Memphis May Fire at Qualcomm Stadium ©Dane Burns
©Dane Burns

Live Review: Vans Warped Tour 2015 @ Qualcomm Stadium

Warped Tour, founded by Kevin Lyman, began in the summer of 1995. In its early years, Warped has been known to primarily host many punk and ska bands. Now 20 years later thanks to fans consistently speaking up the tour has a widened range of music genres and bands playing.
The stages provided for bands to release their energy under the hot sun are : Shark Stage, Unicorn Stage, Monster Energy Stage, Journeys Left Foot Stage, Journeys Right Foot Stage, Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage, Ernie Ball Stage, Full Sail University Acoustic Basement, and The Beatport Stage.

Shark Stage Coverage:

Asking Alexandria, Blessthefall, Sleeping With Sirens & The Wonder Years

The Shark Stage carried out the most energy of the day with Asking Alexandria making their return after ex-lead singer Danny Worsnop leaving and being replaced by Denis Stoff. There was controversy when Danny left as to whether or not Denis could fill the shoes of Danny. Judging from the crowd’s roar and voices, it seems they were not disappointed. The band played songs off of their record “Reckless & Relentless”, “From Death To Destiny”, “Stand Up And Scream”, & a new song created with Denis titled “I Won’t Give In”.

Blessthefall took the stage and fans to another level despite the heat. Entering to the song “You Wear A Crown But You’re No King”, the band had crowd surfers and moshers tearing up Qualcomm Stadium to show 1st time Warped goers how they do it in San Diego. The highlight of the show, according to fans, was when Beau Boken (who does lead vocals for the band) said he wanted people to make it to the front and give him a high five. Needless to say, security had to step up figuratively and literally to ensure the safety of every surfer who swam across the barrier.

Sleeping With Sirens was a last minute addition made to San Diego’s Warped Tour date. This led to outrage from Warped fans who were unable to attend San Diego, but left comments for Kevin Lyman. Kelli Franklin, a Warped Tour fan stated : “They couldn’t even at least do the Orlando date. That’s where they are from. Why pick this one?”. Despite the outrage, Sleeping With Sirens still played and gathered the most amount of fans from the day. Opening with “Kick Me”, female fans let out screams higher than the stadiums walls while also recording from their cell phones and singing along with Kellin Quinn. Sleeping With Sirens added to the energy of the Shark Stage with Kellin’s high kicking and arm flailing, the guitarists running around and even one doing the splits a few songs in.

The Wonder Years brought the most creative moves to show their San Diego fans with lead singer Dan Campbell spinning around like a helicopter, yet maintaining his lyrical rhythm and notes which kept fans intrigued throughout the set. The most popular song played was “Cul-De-Sac” off of “The Greatest Generation” album. The band had fans clapping and head bopping along to the song, while others preferred to crowd surf.

Unicorn Stage coverage:

Attila, Memphis May Fire, Miss May I, PVRIS & We Came as Romans

Attila was one of the more diverse acts of this years Warped. From combining fast lyrics to a hardcore singing style, all while keeping a party vibe. The band opened up with “Middle Fingers Up” from their album “About That Life” which had fans everywhere with their fingers up while jumping, screaming and moshing. Following up with “Rage”, guitarist Chris Linck showed the crowd what a real guitarist sounds like. His style and sound were truly impressive off of the track and outshined many other bands that played Warped. The fan favorite song of the set was “Party With The Devil”, which has 2,782,370 views on YouTube. The most impressive moment of the band’s short time on stage was when Fronz claimed they had the largest mosh pit on all of Warped, and that San Diego was going to help continue their streak. The band directed fans to run around two of the tents that were set up in the middle of the crowd to create the biggest pit possible, and fans did just that. The smile on Fronz’s face let everyone know he was not disappointed with their efforts & success.

Memphis May Fire brought a more relaxed stage presence, but that did not mean the energy from the band was brought down. Instead, they got the crowd going by opening up with the song “My Generation” which is one of their most recent releases (May ’15). Matty’s bright red hair glistened in the sunlight while the rest of the band’s guitars shined like a fresh polish. Fans were packed for Memphis May Fire as this is their third year on Warped Tour. The band connected with fans with simply a smile and a handful of well written lyrics with songs such as “Stay The Course” & “The Sinner”. This band may be seen as just a group of Christian guys who somehow made it to Warped, but to fans this group of gentleman are a tight knitted, crowd pleasing, talented band fueled by nothing but love and faith.

