Warped Tour 2009 swung through San Antonio, Texas Thursday and HM was there to cover it. This year, unlike 2008, featured only a few notable Christ-related bands.

On a scale of one to 10, the heat in San Antonio was about a 15. Every pore from my body oozed sweat, and I nearly passed out once…pretty punk, right? I thought so.

But don’t be fooled, the real music fans have some real dedication…or at least some real good sunblock. 15-year-olds abounded everywhere, in skin-tight jeans and highlighter-colored sunglasses, no less. And the bands abounded as well. The Ataris, Underoath, Gallows, Alexisonfire, Bad Religion, A Day To Remember, Thrice, etc. But this particular Warped Tour holds a special place in my heart because a band from my hometown of Dayton, Ohio played: the metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada, who coincidentally appeared on the March/April cover of HM. Not only are these six boys from my hometown, but we grew up in the same circles, going to shows and loitering in Waffle Houses around our suburbs during our high school years. It was great to see them on Warped Tour’s main stage, doing what they do best.

The fans chanted “PRADA! PRADA!” as they came onstage, and the band brilliantly shredded through many songs, old and new. Each one left the crowd more excited than the last, as they played songs from their newest 2009 album With Roots Above and Branches Below as well as 2007’s fan favorite, Plagues. It is apparent when they play that these guys pour their heart and soul into their music, but also know how to mess around with it and just have fun. It is this mentality that their fans find so entertaining, hopefully for many more albums and tours to come.

Underoath played early on the main stage so we were only able to catch 1.5 songs. “A Boy Brushed in Red, Living in Black and White” off They’re Only Chasing Safety sounded clean. Spencer Chamberlain’s scream has deepened a bit over the years.

Thrice was one of the final bands of the night, but brought a welcome changeup to the litany of screamo bands throughout the day. They surprised me by opening with four songs from 2005 or earlier in a row, “Of Dust and Nations,” “All That’s Left,” “Silhouettes,” then “Deadbolt,” before breaking out “Backdraft” from The Alchemy Index. Teppei Teranishi is a ridiculous guitarist. He more than lived up to his reputation on “Of Dust and Nations.” They broke out two new songs, “The Weight” and “All the World is Mad” from their upcoming album, Beggars. Dustin Kensrue sounded at home with the new material’s hushed/yelled vocal styles that are more reminiscent of Vheissu than The Alchemy Index. The crowd was a major downer on Thrice’s otherwise engaging set. Whether it was the product of a long day in the sun or the fact that Thrice’s complex time signatures don’t encourage crowd movement I’m not sure, but maybe the boys knew what they were doing in playing popular old material first since the crowd only really got involved at all with the three songs from The Artist in the Ambulance.

For more complete coverage and photos of the entire Warped Tour experience see Corey Erb and Kelly Kettering’s intern diaries.

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