July 25, 2017 Vans Warped Tour Excites Holmdel, NJ 7-15-17
Each year, Punk Rock summer camp takes place in the form of the Vans Warped Tour. Now in its twenty-second reincarnation, Warped Tour travels the United States from June to August of each year, bringing all things Rock and beyond to an outdoor venue near you – if you are lucky. On Saturday, July 15th, 2017, the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey received her annual dose of Warped!
Continuing in her reign as the longest-running music festival in North America, the Vans Warped Tour’s 2017 edition brought some 50+ bands to New Jersey on a sticky July afternoon. With seven stages spread across the inner-grounds and concourse of the PNC Bank Arts Center, there was plenty of chaos for the tasting. From merch tent to charity organization, Warped Tour is an extravaganza that would require an entire week to fully witness; attendees had under ten hours, from 12:30 PM to 10 PM, to get their appetites whet for the next 12 months!
On this particular, muggy afternoon, the choices were endless for fans of everything from Rap to Rock, Metal to Hardcore: from established favorites like Gwar and Andy Black, to the newer breed of up-and-comers like Creeper and Bad Omens. Here is just a selection of what went on that day . . .
Kicking things off on the Mutant South Stage at 12:30 PM was Illinois natives Sworn In. Formed in 2011, Sworn In have been making a name for themselves for the last 6 years with albums like 2013’s The Death Card and, most recently, 2017’s All Smiles. Early in the day, as Sworn In took to the stage, the PNC crowd was officially ready to kick off their Warped Tour 2017.
Together, Sworn In held nothing back as their boisterous set kicked off to the sounds of “Don’t Like Me,” “Endless Grey,” and “Hypocrisy.” In fact, Vocalist Tyler Dennen moved about the stage like a whirling dervish, putting everything he had out there for the crowd to imbibe and they loved every minute of it. He thanked the crowd for arriving early, in time to see the band, and then finished off their set strong with “Dead All,” “Mindless,” and crowd favorite “Snake Eyes.”
Being As An Ocean
As 1 PM rolled around, California natives Being As An Ocean was ready to kick off the party over at the Mutant North Stage. Taking the stage at go time, Being As An Ocean was ready to show New Jersey what they were made of!
The set started off with crowd favorites “Ok,” “Dissolve,” and “Black and Blue.” During “Dissolve,” Vocalist Joel Quartuccio had the crowd help him sing the chorus and the vocals were impeccable. As the band was giving it their all, Quartuccio was giving the crowd some mosh moves as he was really feeling the music. Finishing off the set with “Death’s Great Black Wing Scrapes the Air,” “The Poets Cry for More,” and “The Hardest Part is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget,” Being as an Ocean really left this PNC crowd wanting more and ready to take on the rest of the day with high energy.
Dance Gavin Dance
One of the first bands to take the Journeys Right Foot Stage on this afternoon, Dance Gavin Dance (jump Gavin jump) are a Post-Hardcore band out of Sacramento, California and, therefore, no strangers to the heat. Formed in 2005, Dance Gavin Dance have seven albums to their name – ranging from 2007’s Downtown Battle Mountain to 2016’s Mothership – and a hugely dedicated fanbase that was out in full-force at PNC.
Taking the stage to ecstatic cheers from the packed crowd, the sextet launched into “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise,” a hugely popular offering off their most recent release, Mothership. Clean Vocalist Tilian Pearson battled back and forth, vocally speaking, with bandmate (and dirty vocalist) Jon Mess as the Jersey crowd went wild. Immediately moving into old-school favorite “Lemon Meringue Tie,” off their debut record, as another new track, “Betrayed By the Game,” was embraced with open arms as Pearson sweetly sang of crashing his car. “Summertime Gladness” gave Mess’ dirty, vicious growls a chance to shine, ditto Lead Guitarist Will Swan, who turned toward something more whimsical and funktastic in his approach.
Continuing with his impressive works, Swan led the band into “We Own The Night,” before they closed out their Warped set with another Mothership offering, “Inspire The Liars.” Meandering guitar-work wove beautifully around the dueling vocals of Pearson and Mess, as the crowd went wild. Clearly, Dance Gavin Dance have a much beloved place in the hearts of many Jerseyites.
