August 10, 2015 Vans Warped Tour Dominates Jones Beach, NY 7-11-15
Music festivals come and go, but only a select few have the ability to last as long as Vans Warped Tour. Celebrating their twentieth anniversary sponsored by the popular skateboard shoe manufacturer, Warped Tour returned in the Summer of 2015 to cities across North America beginning June 19th and concluding August 8th. Perhaps the longest trek of music tour around, the festival has grown to such a massive size through the years, it is hard to believe they can do it so efficiently day after day, but they do, and keep improving amends for the artists and patrons. Once focused on Rock and Punk roots early on, Vans Warped Tour has expanded its horizons to include Hip Hop, Pop, Dance, Metal, and even comedians to their repertoire of acts.
Now comprised as a ten stage format, a total of one-hundred and five artists and eight comedians overlapped one another, filling an eight hour period with a mass of entertainment for all. This travelling cultural experience returned to the familiar Long Island, New York area on Saturday July 11th, setting up for the second consecutive year in the sprawling parking lot of Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Accommodating fans with cooling and water refill stations, along with plenty of vendors, the crowd piled in just after 11 AM, and it was primed to be a fun day for all who circled the event on their calendar months prior.
As one of the first acts to play during the day, UK based band Mallory Knox opened up the Shark Stage at 11:35 AM with a generous gathering ready to rock. Formed back in 2009, this five-piece band consists of Mikey Chapman (lead vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar, backing vocals), Sam Douglas (bass guitar, backing vocals), Dave Rawling (drums), and James Gillett (rhythm guitar,backing vocals). Described as a mix between Alternative Rock, Post-Hardcore, and some Metal, the band released their sophomore album entitled Asymmetry in October of 2014 to a mass of critical praise. Having already visited the USA with Pierce the Veil and Sleeping with Sirens earlier in 2015, their return to the continent was greeted warmly as they kicked off their set with “Ghost in the Mirror.” Mixing in earlier material like “Beggars,” “Death Rattle,” and set closer “Lighthouse,” among their newer tunes like “Shout at the Moon,” Savins moved about the stage impassioned in his vocal delivery. With just the right amount of aggression sprinkled in around their melodic style, Mallory Knox were winners in the early morning.
At approximately 11:40 AM over at the Journeys Right Stage, the popular Pop-Punk band Handguns were ready to get energy flowing. Hailing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Handguns made noise with their 2012 debut album Angst, and continued what they started with their 2014 follow-up Life Lessons. Having joined Vans Warped Tour back in 2013, the band’s return was a welcomed one as they kicked off their set with “The Loved Ones Who Hate Us.” Upbeat and full of energy, Vocalist Taylor Eby, Bassist CJ Wilson, Drummer Ryan Pyle, along with Guitarists Brandon Pagano and Kyle Vaught let loose on tracks like “Sleep Deprived,” and “Early Retirement.” Engaging the audience with emotional vocals, Eby did everything in his power to rouse fan reaction as they jolted along before wrapping up their performance with favorite’s “Porch Light” as well as “A Year In Review.” Fans of Post-Hardcore and Pop-Punk acts of yesteryear should absolutely check out Handguns.
New Years Day
Right after the Noon hour, Southern California’s New Years Day were the second act to hit the Journeys Left Stage. Returning to Vans Warped Tour for the first time since 2013, New Years Day have further solidified their musical direction, which in recent years has become more Alternative Rock/Metal based than ever before. Led by the colorful vocalist, Ashley Costello, since their inception a decade ago, the current lineup consists of Nikki Misery (lead guitar), Jeremy Valentyne (rhythm guitar), Chris Khaos (bass guitar), and Nick Rossi (drums). Opening up with the heavy guitar crunching “Other Side,” 2013’s “I’m No Good” came before “Let Me Down,” and the debut of new song “Kill Or Be Killed.” Playing on their dark image, New Years Day captivated the crowd with their theatrical set that concluded with the killer “Angel Eyes” before “Defame Me.” Showcasing mostly material off their 2014 EP Epidemic, the set was a taste of what is to come from New Years Day as they are set to release their highly anticipated new album Malevolence in the Fall.
