Hey all! I know this is rather late -but better late than never! Below you can find my recap of this year's Van's Warped Tour.
=====================This year was the first time I attended Van’s Warped Tour. I had heard many different things about the tour – some good, some bad. But I decided to go for it and decide myself. I’m glad I did! There were multiple stages and over fifty bands. Thousands of teens and twenty-something’s, and the occasional young child (of whom you wonder why in the world he was allowed to come) wandered
around the Susquehanna Bank Center.
As I parked my car in the rather expensive lot, dodged the many tailgaters and even heard Skillet blaring from one of those cars, I took a deep breath and entered into the long line to pick up my press pass. Of course, I was in the wrong line. So once I made that observation and headed over to the press tent the very hot, humid, and exciting day began.
When I walked past catering and entered the press room I was pleasantly surprised. I’d been used to the backstage access offered by venues such as churches, granges, and Christian music festivals. This however, was legit backstage. The air conditioner was blasting, water was offered, and “famous” people were milling about. I signed up for quite a few interviews, picked up a schedule for the day and headed out into the maze of Warped Tour.
First on my list of bands to see was The Goodnight Anthem, a band local to the Philly area. I’d seen them once before and quickly fell in love with the CD they had so kindly given me after their set. This performance was no exception. Their high energy appealed to the masses of guys and girls shoved up against the stage in the covered amphitheater. Their lively pop songs were a great start to the day. As they finished playing they announced the sale of their album, and people rushed to buy it from a guy standing on the side of the stage. In my opinion, The Goodnight Anthem will soon be a household name in the world of secular popmusic. They won’t be just a Philadelphia band for long! The day before I attended the Camden, NJ date, I had received countless emails from many of the bands’ publicists requesting interview time. I received a text message from Ionia’s manager early in the day and plans to meet up. A band from New York City, Ionia would exhibit their slightly darker, heavier sound on the Kevin Says Stage. was tight and polished – despite the relatively low turnout for their set. But before they played, I met up with them backstage and we headed to catering to chat for a few minutes.While talking with them, I learned a great deal about the band. “We’ve been doing some local tours, and played Taste of Chaos. We did a tour in Costa Rica for handicap kids. We like raising money for something – and our music is very socially conscious,” says lead singer Blaise Beyhan. In light of this, a lot of their music carries that same theme. Their song “Excuses, Excuses,” relates this idea as well. “It’s about people in our country cutting themselves a lot of slack for not doing what they set out to accomplish, and then patting themselves on the back for being mediocre,” shares Blaise. It’s a condition that’s poisoned
a lot of American society. `American made’ doesn’t mean much more than garbage. People don’t take much pride in what they do anymore.”
I was also able to catch up with Nick Barham, AttackAttack!’s new vocalist. He joined the Rise Records band after he received a 4 a.m. phone call asking if he’d fly out and sing for them while they were in the heat of a tour. “I learned all the songs on the air plane ride, and then had my first show with them the next day,” he recalls. “We’re a lot different than a lot of bands, because we’re screamo with electronic and dance beats.” Well apparently being different played out for them, because they were asked to play every date on this summer’s Warped Tour. “I have no clue [how we got on Warped] but I’m glad we did because it’s so much fun. It’s been sick. It’s been really cool because we’re playing with all the bands I used to look up to. It’s neat hanging out with them and seeing how they really are.”
Warped Tour seems to be the launching pad for many bands. Pop/rock band, The Maine, played 10 dates on the tour last year, and this summer was enlisted for the whole shindig. I was able to chat with band members Kennedy Brock and Jared Monaco for a few minutes to get their take on things. And what have been the highlights of the tour for them? “Food!” they both excitedly said. “We’ve been having some pretty crazy shows on the East Coast. The West Coast was fun, but it was really hot. Yesterdays show [Buffalo, NY ] was awesome! Definitely a highlight of our week! Also being in New York City.” They also asked me to inform (and urge) you, as their dedicated fan, to pick up a copy of the deluxe edition of their album Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. You won’t be disappointed!
Along with newer acts, Warped was also filled with veteran bands including Underoath. They had a crazy crowd (which is to be expected) with crowd surfing, moshing, fist pounding and countless voices singing along to their set. This was my first time seeing the hardcore act take the stage and they more than owned it. Before their set, (and after snapping the press shot to your left) I was able to sit down with keyboardist Chris Dudley, who has been in the band since 2000. They’ve come a long way since they formed, and have more than earned their high ranking in the current music scene. Chris reminisced on when they first signed their record deal. “We didn’t set out to accomplish a ton of things; we just wanted to write music. We are all Christians and wanted to glorify God and tell people what we believe. We played a show in front of ten people in Alabama. There was this guy named Chad Johnson that saw us play. He said he was starting a record label and asked if we wanted to be on it. It was this little indie label he ran out of his basement. Tooth & Nail bought that indie label, and that’s where we are now!” Well it’s obvious that they’ve come quite a long way since that Alabama show, and were enjoying their time on the road. “There’s no drawback [to Warped Tour] except for the lack of
showers and the heat sometimes.”
A large part of the tour’s space is devoted to various causes and non-profit organizations. The Truth Campaign, devoted to educating concert-goers of the harms of tobacco (while the majority of the kids lit up almost the entire day), held a very large presence at the event. Invisible Children was there, as well as To Write Love On Her Arms. I was able to talk with Jason Blades, who coordinates special events for TWLOHA. “TWLOHA was on all of Warped tour,” he shared recently. “My favorite part was that each day we had the opportunity to get to meet and talk to people from a new city. We got to see some of the
country, meet awesome people and help spread TWLOHA’s message. I also think that it is amazing that Warped tour sacrifices valuable space and accommodations to have its own non-profit section. I think that it is incredible and it shows how much they truly care.” The organization is dedicated to reminding people that there is hope, and somewhere for everyone to go for help with depression, self- injury, addiction and suicide. “We want to connect and help spread the message that hope is real, help is real and possible,” Jason informs.
Overall, the day was great. The diversity among the bands was well balanced and they all played quality shows. For being the largest and most known tour in the country, Warped does a great job at setting the pace. Where else can you chat with the lead singer of Saosin multiple times – and not even know who he is? For more information on any of these bands and causes, check out the links below:
www.warpedtour.com, www.myspace.com/thegoodnightanthem, www.myspace.com/ionia, www.myspace.com/attackattack, www.myspace.com/themaine, www.myspace.com/underoath, www.thetruth.com, www.invisiblechildren.com, www.twloha.com