Live Review: Vans Warped Tour 2017 @ Hard Rock Hotel – June 23rd 2017

Vans Warped Tour only comes once a year. And every year we get a handful of new bands and a small handful of old bands that we’ve seen before. This year we got to capture some amazing classic acts and some new acts that just blew my mind out of the water. I started off at 11am (30 minutes prior to doors) and ended at 9pm (when the last band was done) and it was 113 degrees the entire day! Those of us who were outside we’re sweating like crazy, but enjoying the payoff of getting to see some of the most artistic, loud, and best acts the world has to offer in the music scene today. As for the inside Kevin Lyman made a great conscious decision to move the larger bands inside to the Journeys Left and Right Foot stage in effort to have most of the crowd out of the sun and that worked out well as there was hardly anyone seeking medical treatment throughout the day. In addition a big thank you to the Monster Energy truck for supplying free monsters, along with Cool Gear Hydration for your supply of free water that kept us all hydrated. The experience was one of the best Warped Tours I’ve had to date because of all the awesome people I ran into on the side (Kevin Lyman, Jeremy Valentyne, Scott Lewis & Cory Arford, GWAR, Christian Thompson, and a few others) as well as the security being awesome to not only the crowd, but the photographers included. The experience of getting to a opportunity to shoot from six different stages and a toss up of so many different bands makes a photographer grateful. Every stage brought action and bands brought multiple faces to make to my camera which heightened my experience as well. Lastly the line up although others will say it was short and wasn’t stacked as they would have liked to have seen it, it brought true talent to 2017. Talent that is unforgettable and that you couldn’t just walk into your local bar and find. You HAVE to come to The Vans Warped Tour to get that once in a lifetime feel that doesn’t go away until you get your fix on the next years Vans Warped Tour.
Thank you Kevin Lyman and Becky Kovach for your help in allowing Concert Addicts to do what we do best. CONCERTS!

Journeys Left Foot Stage

Shortly after signing to Sharptone records in the summer of 2016 Atilla frontman Fronz told the group was ready to take things to the “next level” and that Sharptone knew the ways to make it happen. Following alongside Attila came We Came As Romans, Miss May I, Don Bronco and others who were also looking for a fresh start on a new label. A short five months later Chaos the band’s seventh studio album was released. Opening their set with Mosh Pit and Proving Grounds the crowd opened the pit and immediately got on board with lead singer Fronz who was leading the fun train. The third song the band played was a fan favorite titled Middle Fingers Up. Shortly into the song Fronz and the crowd chimed in together and said “You can do anything you want in life, just don’t be a fucking bitch” as the band led into a hard break down. Following Fronz asked “Las Vegas who wants to set a world record with Attila?” “I want to set a record for the biggest fucking circle pit to happen inside The Joint. I need a circle pit from the front of this barrier to the very back.” With that there was no better song to lead into than Rock & Roll.

CKY is undoubtedly one of Pennsylvania’s finest. After starting the group in ’98 the band has had major success with being on the same bill as Guns N Roses as well as Metallica. The groups seventeen year absence from Warped Tour has left fans relentlessly begging Kevin Lyman for CKY to return to the circuit and after no hesitation I’m sure came CKY to play across the states. Opening their set with The Human Drive In Hi-Fi the crowd really dug CKY. After finishing the song lead singer Chad I Ginsburg said “make some noise! This is Warped Tour!!” Ginsburg made multiple faces at the crowd and stretched out his leg a few times so the audience could get a better look at his shoe. Following up with Sporadic from the groups album Infiltrate-Destroy-Rebuild Jess Margera killed it on drums and really blew me away as it was my first time seeing CKY. Before leading into their third song Ginsburg began a large chant for CKY. The next song was a classic Jackass era song titled Flesh Into Gear followed by Replaceable, Rio Bravo, Escape From Hellview, Bite It, You Scum and finishing off their set with 96 Quite Bitter Beginnings.

After making their Warped Tour debut ten years ago goth rockers New Years Day took the stage with confidence and pride as they played to the Creeps spanning the area. Lead singer Ash Costello consistently climbed a small riser to show off her beauty and strong presence to the crowd as she dominated her set with ease and passion. Guitarist Jeremy Valentyne and Nikki Misery are a dead and inseparable dynamic duo that can grace any stage like no other. With energy and passion as well as hair flips and solos these boys really know how to woo their fans. Frankie Sil and Joshua Ingram are the newest to the New Years Day faction and fit in perfectly with the bands dead and goth representation. The group kicked off their set with I’m No Good following came Kill Or Be Killed which had the entire band headbanging, and The Other Side which had great screams on behalf of Valentyne.