As fans made their way toward the Journeys Left Foot Stage, they were anxious to see Michigan-based band I Prevail. Formed in 2013, this band has been successively gaining a huge following through their energetic live shows and a witty Metalcore spin on Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” That in mind, as I Prevail made their way on-stage, the crowd erupted.
There was no holding back, as I Prevail came to Warped ready to have a great time. Right out of the gate, they launched into “Come And Get It,” “Love, Lust and Liars,” and “Pull The Plug.” Vocalists Brian Burkheiser and Richard “Eric” Vanlerberghe commanded the stage like true leading-frontmen and the crowd was doing everything they could to make their way to the front to show them they were excited. Crowd-surfers were non-stop throughout their whole set.
The energy was intense throughout and did not let up even during the band’s last two offerings, “Chaos” and “Scars.” For being such a young band who have only been on the scene for a few short years, I Prevail is surely making a huge name for themselves with fans and throughout the industry.
Up-and-comers Bad Omens may have been relegated to the smaller Full Sail University stage and an early afternoon slot, but that did not stop them from bringing every ounce of grit and determination in their possession. This Los Angeles Metalcore band are somewhat reminiscent of young Bring Me The Horizon – which is never a bad thing! – and arose from the primordial ooze in 2013. Signed to Sumerian Records in 2015 and with their 2016 eponymous debut under their belts, Bad Omens came to Warped Tour with that feverish hunger that is so palatable in young bands.
Before the group could officially take the stage, they apologized for their small logo banner but, as you should already know, it’s never the size that counts! This high-octane quintet opened their explosive set with “Reprise (The Sound of the End)” off their self-titled debut album, proving that, yep, no one cared about the banner! “Malice” had heads on-stage and off banging, impressive manes flailing to the sounds of destruction. The utterly infectious “Exit Wounds” was a clear crowd favorite and quite a few fans were caught singing along. Being dead on the inside never sounded so tempting!
The anthemic “Broken Youth” led to the slower pace of “The Worst In Me,” where the viciously pulverizing attack steps down a notch in favor of the emotionally raw confessions of Vocalist Noah Sebastian. Closing out with the delicious single “Glass Houses,” Bad Omens proved that they are a clear force to be reckoned with and their fan-base is eating it up at every turn. “I see through you / I know what you are / I’ve seen the devil more than I’ve seen God,” became a clear mantra for the afternoon as fans imbibed every last drop of this amazing, young quintet.
Memphis May Fire
Dallas, Texas natives Memphis May Fire were ready to tackle the Journeys Right Foot Stage and impress themselves upon the PNC crowd. With little time to waste, Memphis May Fire hit the stage and the crowd never stopped their screaming!
Starting off their set with some older songs, Vocalist Matty Mullins and the rest of MMF got the crowd going with “Without Walls” and “The Sinner.” As Mullins moved from side to side on the stage, crowd-surfers were sure to follow – all hoping to score an epic high-five on their way past the stage.
Memphis May Fire kept their set going strong with “No Ordinary Love,” “Virus,” and “Carry On.” Energy on high, the crowd gave back every ounce that the band poured into their performance! The set closed out with fan favorite “Legacy,” guaranteeing that no one was left wanting for more.
Emmure held down the 2:30 PM time-slot at the Mutant South Stage. A Metalcore/Deathcore band who now call Queens, New York home, Emmure got their official start with their 2006 EP, the humorously-titled The Complete Guide to Needlework. Victory Records quickly took notice, issuing their full-length debut Goodbye to the Gallows in 2007. Six albums and a new label later (SharpTone Records is now their home), Emmure were hungry for some Warped Tour blood!
Met with explosive cheers from a massive crowd, Emmure took the stage to the sounds of the apropos intro “You Asked For It,” off their most recent release, 2017’s Look At Yourself. Vocalist Frankie Palmeri wasted no time in breaking down into a kind of break-dance groove as he led the band into “Shinjuku Masterlord,” a pummeling assault on the senses that had the crowd launching themselves skyward. With no time to waste, they immediately moved into “Smokey,” another new track.