The Amity Affliction
Meanwhile, over at the Monster Stage, Australians The Amity Affliction were gathering quite a crowd as they were set to kick off at 12:10 PM. Recently touring The States alongside Stick To Your Guns in the Winter, The Amity Affliction continue to support their simply outstanding 2014 album Let the Ocean Take Me. While easily lumped into the Metalcore genre, the band’s heartfelt lyrical content and sincere emotion separate them from the pack, and soon will lift them to the top. Led by the powerful dual vocals of Joel Birch and Bassist Ahren Stringer, The Amity Affliction is rounded out by Drummer Ryan Burt, along with Guitarist Dan Brown. Immediately provoking a reaction, they began with the intense “Pittsburgh” as fans began to move in the pit and crowd-surf to the front of the barricades. An epic beginning, chills could be felt as fans chanted the chorus back to Birch and Stringer word for word. Plowing through with furious energy, “Never Alone” and the darkened “Death’s Hand” kept the adrenaline pumping well into “Don’t Lean on Me.” It could be argued that The Amity Affliction was one of the most well-received acts of the day and now fans await the band’s return for their recently announced tour when tickets go on sale August 14th.
Showing the festival’s diversity, Juliet Simms came to the Shark Stage at 12:35 PM with her Alternative Rock style. Originally from Northern California, Simms, originally part of the band Automatic Loveletter, has appeared on reality talent show The Voice and spent time on 2013’s Vans Warped Tour. Now a more polished singer-songwriter than ever before, Simms released her latest solo EP All or Nothing in early 2015 and was ready to turn everyone’s head as she rocked out the ruckus title track, along with her touchy songs “End of the World,” and “Not Broken Yet.” Paying homage to Classic Rock, Simms added her own flair to The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” before wrapping up with Automatic Loveletter cut “Let It Ride.” Those unfamiliar with Simms should check out her music to hear what this vocalist has to offer.
While She Sleeps
Moving back to the Monster Stage, UK’s While She Sleeps were about to tear things up at around 12:50 PM. Together now since 2006, the band won Kerrang’s Best British Newcomer in 2012 and continue to rise in the ranks with their 2015 sophomore record Brainwashed. Held together with the ever so tight lead vocals of Lawrence “Loz” Taylor, the band set a jolt into the crowd as they began with “Death Toll” and rushed into “Brainwashed,” which featured thick guitar tone from Sean Long and Mat Welsh. Having fans moving in the pit, the speedy drumming of Adam Savage began “This Is the Six” before they pleased the audience with closer “Seven Hills.” Seeming as if their performance flew by in mere minutes, While She Sleeps put on a stellar set that prove they are a melodic Metal storm to be reckoned with.
New Beat Fund
Adding some funky fun to the day, New Beat Fund came to the Beatport Stage at 12:50 PM. Coming from Los Angeles, California, the band consists of Michael Johnson, Jeff Laliberte, Shelby Archer, and Paul Laliberte. Signed to Red Bull Records, they have been featured on such national tours as 2013’s Journeys Noise Tour featuring 3OH!3. Bringing along a fun vibe, they had people dancing to their groove on songs like “Bako Dozo,” “Any Day,” and “Scare Me,” among others. Bouncing about the stage and having a good time, New Beat Fund had more than a few people unfamiliar with them stopping to check out their set. Their debut album Sponge Fingerz is out now and would be a worthy addition to anyone’s party selection.
