It was a hot day in Holmdel, NJ. We had lucked out for relatively cooler weather at that point, but that Sunday, you didn’t want to stray too far from a water bottle or your SP 50 sunscreen. Like every year, fans came out in droves to catch Vans Warped Tour. I had attended the Camden date, so this was just an added bonus – albeit a bit of a workout. See, the amphitheater which housed both the Journey stages was up and down a hill, so lugging your camera bag around to catch acts took care of any semblance of a morning/afternoon workout. I caught at least a piece of most band’s set – afterwards, the soreness felt like an X-Box achievement unlocked.
There were some repeats in my schedule this time around. Bebe Rexha who penned the chorus for Eminem/Rihanna hit “Monster” and on the chorus for this summers’ monster hit, “Hey Mama” has been getting bigger and bigger crowds with good reason. Fans who caught Juliet Simms‘ set was in for a treat as Black Veil Brides’ frontman/Simms’ boyfriend Andy Biersack performed their duet “End Of The World” to the screams and delight of the crowd. It’s always a good time watching veterans like Senses Fail and Silverstein. This was another hometown show for New Jersey band Palisades, whose set on the Kevin Says stage was one of the most packed during the day.
This time around, I tried to hang around the Ernie Ball and Kevin Says Stages a little more and see some of the younger bands. Trophy Wives, Youth In Revolt and The Karma Killers were pretty impressive. Knuckle Puck and Have Mercy were pretty good as well. There was a bit of funny banter that happened during Have Mercy’s set. During a point, vocalist/guitarist Brian Swindle states to the crowd, “So who is ready for WWE Battleground later?” Who knew they were wrestling fans?
The main stage bands were strong, but I’m going to highlight some in particular. I was very interested to see how Asking Alexandria sounded with their new frontman Denis Stoff. They didn’t miss a beat and the new single, “I Won’t Give In”. It sounded even more anthemic live as the band opens a new chapter. Rounding out my night was Simple Plan. I mean who doesn’t know the words to “I’d Do Anything”. It was a nice little nostalgic jaunt through time mixing in the veterans with the newer bands.
The time has come to bid adieu for my Jersey journey through Warped Tour. Despite the issues that arose throughout the tour, one would figure that it served it’s purpose music wise. It still have to answer many social questions, but the music which is the heart of Warped Tour is very much alive. Let’s start from the positive and protrude out.