Animalistic growls met with flashy dance moves as Palmeri – who wins for best tattoo of the day with his Jason Voorhees elbow ink – prowled about the stage in search of victims. The aggressive “Sunday Bacon” dialed it back to 2009 and Felony, with die-hards fan appreciative of the backwards nod. Another wink to their past, “I Thought You Met Telly and Turned Me Into Casper” met with an ecstatic fan response as Palmeri continued his onstage antics, while his bandmates joined him in their full-throttle assault.
Keeping grounded in 2017, the band unleashed the bass-heavy “Torch” and vicious “Flag of the Beast” alongside one of their most-beloved singles, “Solar Flare Homicide,” off 2011’s Speaker of the Dead. Celebrating the fire in the sky, Emmure wrapped up their set with the explosive “Children of Cybertron.” Explosive is the perfect description for the sonic slaughter that is Emmure!
Continuing the party at the Journeys Right Foot Stage, Andy Black – founding member of Black Veil Brides – was ready to take the stage. Since beginning his solo career in 2014, Black had yet to take the Warped Tour main stage as a solo artist and the test was about to begin. While most crowds at Warped Tour include both guys and gals – many looking to mosh and get rowdy – Black’s crowd consisted of largely girls, ecstatically enthralled to hear him sing and witness his dazzling smile in-person.
Black kicked off his set with “Ribcage,” “They Don’t Need to Understand,” and “Beyond My Reach,” with the crowd cheering excitedly from that first note. A passionate performer, Black made his way across the stage and worked the crowd with his movements and gestures. The crowd were rapt!
He finished his set with current single “We Don’t Have to Dance,” and the crowd sang even louder than Black! Black’s performance was one that everyone at Warped Tour were talking about and will continue to remember for quite some time. Passionate for his music, Black puts on one fun set!
Fire From The Gods
Relegated to the smaller Hard Rock Stage inside the amphitheater-proper, Fire From The Gods are a story unto themselves. Seemingly a part of the Nu Metal revival that is happening right now, this is a band who wish to incorporate the power of Heavy Metal alongside Hip Hop consciousness and a delectable dose of Reggae spirit. Nu Metal? Well, Vocalist A.J. Channer’s soaring clean offerings are oft reminiscent of the incomparable Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, so there is that comparison. (Sonically, they lean more towards tourmates Beartooth.) This Austin, Texas band are signed to Rise Records and made their debut, Narrative, in 2016.
Wasting no time in spreading their message, Fire From The Gods opened with the soaring rocker “Diversion,” off Narrative. Heavy-hitting “Composition” saw Channer unleash his inner-animal, prowling about the stage and propelling himself into a truly impressive jump skyward. The beautifully soaring single “End Transmission” was met with open arms from the small, but highly dedicated crowd.
The vicious aggression of “Pretenders” amped the set back up, with the infectious single “The Voiceless” bringing the band’s set to the next level. They ended on a high note with the anthemic single “Excuse Me.” A stellar band with a high-octane set, Fire From The Gods should be witnessed live.
The Scottish pirates in Alestorm were next up on the split Skullcandy/Hard Rock Stage. A group of fun-loving alcoholics who love trips to Mexico, Alestorm play what one could never truly define, though Pirate Punk/Metal is a fun categorization. They made their Napalm Records debut with 2008’s Captain Morgan’s Revenge and have seen four albums and countless tours since, including 2017’s No Grave But the Sea. Rum is the key to this band of land-lubbers!
Taking the small stage to the sounds of “Keelhauled,” it was immediately clear that Alestorm are highly-treasured in New Jersey. The crowd was bursting despite the terrible set-up of seats and barricades, with several fans even donning their pirate finery (plastic swashbuckling swords included!). Not one to disappoint his fans, Vocalist Christopher Bowes danced across the stage in his kilt, purple Shark Attack tee, and trucker hat all while rocking his keytar. With Keyboardist and Dirty Vocalist Elliot Vernon taking the helm, the band tackled the pirate’s ode to rum and beer, “Alestorm.”
In fact, dare you question their sincerity, Alestorm always sport an immense commitment to their alcoholic endeavors: Vernon rocks a beer cozy built right into his keyboard stand. With their set in full-swing, the hoppy times continued with one more drink on “The Sunk’n Norwegian.”