Icon For Hire
Over at the Journeys Left Stage at 1 PM, Midwestern band Icon For Hire were ready to get things going. Best described as a unique mix of Pop, Rock, Electronic, and Metal, Icon For Hire has been crafting their sound since 2007, releasing two albums; Scripted in 2011 and their self-title in 2013. Having toured with everyone from Red to most recently appearing on Shiprocked 2015, Icon For Hire came to Warped Tour ecstatic to show people their energetic style. Opening with the Electronic Rock “Get Well,” Vocalist Ariel soared on the microphone as Shawn Jump’s guitars cut through the air and Adam Kronshagen’s heavy drum work. Going into “Up in Flames,” they followed with a cover of Linkin Park’s “Bleed It Out” to keep bodies moving through Punk inspired “Make a Move.” Full of life and thoughtful lyrics, Icon For Hire continue to broaden their fan base in their second consecutive appearance on Vans Warped Tour.
Also at 1 PM, over at the Unicorn Stage, Atlanta, Georgia’s Attila were ready to explode. One of the most talked about acts in the modern Alternative Metal scene, Atilla’s blend of Deathcore, Hip Hop, and Metal provokes a reaction. Spending the past couple of years touring like madmen in support of 2014 album Guilty Pleasure, they were greeted by one of the largest crowds of the day. Sean Heenan (drums), Chris Linck (guitar), and Kalan Blehm (bass) came out before Chris Fronz Fronzak (vocals) strolled out with a sleek white jump suit. With heavy bass pumping, they rattled the ground with “Middle Fingers Up” as the intensity resulted in circle pits breaking out around both soundboard tents during “Shots for the Boys.” Keeping the pits moving, the assaulting vocals of “Party With the Devil” came before “About That Life,” “Payback,” and fan-favorite “Proving Grounds.” With North America’s Vans Warped Tour concluded, Attila now bring their Party Metal to the UK this Fall.
Giving fans a taste of up and coming talented artists, Alabama’s Jule Vera were showcased at 1 PM on the Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage. Led by Vocalist Ansley Newman, the band is rounded out with Guitarist Jake Roland, Bassist William Stacey, and Drummer Hogarth Horvath. No stranger to Vans Warped Tour, having appeared back in 2013, their return comes with more maturity and a brand new EP entitled Friendly Enemies. Garnishing a sound that is a mix of Alternative Rock with ambient Pop textures, Jule Vera played a set that included tracks like “Chemical Machines” and the upbeat “Light the Night.” Interacting with the crowd, Horvath and Newman leaned over the barricades amidst their performance, having everyone cheering. Still very young, Jule Vera is a talented group of musicians who have a bright future that will start to build more momentum after this stint on Vans Warped Tour as they prepare for a Fall tour with Against The Current.
Returning to the Monster Stage at 1:30 PM, the time came for Canada’s Silverstein. Veterans to the Vans Warped Tour scene, Silverstein celebrate fifteen years as a band in 2015 with their eighth studio album I Am Alive in Everything I Touch. Remarkably sustaining their core lineup of Josh Bradford (guitar), Paul Koehler (drums), Shane Told (vocals), Billy Hamilton (bass), along with newest member since 2012, Paul Marc Rousseau (guitar), Silverstein remain darlings of Post-Hardcore styling. Keeping their fans in mind, right from the start they delivered favorites such as “Vices,” “Smile in Your Sleep,” and “Stand Amid the Roar.” Offering up newer song “Milestone,” the energy level was high all set long as well as the heart-stopping “My Heroine.” Silverstein has one final North America show this Summer on August 23rd as a part of iMatter Festival in Horseheads, New York, so do not miss out.
The Wonder Years
Beginning a mere five minutes later at 1:35 PM over at the Shark Stage, Pennsylvania’s The Wonder Years gathered for an impressive turn out in their support. Marking their third appearance on Vans Warped Tour, The Wonder Years has built quite a name for themselves over the past decade. Adhered together by Matt Brasch (guitar, backing vocals), Dan “Soupy” Campbell (vocals (2005), Casey Cavaliere (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Kennedy (drums), Josh Martin (bass), and Nick Steinborn (guitar/keyboard), The Wonder Years walked out to a sea of cheers. Opening up with “Dismantling Summer,” they quickly shot into “Don’t Let Me Cave In,” “Cardinals,” “There,There,” and “Passing Through a Screen Door.” Continuing to highlight their 2013 album The Greatest Generation, “Cul-De-Sac” rocked out before 2011’s “Local Man Ruins Everything” and the finale of “Came Out Swinging.” Putting on a lively set, The Wonder Years now gear up for the release of their fifth studio album No Closer to Heaven due out September 4th via Hopeless Records, so pre-order a copy now.
