Warped Tour has been an eclectic mix of music genres and enjoyable for all ages since it's debut tour in 1995, started by Kevin Lyman and first sponsored by the infamous brand; Vans Shoes. During the tour's second year in 1996, it became known as "Vans Warped Tour." Now more sponsors participate annually such as; Journeys, Monster and Skull Candy. These brands now have stages at the festival named after the brands themselves. Continually thriving for 22 years the annual nation wide North American tour showcases hundreds of live music performances by bands at all different levels of notoriety from all around the world, and brings over 600,000 concert goers every year! Vans Warped Tour is the longest running national festival in America, and has even began to branch out traveling through parts of Canada.
This was an extraordinary year for the Vans Warped Tour, having one of the best musical line-ups in recent memory. Showcasing bands of all different genres of music. There were even bands I've personally been a fan of since my youth. The nostalgia was undeniably contagious. Which could be read on the faces of the other attendees my age. That spastic rambunctious hype infectiously permeated from the crowd growing after each new act that took to the stage. I personally had noticed that in the past few years Vans Warped Tour seemed to have catered to that years most popular artists, it seemed as if each line-up featured that years current flavor of the month in the "post-hardcore," "emo" and "pop-punk" genres. It was seldomly rare that they'd diverge from this formula from which they selected the bands on the tours bill. It hasn't always been this way, in the past they featured many bands with different backgrounds and touring lifespans it still seemed more geared to a select, smaller array of genres but, they were genres which had a deeper connection with myself. This year they seemed to have finally broke that pattern, and really brought in genres across the board. For someone like myself whose musical tastes span a wide range of different genres, this year was a seemingly lost unobtainable dream finally falling to fruition. It was a blast bopping around from stage to stage discovering audible ecstasy in the form of all different styles of music. Being able to witness the eclectic breeds of fans swarming in each changing crowd, all swinging and swaying to the diverse sound, harnessing such unique boisterous energy all immensely emanating from each performing band. I strongly recommend to experience this phenomena especially if you are limited on your concert funds, and want to experience a solid mix of music for a reasonable price. Being all general admission they allow for the flat rate of each ticket to be economically appealing to nearly all walks of life. So the next time Vans Warped Tour travels through your area I recommend not allowing it to pass you by, grab a group of friends, convoy together to North America's longest running festival and experience the array of visual splendors and cacophony of audio excellence which only can be spectated at the next coming Vans Warped Tour.
On this years tour I had the pleasure of capturing the musical moments of: Alestorm, Atilla, Blessthefall, Candiria, CKY, Gwar, Hawthorne Heights, Neck Deep, Our Last Night, Save Ferris, and The Acacia Strain. Check out some reviews from the show as well as photos from their sets!
One of the bands who I was most excited to see that day was the Ska Punk bad-ass-bitch fronted band Save Ferris! Their band name serves as homage to the famous classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The Ska Punk band are locals to Southern California, from Orange County and ironically started in 1995, the same year Warped Tour kicked off its first tour, and they first toured with Warped Tour in 1998. Almost 20 years later since their first time on Warped and their energy and especially the wild charisma of the lead singer, Monique Powell, has not slowed down! She was full of wild antics, crouching on the PA's in front of the stage to get as close to the crowd, swinging the mic between her legs imitating a phallic-play-toy with a hilarious smirk and contagious laughter. At one point she tricked a security guard at the barrier to come near her while sitting on the PA only to put her legs around his shoulders and lock him in her thighs. The other security guards reaction was all too priceless!
The band is a full mix of instruments to produce the sweet sounds of Ska, and entertainment of watching instruments that are not in your typical warped tour band line-up. The bass player, Gordon Bash had a mix of basses he brought out including of course the Up-right bass which he could not play without showing off his sweet moves, which included standing on the frame of the tilting large up-right playing with another leg suspended in the air. See these moments in action below.
