The Vans Warped Tour comes once a year and consistently draws a large crowd, no matter the lineup. Whether fans are coming for some old acts like Yellowcard and Falling In Reverse or looking to introduce themselves to new music in the likes of The Color Morale and Assuming We Survive, Vans Warped Tour brings a little bit of everything to the masses.
Warped Tour isn’t just about the the music though, they’re also about charity. Annually the tour holds a Bowl For Charity where you can bid to bowl with your favorite band; with this years haul benefitting Unite The United Foundation. This years first place winners were Yellowcard, as they look to hang up their careers with The Final World Tour beginning October 6th. We’ll miss you guys!
Some artists that stood out from this years line up for us, were Everytime I Die, New Found Glory, Oceans Ate Alaska, and Tonight Alive. If you are unfamiliar with any of these names check each of them out as they bring an unbelievable stage presence and versatility to the music scene.
During my high school years I became hooked on to multiple albums produced by Atreyu such as Lead Sails Paper Anchors, The Curse, and A Death-Grip On Yesterday from the groups eighteen year career. Later on I received an opportunity to review Atreyu at the Glasshouse in Pomona and it was that same night I knew this was a band worth paying to see. With that being said it should be no surprise I was excited to see Atreyu on the 2016 Warped Tour lineup after their eleven year absence from the tour. The group’s setlist throughout the night coincided with my favorite albums with songs like Becoming The Bull (from Lead Sails Paper Anchors) and Right Side Of The Bed (The Curse) to name a few. Lead vocalist Alex Varkatzas never has trouble hyping or entertaining the crowd as he goes through the set alongside bandmates Brandon Saller (drummer), Dan Jacobs (lead guitar), Marc Mcknight (bass), and Travis Miguel (rhythm). Despite being around the block a few times Atreyu continues to produce music soothing for the ear (as they released their sixth studio album Long Live just this last year in September) and tour.
Assuming We Survive:
Assuming We Survive was a random pick of the draw during my day. I had a little time slot open to fit in a band and AWS was right there on stage to meet my lens. A combined group of Adrian Estrella (lead vocals), Phil Adams/Johnny Silva (guitar), Joe Lawson (bass), and Kris Pasos (drums) this group brought their strong Inland Empire pop punk/alternative roots to the group of young fans singing along against the barricade. Estrella couldn’t stay away as he jumped off stage and sung to the crowd from the barricade while exchanging glasses with a young fan in the front row who couldn’t see after Estrella took her glasses, but was happy to receive them back moments later. The fun didn’t stop there as AWS continually smiled, bounced and maintain interacted with the crowd throughout their short set.
Coming from Lexington, Kentucky comes Hopeless Records post-hardcore artist Emarosa. Despite numerous lineup changes since first forming in 2006 Emarosa has produced four albums beginning with Relativity in 2008 and most recent album 131 released on July 8th. The group played Miracle, People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play, Helpless, among others. Unfortunately I was only able to catch one song from Emarosa’s set before having to move on.
Everytime I Die:
Everytime I Die released Underwater Bimbos From Outerspace in 2012. Ever since I heard Keith Buckley’s vocals on that track “I want to be dead with my friends” floated in the back of my mind from time to time, but never did I think I would be in front of the group that produced that song. Fast forward four years and ETID is melting the faces of teenagers in the warm sun with Keith’s insane vocal range of screams, Jordan and Andy’s energy and guitar licks, Stephen Micciche’s bass and head banging, and Daniel Davison’s drums this group creates a recipe for success in the hardcore punk/metalcore scene. ETID makes and plays music to a sound that makes you want to be the first to open the pit up and begin throwing punches. And if I’m being honest not many bands are capable of making fans feel the way they do when listening to this powerful group. Not only did ETID perform Underwater Bilbos From Outerspace but they also played We’rewolf, Thirst, Floater, and Bored Stiff.