With origins in the New York State area, Bebe Rexha had a swarm of local support as she took to the Journeys Left Stage at 1:55 PM. Bringing an Indie Electropop flavor to Vans Warped Tour, Bebe Rexha began her set with her song “Pray” before “The Monster.” Slowing it down slightly, single “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy” gave the audience a chance to see a more introspective Bebe Rexha as she affectionate sang the words loud and proud. Keeping everyone dancing, her latest EP title track, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” went into hit singles “Take Me Home” and “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You.” Those who missed Bebe Rexha on Vans Warped Tour will have the chance to see her on tour starting in September with Nick Jonas, so check out this talented singer-songwriter as she dives further into a solo career.
Miss May I
Just after the 2 o’clock hour, over at the Unicorn Stage, a new crowd was gathering for metallers Miss May I. Coming from the Ohio area, Miss May I are quickly asserting themselves as one of American Metal’s strongest acts after a highly impressive tour with August Burns Red this past Winter. Welcoming in new member, Guitarist B.J. Stead, in 2014, the lineup is stronger than ever with Vocalist Levi Benton, Guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe, Drummer Jerod Boyd , and Bassist Ryan Neff. Quickly taking spectators’ breath away, “Hey Mister” electrified as Benton left the stage early on to sing in the crowd. Hopping back onto the platform with bandmates, the set moved on without a hiccup into “Hero With No Name,” brand new track “I.H.E.,” and “Forgive and Forget.” With Benton and Neff combining their clean and harsh vocals, the emotions were running high underneath the blazing sun as circle pits broke out during “Our Kings.” Leaving little time to let the dust settle, Benton requested the female fans get on someone else’s shoulders during Masses of a Dying Breed” and many happily did as fists were pumped into the air. Interacting until the final song, Miss May I pulverized with “Relentless Chaos,” sending everyone away smiling. Only a little over a year since the release of Rise of the Lion, Miss May I now return with another full-length record entitled Deathless as of August 7th.
I Killed The Prom Queen
Representing Australia Metal once more at Vans Warped Tour, I Killed The Prom Queen came to the Monster Stage at 2:10 PM. Going on fifteen years as an established band, co-founding guitarist Jona Weinhofen has kept the band alive through ups and downs with the lineup of Kevin Cameron (guitar), Jamie Hope (vocals), Shane O’Brien (drums), and Benjamin Coyte (bass). Taking off with the build up of “Your Shirt Would Look Better With a Columbian Neck-tie,” the pit was quickly swirling as they went into the more melodic “Thirty One & Sevens,” before “Calvert Street,” and “Sharks in Your Mouth.” Equally brutal and at times catchy, they took the audience for a ride as they completed their performance with “To the Wolves.” Continuing to support their impressive comeback record, 2014’s Beloved, I Killed The Prom Queen are primed for bigger success as time goes on.
Another band from the New York State area, Matchbook Romance were ready for their special appearance at 2:25 PM on the Journeys Right Stage. Coming from the upstate town of Poughkeepsie, this band got their start back in 1997, and after years of pounding the pavement signed with Epitaph Records to release their 2003 debut Stories and Alibis and their acclaimed 2006 album Voices. Taking an indefinite hiatus back in 2007, to the pleasure of long-time followers, Matchbook Romance returned in 2014, thus resulting in their select appearances on 2015’s Vans Warped Tour. With the lineup of Vocalist/Guitarist Andrew Jordan, Guitarist/Backing Vocalist Ryan “Judas” DePaolo, Bassist Ryan Kienle, and Drummer Aaron Stern, the band took the stage with opener “Your Stories, My Alibis” before “Lovers & Liars,” “Surrender,” and loved song “Monsters.” Keeping the fond memories coming off their very popular early 2000’s material, they concluded the showcase with “My Eyes Burn” and” Promise.” While there are no tour dates on the horizon for Matchbook Romance, there are hopes more dates will pop up, along with a possible new record to follow.