The other most anticipated band for me to see at Warped Tour this year was Gwar! Yes I had seen Gwar in the past and knew what the crowed, including myself was in for with their wild antics, but I had been pleasently shocked to see that Gwar was even playing Warped Tour since I had first seen the official concert line-up for 2017. Though the current band line-up of Gwar doesn't have any of the original members from when they started in 1985, since the lead singer Dave Brockie passed away in 2014, they are still going with an interchanging line-up of musicians. The people who make up todays Gwar are known as Slave Pit Inc. and besides just musicians, some of the members are artists and filmmakers as well, creating an ever more extreme mix of creativity behind that of Gwar's whole identity. They are unlike any other band in the galaxy, known as being a shock-rock science fiction themed group that refer to themselves as "barbaric interplanetary warriors" their appearance and stage presences of over the top semantics prove this. Gwar's set was one of the last shows of the day, even though Warped Tour is notorious for having a different line-up every day of the festival, I could only assume that Gwar is probably one of the lasts to play everyday since they create such a gargantuas mess for themselves, the stage, security, media and of course more of all, the crowd! During their set they were certainly stopping many concert goers in their tracks, besides those already crowding in an exciting uproar around the stage and causing all the attention of the crowd to be on them. They were a spectacle for all who were in eye site, with their gore-orc-like-previous-vile-outfits, and their massive devices of crowd hazing, which spewed massive blood like liquid and alien specimen onto the begging-to-be-showered-in-Gwar-juices crowd. They are always aiming to do something grotesque on their tours, this year the unique part of their set was their political dis-tribute to the current president Donald Trump. They brought a man dressed up as a overly obese Trump and after letting him gawk at the crowd they stripped him of his suit and then yanked off his bare fat-chest, showing his prosthetic digestinal innards, that spewed more blood onto the crowd. It was a statement to be made about their views on the current sitting president and their absolute dislike for him. Most anyone who was or was not expecting to be covered in red and blue liquid dye got soaked in the glory of Gwar. Many people in the crowed basked in the fun of it, those in front and in the middle of course got it the worse, and most everyone in the crowd were literally dyed head to toe, hair, skin and clothes in Gwar.
A fun early 2000's nostalgic band to see live at this years Warped Tour was Hawthorne Heights. They came out with their most popular song, "Ohio is for Lovers" 15 years ago in 2002 and it was an instant staple on MTV's rotation of music videos (when MTV was actually still playing music videos all the time on TV). They took most of the crowd who was in their mid to late 20's down memory lane of what it was to be an angsty-emo-teen in the start of the new millennium, and to my own delight there was some fans that barely looked to be 15 years old themselves who knew all the words to the songs that Hawthorne Heights had first come out with. One young fan in particular I had noticed right at the start of the set. He was standing right in the middle front of the barrier and holding a sign that caught my eye (See photo below).
Of course you have to give this kid credit for holding a sign that not just is requesting a song by the band that they obviously are most likely to play, but asking the band to let him play it. I thought it was cute and courageous and then kept watching the great show that Hawthorne Heights was putting on. During the set the band decided to mention that they really liked his sign, also and then on a whim stated that though they have never done anything like it before, they were actually going to invite him on stage to play "Ohio is for Lovers", just like he wanted to!! This could have been a risk for a song that was literally the most anticipated from the crowed... what if he had just learned the song or was an okay-ish guitar player or even a great guitar player, in the privacy of his own room? Being in front of a huge crowd, with one of your favorite bands, playing a song you love, ON A WHIM (mind you) could absolutely give someone the kind of stage freight that makes you forget how to do simple things, like speak or play a song you've played hundreds of times. All those possible scenarios aside Hawthorne Heights made the spur of the moment decision to let this teen on stage, literally hand over their own guitar and let him rock out and play the song AND HE ABSOLUTELY 'EFFING KILLED IT! This kid got everyone excited to see how he'd do and he was jumping around and hitting all the right notes and visually enjoying the hell out of the opportunity to play this song with such a rad band! Check out the shots from the set of Hawthorne Heights and of Dylan having the time of his life!