Hawthorne Heights who are no strangers to the early 2000’s emo/rock scene came to the stage with a setlist full of memories. Drawing a few songs from The Silence in Black and White as well as If Only You Were Lonely the members had no issues with bringing back memories of an era of high school heartbreak to those of us who witnessed or listened to Hawthorne Heights in their earlier prime. Kicking off their set with This Is Who We Are 2006 never felt so far away. During the song lead vocalist JT Woodruff asked the crowd What’s up Las Vegas? And then introduced the band with “We are Hawthorne Heights” and immediately after got part of the crowd to jump mid song by saying “we need you guys to jump”. Right after HH jumped into Pens and Needles which has a smooth mix of clean vocals and screams between Woodruff and guitarist Mark McMillon. Before jumping in to Niki FM Woodruff said “Thank you Las Vegas. We are Hawthorne Heights, we are a long way from home tonight. We’ve been coming to Las Vegas for like 50 fucking years you guys are incredible every single time. The Vans Warped Tour only comes one time a year. So we gotta make it crazy and you guys got air conditioning so you’ve got no excuse man.” “Lets dance and sing a little bit as much as we can, as loud as we can. We’re going to play some old songs for you guys, and lets get fucking wild, alright? Thank you so much!”

Journeys Right Foot Stage

After five years of being called the Blue Pages the band decided it was time for a name change and switched over to American Authors. Shortly after the name change the band signed to Mercury Records and released two singles Believer and Best Day of My Life (from the album Oh, What A Life) both singles gained major media attention online and across the air waves as well as earning a spot at #3 on the US Top Rock Albums by Billboard. Making their second consecutive Warped Tour appearance American Authors opened with Go Big Or Go Home from their 2016 album What We Live For. Even though the crowd seemed a little unfamiliar with the group lead singer Zac Barnett had the fans clapping and echoing “Go big or go home” along with him. Barnetts vocals were not the only thing that made this group unique, James Adam Shelley who plays both guitar and banjo was strumming the banjo with such ease and grace the fans couldn’t help but yell out when he had a mini solo. Following up with Luck from Oh, What A Life (2014) bassist Dave Rublin played a drum during the beginning of the song before swinging his bass back around to play which was another nice twist on the groups set. The third song AA played was What We Live For which had multiple fans singing and dancing.

In 2014 while speaking to Kerrang magazine poster boy Andy Biersack mentioned a side project Andy Black which would be separate from his regular Black Veil Brides gig. On May 19th 2014 Biersack premiered the video and song for They Don’t Need To Understand. A short two years later the video has grossed 3,156,542 views and continues to rise. On May 6th 2016 Biersack released The Shadow Side his first album since starting his side project. Opening with Rib Cage Andy Biersack and co. went full steam ahead as they had the crowd rocking and smoke machines flying sky high. Every Time Biersack smiled a stream of girls would yell out which made me laugh. It does not matter whether he’s playing with Black Veil Brides or Andy Black Biersack always sounds as great as he does on his albums. Shortly after asking the crowd how they were feeling Biersack mentioned that he has been through Vegas many times with his other band Black Veil Brides, but he has a new group of people on the stage. He mentioned bass guitarist Mike, followed by Bo on drums, and lastly his guitarist Pat. Biersack then led into They Don’t Need To Understand then Beyond My Reach which again (both) received a large pop.

On April 6th Warped Tour announced a guest performance for both Los Angeles Pomona date as well as Nevada’s Las Vegas date Falling In Reverse. Warped had the following to say in regards to the limited dates “For those asking the band was on the full tour last year; they are playing these select dates because they are from the LA / Las Vegas area.” Starting their set with I’m Not A Vampire Ronnie Radke sounded as great as ever. The group quickly followed up with Loser from the album Coming Home which had Ronnie pacing the stage and head banging to really get the crowd hyped. Radke also had the entire sea of people waving their hands from side to side during the song. As the crowd began to sing the intro for the third song Alone Ronnie shouted “this is the song that nobody likes”. Before the drop in the song Ronnie yelled out “when this comes in you better fucking move” to which the crowd responded by headbanging and putting up their metal horns.

No stranger to Warped Memphis May Fire looked as great as ever when they took the stage and greeted their Nevada fans. Primarily playing songs from the groups successful and popular album Challenger Memphis burned through their opening song Without Walls followed by The Sinner (from the album The Hollow) and coming back to Challenger by playing Vices which was well known amongst the mixed age crowd. After playing No Ordinary Love the band debuted a new song titled Virus. To close out the set the rockers played Carry On (from the 2016 album The Light I Hold) and Legacy (again from Challenger) to end their set. Mullins final words to the audience were “Las Vegas, we are Memphis May Fire. We love you so much”.

After seeing Neck Deep on Warped in 2015 I was immediately hooked on this group of Welsh pop punk boys. ND’s albums Wishful Thinking and Life’s Not Out To Get You gained a lot of popularity and traction in the 2014/15 music scene which drove multitudes in to shows. Now Neck Deep has released a few new songs from their newest album The Peace and the Panic titled “Where Do We Go When We Go” and “Happy Judgement Day”. Concert goers who once passed by the group now stop, listen and admire the greatness that Neck Deep is. In addition to playing their new songs live the boys also played Gold Steps, Lime St., and Can’t Kick Up The Roots all from Life’s Not Out To Get You. Those familiar with ND had a great time remembering the band that made them love pop punk all over again.