August Burns Red
Coming on midday, at 2:45 PM, Metalcore titans August Burns Red came to the Shark stage. Last visiting Vans Warped Tour as a part of the circuit in 2013, their return was welcomed with open arms as a massive crowd gathered. Set to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their debut album Thrill Seeker in November, August Burns Red also released their seventh studio album, entitled Found in Far Away Places, via Fearless Records just a couple weeks prior to their visit to Jones Beach. Known for their intense stage show, Drummer Matt Greiner, Bassist Dustin Davidson, along with Guitarists John Benjamin “JB” Brubaker and Brent Rambler came out before Vocalist William Jacob “Jake” Luhrs lit up the sky, opening with “Fault Line.” In perhaps the best physical shape of his life, Luhrs sounded better than ever as well as they went into new song “The Wake,” followed by 2013’s “Provision.” Adding some fun to the performance, a person dressed as a shark came onto the stage during “Identity” to toss red balls into the crowd, causing many to cheer and enjoy a laugh. Driving hard until the end, “Empire” and “White Washed” kept many crowd surfing and moshing until the final note. August Burns Red now take their unstoppable show across the sea starting in September and ending in mid-November.
Bringing on the Hip Hop flavor, at 2:55 PM over at Journeys Left Stage, Texas’ own Riff Raff came out ready to go. In the Rap game now for ten years, many may know Riff Raff as one of the members of the group Three Loco. Topping Rap charts with his 2014 solo debut album, Neon Icon, Riff Raff means business as he is set to release his follow-up album Peach Panther this Fall. Pumping up the volume, he came out blazing hot with “Choppin’ Blades” before “Raiders vs. Hawks,” “How To Be The Man,” and Crazytown’s hit “Butterfly.” Keeping hands in the air until the end, he flowed into closing track “Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz.” A interesting diversion at Vans Warped Tour, Riff Raff brought a fun party-like atmosphere that many were pleased to check out.
Coming out at 3:30 PM, New Jersey’s Post-Hardcore veterans, Senses Fail, were ready to erupt at the Monster Stage. Having recently completed a successful ten year anniversary tour in honor of their 2004 album Let It Enfold You, the excitement surrounding Senses Fail is as massive as ever. Led by Vocalist James “Buddy” Nielsen, the lineup has seen its share of changes through the years, but with Guitarist Zack Roach, Guitarist Matt Smith, along with newest entries Bassist Gavin Caswell and DrummerChris Hornbrook, sound as tight as ever. Opening with the chaotic “Canine,” “Can’t Be Saved,” and “Buried a Lie” followed. Pouring out ubber amounts of energy that few can match, Buddy bounced around the stage as they plowed through new track “The Importance of the Moment of Death,” as well as “Calling All Cars” and “Bite to Break Skin.” With their new album Pull the Thorns from Your Heart out now, Senses Fail put their attention to European touring that kicks off September 25th in Paris, France.
With the afternoon still pumping, Blessthefall graced the Shark Stage at 3:55 PM. From Pheonix, Arizona, representing Fearless Records, this Metalcore band was formed in 2003 and currently consists of Jared Warth (bass, vocals), Matt Traynor (drums), Eric Lambert (lead, guitar, backing vocals), Beau Bokan (vocals,keyboards), and Elliott Gruenberg (rhythm guitar, backing vocals). Kicking off their set with “You Wear a Crown But You’re No King” from 2013’s Hollow Bodies, a circle pit commenced as the popular “Youngbloods” began. “Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad,” off 2007’s His Last Walk, flowed into “2.0,” where fans could find Bokan singing amongst the crowd. “See You On The Outside,” also off Hollow Bodies, continued their rampage with a massive crowd-surf until closer “Hollow Bodies.” Their new album, To Those Left Behind, will be available September 18th, and a bonus is available to those who pre-order.