Miss May I’s lead singer deserves an “Honorable Mention award” from Warped Tour. While most bands were behind the gates hanging out, waking up, eating breakfast etc, Levi Benton was out in the hot San Diego sun walking up and down the crowded lines promoting and selling the band’s new album “Deathless” for a steal of just $5. The band came out on stage a few hours later to perform one of their more famous songs “Hey Mister”, which fans felt they could relate to from a literal standpoint. Ryan, the bassist,smiled at the fans for the great turn out and crowd participation that occurred despite dehydration and the suns consistent rays. The band closed out their set with “Relentless Chaos”, which fans produced the largest pit for and the most crowd surfers.

PVRIS made their Warped Tour debut this year and went directly to the Unicorn Stage thanks to their popularity in the music scene. Forming just a few years ago (2012), the band has already gained a large following online with over 3,178,834 views on YouTube for their song “My House”. Making it clear this band is here to stay and make a name for themselves (if you think they have not already done so). PVRIS kicked off their set with crowd participation from lead singer Lynn Gunn by saying “everyone put your hands up in the air!!” leading into their first song “Fire”. The most enjoyable part of their stage presence next to the band’s sound is they are all in sync with their dance moves (a simple sway side to side). For the song “Holy”, Lynn took off the guitar and grabbed the mic, stepped on the front box cart and sang directly to the fans. The band finished off their set with “My House”, in which almost every fan sung along and after cheered for an encore which, unfortunately, did not come due to time constraints.

We Came As Romans took the stage by storm with not just one, but two lead singers, which is rather rare these days. However, We Came As romans knows the perfect ingredients to put together a hard rock band. They started off with “Tracing Back Roots” which combines both clean and screaming vocals put together smoothly and had fans jumping and moshing. During their next song “Ghosts”, co-lead singer Kyle Pavone climbed on top of an amp to do a small portion of his lyrics. After he finished he joined the jumped in sync with the rest of the band giving out one large kick and without missing a step, he continued on. Unfortunately, for security, the “unsafe” shenanigans did not end there. Kyle decided to do a little river rafting across the crowd with his mic and a huge smile across his face. Fans opened up the pit for “Fade Away” and went even harder when the band closed out their set with “Hope”. This was one band set you did not want to miss on Warped Tour.

Monster Energy Stage coverage:

Crossfaith, Escape The Fate, I Killed The Prom Queen, Senses Fail

Crossfaith is a band from Osaka, Japan who not only understands, but takes hard rock to the next level. Each band member came to the stage with such energy, passion, and drive as if this set was their last. It really came through to the fans as they enjoyed the crowd interaction (by hopping on the barricade and pointing fans out) as well as the interaction with the photographers. Crossfaith’s setlist consisted of songs such as Jagerbomb, Ghost In The Mirror, Xeno and a few others. This band’s popularity has definitely risen since their start in 2006 as they have 1-2 million views on their YouTube videos. Due to the combination of popularity and a stage presence that cannot be reciprocated, fans and viewers alike believe these gentlemen will be on the main stage at Warped Tour next year.

Escape The Fate returned to Warped Tour for their third time this year, but this time with more stage presence and a great set list. Utilizing his vocals to his full potential, Craig Mabbitt came out screaming to “Ungrateful”, which comes from their fourth album released in 2013. Fans had a flashback to the old days of Escape The Fate when the band began to play the song “The Flood”, which has now gained over 15,000,000 views. The crowd went crazy for “One For The Money” and “This War is Ours (The Guillotine Part 2)”, which closed out the set. The fans could be overheard discussing Craig’s smooth screaming and unchanging tone from when some of the songs first came out. Kevin Thrasher & TJ Bell both did well on guitar as well as their bassist, who I was unable to catch the name of, but hopes he becomes a permanent part of the band.

I Killed The Prom Queen is a band from the beautiful city of Adelaide, Melbourne (Australia). Led by vocals from Jamie, guitars from Jona (ex-BMTH player) and Kevin, Shane on drums and Benjamin on bass, this band comes together and plays not only a hell of a set, but a memorable one. From the start of “Your Shirt Would Look Better With a Columbian Neck-tie” to the end of “To The Wolves” IKTPQ tore up the stage with kicks, screams, clean vocals, riffs and more. If you name it, this band is more than willing to display it. Not only did they have a large crowd, but they had dedicated fans who shared the same love for music that the band had. Lyrically, the best song they played was “Sharks In Your Mouth”. A fan of the band said “they will never top this” and I do not think anyone could disagree with him.