Mutant North

American metalcore band Blessthefall is always a fan favorite when it comes to the Vans Warped Tour. No strangers to the heat that the tour brings as the band is from Arizona Warped must be a cool breeze for them as they hit a different city nearly everyday. But we can’t just talk about the weather there’s also the tight setlist the band played with a good mix of songs from their 2013 album Hollow Bodies and 2012 album Witness. Blessthefall opened with 2.0 from Witness. Lead singer Beau Boken wasted no time jumping off the stage and getting onto the barricade to share his mic with the audience. What’s Left Of Me, Hollow Bodies, and Youngbloods also played a couple songs from their most recent album To Those Left Behind which got a positive and loud reaction from the crowd.

Coming out to Bad Boys the Cops theme song from Inner Circle Hatebreed immediately jumped into To The Threshold. Lead singer Jamey Jasta thanked the crowd for coming out and mentioned that it was great to be back and that they had a new album out. Jasta also said “I appreciate you sweating your balls and your tits off” and then led into the next song on their setlist Looking Down The Barrel of Today. After Jasta screamed “put your fists up fucking high” and led into the groups third song Smash Your Enemies. After completing the song Jasta mentioned “We are Hatebreed. We came a long way to play with you maniacs” and the crowd ate it up. Following up Smash Your Enemies Hatebreed played Last Breath, Burn Your Lies, Perseverance and Tear It Down. The remainder of Hatebreeds setlist came from a mixture of albums such as Perseverance, Supremacy, The Concrete Official, and The Rise of Brutality.

The last time I saw Stick To Your Guns was on the Infamous tour with Motionless In White and countless others. STYG was huge on preaching acceptance and love for not just their fans, but for everyone to feel about each other. As we fast forward nearly five years the band hasn’t changed one bit and that’s for the better. STYG aren’t sell outs, they’re not fake, they’re simply the best at being themselves and staying relevant in the hardcore scene especially after their recent release Disobedient. The pit opened quickly as the band jumped into Nobody followed by Amber, Empty Head, and Nothing You Can Do To Me. There was no better way to end the set than to play We Still Believe and Against Them All which received a larger pit and a gigantic roar from the crowd as well as singing along.

Mutant South

San Diego’s american death metal band Carnifex is a show you will not want to miss. Consisting of Scott Lewis, Jordan Lockrey, Cory Arford, Fred Calderon, and Shawn Cameron this band dominates any obstacle or live show that may stand in its way. After making his way to the stage lead vocalist Scott Lewis said “Let me so those horns in the fucking air” before leading into Drown Me In Blood from the bands album Slow Death. After DMIB Lewis mentioned that it was so hot their equipment was beginning to overheat and was not working. As drummer Shawn Cameron worked vigorously alongside Lewis to fix the issue the crowd began to chant “lets go Carnifex!”. Lewis after about a minute said “listen up, here’s what were gonna do: fuck that computer, you’re gonna listen to five guys play some real music” to which the crowd cheered. Lewis then said “we’re gonna go back to one of the first songs we’ve ever wrote it’s called Slit Wrist Saviour”. After finishing off SWS Lewis asked “How are we doing Vegas?” to which one audience member replied “Fucking Hot!”.

For those who don’t know GWAR lost lead singer Dave Brockie (in 2014) whom was the last original member the band has pressed on and has continued to put on a great show and has begun working on a new album The Blood of Gods. Coming out to Black Sabbath’s War Pigs and beginning their set with their own original song Saddam A Go Go from an album titled This Toilet Earth came shock rock band GWAR.If you know anything (or nothing) about the band there is one thing EVERYONE knows. Blood. ( gore, entertainment) is what GWAR is all about. And as expected within the first minute of GWAR’s set the audience witnessed a beheading and a spewing of blood across the audience. Following up with Hail, Genocide! and Fuck This Place (dedicated to Dave Brockie) the audience was knee deep in blood and into GWAR’s set. To finish off the set the group played Crack In The Egg, Horror of Yig, Bring Back The Bomb (because we have too many people on this earth according to lead singer Blothar), and AC/DC’s If You Want Blood (You Got it).

Skull Candy

When I got down to William Control he had the audience beginning a clap, while he lit a cigarette and led into Strangers from the 2008 album Hate Culture. Amongst a mixture of Adam Crilly (who is playing keys for William on Warped), lead vocalist William, Ian MacWilliams on guitar, Ben Tourkantonis on drums and the crowd not missing a beat this was a memorable set that no one could miss. William mentioned before I left “I’m fucking making it happen out here wearing all black.”