Vans Warped Tour. It’s the place where (demographically) young adults go to let loose to their favorite jams, ranging in everything from rock, punk, metalcore, hiphop, to pop. For those unaware it is the largest, annual traveling rock festival that has been going on for the past 22 years. For those that are aware, you probably grew up with it. This year’s bill includes 41 cities in the U.S., with headlining acts such as Andy Black, Beartooth, Dance Gavin Dance, the infamous Gwar, and many more.
Warped Tour took over Cincinnati, Ohio at the Riverbend Music Center on July 19, 12:50 p.m. With a total of 7 different stages and 66 bands, the music was essentially nonstop once it started. Attendees, bands, and crews endured temperatures of up to 91 degrees- not that it stopped anyone.
1:15 p.m.- The female-dominant screams for Andy Black at the Journeys Right Foot Stage could be heard throughout the park. Andy Black (Andy Biersack) originally of metalcore band Black Veil Brides has been pursuing this solo project to much success. Originally from Cincinnati himself, he treated audience members to his first-ever live performance of Adele’s song, ‘When We Were Young.’
2:00 p.m.- Afterwards, Being As An Ocean took Monster’s Mutant North Stage. Once again, the crowd was treated to a taste of new music, including a heartfelt and serious delivery from frontman Joel Quartuccio. Closing out the set, Quartuccio stepped into the audience for a few, quick intimate moments to round out the band’s set.
3:05 p.m.- Post-hardcore kings Dance Gavin Dance delivered a well-rounded set of old and new. The band opened up with their attention-grabber ‘Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise’ which features every member of the 5-piece band nicely, but especially for their two frontmen Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess. The two have an insane amount of harmony and still somehow manage to share a stage space together. The end of the set perfectly concluded with a crowdsurfing shark (via a fan in costume); a head nod to lyrics, “…swimming with the sharks, but we’re still not dead yet.”
3:30 p.m.- Monster Mutant South Stage followed up with some progressive post-hardcore from Too Close to Touch. The instrumentation sector of the band offers such energy (eyes cannot be departed from Mason Marble, who never stops jumping around the stage), which only complements the emotive quality of Keaton Pierce’s vocals.
4:30 p.m.- Performance of the day goes to Silverstein. For a band that has been around for the past ~17 years, this isn’t unexpected. These guys are well-versed to the scene and know what people want to see and hear, and they definitely deliver. Fans were lucky to hear older material as well as newer material off of their 2017 release ‘Dead Reflection’.
5:40 p.m.- Movements deliver some of the most heavy-hitting material of Warped Tour, on the Full Sail University Stage. For such an up-and-coming band, they deliver a ton of important lyricism that can be relatable for all ages.
6:20 p.m.- Following an important message from mental health outreach group Hope For The Day, Microwave reminds us that nothing really matters (and to not stress over the little things). The crowd got to hear the new song at the Skullcandy Stage with this as the main message.
7:35 p.m.- Without any warning whatsoever, metalcore band Emmure completely took over the Mutant South Stage. Undoubtedly, the crowd peaked during their open with ’Shinjuku Masterlord’ but never came down after that. The Emmure “cult” does not disappoint easily.
8:35 p.m.- Throughout the day, Gwar fans could be seen dressed up in costume as well as dressed in their merch. First time attendees won’t know what to expect, but classic Gwar always delivers a grotesque, theatrical performance. Commonly described as “shock rock” Gwar does just that. Victims to the night’s performance included a fan, a beloved pet, a mortal enemy warrior, and last but not least, Donald Trump. Anyone remotely near the front of the stage left covered in red and blue; blood/urine/? represented by water and food coloring.
It goes without saying that Warped Tour is an all-consuming experience, in the best way possible. If you’re at all into the scene, it is 100% something that you will want to experience before you die. Vans Warped Tour will be continuing on throughout the U.S. until early August but if you can’t make it on tour this year, a compilation of must-hear bands is available for purchase right now.