At exactly 4:30 PM, one of the band’s with the biggest buzz on 2014’s Vans Warped tour, Pvris (pronounced Paris), came to the Unicorn Stage. Together since 2012, Pvris’ 2014 debut studio album White Noise reached peak positions in US and UK charts. Lead by Vocalist/Guitarist Lynn Gunn, Pvris is completed with Alex Babinski on lead guitar, and Bassist Brian MacDonald as they lifted off with the track “Fire.” Performing a set that included other known singles such as “St. Patrick,” “Holy,” and “White Noise,” the band captivated Vans Warped Tour with a catchy, lively mix of Alternative Rock. Completing their set with another single, “My House,” Pvris received a round of applause that ran deep into the crowd. They will now be on tour with Bring Me The Horizon starting October 1st, so get out and see them to witness what everyone is talking about.
The Relapse Symphony
Dinner time in the rest of New York, it was still time for more Rock as The Relapse Symphony were set to take over the Ernie Ball Stage at 5 PM sharp. From the Washington, DC area, this young and hungry band has quickly released two albums in consecutive years with 2014’s Shadows and 2015’s Born to Burn. Along the lines of more traditional Metal influence, this Rock band consists of Bret Von Dehl (vocals), JC Charles (guitar), Ray Miller (guitar), and newly added, Tommy Vinton (drums). Taking the stage with something to prove, they played songs like “Die Alone,” “Savage Eyes,” and “A Perfect Lie.” Their enthusiasm was so evident that the stage could not contain them as a dedicated group of followers howled in support after each song. Do not miss a chance to check these guys out and be the first to say you know them before they blow up.
Then of course there was another big drawing card for Vans Warped Tour over at the Shark Stage at 5 PM, UK’s Asking Alexandria. A band which can bounce between Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival and Vans Warped Tour with ease, Asking Alexandria unquestionably have become one of the biggest bands in Metal today. Coming as a surprise to many, Lead Vocalist Danny Worsnop departed to concentrate on his new band We Are Harlot, leaving many wondering where does this leave Asking Alexandria. Thankfully, due to the band’s resilience and maturity they have gained through years of touring, they rebounded rather quickly, bringing in Make Me Famous vocalist, Denis Stoff. While Vans Warped Tour would in fact be their fans’ first introduction to Stoff, they would not be disappointed in the least as he sounded impeccable on “Welcome” and “Breathless” to kick things off. Showing he is every bit of the frontman Asking Alexandria deserves, Stoff had the crowd sit on the pavement only to jump back up when prompted during “To the Stage” and provoked a Wall of Death during “Not the American Average.” Having everyone amazed by how tight they sounded, sweat continued to fly as “The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel)” wrapped up the set. Staying true to the lyrics of new single “I Won’t Give In,” Asking Alexandria show they are a band that will not lose a step in their climb to the top of the mountain.
Bringing an unhinging energy to Journeys Right Stage, at 5:15 PM, was Kansas City, Missouri’s Beautiful Bodies. Formed by Lead Vocalist Alicia Solombrino, former The Get Up Kids Guitarist Thomas Becker, and Bassist Luis Arana, the live band also includes Michael Stout on guitar and Diamond on drums. With an Alternative Rock sound that is supercharged by the powerful vocal range of Solombrino, Beautiful Bodies gained attention with songs like “Invincible” and “Capture and Release,” among others. Difficult to pin-point exactly where the members would end up on stage next, with how quickly they moved, their set was no doubt entertaining. Recently releasing their new EP, entitled Battles, Beautiful Bodies should continue to build a strong reputation as they move forward.
