unique a stop?
On this tour, every day is kind of the exact same because you park in a different parking lot every day and it looks like the exact same, the stages are in the same spots, the options and food are the same. Just the horrible weather is the only difference [laughs].
No, the fans that come out here are really great. We had a long history of really great shows in Florida. It's something we really look forward to every tour. We've been playing in Florida since 2007. We come like two or three times a year.
What's with the Pitbull shoutout?
It was being sarcastic... He makes pretty horrible music.
So you only made that shoutout down here, I assume?
Yeah, it hasn't been an everyday thing.
We briefly talked to a fan today who said about you guys wrote a lot of love songs but now you write about "adult stuff, like life." What do you think about that?
John writes most of the words... I guess in my opinion, it's kind of the same thing I was talking about before with the sound, you go from being 18 to being, he's 26-years-old. You grow up and there's just other things you want to talk about, maybe more important messages you want to get across instead of singing about a girl from high school or something.