For the 22nd year running, Vans Warped Tour presented a fiery (figuratively and literally) nine hours of high-octane punk rock euphoria as the summer tour stopped through the east coast. Littered with established talent and promising, zealous musicians, it’s nearly impossible not to find a few bands among the 91 to rock out to and tightrope dehydration in the 95 degree heat.
While technically Warped Tour doesn’t feature any headliners, it’s difficult not to catch a few specific band’s sets, regardless of the time they’re performing. Yellowcard, in their final Warped Tour is a prime example.
Just a few weeks ago, the accomplished musicians responsible for “Ocean Avenue” announced that their run is coming to end. After nearly 20 years Yellowcard is calling it quits and while their announcement saddened most, Warped Tour provides an opportunity for fans to celebrate their music once more. The Florida natives brought the heat with “Way Away,” “Lights And Sounds” and “Only One” in addition to four other renowned tracks. The shortened set allowed Yellowcard to give their all for what could’ve been a few fans’ last time seeing the band live.
Photos by Benjamin Robson
Sleeping With Sirens and Tonight Alive both attracted sizable crowds despite the sweltering heat and only performed their most powerful tracks. Kellin Quinn said before the tour began that their set would feature only “high-energy” songs from beginning to end. Entering with “We Like It Loud” and finishing with “If You Can’t Hang,” Kellin kept his promise and the audience responded well… really well.
In fact, at Sleeping With Sirens’ performance in Charlotte, one of biggest games of duck, duck, goose broke out on the lawn at PNC Music Pavilion. Impressive enough that Kellin tweeted the following after the show:
Charlotte North Carolina best game of duck duck goose I’ve ever seen! Thank you!
Jenna McDougall and Tonight Alive checked all the boxes on this year’s Warped Tour. Leading off with “To Be Free” and transitioning into “Lonely Girl,” Tonight Alive had each fan in the pit off their feet. Not only did the Australians put on a top-notch set consisting of tracks from each of their three albums, but the band also met with fans midday and spent time in the crowd enjoying performances (Most notably, With Confidence) from their peers.
In the past, Warped Tour has served as a spring board for quite a few bands, including punk-rock legends Blink-182. With that said, it won’t come as a surprise to see a few this year’s bands blow up following the summer-long tour. With Confidence is certainly one of the acts to watch out for, especially considering they have a notable fan in Jenna McDougall. Hailing from Australia, the quartet strategically released their debut album Better Weather days before their bus hit the road for the tour and positive reception has followed. Their audience size only seemed to increase from their performance in Charlotte to Virginia Beach a day later.
Photos by Benjamin Robson
On the same front, Against The Current is yet another band whose destined for greatness on this year’s lineup. The YouTube cover sensations recently signed to respected indie Fueled By Ramen Records and released their debut album In Our Bones. Warped Tour serves as the first tour in which Against the Current is able to perform songs from their dazzling debut record and from the looks of their set, the threesome is dedicated to leaving their fans with a memorable experience . From their charming track “Wasteland” to their upbeat anthem “Gravity,” the pop-rock trio from Poughkeepsie, NY didn’t leave anything off the setlist. In fact, Against The Current impressively changed their setlist from day-to-day, shying away from repetitiveness and delivered an emotional, heart-pounding performance.
With more than 20 dates remaining and even more bands expected to enter the fold in the following weeks, grabbing a couple affordable tickets is advised. The lineup is arguably the best in years and it’s nearly impossible to walk anywhere on the grounds without hearing ear-pleasing music. Founder Kevin Lyman deserves a few pats on the back for what he’s accomplished for the 22nd year in a row and Warped Tour could easily serve as the highlight of the summer for many.
However beware, it’s hot… very hot.