WORDS AND COPYRIGHT PHOTOS: Diana More Riddle
The picturesque backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge in Washington isn’t typically where’d you expect to see punk bands playing, nor is this years emo heavy line-up of The Vans Warped Tour. No the less that’s where I caught up with punk legends GBH on Aug 9th, half way through their North American tour. They’d spent the last few weeks headlining shows zigzagged across the US and Canada and had just joined the tail end of the tour.
So on their third day playing the much larger commercial festival they were just starting to settle into the circus but pretty well I might add. Despite it still being early afternoon that didn’t stop a good part of the 20,000 Warped punters getting into full swing with one the liveliest pits of the day!
The 30 min set at the all dayer left plenty of free time at the festival. After playing GBH could be found at their merch stall, unlike many of the other bands who disappeared into their tour bus, only to emerge for a brief autograph signing. At their stall they were meet by a constant stream of fans crowding around for photos and autographs. Their time spent hanging at the stall wasn’t all about the fans, it might have had a bit to do with the fact that they didn’t have a tour bus and were travelling around in a not so spacious eight-seater van… the only main stage band not in a tour bus and proud of it.
So that evening, back in the van they got. Another night of driving through the night to meet the early Warped start times. Columbia Meadows, Oregon was in another stunning landscape and again they were incredibly well received. Unluckily it was the last night of scenic venues as the tour moved on to its more familiar car park settings as it hit California.
Fortunately though, with the California shows came the “Old School Stage”! Adding a bit more Punk Rock to the noticeably lacking punk line-up this year had compared to previous years. This added the likes of FEAR, The Dickies, D.I., The Germs, Agent Orange and T.S.O.L to name a few. Each gig in California seemed to top the last. Culminating in a brilliant last show at the Home Depot Centre in Los Angeles. With more bands and bigger pits then any other show and lots of very happy festival goers. Despite early reservation of joining the Warped Tour my bet is you can expect them back.
After a few well-deserved days off in the sunshine of LA, GBH were back to their more familiar turf of late night venues. Aug 21st they played the infamous Keyclub on the Sunset Strip. The sold out show was opened by pre-Warped show tourmate Texas’ Krum Bums and Florida’s Whole Wheat Bread. Both of who went down a treat and got the crowd nicely warmed up. From their first song the spikey LA crowd was going nuts, singing along and stag-diving to all their classics and new material alike. Even Eddie Tatar from D.I. couldn’t help join in and jumping in on bass for a few songs. The night was topped off by closing the show with The Clash’s White Riot.
It was good to see GBH back in their more native environment, playing their full set and the crowd couldn’t have agreed more. It was a great night and just the start of nearly another month back on tour with Whole Wheat and Krum Bums… If you can’t make it over to The US or Canada you can catch up with them back in Blighty on Oct 25th in Brum or Nov 10th in London!