Senses Fail is a household name and it is all for one damn good reason: they never disappoint. Lead singer Buddy came out in a matching outfit of bright flowers and shorts to follow up with their Bahamas styled beach chairs on a sandy beach with the sea and sky in the background. The band played fan favorites such as “Can’t Be Saved”, which I sang every lyric too as well as “Bite To Break Skin”. This band spun, ran, laughed, smiled, and best of all gave the fans one hell of a show.

Journeys Left Foot Stage coverage:

Bebe Rexha, Neck Deep, New Years Day, Set It Off & This Wild Life

Bebe Rexha is a woman of class and talent and it comes through during her stage presence. From the way she dances to the way she connects to every fan on the subject of depression, this woman knows where she’s supposed to be in her career and it is right here on the Vans Warped Tour. Bebe has had success with household names such as David Guetta & Nicki Minaj on the song “Hey Mama” and co writing the song “The Monster” which she shopped to Eminem & Rihanna. Rexha played all of her hit songs from “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy” to “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You”, which had fans hanging on every lyric and screaming for more. Miss. Rexha has been mentioned as one to watch on the Vans Warped Tour because of how impressed other bands are with the upcoming artist and quite frankly it is well deserved.

Neck Deep is a phenomenal punk pop band from Wrexham, United Kingdom. Armed with a setlist of hits and an energy that could not be constrained, Neck Deep showed their fans and viewers that punk pop is far from dead. This band had the hops, the crowd surfers and great lyrics that made people into fans and fans into mega fans. Later in the set, the band from broke out the acoustics and playing their hit “A Part Of Me”, where lead vocalists Ben Barlow called on the ladies in the crowd to fill in for Laura Whiteside. Judging from the volume of the crowd, this was one of their more popular songs during the set undoubtedly.

New Years Day brought their best to San Diego and San Diego could not have been more pleased with their performance. Between Nikki Misery’s and Jeremy Valentine’s hard guitar playing, Ash Costello’s strong vocal performance, and Nicki Rossi’s fast and clean drum style, this band gave their fans and a show for the ages and one they will surely never forget. Some fan favorite songs from the set list were “Kill Or Be Killed”, “Let Me Down” and “Defame Me”. This band has come a long way and is still on their journey to the top, you can expect to see them on the main stage soon.

Set It Off made a name for themselves in San Diego with their pop rock music and a handful of fans. From the moment the band came out to the stage you could tell there was something special about them. Whether it was a strong stage presence, passion for music, love for their fans, or even their bounce off the walls attitude Set It Off showed fans they were in the right place at the right time for one of the better bands on the list of “Not to miss at Warped 2015”. Fans enjoyed the song “Ancient History”, which kicked off the set and groaned when the band had to unfortunately leave the stage after their final song “Why Worry”. If Set It Off makes it to a city near you on their upcoming tours, you may want to buy a ticket before they sell out.

If there was ever an award for most fan connection, This Wild Life would win because no competitor could dare match the standards TWL produces. Every show they play, fans of the band leaves intrigued, happy-sad, and in love with two guys who have made the best album of all time titled “Clouded”. Every song is practically a hit and you can tell from the way the fans clap and sing along to Kevin’s vocals and both of the gentlemen’s guitar playing. Some of the songs they pressed out to the crowd were “History”, “Roots & Branches” as well as “Concrete”. Fans expect a new album soon as well as the band to be taken to the “next level” in no time.

Journeys Right Foot Stage coverage:

Metro Station blew up in 2008 with their song “Shake It”, driving waves of tweens to their shows and to Best Buy’s across the states to pick up the band’s self-titled album. However, after internal disputes in 2010, the band decided to go on an indefinite hiatus. Luckily for M.S. fans, this did not last as Trace Cyrus returned to the band in late 2014. The band released their single “She Likes Girls” which has 805,000+ views on YouTube and later hit the road for Warped. The band played hit singles such as “Shake It”, “Control”, “Seventeen Forever” & “Kelsey”. Fans still knew every word which had Metro Station plastered with smiles.

Ernie Ball Stage coverage:

Night Argent

False Puppet

Full Sail University Acoustic Basement

Meghann Wright

Beatport Stage coverage:

New Beat Fund rocked the Beatport stage with fun and laughter with a set list consisting of “Celibate Celebrity” & “Peachez” & their hit “Scare Me”, which has gained 148,000+ views on YouTube and has also led fans to fall in love with this band.

Photo shoot with SVETLANAS

“Named “The Most Dangerous Band in the World” by Dying Scene, SVETLANAS is currently banned from Russia due to their anti-government stance and the political commentary within their songs. However, they continue to bring their dynamic live show to the U.S. and the rest of the world!”