The Despicable Downpour that was Warped 2015.

Wednesday it rained. It rained a lot. It rained enough that after seeing only three bands we were forced to evacuate the Tennessee Fairgrounds to “shelter” which consisted of being underneath a large section of grandstands’ metal roof. So we got wet. Really, really wet. But let’s talk about pre-evacuate really quick:

We walked in, caught Citizen, Night Riots, and This Wild Life really quick before the torrential downpour really started to churn. I’d never listened to Citizen but they seemed really cool. Their stage presence and performance really had a Brand New vibe to it, which I really liked. We walked up to Night Riots right as they played their Alt Nation topping single “Contagious“. It was really cool to see; I didn’t know that song was them until we walked up on their set.

So we hung out watching This Wild Life and then they moved us all out of the fairgrounds. We stood in the rain for about two hours, which was pretty much the worst Warped experience I’ve ever had. I was ridiculously wet and I even came prepared with a rain-jacket. Eventually they let us back in. We caught Our Last Night playing three songs, including one off their newest release, and it was really cool. It was my third time catching one of their sets and they always put on a solid performance. The back and forth vocals between the Wentworth brothers is always so excellent. They are great vocalists.

Unfortunately, their set was cut short and we had to evacuate again. We stopped by the Warped tent and they were giving away ponchos with a t-shirt purchase, so we picked those up, went to the car, changed, and attempted to make it through the day relatively dry. We were only evacuated for about thirty minutes the second time, which we were very happy about. We walked back in and were able to catch the Emarosa set, which was one of the highlights of the day. They played mostly new tracks that really capture their newest vocalist Bradley Walden’s voice, but they played “Set Off Like A Napalm” off their debut album that I was extremely pleased with. Walden had an incredible amount of energy; at one point he climbed the stage and was hanging from the lights yelling into the mic. It was a very Adam Lazzara moment that was one of the coolest things I’ve seen at a Warped tour date.His energy coupled with how solid he performed new hits like “Mad” and “A Thousand Crowns” really set them apart from the other bands I saw Wednesday.

Speaking of energy, Alicia Solombrino of Beautiful Bodies easily had the most energy of any vocalist onstage at Warped on Wednesday. She didn’t even stop dancing and singing long enough to take off her jack, with her at one point yelling through the hood of her jacket that she had pulled over her head. It was definitely a sight to see. Honestly, I wasn’t very familiar with their songs except for “Invincible” but after seeing them again I’m going to make an effort to change that.

We ran over and caught some of August Burns Red‘s performance but they weren’t really playing much I was familiar with so we ran back over to PVRIS who was killing it. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen was exceptional not only on the mic but on the guitar as well, churning out their instant hits like “St. Patrick”, “White Noise” and “My House” with spectacular quality. After listening and loving their debut release last year I was pumped to see that their performance translated excellently live. Her voice was on point and they sounded incredible. It’s great to hear a new unique sounding band absolutely nail their performance.

We caught some of Pierce The Veil next who easily had the biggest crowd of the day. We couldn’t even get close. Transit played their last song “Skipping Stone” as we walked up and that was nice to hear. Beartooth was boring, but looked solid. Moose Blood sounded really cool but I didn’t know any of their songs. PUP sounded incredible and they’re a band I’m definitely going to check out on a later date. Super emo-y sound that sounded similar to DADS-ish? I’m not sure. They were really cool though.

We caught the Senses Fail performance and it was killer. They pulled out old favorites like “Bite to Break Skin” and “Can’t Be Saved” while also debuting songs from their newly released album like “Take Refuge.” I was really excited to hear their newest song “The Importance of the Moment of Death” because it’s easily my favorite song off their new album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart. Buddy was running around the stage screaming his head off. Their transition from their emo sound to their new almost classic hardcore sound was pulled off really well live. I was really impressed.

Matchbook Romance was next who was playing Warped as a reunion tour of sorts. They played a hits playlist with a lot of songs from Stories and Alibis which I was completely fine with. Their guitars and drums sounded like they’d never broken up and Andrew Jordan’s vocals still pulled out the old songs as good as he did when he was younger. They made a small mention that they didn’t know when they would ever play shows again after this tour, which was disappointing after seeing how well they performed. They played “Monsters” and “My Eyes Burn” though so I really saw exactly what I could have asked for.

We watched some of Miss May I and some of Handguns next. Handguns’ drummer wasn’t able to play so it was just the singer and the guitarist playing acoustic, which they said they’d never really done before. It was cool that they still put on a show even though they were in a spot where they could have cancelled their performances. They sounded alright too.

Aside from the rain in the beginning, the absolute worst part of the day was that ’68 and The Wonder Years sets collided in such a way that The Wonder Years started five minutes after ’68 did. We watched Josh Scogin scream and throw his guitar through three songs (which by the way was incredible and reinforced that need to see them in an actual venue) before promptly running over to see The Wonder Years playing “Don’t Let Me Cave In” at full speed. Soupy screamed “Local Man Ruins Everything” before pushing into the song at full capacity. He pushed himself so hard that honestly he seemed like he was having an asthma attack when he was talking about their new record afterwards. He seemed to gather his breath to sing the live debut of their newest song “Cardinals” and it was incredible and sounded even better that their studio recording. Their emotional performance was one of my very favorite moments that day. That, coupled with hearing “There, There” and “Passing Through A Screen Door” after binge listening through their last album The Greatest Generation for the past six months was awesome. They played a b-side “You’re Not Salinger. Get Over It.” and closed ironically with “Came Out Swinging” to end one of the top 3 sets I saw all day.

Silverstein played next on the opposite end of the fairgrounds so we sprinted to them just in time to catch them start up “Sacrifice” off of their album Rescue. I loved that song when they first debuted it on their Transitions EP so it’s always nice to hear. They played songs you’d expect them to play like “Smile In Your Sleep” and “My Heroine” but they also pulled out “Massachusetts” off This Is How The Wind Shifts which was really cool to hear. I was particularly impressed with hearing “Milestone“, a track off their newest album I Am Alive In Everything I Touch. Vocalist Shane Told transitioned perfectly from singing to screaming throughout the performance. It’s incredible how solid they still are after fifteen years of being a band.

After Silverstein I was pretty much spent. I sat on the ground and listened to Blessthefall play their set; I was exhausted. And as we were walking out we watching Escape The Fate absolutely butcher any sliver of credibility they probably didn’t even have left with terrible performances of their worst songs. I prefer to remember my day as ending with Silverstein.

What started out as a dreary, rainy day ended up being a really great day at Warped. I was able to see a bunch of my favorite bands like Silverstein and Senses Fail and The Wonder Years while also checking out new bands like Beautiful Bodies and PUP and Citizen. Every year I’m unsure about how well I’m really going to enjoy the Warped lineup and every year I go and enjoy myself much more than I thought I would. Do I feel too old when I’m surrounded by fifteen-year-old kids? Yes. But that just goes to show that music shows no bounds of age. Every year I find a new band that I just have to go home and check out. If you go to Warped and like one new band you’ve never heard before then consider it a success…even if that means you had to survive through a torrential downpour.



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