I was elated to hear that I would return to Warped Tour after 2 years of being unable to go. Warped Tour always has introduced me to amazing bands I have never heard of, eclectic bands that I was unsure of what to think of, and made me a diehard fan of those bands I have heard of but never have seen perform.
I left my house a solid hour and a half before the gates were set to open, even though I live a mere ten minute drive away. Note to any future newcomers to the Warped Tour experience: the traffic is mind numbingly bad. It took me around 45 minutes to get to the amphitheater. Once I got my press pass, grabbed a list of set times (which I had to buy for two bucks) , and went through the gates, I was ready to see as many bands as humanly possible in ten hours.
Right away, I ran to see The Summer Set‘s performance on one of the two main stages. I have seen The Summer Set perform previously with The Cab on their co-headlining Everything’s Fine Symphony Soldier Tour. Almost instantly they had a huge crowd jumping and singing along. They fulfilled my expectations and then some.
I headed over to the Acoustic Basement to watch my friends in Gunset Passion perform while I wrote out my game plan. I knew from previous years that I would have to be organized if I wanted to catch all the bands I was interested in seeing play.
After drafting a list of bands I was going to attempt to see, I headed over to the main stage to kill time in between sets and I watched a bit of Like Moths To Flames’s set. I heard a bit about this band previously, but I’m very picky when it comes to any sort of hardcore rock. Even though I wouldn’t listen to this band on a regular basis, I did enjoy their set and I found myself bobbing my head along to the music.
I then ran over to the stages inside the amphitheater to meet up with a friend and saw Stick To Your Guns play a few songs. I have to hand it to punk/pop punk bands, they put on some of the most entertaining shows and have some of the most diehard fans I have ever seen. There were big burly men in the crowd nearly crying because they were screaming the lyrics so loud and impassioned.
I ran back to the main stage to catch yet another band I had heard so much about but never bothered to check out, Man Overboard. Man Overboard is the epitome of a pop punk band. They sounded like a younger New Found Glory, but with two male singers instead of one. Once again, I enjoyed their set but not enough to buy their records.
Finally, I had some free time to stand in a long line for a grilled cheese sandwich from The Melt bus, to feed my very angry stomach. Another note to future Warped newcomers: feed your stomach before you leave your house, or at least bring some snacks. Once the box containing the delicious sandwich was in my hands, I was off running to see another band play.
Anarbor was performing in the amphitheater, so I took my food with me and munched on it as I watched their performance. I didn’t stay for long, but their performance made me a fan of their music and made me wish I had stayed longer.
I had yet another break in between sets, so I ventured into the press area to grab a drink to water down the fiery feeling left in my mouth from the chili flakes on the grilled cheese sandwich (I don’t handle spicy foods very well). A few of my friends were back in the press area as well and had planned on watching Allstar Weekend perform. I was a bit hesitant to follow along, but then again, I had nothing else better to do.
There were only a few bits I knew about Allstar Weekend: they have a huge legion of fangirl followers, their music was on the pop end of the spectrum, and there was a strong possibility I wouldn’t enjoy their performance. I was completely wrong, but for a different reason. Their music isn’t something I particularly like, but the lead singer was dancing around and making a complete fool out of himself the entire length of their performance. I was laughing pretty much through their entire set and it was one of the most memorable performances I had watched that day.
Tonight Alive performed on the other stage inside the amphitheater, directly after Allstar Weekend. I had been looking forward to hearing the Australian band perform and loved every bit of their performance. Their female singer was bouncing around and involving the crowd in every way she possibly could. I thoroughly loved their performance and would definitely recommend checking out these Aussies.
The next band I saw, I hadn’t even heard of before I checked the Warped Tour bands listing. Once I checked out their music, I was hooked. Crossfaith was one of the two bands I was looking forward to seeing at Warped, so I staked out my position before their set on the Ernie Ball stage fairly early. Crossfaith came all the way from Japan with their hard rock/ electronica infused sound and brought it to America for Warped Tour. They completely blew me away and I wish they had a better fan base in the U.S. because they would have shredded on the main stages.
