For rock fans, a summer in the US can mean only one thing – it’s time to get excited for Warped Tour. Though the lineup was one that caused a split between fans of the touring festival, with some finding it a little underwhelming, the chance to experience some new bands that Warped gives a platform too was rather exciting.
The day started off as every year does, with the sun shining and hoards of people rushing through the gates to get their schedules for the day. Neck Deep (8) was up first, which was rather surprising considering this pop punk band’s popularity. The amphitheatre filled to the brim and you can’t help but think what kind of crowd they’d have drawn in if they’d been a little higher up on the bill, once all attendees had arrived. Neck Deep do what they do best, they jump and yell in that signature pop punk style and it works, a great kick off to the day and a great way to drown out the torrential rain just outside.
With the rain still pouring, the amphitheatre seemed the perfect place to stay and soon enough Dance Gavin Dance (5) were taking to the stage. Though the band have suffered through many a lineup change, their current set up seems pretty strong. Tillian Pearson is a strong vocalist and it suits perfectly with DGD’s sound, though the set, overall, was pretty underwhelming. Vocal screams sounded washed out and it would seem that overall, their songs sound much more together on record than live.
Just a couple of hours in and the rain manages to cause it’s first wave of disappointment, closing the outdoor stages for an undisclosed time and dragging everyone back to the amphitheatre in time for Andy Black (5). Black is a performer, if nothing else. He owns the stage and feeds off of the shrill screams that fans offer whenever he moves to the edge of the stage. However his vocals are somewhat hard to decipher.
With outdoor stages finally opening up and the sun shining once again, for a short time at least, fans pour out to the main stages. First it’s Mutant North where Silent Planet (7) are playing. If songs about real issues, that strive to make a difference, are what you’re looking for, then this political offering is definitely someone you want to watch. Their vocalist performs with such power and passion and balancing an offering of great hardcore music with an energetic performance, Silent Planet definitely didn’t disappoint.
The skies opened up once more and at the perfect time as Our Last Night (9) were just about to take to the stage in the amphitheatre. Armed with plenty of CO2 cannons, Our Last Night have been consistent in their talents since their inception, they have garnered much more attention online from their covers as of late and even threw one in of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’.
Emmure (8) are rather a surprising bunch, while their music may be an acquired taste to some they draw one of the biggest crowds of the day, despite how they’d been pushed back due to the weather surely producing some clashes for fans. Vocalist Palmeri moves in synchronicity with every charged riff that blares through the speakers, bringing together an already incredibly tight set. Whether you enjoy their music or not, they are awfully fun to watch.
By far the smallest stage of the day, hidden away back between a selection of merch tents, is Full Sail and it’s home to UK’s own The Gospel Youth (9). Perhaps the best act of the day, The Gospel Youth offer smooth harmonies against a pop rock sound and holds enough energy to get everyone moving. Despite this being their first appearance on Warped Tour, let alone in the US, they own the stage impeccably and it makes for one of the more entertaining sets of the day.
Closing out our day, with the threat of more rain imminent, is Being As An Ocean (6). BAAO have steadily made their way up the ranks in hardcore music, bring their passionate flare to the main stage this year. There is one let down, though their music does speak volumes to why they are playing main stage, a majority of the members are pretty stagnant, letting vocalist Joel Quartuccio take full command. He’s enigmatic as a frontman but it doesn’t completely make up for everyone else’s lack of energy, leaving you just slightly underwhelmed.
Despite the storms looming overhead, the atmosphere of Warped Tour was palpable with everyone in full spirits no matter how relentless the rain may have been. The lineup presented many surprises, allowing everyone the chance to discover someone new and, for the most part, those bands definitely didn’t disappoint. If nothing else, this will make for one memorable year and we can only hope that next year brings more new bands and a lot less bad weather.