Vans Warped Tour is known as a day full of kick-ass music, mosh pits, and meet & greets. Year after year, people continue to join the warped bandwagon, but this year, a lot of usual fans did not feel a need to go. But hey, less people the better! (for me)
Honestly, although I didn’t absolutely love 20 bands that were going like last year, this year’s Warped had to be tied for one of the best. For starters, I was late, per usual. I pretty much ran the entire distance from my car all the way to the gate of the venue after finding out Our Last Night was playing at 11:30 and my friends and I arrived at 11. OLN is actually such an incredible band. I saw them last summer in a small venue in New York City and their sound blew my mind. They were one of the few bands I NEEDED to see, and of course, they were first.
I have this weird luck when it comes to concerts, so somehow, with ten minutes to spare, my friends and I made it to the front for OLN. I was against the barrier on the side, excited. Lead singer Trevor Wentworth not only has an amazing voice but he is also extremely good-looking. Halfway done with his set, he saw me jamming out in the front, walked over, and pointed right at me and smiled. Bass guitarist Alex Woodrow also made sure to single me out as I was belting out the lyrics to “Sunrise.”
After their set, I waited in their meet & greet line for about an hour and they finally came over to their tent. I told them that their set was great and I wished they played more songs, but Trevor said not to worry because they would be coming back around here in the Fall. He then asked if I was from around here and I said I was from Connecticut but saw them last Summer in NYC. All of them were thrilled, and obliged to take a picture with me. I was trying not to smile so damn much.
It’s important to remember that at Warped you simply can not see all of the bands playing — it’s just not physically possible. So, I made a list on my phone of the 10 bands I really wanted to see, their showtimes, and which stage they would perform on. Next on the list was Pvris. Since I was busy stalking Beartooth, I didn’t make it over to Pvris until after they started their set. Even further back though, Pvris was so good. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s voice almost brings you to a different world-it’s so poetic and draws you in. The entire crowd was singing along in a happy place.
The great thing about Warped Tour is that there are surprises around every corner. You never know who you are going to run into, and what’s going to happen next. Some guys dressed as dragons were walking around with water guns and they sprayed me-which actually cooled me down in the 93 degrees heat. Another guy showed us a magic trick with a rock, and I signed a petition to end tattoo discrimination in the workplace. We ran into someone we met on the train from a previous concert, and walked by a bunch of artists that just happened to be around.
At one point, we walked by the “Music Saves Lives” tent and peeked in. The band 3Pm was playing a quick acoustic set. We actually met them at All Time Low’s Future Hearts Tour in May and bought their CDs. We instantly started singing along with them, and stopped to chat after. It’s always a pleasure becoming friends with a band and having them remember you. I’m sure I’ll see them again.
Thanks to Twitter, I found out that The Ready Set’s guitarist Mike Naran was playing guitar for Juliet Simms. Since he’s from Connecticut, I’ve met him two times at a local venue and even at The Ready Set’s meet and greet last November. When we went to say hi, he instantly remembered us! He stayed to chat with us for a few, and I told him I hope I get the chance to see him soon when he tours with Jordan (of The Ready Set.) He assured us that would be happening really soon.
Next up was the hardcore metal band Beartooth, who I had the chance to see at last year’s Warped Tour. Unfortunately, last year, I made the awful decision to stand front and center against the barrier-which meant people were being thrown over my head the entire time. Crowdsurfers really piss me off because instead of enjoying the show, I have to worry about passing people above my head. This time, I made sure to stand against the barrier, but to the side. This macho-muscle dad was next to me so if any crowd surfers came my way, he definitely got them.
Lead singer Caleb Shomo came out singing “The Lines,” and continued with hits “In Between,” “Beaten In Lips,” “I Have a Problem,” and finished with “Body Bag.” You could feel the emotion in Shomo’s voice throughout their set-he puts on an amazing performance. They are the whole reason I find metal music so exceptional-there is so much emotion behind the screaming. Everyone around me was headbanging-screaming out the lyrics as if we were one.
At this point, I could barely feel my body, and felt like passing out from dehydration. We made our way to the amphitheater to re hydrate, and saw part of Citizen’s set. Metro Station was coming on soon, but we had to stick through As It Is’ set, which was awkward because I didn’t know a single one of their songs. But to our advantage, most of the crowd left, and we sneakily swooped right in-scoring spots against the barrier. Somehow, I ended up even past the barrier so I was literally in front of the stage. My middle school dreams were fulfilled as Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso hit the stage. Cyrus was drunk, but still said some inspiring things-including the fact that the band was completely independent with no record label. It’s absolutely crazy that after a five year hiatus, they still have the fans that they do today.
A day later, I can’t walk, my head hurts, my ears are probably still ringing, and I don’t have a voice-but getting to see these incredible bands up close and personal was so worth it. Music makes people feel, it inspires people to go after their dreams, and unites strangers as one. Warped Tour is the stepping stone for artists to become even bigger and share their sound with the world-and it’s not dying out anytime soon.