Falling In Reverse:
Despite past controversy and haters on the daily Falling In Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke has stayed true to his forehead tattoo of “unbreakable”. He has risen past criticism and allegations with FIR only to find themselves playing the mainstage of Warped Tour and top of the music scene. With Derek Jones on rhythm, Ryan Seaman on drums, Zakk Sandler on bass, and Christian Thompson on lead guitar the group powered through a seven song set perfect for the Pomona crowd. The post hardcore group opened their set with Rolling Stone following with I’m Not A Vampire, and Bad Girls Club all which had fans jumping and singing along to every word.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get into Issues as some others, but that doesn’t mean they have any positives to their set. First off Issues bassist Skyler Acord has always hit the stage with an unprecedented energy flowing from his wild hair to his jumpy feet. Secondly whether they’re switching off on cleans and screams or hyping the crowd together Michael Bon and Tyler Carter have a great chemistry while on stage. Thirdly, Josh Manuel’s bright orange hair is clearly visible toward the back of the stage while he pounds away on the drums. Fourth, Aj Rebello who plays guitar for Issues pierces anything in the room with his sharp tone. Lastly Issues intro for Warped Tour was Pokemon themed, and lets be honest here..no one dislikes Pokemon since the release of Pokemon Go.
Less Than Jake:
It was around middle school that I began listening to every Mayday Parade album ever released learning each word by heart until it became stuck in my head. It wasn’t until 2012 that I saw Mayday Parade perform for (my) first time at the Pomona Fairgrounds during Warped Tour. I was mesmerized by the groups performance and Derek Sanders vocals as he graced the stage barefoot and hair bouncing. As we move on four years later and the band has progressed with two new albums Black Lines ( 2015 ) & Monsters in the Closet ( 2013 ). The group kept true to their roots though as they played Jersey, Oh Well, Oh Well, Black Cat, and Jamie All Over. These were clearly fan favorite picks which is part of the reason why I love Warped Tour. Instead of bands promoting a recent release they tend to play fan favorites which leads the crowd into a chorus like sing along.
Motionless In White:
Are you a Motionless In White fan? No, I’ve only owned three of their jackets, one of their t shirts, traveled to any show I could see or shoot between Los Angeles and Las Vegas ect.
Motionless is known for their makeup as well as horror rock, and Ghost for his continually changing stage costumes per tour. Kicking off their career with their first EP The Whorror followed by When Love Met Destruction came Creatures, Infamous, and Reincarnate. Each of MIW’s albums over the years have become diverse lyrically and musically. Despite the changes in the sound and lyrics they never sway out of the genre of gothic rock.
Their set for Pomona was predictable, but solid in execution. Motionless played Reincarnate, Devils Night, Break The Cycle, Abigail, 570, and Immaculate Misconception. The newest song out of the set was 570 which was released this last June. Despite the recent release fans were already singing along with Motionless himself as if they released the song years ago.
New Found Glory:
New Found Glory is an act that I had the most fun shooting because of their bassist Ian Grushka’s love for the photographers. No matter who you are or where you’re standing your bound to get a lower lip, bass in your face, eye to eye contact or even a laugh from Grushka as he runs and jumps from side to side while giving fans and photogs a memorable experience. However; there is more members to this band than just Grushka, there’s Jordan Pundik (lead vocals) whose vocals remind me of a 17 year old with teen angst, Chad Gilbert (backing vocals/guitar) who is well known for being wedded to Paramore front woman Hayley Williams this past February and for the nineteen years he’s been playing for NFG, and lastly Cyrus Bolooki who has also been with the band since nineteen ninety seven. The setlist consisted of Understatement, Selfless, All Downhill From Here, Hit or Miss, Head on Collision, Ready & Willing, Failure’s Not Flattering, and My Friends Over You. Judging from applause and the crowds voices Hit or Miss and My Friends Over You were the fan favorites of the set.
Oceans Ate Alaska:
James Harrison, Adam Zytkiewicz, Chris Turner, James Kennedy, Mike Stanton makeup Fearless’s metalcore recording artist Oceans Ate Alaska. The group began in 2011 and was signed to Fearless in 2014 and released their first album in February of 2015 titled Lost Isles. I was most impressed by James Harrison’s vocals throughout the set as he bursted through his set full of energy and power of his vocals. OAA played Vultures and Sharks, Floorboards, High Horse, To Catch A Flame, Clocks, and Blood Brothers. Despite a short six song set OAA made an impressive impact on the Pomona crowd and on myself.
