Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"No Room For Rock Stars" perfectly captures the Warped Tour experience

In high school, Warped Tour was a summer tradition for my group of friends. At first, my mom had to drive us, since no one actually had a license (thankfully, I have a "cool mom" who has been known to pull my friends out of mosh pits and still loves going to shows with me today). Once college started, we continued the tradition for a while;  we endured extreme heat, downpours of rain and mud so deep that you frequently saw abandoned Converse Chucks sunk halfway in it.

Sadly, we've stopped going these days, simply because of the recent lineups. Maybe we're getting too old for that scene, or maybe Myspace enabled too many generic bands to gain passionate fandoms. Maybe a little bit of both. Nevertheless, I will always have a very special place in my heart for Warped Tour, because ultimately, some of my favorite memories come from my days at those festivals.

So naturally, I am really excited about No Room For Rock Stars, a new documentary about Warped Tour produced by the same team who made Dogtown and Z-Boys. The crew shot more than 300 hours of film on the 2010 tour and they cover just about everyone involved, including Warped mastermind Kevin Lyman, the musicians, the crew, stage managers, tour bus drivers and even a few of the musicians' family members. Director Parris Patton offers a thorough, comprehensive look at what Warped Tour is really like on both the good days and the not-so good days.

Warped Tour has always been a grab bag of alternative acts, and that is accurately shown through the variety of musicians focused on. The cameras primarily follow R&B/pop star Mike Posner (whose hit "Cooler Than Me" is all over Top 40 radio), metal band Suicide Silence, struggling pop-punk act Forever Came Calling, and Christofer Drew, frontman of the cutesy feel-good pop act Never Shout Never. The gang's all here, from the guy on the verge of stardom to the band that can barely afford gas; from Suicide Silence's lyrics about how the "human machine will finally bleed," to Never Shout Never's determination to bring "love energy" to the tour; from Posner, who claims he has already sold more albums than 95 percent of the other acts will ever sell, to his bus-mates in Anarbor who had never even been on a tour bus before. Warped Tour attracts such a wide array of fans precisely because of all these contradictions.

This documentary is not all mosh pits and adoring crowds though. Some musicians become disillusioned, fans get a little too personal, and a lot of people get homesick as the 16,906-mile journey continues. Critics sometimes make a valid argument that Warped Tour has evolved into nothing more than a giant corporate marketing opportunity for the youth demographic. Patton's film never leans one way or the other; it just presents the footage you need to make your own judgement. But in the end, the greatest strength of this film is how well it captures the sense of community felt between everyone involved on this tour. Ultimately, most people involved in Warped Tour love it because they feel like they have finally found a place they belong.

I truly enjoyed every second of this documentary, despite the fact that I don't actually like any of the featured acts all that much. Even the musicians I do not care for made for some great interviews - I generally find myself covering my ears the second I see Cristofer Drew's face but this time, I actually found myself nodding while he spoke. I never thought I'd see the day. So, I would highly recommend this film to any music fan, no matter what your musical tastes are or whether or not you've been to Warped Tour before.

No Room For Rock Stars will be in theaters across the country in an exclusive, one-night engagement on Thursday, March 1, 2012. For a complete list of cities, theaters and showtimes for No Room For Rock Stars, please visit: The film will be available on iTunes on April 2 and on DVD May 8.


  1. I'm a big music and documentary geek, so I'm looking forward to this! I've never really fit in the warped tour crowd though, so I'm glad to know I can appreciate it all the same. 

  2. Yes, your mom has been known to pull your friends out of mosh pits... bahahaha. Great post!! <3