Formed in 2012, from Columbus, Ohio, by former Attack Attack! Vocalist Caleb Shomo, Beartooth hit the Monster Stage at 5:30 PM. Shomo, along with members Taylor Lumley (lead guitar, backing vocals), Brandon Mullins (drums), Kamron Bradbury (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Oshie Bichar (bass guitar, vocals), ripped into their set. Beginning with “The Lines” from 2014’s debut Disgusting on Red Bull Records, the crowd was immediately jumping. Continuing with “Dead,” “In Between” followed with the crowd singing along to the opening lines. Charging ahead, “Relapsing” and “I Have A Problem” led into “Beaten In Lips,” which had the masses head-banging in unison. Closing the set was “Body Bag” from the aforementioned Disgusting album. This Fall will present Beartooth touring with Slipknot and Suicidal Tendencies, so keep an eye out for dates near you starting October.
Family Force 5
One of the most delightful acts of the day came at 5:35 PM over at the Unicorn Stage when Atlanta, Georgia’s Family Force 5 took over. Known for their party-like vibe, catchy lyrical content, and mix of Rock, Metal, Dance, and Hip Hop, Family Force 5 are a band difficult to categorize. Consisting of Crouton on lead vocals, Fatty on bass, Nadaddy on synthesizer, Chap Stique on guitar, and Hollywood on drums, the band had everyone wanting to catch a photo as they came out dressed in colorful ’80s style attire and Crouton moving like a man possessed on “BZRK.” It was not until mid-song that the stage crew brought out trampolines and every single member bounced as Chap Stique held the beat. Following with the irresistible “Zombie” and “Love Addict,” it seemed Family Force 5 had nothing but non-stop energy to offer the audience. Continuously keeping bodies moving, “Cray Button” and “Chainsaw” were just a few more of the set full of highlights. Needless to say, anyone looking for a good time with a colorful live performance and songs that will have them singing days later need to check out Family Force 5 right away.
Emarosa hit the Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage at 5:40 PM. From Lexington, Kentucky, this Post-Harcore band formed in 2006 and released their EP This Is Your Way Out in 2007. Adopting a more Rock sound after lineup adjustments and sound changes, 2008’s Relativity was followed by Emarosa (2010) and their latest Versus (2014). Currently consisting of Bradley Walden (lead vocals), ER White (lead guitar), Will Sowers (bass), and Jordan Stewart (keyboards), they are joined by touring members Matthew Marcellus (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Branden Morgan (drums, percussion), they began their set with “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play,” then burst into “Mad” and “Set It Off Like Napalm.” Continuing on, “I’ll Just Wait,” “A Hundred Crowns,” and “Gold Dust” had all moving until closer “1996 on Bevard.” Be sure to check out Versus as their sound is sure to garner more attention.
Black Veil Brides
Another bold standout on Vans Warped Tour 2015, without question, would have to be the return of Black Veil Brides at 6:10 PM at the Shark Stage. Alumni to the festival, this would also be their third go-around, and first since 2013. Taking 2014 off from Vans Warped Tour to concentrate on sold out headlining tours across the country, the California based band also put out their self-titled album days prior to Halloween 2014. Led by the charismatic Andy Biersack, this visually appealing band consists of members that all offer their own personality, including Bassist Ashley Purdy, Drummer Christian “CC” Coma, as well as Guitarists Jinxx and Jake Pitts. Having fans screaming even before they began, Biersack came out fighting the sun behind sunglasses as they went into “Faithless,” “Hearts of Fire,” and “Coffin.” Taking his sunglasses off for a moment to gaze into the eyes of adoring fans, Biersack smiled and then continued on with a killer set that included other songs like “Wretched and Divin,” a fitting cover of Mötley Crüe “Kickstart My Heart,” and “Fallen Angels.” Feeding off the crowd, the set climaxed in just fashion with “In the End” as Black Veil Brides put on one of the best shows of the day. The band will be partaking in some international dates in October before returning stateside for Aftershock 2015 on the 25th of that month in Sacramento, California.