Reel Big Fish:
Everyone’s favorite ska band Reel Big Fish took the Warped Tour stage with a fan favorite “Everyone Else Is An Asshole” which had fans breaking out in “skank” circles and singing along. They also played Beer, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Sell Out, and Take On Me. Lead singer Aaron Barrett didn’t hold back during the set as he made multiple jokes about cover songs they were playing (pretending it was made by them or a different band).This was met with laughs from all over the fairgrounds. RBF continued to play through the nine song set till they finished with Take On Me. The most impressive part of Reel’s set came from the horn section as they are always comedic with different poses and gestures all while ensuring they’re sound is on point.
Real Friends writes many sad songs that tear at your heart, and maybe even make you shed a few tears. RF’s live set is no different. Fronted by Dan Lambton the group formed in twenty ten and has since produced two studio albums: Maybe This Place Is Just The Same & We’re Still Changing (2014) as well as The Home Inside My Head (2016). Lambton’s live vocals is straight from the heavens above, as he sounds spot on with his albums and graces the stage with his giraffe like legs. Playing songs like Late Nights In My Car, I Don’t Love You Anymore, Skin Deep, Colder Quicker, Summer, Mess and Loose Ends RF’s gave fans in the crowd nostalgia to the early 2000’s of the emo scene while at the same time allowing them to enjoy the show with smiles.
Similar to Real Friends State Champs began their career in 2010. The pop punk band from New York produced two ep’s one self titled and the second being Apparently I’m Nothing. Shortly after the release the band announced they signed to Pure Noise records. Since signing to the label State Champs has released two studio albums The Finer Things, and Around The World And Back. The group played Shape Up, Elevated, Perfect Score, Simple Existence, All You Are Is History, Remedy, Losing Myself, and Secrets. The best part of State Champs set had to be the blow up bend guys in the background that remained blowing wildly while SC burned through their set like wild fire. Lead singer Derek DiScanio’s energy was also attractive to crowd goers as he jumped around and smiled alongside wild hair bassist Ryan Graham who was also super energetic.
Coming all the way from Ontario, Canada came late 90’s rock band Sum 41 to play a punk rock set for the packed in crowd. Just a short two years ago lead singer for the group Deryck Whibley suffered from liver and kidney failure due to hard abuse of alcohol. Whibley had the following to say ‘I was drinking hard every day. Until one night. I was sitting at home, poured myself another drink around midnight and was about to watch a movie when all of a sudden I didn’t feel so good”. Fortunately after being hospitalized for 30 days Whibley was released. Since the return Sum 41 signed to Hopeless records in May of 2016 and is now planning on releasing their next album Fake My Own Death in October of 2016. Kicking off the set with The Hell Song from the album cleverly titled Does This Look Infected? produced Sum 41 running out to the stage hyping up the crowd to get them off their feet. Following up with Over My Head, Fake My Own Death, Motivation, Walking Disaster, In Too Deep, and finally Fat Lip to end their set. Despite being around since 1996 Sum 41 is still going strong and Concert Addicts is looking forward to their next album!
Sleeping With Sirens:
Though Sleeping With Sirens has received backlash for Kellin Quinn’s feminine like voice that hasn’t prevented the band from doing what they set out to rock the music scene and progress as a top artist. Coming from Orlando, FL and forming only seven years ago the group has released four studio albums and one EP started off on Rise records and now joining the Epitaph family Sleeping With Sirens is a freight train without the breaks. When Kellin hits the stage alongside band mates Justin, Gabe, Jack, and Nick and the fans let out the loudest roar you’ve heard in your life you know a great show is about to go on. Playing through We Like It Loud, Kick Me, Do It Now Remember It Later, Better Off Dead, If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn, and If You Can’t Hang this powerful group brought a mop and cleaned the stage like nobody was watching. Full of energy, love, positivity and smiles this band absolutely dominated their set.
