With the official start of summer just 4 days away, we’re kicking off summer in true Remember MEdia fashion – with the 23rd annual Vans Warped Tour!
I stop to pick up Odessa at her house, 8 am sharp. She takes one sleepy-eyed look at me, and after having a true rockstar night, and less than an hour of sleep, goes… “Wow you’re all ready and everything, is Warped Tour today?” Needless to say she is really good at doing her makeup in the car, and I’m good at getting us to Seattle in one piece.
It’s the start of summer and the start of this year’s Vans Warped Tour! Myself (Desiree) and partner in crime Odessa had the pleasure of catching the tour kickoff in Seattle at Centurylink Field– by far one of the most luxurious venues we’ve ever had the pleasure of Warped Touring at!
The sun was starting to break through the clouds after torrential downpours welcomed the bands and crew the day before.
First up on our must-see list was Our Last Night. A personal favourite, and having just released their new EP Selective Hearing a short week ago today, we were excited to be among first to hear the new sounds in person. Common Ground is excellent live, and has that stadium quality that overwhelms even the largest crowd.
“I envy the city that OLN have the sunset timeslot when the sound of Sunrise echoes out over the crowd. That will be an explainable moment.”
Next up we were skipping over to the Hard Rock stage where a new (and colourful) addition to this years’ Warped Tour was taking the stage, Doll Skin. Reminding me of a young Paramore or maybe even The Donnas, these girls were full of sass and spunk and brought a level of bubble gum pop punk preciousness to the tour’s line-up. The girl power was strong with this one!
It was a quick rush back to the main stage as Hands Like Houses were back again on this years’ Warped Tour. With memories from 2015 of them in lavander t’s, low key shit-talking Riff Raff for playing way over his time slot, I couldn’t help but snicker. I love these guys because whenever I see them, they look like they are having the best time of their lives! It’s absolutely infectious, and before you know it, if you weren’t having the best day before, you are now!
“From one extreme to the next, Emmure, the band that had me slightly frightened for my life while shooting in the photo pit.”
With frontman Frankie Palmeri stomping around stage in true metalcore fashion, making faces that will haunt my nightmares for days to come. However, guitarist Joshua Travis was a cute contrast with his big, warm, smiley, teddy bear nature. But shhhhh, don’t tell him we told you that. Heavy riffs shook the stadium and opened the pits as Emmure powered through tracks off this years’ release Look At Yourself, as well as old fan favourites.
I could not write this review without mentioning the talent of Bad Seed Rising. Another young band, that is absolutely killing it. Front woman Francheska Pastor will undoubtedly be leaving a trail of destruction across the country with her powerful voice. It’s incredible to me how such a teensie-tiny woman can have one of the most powerful voices on the entire tour. Not only were her vocals on point, but she also lit up the stage, putting on an inspiring and empowering performance.
Ahhh Valient Thorr. Kind of like that 80’s workout video your mom used to jam in the garage… but more beard. Push-ups and flexin’ for everyone, all tied together with a little classic, southern infused rock-n-roll.
“My only advice is whatever you do, don’t Twitter challenge them to a push-up contest, because if you run into them at the after party, and you actually can’t even do one push-up, that might be embarrassing. Hypothetically speaking of course 🙄.”
Showing a little hometown pride is definitely one way to win over a crowd. Memphis May Fire were up next, and Matty Mullins couldn’t help but rise to the occasion and rep a little Seahawks merch. Not only that, but Papa Mullins was proudly repping a little merch of his own.
Many praised this years line-up as a true return back to the roots of Warped where punk bands like CKY, Goldfinger, The Adolescents, Sick Of It All, Anti-flag, and Strung Out roughed up the line-up. …… Strung Out! Punk legends who actually were a part of the first ever Warped Tour over 20 years ago, yeah, before many people in attendance were actually born. Despite a few silver hairs here and their these guys rocked out harder than many of the young whippersnappers on the tour.
Another band that are truly legendary within our scene are The Ataris.
“Could there be a more perfect way to welcome the summer than listening to the chorus’s of classic Ataris anthems echoing out into the sunshine-filled stadium. You can almost hear the sound of summer romances blossoming all around you.”
Playing all the classics as Kris’s heartfelt lyrics poured out over the stage. Besides Kris, it’s an entirely new line up since I last saw them a short 10 years ago, but this combination seems golden.
Hawthorne Heights are another emo classic, they also played earlier in the week in my home city of Vancouver, BC ending off their Canadian tour in a small and intimate venue, quite contrasting to the large scale of today’s Warped Tour. Such a cool opportunity to have both show experiences in the span of a single week.
Speaking of my hometown and Canada-land we had to check out Silverstein who also hail from the land of igloos, beavers, toonies, and maple syrup. Taking it back old school nearly 15 years ago they kicked off with Smashed Into Pieces as nostalgia flooded out over the venue. They also treated us to two new tracks off their album Dead Reflection due out next month, Ghost and Retrograde now have us practically counting down the days until release.
Attila, Attila, Attila… Some of my most favourite memories come from seeing Attila at Warped Tour.
“From the time they made the largest version of beer pong I’ve ever witnessed, to their infamous circle pits, you can always expect two things: an epic show and just a little bit of CHAOS.”
Not only are the guys in Attila amazing on stage, but they also take the time to meet and take photos with every fan that stands in line. No you don’t need a wristband, yes you can take pictures, and you might even end up in one of Fronz’s snap stories if you play your cards right! I was thoroughly impressed with the time they took with their fans, no one was left out.
With security teams already covered in an unidentified sticky substance from Gwar’s previous performance, they had probably began to wonder what they had signed up for when shortly after the first chords rang out Blessthefall frontman Beau Bokan had already decided to get acquainted with his new audience by crawling over the barrier and diving right in. Blessthefall are no strangers to Warped Tour and are always a MUST-SEE! Their sets are always high energy and speaking of high, if there happens to be something high around, Beau will undoubtedly climb it.
Closing out the day, the moment that 90% of the crowd had been waiting for… Andy Black (insert *swoon here). The majority of the set was spent watching Andy strike countless model-esque poses while making Blue Steel faces at the audience. His music is nice, and we enjoy his songs, but I find he knows he’s way too good looking and focuses more on his chiseled jawline than actually performing as a musician. I mean, we’d probably do the same if we were that good looking 😜. Having seen Andy solo now, and as part of Black Veil Brides I definitely prefer the energy, and charisma of the latter.
Good thing the tour is sponsored by Journeys, because our artists have a long journey ahead of them… 41 dates, across the country. We’re wishing them the best tour yet, full of plenty of sleep, and hot showers.
And remember for every band that I mentioned today in this review, there are about 4 more talented bands that I didn’t get to. Warped Tour is an amazing production that not only brings our scene together, but also supports emerging artists, and brings awareness to worthy causes. The scale that this tour has grown to, is far beyond what I can squeeze into black words on white pages. Warped Tour has to be experienced, so what are you waiting for? Go make some summer memories of your own.
Until next year Warped Tour ❤️️