Alestorm then took the afternoon from party-fun to hardcore mayhem with the addition of their beloved hit “Mexico,” a fabulous romp across the border wall. Then “Drink” was up next, and let’s be honest: is there anything more fun than a huge crowd singing “We are here to drink your beer?” Cementing the fact that Alestorm are all about frivolity, Bowes sported the middle-finger and waved it high to introduce their final offering, “Fucked With An Anchor,” a gigantic, well, sod off. After all, what else would you expect from Alestorm!
The White Noise
Audiences treasure a band who will get down on the floor with them, bringing the Rock-n-Roll to their level at the barricades. Shawn Walker of The White Noise definitely received that memo and spent the majority of the band’s PNC set at the barricade, schmoozing with the crowd. Located on the split Skullcandy/Hard Rock Stage, The White Noise did not receive their due space but Walker never let it slow him down. Coming to you from Southern California via Dallas, The White Noise are definitely a band who are poised to make big waves. Coming off the release of their debut record, AM/PM, The White Noise were ready to go.
Their Warped set too may have suffered from a lack of ideal set-up, but The White Noise rose far above, taking their performance into the next echelon. From the word go, Walker was swinging his microphone, standing at or on the barricades, and the crowd was fully engaged. They kicked off their impressive set with a “1, 2, 1, 2, fuck you” and punky “Bloom,” off the band’s 2015 EP Aren’t You Glad? Never pausing for breath, Walker led his troops into the blisteringly candid “The Best Songs Are Dead,” off the band’s glorious debut disc.
The infectious single “Bite Marks” saw Walker spending more time on the barricade before returning to the stage for “Brainwashed” and some serious microphone acrobatics. Explaining that “Rated R” was born of a drunken romp that ended in some public indecency, Walker laughed off his own antics as the crowd went wild for the mayhem. Infectious single “Picture Day” and the heavy assault of “Cosmopolitician” rounded out this immensely entertaining, amazing live set from a band that you need to know. The White Noise are the future of Warped Tour!
Hands Like Houses
Taking over the reigns at the Journeys Right Foot Stage were Australian born Hands Like Houses. Attracting attention, as the band took the stage it looked like something out of Woodstock and the good vibes were ready to flow.
Kicking things off with “New Romantics,” Hands Like Houses started off their set strong. Between the vocals of Trenton Woodley and the overall stage presence of the rest of the guys, it was quite a sight to see. During the middle of “Colourblind,” Joel Tyrrell on bass sat down and was joined by Matt Cooper on guitar. The pair sat and performed for a while before, you know, Cooper took a bite out of Tyrrell’s guitar! “Perspectives,” “Introduced Species,” and “Drift” filled the middle of the set, and the PNC crowd was devouring everything these Aussies had to give.
Hands Like Houses closed their set out with one of their most well-known offerings, “I Am,” and it was evident that this was the song that this crowd had been waiting for. Winning over hearts and making a splash of new fans throughout their stellar musicianship and the superb hair show – but also assuring die-hards that these boys from Down Under appreciate their dedication – Hands Like Houses put on one hell of an award-winning performance.
When 4 PM hit, it was time for the UK-based boys in Neck Deep to inject some mayhem into the Journeys Right Foot Stage. One of the few Pop Punk bands on this year’s Warped lineup, Neck Deep – Vocalist Ben Barlow, Guitarists Matt West and Sam Bowden, Bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans, and Drummer Dani Washington – were read to show this PNC crowd how Pop Punk kids get down!
With one of the largest crowds of the day, Neck Deep took the stage and wasted no time in launching into their hits. Playing mostly songs from Life’s Not Out to Get You and their newest release, The Peace and the Panic, the set kicked off with “Gold Steps,” “Lime St.,” and a new song, “Happy Judgement Day.” Fan favorites “Kali Ma” and “Can’t Kick up the Roots” were next, and it seemed a good possibility that everyone in New Jersey could hear fans singing along.
Next was a special treat for the PNC crowd: the live debut of the band’s newest single, “Motion Sickness!” It was the first time the guys had played this song live and after it was over, Barlow quipped, “Well, that went better than expected!” and the crowd agreed. Their set closed out with “Where Do We Go When We Go,” leaving no doubt that Neck Deep put on one of the best sets of the day. Informing the crowd that they would be back in town very soon – and hinting to watch for upcoming tour dates – Neck Deep made their fans quite happy with their PNC performance.
