Author: Elizabeth Porch
Typically, a Warped Tour date is one to simultaneously dread and look forward to. Sitting in the sun for an entire day and being shoved around in a massive group with a bunch of other sweaty individuals may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the entire Warped Tour experience is exciting, and there’s a reason that the tour is affectionately referred to as “The Best Day Ever”.
The tour’s 2016 lineup, was packed with fantastic bands from start to finish. The day started like any other July day in the midwest with a nice, humid, cloud-free 85 degrees that only continued to climb as the time went on. At 9:00, the line to skip the line extended at least a mile back in the parking lot, far past the general admission line, and that was just the start. There was a very obvious range of ages at this year’s event, but that was even more exciting once the day began.
Although everyone’s Warped experience is a bit different while bouncing between the serval stages This writer’s day started with Boston natives, Vanna, who tore up the stage in celebration of their newest release, All Hell, and it is definitely worth noting that the excitement over this band is nothing to overlook. They live up to the hype, and then some. It’s extremely obvious that each member of this band loves what they do, even just in watching for a couple of songs, and with Davey’s connection to a crowd that was able to scream back every lyric, there was no other set that could have started the day off better.
The Word Alive was up next after a quick jog to the Monster stages, and they provided another great start to the day, and this writer was particularly thrilled after having waited multiple years to catch the band. They opened with “Made This Way” and transitioned quickly into “Sellout”, which were both obvious favorites to the crowd that had packed themselves tightly into the pit. The band was all grins, and without a single body staying still the entire time, it was great to begin the day with that kind of energy.
With a bit of downtime between must-catch sets, there was time to wander, which ended in being there to see Warped Tour first timers, Young Guns, a British outfit with a sound that ensures the listener knows who they are. Their six song set included two of their most popular songs, “Bones” and “I Want Out”, along with a newer single called “Bulletproof”. There is no denying that big things will be coming from this band, and they’re definitely one to keep an eye on.
The next band on this writer’s list of must-sees was Capsize, which resulted in getting to the Full Sail stage a little too early. This led to part of what Warped Tour is all about, and that’s discovering new music. Reckless Serenade had just taken the stage, but it was a good choice to stick around. The New Yorkers brought a little more energy to the summer of pop punk with their feel-good sound, and it was, honestly, a bit disappointing to see the band leave the stage.
That disappointment didn’t last long, though, because Capsize took over shortly after, opening with “Linger” off of their 2014 album “The Angst in My Veins”. They also played “XX (Sew My Eyes)” and “Tear Me Apart”, which were singles from their newest album, “A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me”, that dropped August 5th. It was a little disappointing to not hear more, but there’s only so much that can be squeezed into a six song set. Regardless, Capsize was one of the best sets of the day.
With another lull before the excitement of the afternoon came about, there was plenty of time to sit down and take a breath. There was some cloud cover throughout the day, but it was still plenty hot and plenty humid. The break was a good time to fill up water bottles and just take it easy for a moment.
The Maine came next, waking up the crowd that packed in close to the Journey’s Right Foot Stage and even some of the fans over at the Left Foot Stage. The Arizona natives seemed to have caught a lot of attention from the start of the tour with their merch tent, which contained a banner to inform anyone interested that the band would be doing free meet and greets all summer long. They also carried the “make America emo again” hat that several people at any date could be spotted wearing.
They opened with “English Girls”, the first single off of their latest album, “American Candy”. This included a lot of banter from frontman John O’Callaghan with one of the most noteworthy lines being, “Say no to drugs, say yes to rock and roll!” The set continued with a few newer songs, but ended with two songs off of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. During “Everything I Ask For”, a fan was pulled out of the crowd to join the band on stage for the bridge. It was goofy and energetic, in true The Maine fashion.
Set It Off took over shortly after, tearing the stage up with “Uncontainable”. Vocalist Cody Carson was all over the place, not giving anyone a chance to even consider being bored throughout their set. Cody entered the crowd a couple of times, returned last year’s Duality flag to the stage, and showcased some pretty impressive jumping skills by hopping off of their equipment.
Mayday Parade followed, and they made themselves right at home on stage, running out barefoot to open with “Black Cat”. Seeing as the Kansas show took place on a Thursday, the throwback was not only fitting, but well received with the crowd that stretched far back away from the stage.
The throwbacks continued when Yellowcard came out, opening with “With You Around”, “Lights And Sounds”, and “Five Becomes Four”. Of all the bands that played this stop, Yellowcard was probably the one that this writer never wanted to see leave the stage. It was such a bittersweet moment to witness, especially when the discussion about Warped being their last Kansas show ever came up. People of all ages gathered in that crowd to sing along and party with the band one final time, and it was a nice farewell to the musicians that had inspired such a large group over the years.
State Champs, this year’s winners of the APMA for best breakthrough band, came next, and they started with “Shape Up” and “Elevated”. This summer of pop punk wouldn’t be the same without the New Yorkers, who seemed surprised by the crowd that turned out to catch their set after commenting on the difference between this year’s turnout compared to that from 2014. Their energy was contagious, and it was nice to catch that second wind during the late afternoon.
After that, some aimless wandering left this writer up front for Motionless In White, and it’s fair to say that this wasn’t a set that left people feeling like their time had been wasted. It’s not often that Motionless hits this part of the Midwest, but the number of fans yelling for them when they took the stage was enough to prove that they should come back to the area soon. “Reincarnate” was the first track, and it was just enough to get fans moving to the point that they didn’t stop. Other songs included “Devil’s Night” and “570” which seemed to be favorites.
Following after was Issues, who brought in a crowd larger than any other that had been seen that day. Fans packed the space far past trailers and merch tents to sing along to the songs from Headspace. That was, of course, after getting people of all ages to belt out the Pokemon theme song that served as the band’s introduction.
They started with “COMA”, from their widely celebrated album “Headspace”, before following with “Never Lose Your Flames”, which was one of the first singles from their self titled album that was released in 2014. “Yung & Dum” came next, accompanied by a few more newer songs that nobody hesitated to belt back. The Issues set was the right one to end the night on, and it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that big things are going to be coming from this band.
“Punk Rock Summer Camp” is a day that so many people look forward to every year, despite dreading the heat, and 2016 proved no different. Warped Tour 2016 celebrated 22 years with one of the best lineups in a very long time, and if there were anything that was worth the sweat, sunburns, and dehydration, this would be it. This summer was one that will definitely be missed and is bound to be even more exciting in with 2017’s lineup.