Still taking an almost double-decade stroll down memory lane, anyone who remembers the good ol' days in the early 2000's probably totally remembers the badassery on the MTV series Jackass. The Show featured a group of guys who constantly attempted dangerous, obscene and crass stunts and pranks on each other for the purpose of video taping the hilarious idiotic antics and their usually painful results. It absolutely created a side-splitting funny show, most of which featured the sweet tunes of CKY throughout the series. The Band CKY, also known their original, super uplifting name of Camp Kill Yourself, formed in 1998 in West Chester Pennsylvania and was created by Deron Miller, Chad I Ginsburg, and Jess Margera. Though currently features Matt Deis on Bass, Ginsburg on vocals and Margera on drums. Not only did CKY find musical success from their own CKY video series but also from being musically featured on the TV show Jackass, which had Jess Margera's brother Bam Mergera as on of the main Jackass-stunt-dudes on the show. Their music has always been a rad mix of skate styled alternative rock with a grungy tone. I enjoyed seeing their set and thought that Chad I Ginsburg was definitely a fun dude to watch on stage. His outfit was CKY fashion head to toe and he showcased his own fashion sense with his leather vest, on top of a t-shirt, cuffed paint-stained jeans with CKY crew socks, different colored bandanas tied around his ankles above his red and black Vans Half Cabs, a red mocking-commander hat, shiny aviator and patriotic sweatbands on his wrists. Even his guitar was decked out with some sweet DIY glitter foam cut outs of the bands initials CKY, this modification though is pretty worn in and seen better days, though the sweet creative nature and glitter foam idea I can appreciate, being a creative Do-It-Yourselfer too who has a peculiar sense of fashion myself. The music was a classic display of a alternative trio band that doesn't need gimmicks or over-the-top theatrics to have a good time and play some jams you could skate to and just enjoy. I would say that Chad absolutely won an award in my mind for having the best and most entertaining facial expressions and silly demeanor on stage. He was a genuinely funny guy to watch in the best way, see the photos below for yourself.
Check out the rest of the photos from the rest of the day! Including Alestorm, Atilla, Blessthefall, Candiria, Neck Deep, Our Last Night and The Acacia Strain.
Alestorm, the "pirate-metal" band of Perth, Scotland who brought a ton of ale-slinging-jams to drink to, (but of course at Warped Tour you can only be drinking in the designated bar cages, I mean "gated-areas" haha).
Atilla the Atlanta, Georgia bred band, who started in 2005, bringing the rough riffs, raw vocals of metal core to a huge crowd of fans at Vans Warped Tour.
Blessthefall, a metalcore, post-hardcore band from Scottsdale, Arizona, have been an active band since their start in 2004. This band I have many fond memories of being a fan of for so many years and was stoked to see their full force of energy they had from all parts of the stage to even standing with the fans in the crowed. Singer, Beau Bokan, who is married to musical artist singer song-writer and musician Lights brought their daughter, Rocket Wild, on stage for what he claimed was her first time. Adorably nervous you can see the three and a half year old lil cutie on stage with her dad in the photos above.
Candiria the Brooklyn, New York, based band who started making different styled music since 1992. They incorporate all of their favorite styles of music into their own formed genre and band. Their music style incorporates: progressive metal and rock, hardcore, rap, hip-hop, metalcore, mathcore, death metal and even JAZZ.
Neck Deep the newer to the scene pop-punk band who has taken the music scene and fans by storm and become very popular very quickly! Originating from Wales, UK in 2012.
Our Last Night the New Hampshire metal core, alternative metal band who formed in 2004, but settled on their line-up in 2006, and shortly after deciding their official group went on their first tour, when vocalist Trevor Wentworth was only 13 years old.
The Acacia Strain, the Massachusetts dethcore band who formed in 2001, came out bringing gut wrenching screams in their corrinated bright colored Ralph Lauren beach shorts.
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