I then had a difficult choice to make between either seeing Gin Wigmore’s set or the Aquabats. I chose to see the infamous comical ska punk band on the main stage. It was worth the difficult decision because I was thoroughly entertained, even though I knew none of their material. I even saw parents in the crowd with tiny toddlers on their shoulders dressed up in the blue and silver suits that the Aquabats are known for.
After the Aquabats set, I proceeded to hop between the two main stages on the asphalt watching Motion City Soundtrack, The Wonder Years, We Came As Romans, and Reel Big Fish. All I have to say about Motion City Soundtrack’s performance is that it took me back to middle school (I’m only 20). There was nothing notable nor memorable about the Wonder Years performance but the crowd seemed really into their music, to say the least. We Came As Romans, on the other hand, saying the crowd was into their music would be an understatement. There were bodies crowd surfing everywhere and I constantly had to make sure I didn’t get hit by a flying leg or arm (being in the photo pit is dangerous sometimes too!) Once again, another band at Warped surprised me not by their music, but by their performance and the crowds reaction to it. We Came As Romans had the craziest crowd so far and I mean crazy in a good way. Reel Big Fish’s crowd was the complete opposite in the sense that everyone was relaxed and dancing along. Their crowd certainly wasn’t as violent but nonetheless, it was still enthusiastically singing the lyrics to their songs. It was a once in a lifetime chance to see these ska greats perform.
After an hour or so, I went to a stage other than the main ones to see Letlive perform. I had no idea what I was in store for. The lead singer seemed to almost spontaneously combust into a frantic movements, running around, and screaming his lungs out. I was surprised but I found it entertaining and extremely memorable. Although, once again, I found myself scared that I was going to be hit by a flying leg or arm.
I left their set a little early to see Emily’s Army perform. Billie Joel Armstrong’s son, Joey Armstrong is the drummer in the band so I expected great things. These teens played harder and better than most bands twice their age; I was shocked! The only disappointment I had during their set was that the stage was too small and was placed behind a tent that cut off most of the space needed for the crowd. They deserved a larger platform, so that more people could hear their music.
The other band I was looking forward to seeing perform was Echosmith. All of the members of the band were younger than me and yet had such a mature sound. I had the song Cool Kids stuck in my head for days once I heard it. I can tell from their music and their performance that they are going to be selling out arenas one day.
I had yet another short rest before I headed off to see The Black Veil Brides. I have heard a few of their songs but more than anything, I have heard about their dedicated fan base so I decided to check them out. The lead singer, Andy Biersack, is almost like an actor when he’s on stage. I enjoyed their set and was even more entertained by the hundreds of screaming girls trying to claw their way to Andy.
Crizzly was one of the few artists on the Warped Tour that could not be classified as rock. He’s a dubstep artist that I have heard much about,but haven’t had the chance to see live yet. I was able to catch a bit of his set and enjoy the crazy atmosphere of the Spotify stage. It was like a ginormous dance party and the crowd was so frenzied that they almost ripped down the barricade.
I went from a listening to dubstep to hardcore rock within a half hour. I rushed over to the main stage, once again, to see Bring Me the Horizon. Their sound has changed a bit since their previous albums and I’m starting to really like their new material (since they toned down the amount of screaming and all). Their crowd was a close runner up for craziest crowd of the day. The hundreds of people that amassed in front of the stage were yelling the lyrics, creating a huge mosh pit, and crowd surfing like no other. Once again, I found myself protecting my camera from flying body parts.
Finally, the day was coming to a close. I headed to see the band Goldfinger, who had been around longer than any other band on Warped Tour. I immediately loved them from the moment that they walked on stage to the Game of Thrones theme song. They had my full and immediate attention. I decided by the conclusion of their set that Warped had some fantastic and legendary ska bands on tour this year. Warped Tour is definitely worth the aching bones, dehydration, and the endless sunburns. Its one of those concerts that you won’t ever forget.