Warped Tour REVIEW

Yesterday my friends and I traveled over to Camden to spend the day at the Warped Tour in the Susquehanna Bank Center. It’s needless to say that we all had a great time seeing some of the bands we love and finding out about some other bands that we never heard before. Even though the weather was relentless and brutal, claiming about 81 victims ( no one died as far as i know, but many were medi-vacked to the hospital within the festival), everyone had the time of their lives, listening to great music and partying like the end of the world. So without further delay, let’s get started:

After epically failing our tailgate and waiting in line for an hour in the heat, we went in at 11:00am and made out way to the main stage immediately so that we could get a good spot for Attack Attack!. Attack Attack! came on at noon and played a brilliant 40 minute set containing such hits as “Sexual Man Chocolate”, “Stick Stickly”, “A for Andrew”, “Smokahontas”, and many more. Their singer came on waving the American flag and when the band struck the first chord, fake money with the bands name printed on it fell from the rafters. For the full forty minutes, lots of people probably wasted all of their energy jumping and pushing and moshing around to this band, which is great because i thought the band were spot on. The clean vocals, which are normally kinda poppy and vocoder-y on the record, but surprisingly sounded less poppy than on the record. Some of my friends disagreed with me, but that what just my personal opinion. All in all, great way to kick off the day. Just what we needed.

Afterwards we all kinda split up and got separated while the crowd was dispersing from Attack Attack’s show. My buddy Steve and I checked out some of the merch tents, got some things from the Winds of Plague tent, and went inside the main stage theater to meet up with some other friends. Now for those of you that are familiar with this particular venue, the “main” -main stage was split into two smaller stages for smaller bands. While chilling a little in the shade and I caught the last half of Every Avenue‘s set. I haven’t payed attention to this band for awhile and after seeing their show I can see that i wasn’t really missing much. I’m not a fan of their new songs and i didn’t think that their singer really sounded any good. The songs from the first album that they played were pretty good, but it was all just kind of an ok set.

Following Every Avenue was this band that I never heard of called Street Dogs. Street Dogs are an Irish punk band similar to Flogging Molly or Enter the Haggis, another band marrying celtic folk music with English punk, but what i liked about this band were that some of the songs they were playing sounded like what Flogging Molly should have done instead of going the direction they did for the Speed of darkness album.  Really a solid band and the only band that i saw that i’ve never heard of before…and actually liked it. Throughout the day I saw bits and pieces of The Aggrolites and Blood on the Dance Floor. The Aggrolites are some reggae band and I just didn’t buy into it at all. They’re just some american pot heads trying to be the next Slightly Stoopid or something and Blood on the Dance Floor dress looked like early Motley crue and Black Veil Brides and played horrible dance beats underneath piss-poor songs. sure they were energetic, but they had nothing to carry them in terms of songs and music besides the same generic dance beat for every tune.

At 3:00 I went over to the Advent tent by myself to check out The Word Alive. I’ve been a fan of this band for awhile and I love their Deceiver album, but fuck me they really brought it. They are one of those bands that sound amazingly better live than on the album, which i feel is harder nowadays because of the way dub-step and all of those technical bells and whistles that are being incorporated into hardcore music. Playing such hits as “Hands of Anubis”, “Like Father Like Son”, and “2012”, the band were spot on and the crowd were going apeshit for them. Easily one of the biggest pits of the day was during this band’s performance. After the third song, the singer did something i’ve never seen before ever out of my 4 years of frequent gigging. He brought out a deck for a skateboard and gave it one fan in the audience who he felt was most deserving of it. i expect big things from this band to come and I implore all of you who are unaware of this band  to check them out. They are for fans of In Fear and Faith, Woe is Me, or even heavier music like For Today or Within the Ruins. This band do an amazing job of marrying post-hardcore with technical death metal. it may sound odd, but they have lots of beat downs, killer double bass runs, shredding guitars as opposed to mainly just power chords, and a singer who can sing hardcore and even get a great death metal scream in there. Truly a great band.

