Tomorrow I’ll embark on year 7 of attending the Vans Warped Tour. If it were a Harry Potter book it would be my last one; however I doubt that this will be the case.
The first live show I ever went to (that wasn’t a local show here in Bowling Green, KY) was the 2009 Vans Warped Tour in Cincinnati, Ohio. Five of us piled into a Toyota Camry with 300,000 miles on it and somehow made the 3 and a half hour trek up to see some of our favorite bands, and some that would become our favorite bands. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a hot, hot day full of humidity from the on and off again rain.
Honestly, we almost didn’t even make it because Mapquest (you know, when that was still a thing) directed us to Riverfront in Ohio instead of Riverbend. We got out of the car and paid ten dollars for parking and started walking, because I mean, we reached the destination; we thought we could walk from there. But we couldn’t. We bought ponchos from the Walgreen’s and ended up asking a cop for directions, who laughed and told us we were going to be walking for some 20 miles before we got to the show we were trying to go to…needless to say, that ten dollars for parking was wasted.
We ended up getting to Riverbend Music Center right as the gates were opening up, bought one of the Warped schedules, and rushed over to the stage where Chiodos was playing. It was 2009 and it was right before Craig Owens left the band to make a mockery of every project he’s been a part of since. I stood in awe as they played through hits like “There’s No Penguins In Alaska”, “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last A Minute On The Creek”, and “Bulls Make Money, Bears Make Money, Pigs Get Slaughtered.” It was incredible.The screams were on point, the guitars were loud and the speakers were rattling. Up until that point I didn’t think crowd-surfing was a thing people actually did, just a thing you saw in movies. It was beyond my wildest expectations.
The day went on. I can still remember every band I saw that day: Chiodos, Anti-Flag, The Devil Wears Prada, Underoath, All Time Low, Less Than Jake, The Bouncing Souls, A Day To Remember, The Maine, and 3oh!3.
After seven years and seeing thousands of sets, the 30 minute Anti-Flag set I saw is still in the top 5 greatest sets I’ve ever seen. That isn’t even an exaggeration. And the cover of The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” might be the best live cover I’ve ever seen. It was on-point and it was incredible. Not to mention they played all their great hits like “Turncoat”, “The Press Corpse” and “The Smartest Bomb.” I crowdsurfed for the first time over the Anti-Flag crowd and it was awesome.
But enough with reminiscing: I want to talk about tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to seeing Josh Scogin of The Chariot’s new project, ’68. Their debut album last year made me a little less devastated about losing The Chariot and a lot happier about hearing new tunes from one of my favorite front-men. I can’t wait to see what he does at this show. I’m also really looking forward to see PVRIS, who also had an album I really loved last year. I caught them for the first time at the Emarosa (another band at Warped this year) album release show in Nashville last year. I’ll just list the rest of the bands I’m looking forward to:
Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties
August Burns Red
Miss May I
Our Last Night
Pierce The Veil
The Wonder Years
I’m hoping to catch most, if not all of these sets, but as with every festival I’m sure there will be conflicts and I’m sure there will be sets I’ll have to split. I cannot miss Matchbook Romance or The Wonder Years though. Speaking of The Wonder Years, they have this killer new song called “Cardinals” that you can listen to here. I’m stoked on the opportunity to see it live tomorrow. They’re definitely one of the most solid pop/punk bands around right now. Their lyrics are just powerful and its so hard not to sing along.
Senses Fail released a new album today as well. I’m going to try to write a dedicated post to my thoughts on it later, but at first listen there’s a lot of really cool tracks on it. I’m sure they’ll play “The Importance of the Moment of Death” tomorrow; it’s one of their lead singles off the album as well as one of my favorite tracks. They have a really cool/creepy music video for it here. It’s going to be awesome.
There are so many cool things to experience at Warped. There are like 70 bands to check out and you miss like half of them, but every year I find someone new that I get way into. It’s great. I’m excited to see who impresses me tomorrow.