I am writing this on a Wednesday, which means I’ve had about five days of rest since Saturday when I wrestled college dude-bros and High School scene boyz for the slightest brush against Craig Owens, Bert McCracken, and Andy Biersack, to name a few. And though arguably Warped Tour is past its prime, I believe this year they tried to retain its reign as the biggest moving festival punk rock has.
Unlike past years, this time Vans Warped Tour made an effort to bring back old school bands, with the task of reminding the new generation what this tour, and that enraging love for music is all about. Bands like Billy Talent asked their crowd to channel the likes of Rancid and Bad Religion, and to have good fun, and not make it about who comes out with the biggest bruise at the end of the night. Still, most boys had too many hormones to not attempt their hardcore dance that is now a new craze.
Amongst the “old schoolers” or “veterans” were, previously mentioned, Billy Talent, along with Reel Big Fish, and The Used. Though these groups did not pull the biggest crowds, their expertise showed, as they were able to pull in those passing by, specially Reel Big Fish, with their comedic act, to the point that they could actively poke fun at the new metalcore bands, they managed to get people talking and asking about them. Other bands though were not so good at promoting their band, for example I did not know I was watching We Came As Romans until their set was already over. The Used pulled fans on stage in protest of the year long incarceration of Pussy Riot, while they had fans throw powder paint at each other, and in the middle of a wall of death, as Bert McCracken with the upmost amount of class wondered if sodomy was still illegal in Florida.
Within the “rookies” that I enjoyed were Juliet Simms, Chiodos, and Black Veil Brides, that though was not a first timer, is still in the realm of bands that did not play the tour before 2010. To me Chiodos was the biggest surprise. I expected a pretty generic performance of a lot of screams, and telling people to mosh, but Craig Owens proved to be a different type of front man. He wasn’t calling for anger against anyone. He was primarily enjoying himself and the moment, with a smile that lasted the entire half hour set (shortened due to rain), even after a fan ripped off his shirt when he climbed into the audience. Sadly, I only got to see The Voice runner up Juliet Simms for a few minutes, for before she could even finish her first song, lighting casted us off into the amphitheater, still she easily had the best vocals that I heard the entire day.
At last came Black Veil Brides, the headliners. It is no secret that I adore this band. I’ve been following them since 2009, and this is my second time seeing them. And they met every expectation I had. With their slightly pompous glam metal, KISS-like attitude, they have no issue taking a hold of an audience. Andy Biersack could have asked the crowd to do as he pleased and they would have. Their fans are so dedicated, that I saw some crying the second they could catch the smallest glimpse at any of the members of the band. They are a tight group, with years ahead of them, and I’m excited for them to come back in their own tour, so their set isn’t only thirty minutes long.