Vans Warped Tour 2013
Vans Warped Tour
West Palm Beach, FL
July 23, 2013
It’s the day every hardcore and dubstep junkie was waiting for, The Vans Warped Tour! Once we got our press passes, we stepped into the familiar festival that so many young hearts wait for every year.
To the East of the entrance, was the “outdoor” portion of the festival. This area was enormous in comparison to the Amphitheatre side, hosting basically all the tents with merch and goodies for every band that was performing, including signings and meet &greets!
In previous years, I’ve seen some scandalous getups at Warped Tour, such as uncomfortably spikey hair, leather pants much tighter than should be, and fish nets covering entire bodies that are sure to leave a sparkly design from the sun once removed. I must say, I was happy to see a lot of jeans and band shirts, and shorts and tank tops. Nothing too crazy, besides two dudes dressed up as Spider-Man, but overall, it seemed like everyone there just went to enjoy the festival, not attract attention to themselves.
First band up, and already crowded by fans, was Forever The Sickest Kids. It was barely 11:30am and the crowd was enormous, and it brought a smile to my face to see so many fans headbanging, jumping, and moshing as tears of joy escaped their eyes. I hadn’t heard these guys before but they were definitely worth a good listen. The vocals were a bit low, they didn’t stand out too much, but those heavy double bass drops always make my heart skip a beat. I caught a song called “Nice to Meet You,” that had the crowd chanting “AMERICA, NICE TO MEET YOU!” It felt like an anthem!
The next band, Oh, Sleeper, surely surprised me! They were just as hardcore as any of my favorites, exploding on stage with ridiculously heavy breakdowns, insanely high-pitched screams and the guitarist rocking a voice so smooth, my heart felt calm every time he sang. I was entirely shocked by these guys. Their song, called “Children of Fire,” got me obsessed, with a scream that lasted about 30 seconds long, the screamer is sure to make headline news down the road. Crowds screamed along to melodic vocals singing “As it singes their skin, but for you it will soothe!” gave me goosebumps!
After Oh, Sleeper, I waited around for I See Stars to perform on the same stage, until we started feeling some drops of water from above… Little did we know that it was a monsoon attacking The Cruzan Amphitheatre! It slowly graduated from a drizzle to a downpour so heavy, it could have been easily confused for a low-level hurricane. The lightning seemed to land about a block away and the roars of thunder caused hundreds of “OOOOHH’s” from the shaken fans at Warped Tour
The rain messed up a lot of the setlist, most of it having to be redone, but a lot of bands couldn’t perform. I tried to catch Billy Talent but their set list either changed or was removed because we never got to see them at all, nor Motion City Soundtrack, or Black Veil Brides.
The rest of the event scrambled the bands that were to perform but I did manage to catch Bring Me The Horizon, a hardcore band whom attracted me with a song called “Shadow Moses,” a reference to an incredible video game, “Metal Gear Solid,” BMTH mixes a bit of punk with metal, rocking constant drum beats, only alternating between choruses and riffs. The vocals are what captured me, a soft raspy voice flowing into deathly growls and screams that I was witness to causing some heads to bang, and crowds being surfed.
Chiodos was up next! That high pitched voice stands out in this rock scene, highly promoted in songs like “There’s No Penguins In Alaska,” and “The Undertaker,” both old and new songs that were performed on this day. When you think a man already has a great singing voice, then screams like the devil, you reevaluate the level of talent and skill bands like these have to offer. He surprised me with his vocals, of which I assumed were backup vocals on the albums, but I was mistaken. That voice is backed up by some of the most incredible guitar hammering I’ve ever heard!
Sleeping With Sirens followed up shortly after, a band I’ve been wanting to see for years! Kellin Quinn’s voice named the band (Siren) and he’s known to be featured in a number of different groups songs, teaching aspiring artists about the music industry, and dropping a beatbox beat now and then. It’s difficult to listen past Kellin’s voice, but the band compliments his front role powerfully, creating a masterpiece of a band. They performed “Who Are You Know,” a song worthy of crying to, slowing down the hardcore environment to a soft, soothing vocal symphony immensely involving the crowds chants before switching over to “If I’m James Dean, Then You’re Audrey Hepburn,” featuring a heavier beat, more audible double bass pedaling, and some guttural screams that seemed impossible to erupt out of that small man. Closing the set with “If You Can’t Hang,” easily their most popular song, I even caught myself screaming, singing, jumping and almost crying with words like “I don’t wanna waste your precious time, cause you’re such a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty face, well you turned into a pretty big waste… Of my time...” I can recommend this band to anyone of any taste, and I’m positive you’ll fall in love with their lyrics.
The Used! Now that was thoroughly unexpected to see at Warped Tour! I hadn’t seen them for about 9 years now so I must say I was excited. They didn’t perform too much new music, just one song I believe and rocked out with classics like “Box Full Of Sharp Objects,” “The Taste 0f Ink,” and “Pretty Handsome Awkward!” To anyone that loves The Used, Bert (lead singer) seemed to have undergone a bit of a makeover… Short, kinda spiky hair, covered in tie dye basically, and the biggest shocker; He’s no longer screaming! He couldn’t live up to his recordings as it seems he’s no longer capable of screaming the powerful chants like “You Look Pretty Low!!!,” and “What A Beautiful Thing!!” He sang through it all, giving us half of what The Used is, but they’ll be a childhood favorite for many people my age.
We Came As Romans was second to last to perform. I’d heard their name a lot but I finally got to see what they were all about. Extremely well-rounded, but the detail that stood out the most was that this band featured two singers! Not one singer and a guitarist singing in the background, but two incredibly talented guys sporting only microphones, leading the crowd into chaos. They destroyed with “Hope,” a beautiful song that portrayed their overlapping singing and screaming, reaching across both far ends of the stage. Even the song displays the chants but hearing “We all fall, crawl out of the fear you’re in, Don’t give up, We won’t fall to our knees, We are the one true hope,” by a crowd of at least 250 fans, is enough to make anyone weak at the knees in awe, and viciously admire the strength that these words have to offer.
Headliner Memphis May Fire closed the show at almost 10pm. Being my favorite band, I was happy to experience firsthand the flawless percussion of tear-dropping clean vocals with lyrics like “We all swim in a sea of pride, where character is rare…” And ground-shaking screams and gores of messages like “I will create an earthquake and watch as you shake!!” Memphis May Fire demolished the faces of many with circle pits and walls of death with songs like “Without Walls,” “The Sinner,” and “Vices.” They’ve risen in talent as of their most recent two albums, perfecting their breakdowns and pulse-dropping drum solos, and without doubt, this is one of the most talented bands rocking the world right now.
The bands at Warped Tour are forces in the hardcore scene and I am glad I got to experience the heat, sweat, rain, mud, punches and kicks that is called Warped Tour! All of these amazing bands give the same feeling of heartfelt music and devastating breakdowns enveloped by beautiful and guttural vocals. I slowly walked out in pain, to see Facebook statuses saying similar things like, “Everything hurts, I mean it, EVERYTHING! Thank you Warped Tour!!” which definitely brought a laugh to my face, since I felt exactly the same.