Following The Word Alive were We Came As Romans, another band that i’m a big fan of and have been following them for a while. I have to say though I was not terribly impressed. Honestly, i think they sounded better on the record than live, which is really disappointing because i was soooo looking forward to getting down for “To move on is to Grow”. My problem was that the clean vocals were too poppy than on the record, but the heavy vocals were a little heavier, which isn’t terrible, but still, it just didn’t sound like them almost. Besides missing Abandon all Ships, this was a the big disappointment for me of the day.

After We Came as Romans came Enter Shikari, a british band that have mastered blending in hardcore and dub-step better than anyone thus far. Now I’m somewhat alone when i say that i’m a big fan of this band because what they’re doing is a little before it’s time and not many people are catching on or fully embracing what this band are doing, but this band are the future of hardcore music, mark my words. I thought they were amazing, even though my friends all disagreed with me. I only saw the first half of their set though because i was walking around and trying to meet up with people who i had met earlier that day (by the way, i’d like to give a shout-out to my new friend Sarah. We actually ended up hanging out for a majority of the afternoon just talking, laughing, listening to great bands and having a good time). So I ended up missing the last half of Enter Shikari, but made it back in time to see the last half of Of Mice and Men. If you recall my preview special i talked about how i was never a huge fan about this band. Thats all changed after seeing them live. Especially the songs form the new album. Wow, what i great and strong band after only two albums. The crowd was similar to that of The Word Alive’s crowd, very amped up and very crazy, crowd surfing for every song and moshing all the time. Following Of Mice and Men came Set Your Goals, one of the lighter bands on this particular stage, but heavier than most of the pop-punk bands that were on the tour, a style of music thats starting to come out of the woodwork dubbed “Melodic Hardcore”. The only other band that as that sound is Four Year Strong. Both bands also have two singers that do clean vocals. Set Your Goals put on a great and energetic show, acting like hyperactive monkeys, but for me personally, I haven’t been a big fan since their first album “Mutiny”, but I’m definitely going to have to check them out again after seeing their show.

After all of that, i parted ways with my new friend, Sarah, who went to go check out The Devil Wears Prada, while met my friends down in the pit and hot ready for the chaos that would soon enfold. That right, Winds of Plague came on and rocked harder than any other band on that particular stage in my opinion. Maybe it’s just because my friends and I are huge fas of this band, but they were probably my favorite band of the night. The crowd though wasn’t terribly big like most other bands, mainly because people wanted to get good seats for A Day To Remember, who came on after The Devil wears Prada. Opening up with their new anthem, “Refined in the Fire”, the band played every classic song from their newest album as well as their first album. At the end the drummer though his drum stick in our direction and it landed just short of my friend Steve who had to get the security guard to pick it up for him. Obviously, that was Steve’s highlight of the day. The singer, Johnny Plague also met some fans by the railing to shake hands and chat, which i absolutely love about this band. They are easily the most intimidating-looking band, but the nicest guys in the world. My friends and I  got pictures with Johnny and had some things signed. Truly a highlight for everyone.

Wrapping up the evening was A Day To Remember, a band that never fail in my opinion and are always trying new and creative things to add to their shows, like inflatable heads of each band member above the main stage and t-short cannons during “All I Want”.  There were some points in the show where I noticed Jeremy 9the singer) didn’t get some of his high notes, like in “My Life for Hire” or all of his screamy bits in “2nd Sucks”, but all in all, between, seeing them at Bamboozle, at last night, This band have proven that they really are the best at what they do and that no one is anywhere near them. They only played for 45 minutes, but were able to play of the hits from  Homesick and their newest record as well as older songs like “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle”, “A Shot in the dark”, and even pulling out songs that they don’t normally play like “Heartless” from the first record. All in all it was a great performance from one of my favorite current bands. A perfect wrap up to an already perfect day.

Luke Helker


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