Bouncing back over to the Journeys Left Foot Stage – where Ohio is for lovers – we found Hawthorne Heights about to rock the stage as the clock struck 4:35 PM. Vocalist JT Woodruff, Guitarist Mark McMillon, Bassist Matt Ridenour, and Touring Drummer Christopher Popadak were ready to take the stage and perform their “old shit” for the die-hard Hawthorne Heights fans in attendance. In fact, before a single note was played, Woodruff thanked the audience for coming out to catch their set and promised that their older material would not be in short supply.
Woodruff did not lie! The majority of the band’s set came from their first two albums, If Only You Were Lonely and The Silence in Black and White. Starting off with “This Is Who We Are,” “Pens And Needles,” and “Niki FM,” Woodruff urged the crowd to help sing-along, and fans did just that at the very top of their lungs. Ending the set with one of their most beloved songs, “Ohio Is For Lovers,” Woodruff sang at the barricade and got up-close-and-personal with the fans. It was the perfect touch to a perfect set.
Back on the Journeys Right Foot stage was another band that formed in 2012 and hail from Ohio: Beartooth. Kicking off the evening hours, Vocalist Caleb Shomo, Guitarists Taylor Lumley and Kamron Bradbury, Bassist Oshie Bichar, and Drummer Connor Denis wasted no time and played no games, immediately storming onto the stage with “Body Bag,” “Aggressive,” and “Sick of Me.” Crowd surfers were in no short supply, coming in hot and heavy as they attempted to work their way over the barricades and to the front of the stage.
Before the band could begin “The Lines,” Shomo paused to ask the audience to kneel down and then jump into the sky when the song began. As instructed, the crowd propelled themselves skyward as the track blasted off! “In Between” and “Hated” closed out this all-too-short set, and fans who had attended Warped Tour were not disappointed with this exceptional group of Ohioans.
The Acacia Strain
The Acacia Strain held down the fortress that is the Mutant South Stage around 5:30 PM on this sweaty Saturday. Hailing from Massachusetts and formed in 2001, The Acacia Strain play Metalcore/Deathcore and are one of the most senior heavy bands on Warped. From their 2002 debut …And Life Is Very Long to the brand new Gravebloom, The Acacia Strain have seen various lineup changes throughout their 16-year career with Vocalist Vincent Bennett as the only constant.
Taking the stage and appearing to be fresh from a family trip to Walmart, The Acacia Strain – clad in matching day-glo shorts – left no room for disagreement. From the first pummeling chords of “The Hills Have Eyes,” the crowd was enraptured. Equally abrasive and beloved, “Holy Walls Of The Vatican” saw Bennett prowling about the stage like a cougar stalking prey. Before proceeding with the set, he opted to spend a moment chatting candidly with the crowd. Proclaiming New Jersey as the “armpit of America,” Bennett clearly missed out on the notice that NJ-ites are deeply proud of their home state. Fortunately, the crowd loved The Acacia Strain and all was forgiven as the band launched full-throttle into vicious “The Beast.”
Prowling and working the entire stage to his fullest, Bennett kept his band moving forward into new track “Bitter Pill.” “Ramirez” – reportedly named for the Night Stalker Richard Ramirez – fired up the crowd, keeping heads banging for the completely incendiary follow-up “Whoa! Shut It Down.” Guitarists Devin Shidaker and Tom “The Hammer” Smith, Jr. soared on “4×4,” before leading the band into the animalistic closing number “JFC.” The Acacia Strain’s uncompromising heaviness makes them somewhat of a stand-out on this Warped Tour line-up, and yet, unsurprisingly, they continue to be a crowd favorite. All hail the heavy!
Over at the Journeys Left Foot Stage, Massachusetts native Sammy Adams was ready to shake things up and blend some Hip Hop into this seemingly heavy Warped Tour. Kicking things off with “We Are the Ones,” Sammy moved across the stage frantically to get the crowd going. As one of the rare solo acts on the tour, Adams seemed fully aware that he would have to bring exponentially more energy to get his fans pumped.
“Driving Me Crazy” and “Fall Back” were up next and he joined fans at the barricade with a bottle of water, hosing them down to help keep them cool. Adams finished his set with “Coast 2 Coast” and the fan favorite “I Hate College.” Overall, he provided a refreshing, middle of the day set for the hot PNC crowd, and a refreshing break from all the moshing that was going on that day.