The Color Morale:
The Color Morale was another one off band for me. I’ve seen them live once before with Motionless In White, and The Word Alive and was intrigued then as I was now. Whether it’s the spinning, the head banging, the smooth but rough vocals from Garret Rapp, the bright orange beard on behalf of guitarist Devin King this band brings a breath of fresh air to the post hardcore scene. I only caught a few songs such as Suicide Stigma, Learned Behavior, and Walls, but man were they all good! What I liked about the lyrics was the consistency of meaning. The meaning that we as human beings can fix ourselves and better out situations as well as others. That even though we may be subjected to certain situations we weren’t obligated to stay in them. Very powerful message coming from The Color Morale.
The Maine was a fun act to watch. Dressed in blue pants and white tops with a big banner hanging from behind reading “You Are Watching A Band Called The Maine” came The Maine opening with English Girls from their 2015 album American Candy. Following English Girls came Like We Did (Windows Down) from the 2011 Pioneer which also has a great music video on Youtube of the band members dressed in older men masks and dancing to the music. The third and last song I was able to catch before having to leave the stage Diet Soda Society also from American Candy. Despite John O’Callaghan’s straight face and rather stern standing and more relaxed stage presence the crowd still got into The Maine’s set.
If you’re looking for a band who pushes positivity, creativity and self worth look no farther than Tonight Alive and frontwoman Jenna McDougall. “You have to grant yourself confidence and self-love, because no one else can give you those gifts. It’s easy to be afraid of things that aren’t conventional, so I want to show people an example of someone following their dreams regardless of fear.” – Jenna. Jenna speaks these similar words among each of the bands sets in hopes to inspire TA’s followers instead of allowing themselves to hold what they are capable of back. The setlist for Tonight Alive consisted of To Be Free, Lonely Girl, I Defy, Waves, Drive, The Edge, and How Does It Feel? Even though the band is personal in each of their songs this doesn’t prevent them from putting on a good rock show for the fans. I think Warped Tour was a perfect set up for Tonight Alive to display their set and reach out to new fans who were looking for a band to confide in musically. To Be Free was my favorite of the set not just lyrically (because it’s about being somewhere where you don’t want to be found, but left free) but, it’s also my favorite for Jenna’s dancing and vibes that she gives to the fans in the audience.
The Story So Far:
California natives The Story So Far gave a wonderful pop punk set to the Pomona crowd. Ironically their band name came from tour mates New Found Glory’s song “The Story So Far”.TSSF signed to Pure Noise in 2010 and two months later the group released an EP While You Were Sleeping. Under The Soil and Dirt was the group’s first released album followed by What You Don’t See, and The Story So Far. Lead singer Parker Cannon has been another band member amongst controversy in music news as he dropkicked a female fan from behind off stage at a show in Toronto (the fan was trying to take a selfie after climbing on stage). Since the incident the fan has gone on Facebook and said that she’s okay and that she didn’t expect anything less at a hardcore show. Needless to say with the barricade always up at Warped Tour no fans shared the stage with the group. Although the barricade does prevent a true punk atmosphere The Story So Far still brought the energy and fun to their set as they ran a marathon around the stage during their set consisting of All Wrong, The Glass, Nerve, Quicksand, Solo, Empty Space, Heavy Gloom, Things I Can’t Change, and Roam.
The Word Alive:
I was only able to stay for two songs of The Word Alive which were Made This Way & Sellout. The best part about The Word Alive is the energy and the crowd love. Although Telle didn’t jump onto the barricade you could tell from the way he looked at the crowd he was right there with them despite being onstage.
Volumes was the craziest band I saw throughout my entire Warped Tour experience. From the get go both lead singers Gus Farias and Myke Terry came out flying off the edges of the stage. Raad Soudani, Diego Farias who play bass and guitar for the group both jammed on risers while head banging alongside drummer Nick Ursich who shortly into the set jumped into the crowd after Myke Terry. The group played 91367, The Mixture, Vahle, Feels Good, Erased, and Wormholes.