This was my first Warped Tour experience and I went into it with little to no knowledge of what I should expect. Thankfully, the experience was one that I will remember for years and definitely made me a fan of the tour itself and it’s safe to say I will be returning. Other than one particularly unfavorable security guard by the press entrance, the enormously long Klean Kanteen lines and missing Less Than Jake’s set, I have no complaints. The bands I did catch, for the most part, offered some of the best sets I’ve seen to date.
The Aggrolites – Score: 2.5/5
Awards: *The “Meh” Award*
To say I knew nothing about this band would be an understatement, so I guess this isn’t the fairest judgment. I’m not a huge reggae fan and the only reason I caught their set was so that I could be on time to The Wonder Years. While they weren’t horrible, it was nothing that made me go home to start listening to their music.
The Wonder Years – Score: 4/5
Awards: *The Craziest Frontman Award*
Dan “Soupy” Campbell made it obvious from the get-go that he was going to have a good time along with his adoring fans. His stage routine, complete with jump-kicks and shouting at the top of his lungs, was definitely something to see. The band was definitely a highlight and judging by the crowd, the Warped Tour attendees knew it. I’m only sad that I didn’t catch the end of their set due to wanting to see Less Than Jake, who had already stopped playing.
Standout Song: “Woke Up Older”
The Ready Set – Score: 1/5
Awards: *The Worst of the Day Award*
Sure, I’m not the target audience and I was a tad bit peeved that I didn’t catch the end of Less Than Jake or The Wonder Years’ sets, but this was just awful. I didn’t know anything about the “band” until attending, other than the name, but between the teen-bopping and auto-tune, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Hellogoodbye – Score: 4/5
Awards: *The Goofiest Guys Award*
I definitely prefer the band’s latest album, Would It Kill You?, to their first, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, so the fact that it made up the most of their set increased my enjoyment of the set a lot. From lead singer Forrest Kline’s goofy dancing, jokes about reserved seats for Bon Jovi concerts, and butt bumps with multi-instrumentalist Andrew Richards, it was apparent that the band was having a good time and their performance benefited from it. Definitely check these guys out.
Standout Song: “When We First Met”
The Expendables featuring Big B – Score: 3/5
Awards: *The Dedicated Fanbase Award*
After taking a bit of a break to check out the tents and buy some merch, the next performance I caught was an acoustic set at The Expendables’ tent, due to the urging of my friend/photographer who was a huge fan and missed their electric set. The crowd was “feeling” the music, in a way that wouldn’t be necessarily “legal.” I don’t know anything about the band, and while that genre isn’t my cup of tea, their instrumentation was definitely impressive, warranting an average score.
Go Radio –Score: 3.5/5 *Incomplete
Awards: *The Made Me A Believer Award*
Go Radio has been a band I’ve always liked what I heard from, but most of the time, skipped on my iPod. I probably won’t continue to do that. I only caught the latter half of their set but they were phenomenal. Or more appropriately, Jason Lancaster was. I wish I would have caught the full thing because they definitely made a fan out of me.
Standout Song: “Any Other Heart”
Simple Plan – Score: 2/5
Awards: *The “I Don’t Get It” Award*
Chalk it up to nostalgia, I guess? Simple Plan had the biggest crowd out of the bands I attended, though from what I saw, August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada and A Day To Remember beat them out, albeit only slightly. Everyone was going crazy, except for me and my group. Maybe again it was due to me not being a fan and because I was waiting for Moving Mountains, but I just never saw the appeal to these guys. Second worst show of the day.
Moving Mountains – Score: 5/5
Awards: *The Best of the Day Award* *The Most Energetic Award*
If it was these guys alone, the day would have been worth it, let alone the other great shows. Lead singer/guitarist Gregory Dunn and guitarist/singer Frank Graniero oozed passion, between their hoarse screams, tender cleans and energetic pounding of their guitars. There was a point when Graniero was lifting his guitar and thrashing away at it that you could see him screaming away, with no microphone near him. The set couldn’t have been more perfect, with a good mix of songs from Waves and their previous work. If you miss these guys, you are a fool.
Standout Song: “The Cascade”
Terrible Things – Score: 4.5/5
Awards: *The Took Me For Surprise Award*
I’ve always been a fan of Fred Mascherino but I’ve never seen him live and went into the set expecting just a fun time. I was blown away by how tight and awesome the band sounded. Andy Jackson’s parts were filled by Fred double-amping his guitar and vocals from drummer Josh Eppard. The guys played for a criminally small crowd, but all 100 or so of us were completely amazed and into the set. The set was mostly comprised of songs from the band’s debut, but also a sneak appearance of Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same,” at the beginning of “Revolution,” as well as “Hate to See You Go” by The Color Fred. Go see these guys even if you’re only a cursory fan of their past bands.
Standout Song: “Revolution”
The Dangerous Summer – Score: 4/5
Awards: *The Believe the Hype Award*
Yes, these guys ARE as good as everyone has been saying. AJ Perdomo is the clear hero of the band, with his impassioned vocals and personal lyrics, but to say that the guitar team of Cody Payne and Bryan Czap are slouches is ridiculous. They produced some of the best guitar tones of the day, right there with Mascherino and Moving Mountains. The final song of the night was “Work In Progress,” from the upcoming War Paint, which featured what looked like Maika Maile from There for Tomorrow on guest vocals, though I may be wrong on that. The last image of the night was Perdomo on his knees screaming until he was red in the face and dropping the mic. This definitely ended the night on a high note.
Standout Song: “Work in Progress”
All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. There were some definite disappointments, but I left the venue satisfied with what I saw, including some performances that are among the best I’ve ever seen. Check back later in the week for some photos and interviews with Moving Mountains, Mascherino and Soupy.