Japanese Metalcore band Crossfaith was formed in 2006 in Osaka. Consisting of Koie Kenta (lead vocals), Takemura Kazuki (lead guitar), Amano Tatsuya (drums), Tamano Terufumi (keyboards, programming, backing unclean vocals), and Ikegawa Hiroki (bass guitar), they released their demo Blueprint of Reconstruction in 2008. With four studio albums under their belt: The Artificial Theory For The Dramatic Beauty (2009),The Dream, The Space (2011), Apocalyze (2013), and Xeno (2015), Crossfaith is known for their fusion of Metalcore with Electronic Dance music and an intense live performance. On the Monster Stage at 6:10 PM, “Monolith” began their set as they fired into “Jägerbomb,” which found Terufumi crowd surfing. Continuing on, “Countdown to Hell” was met by a Wall of Death as “Eclipse” and “Leviathan” had the crowd obeying every command. Crossfaith will be heading back home in September followed by a UK tour October through November.
Hands Like Houses
As the evening began to wear on, at 7:10 PM, Australia’s own Hands Like Houses came to the Journeys Right Stage. Comprised of Vocalist Trenton Woodley, Bassist Joel Tyrrell, Drummer Matt Parkitny, along with Guitarists Matt Cooper and Alexander Pearson, Hands Like Houses are a unique band experimenting with a plethora of styles. Coming together in 2008, since 2012 they have released two charted studio albums, and their most recent, 2014’s EP Reimagine. Immediately sending waves of emotion through the air with the chant-along “Introduced Species,” they followed with “Shapeshifters” “Wisteria,” and “Antarcita” before treating everyone to new song “New Romantics.” As Woodley’s voice rose high, fans listened attentively as the set wound down with “I Am.” Hands Like Houses spent more of the year hard at work on their new material, and that effort will be unleashed via Rise Records this October to their ever growing fanbase.
Escape The Fate
Chosen as the headliner for Monster Stage, Escape The Fate were scheduled to close it out at 7:30 PM. A band with a deep Vans Warped Tour history, they have shown they can mingle with a mix of crowds, having spent time on Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, as well as Uproar Festival. With Drummer Robert Ortiz and Vocalist Craig Mabbitt now the longest standing members of Escape the Fate, Guitarists TJ Bell and Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft solidify the band. Wasting little time to get things going, “Ungrateful” rattled the crowd as well as “The Flood” and new song “Just a Memory.” Playing on the electric energy flowing through the air, the dancy “Gorgeous Nightmare” came before “One for the Money” and “This War is Ours (The Guillotine II).” Curious if Escape the Fate’s return to Vans Warped Tour would garnish attention? Well it did, and in a big way, showing there is no place like home. Stay tuned for a brand new album coming soon in the near future.
We Came As Romans
As the final act of Vans Warped Tour at Jones Beach, We Came as Romans hit the Unicorn Stage at 7:55 PM. With roots based in the Michigan area, We Came As Romans has become one of Metalcore’s elite over the past ten years of hard work. Lead by founding guitarist Joshua Moore and Vocalist Dave Stephens, the band’s chemistry is kept together with Bassist Andy Glass, Drummer Eric Choi, Guitarist Lou Cotton, along with Vocalists Kyle Pavone. Igniting a frenzy immediately with “Tracing Back Roots,” the dual vocal of Stephens and Pavone continued to shine through on “Ghost,” and “Fade Away.” Opening up a massive pit on the pavement with new song “Regenerate,” Pavone raised the excitement level as he came into the crowd to sing during the breakdown. Having everyone’s heart racing, Pavone continued his interaction with the audience crowd-surfing around during “Broken Statues,” as the rest of his bandmates completely dominated on stage. Closing out with 2009 album title track “To Plant a Seed” and 2013’s chant-rousing “Hope,” We Came As Romans were a fitting end to a spectacular day. With their latest album simply titled We Came As Romans, released July 24th, fans hope a headlining tour in its support is not too far behind.
With such a wide spectrum of music to choose from, 2015’s Vans Warped Tour was equally as stimulating as years past. The organizers’ ability to keep fresh new acts, as well as get acts that have become leaders in their respected scenes back to the stages, is simply remarkable. The tour has proven that diversity is the key to the future of music, and many listeners no longer limit themselves to one style. With that said, Vans Warped Tour will continue to grow and dominate the North American Summer festival scene for generations to come.