Vans Warped Tour made its stop in Denver last Sunday on the Pepsi Center Grounds. The longest running traveling tour in the nation has seen the rise of punk and alternative music’s greats and continues to be one of every band’s dream gigs. In the past I remember it being very different; lineups used to be a bunch of seemingly nobodies and then mega-headliner acts to close the night. Fond memories of Warped Tour 2009 (the last time I went) spring to mind when Underoath massacred the stage after endless mini circle pits and bands I didn’t know.
This year’s edition is certainly different. In fact this year it appears they took a lot of bands I was crazy about in high school and threw them all into one day. Sets from Sum 41, 3OH!3 (of course), I See Stars, Emarosa, Atreyu and several others made this reporter giddy to take it all back to freshman year. As giddy as the angsty theme could provide me, there are serious moments where I have to check out the new Full Sail University stage. This stage features up-and-coming bands voted on to the legendary tour, and my eye is fixated on Salt Lake City-based metalcore group The New Low.
Bringing soaring melodies crashing into hair-raising breakdowns that defy conventional formulas, this five-piece played an early set and brought back memories of Silverstein with a little heavier edge and more vocal dynamic. Expect the future for this band to have fans screaming every word of their twisted ballad style of music. Much like hometown heroes 3OH!3, who able to keep the Journey’s Right Foot stage packed harder than any other set at the beginning of the day. I was able to catch Choke Chain as their finale, featuring a roaring crowd and a live drummer bent on shattering eardrums. The duo easily had one of the largest turnouts and easily the most singalongs, but the day only seemed to amplify from there.
Issues. I used to think of this word and imagine waking up without coffee, but now I understand this is one of the coolest bands out there! I might be biased however due to their Pokémon theme, but that shouldn’t matter! One of their cabs was converted into a Gameboy Color, and other amps featured the cover art of the original Gameboy versions. Not only that, but the Gameboy cab also was hooked up to the PA, which was hooked up to the band, who is noteworthy to say the least. Coming out to the Pokémon theme song, Issues proved themselves more than hype, bringing oodles of energy and charisma to the stage.
Lots of 2007 was apparent at this year’s Warped Tour. Maybe man-capris taken to short shorts never really did die, but I certainly got my fill after several years roaming the tour grounds. “Same with the music” is what I kept thinking every half hour at least. This might have to do with the style of everything around me rather than those portraying them, especially Every Time I Die. I know this weekend was the same as Basscenter, so all talk of how heavy the bass was anywhere else is apparently irrelevant. I still will point out that my chest feels like it was literally kicked in during this set. They bend the rules of music and sanity without trying too hard at all, and it results in the floor sub occasionally jumping off the black top. For this particular set I don’t consider that hyperbole.
The headliner sounds stretched throughout the day, with some acts becoming very powerful moments. However the moment MY nostalgic not-so-teenage ears were waiting for was Atreyu. Forged out of the fires of late 90’s punk rock, Atreyu is famous for becoming a cutting-edge weapon in any music scene. Largely considered the “gateway drug” for many abrasive genres, they command their own unique sound that is a collage of many non-metal styles of music.
Unsurprisingly Atreyu had a very show stopping set to close out the Monster Energy stage, eventually getting the crowd in a massive circle pit around the middle sound booth tent. Truly masters of making their crowd part of the show, they left the heavy stages in a cloud of dust, but there was still one act to go…
Mayday Parade! If you haven’t heard of them, that’s quite alright. If you’re a fan of them, you probably know EVERY WORD to every song. Much like an advanced version of The New Low (albeit different musical approach), fans of Mayday Parade scream out all the lyrics by heart. I noticed this when I realized I wasn’t able to hear frontman Derek Sanders, yet every word was perfectly clear. They put on a grand effort for Colorado, where they claim to have sold the most records as a fledgling band.
Way to go Colorado, always showing the craziest support for music!