Counterparts come from up in Canada, eh. Deemed a Hardcore Punk band – but perhaps closer to the early 2000s Metalcore scene – they formed in 2007. The band has released four discs to date – from 2010’s Prophets to 2015’s Tragedy Will Find Us – with their fifth full-length, You’re Not You Anymore, due in September.
Taking the Mutant North Stage at 6PM, Counterparts were met with a massive sea of fans. Vocalist Brendan Murphy – clad in a killer It Dies Today tee – led the band into brand new “Bouquet,” off their upcoming album. Blistering and energetic, Counterparts demanded that everyone in attendance embrace their performance. Hardcore “Stranger” led to the equally heavy attack of “Witness.” The crowd embraced Murphy’s growls and the melodic guitar-work of Adrian Lee on “Outlier,” while continuing to groove through new track “Thieves.”
Amping up to the blistering “Choke,” Murphy worked the stage as his bandmates chased circles around one another musically. Counterparts impressed themselves upon Jersey with their closing offerings, the aggressive “Burn” and the melancholic “The Disconnect.” Hugely popular with the Warped Tour crowd, Counterparts are clearly doing something right!
CKY (Camp Kill Yourself ) hail from West Chester, Pennsylvania. Formed in 1998, the trio – Vocalist/Guitarist Chad I Ginsburg, Bassist Matt Deis, and Drummer Jess Margera – perform Rock music that blends in Electronic elements, creating a unique sound that is wholly their own. With nineteen years and five studio albums to their credit – including 2017’s superb The Phoenix – CKY are no strangers to the road or Warped Tour.
Taking the stage before a massive crowd – one of the largest of the day – CKY launched into “The Human Drive In Hi-Fi,” a fun blend of disco beats alongside hard-driving hooks off their 1999 debut, Volume 1. Bass-heavy groover “Sporadic Movement” highlighted the talents of Deis. Pausing for a moment to schmooze with the massive crowd, Ginsburg noted that the band had not performed on Warped Tour in over seventeen years, which met with explosive cheers. This all served to segue the threesome into arguably their biggest hit, “Flesh Into Gear,” from 2002’s epic release Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild.
Keeping their groove-rich set going, CKY tackled the dark grind of “Rio Bravo,” new single “Replaceable,” and the much beloved, meandering rocker “Escape From Hellview.” This trio of songs served to prepare the crowd for a raucous cover of GG Allin’s “Bite It, You Scum.” They ended on a high with “96 Quite Bitter Beings,” a fan favorite. Start to finish, New Jersey loved CKY!
The UK’s Creeper are clearly making a name for themselves here in The States. Formed in 2014 and accruing a dedicated fan-base ever since, Creeper are a delicious blend of old-school AFI, the very best of Alkaline Trio, and the theatricality of, say, Meat Loaf. Their debut full-length, Eternity, In Your Arms, is not to be missed!
Clearly New Jersey is attuned to what’s hot, because they turned out in droves to see this band from across the pond. Silken banners waved and the set turned into a massive sing-along as Will Gould and his merry misfits – clad in their trademark black and purple – launched into the anthemic “Hiding With Boys.” “Our love is dead” was the rally call that led the group into “Poison Pens,” propelling the pogo-ing band into “Black Mass,” off their 2016 The Stranger EP. Another older track, “The Honeymoon Suite” – off 2015’s The Callous Heart EP – was met with ecstatic approval from the large crowd. What should be considered the band’s biggest hit, to date, is the sing-along inspiring “Suzanne,” a delicious blend of old-school Warped Tour meets 2017.
Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end and Creeper began to wind their set down with the upbeat punk of “VCR” – off their 2014 self-titled EP – before ultimately closing on the bittersweet “Misery.” The future for Creeper is bedazzled in purple and black lace finery.
Taking the Mutant South Stage at 7:35 PM was Ontario, Canada’s Silverstein. Since their inception in 2000, Silverstein has released a total of eight studio albums and three EPs and, with all this under their belts, the band were ready to give the PNC crowd a dose of what Silverstein has had to offer throughout the years. Together, Silverstein took the stage and the crowd went wild, knowing fully-well that they were in for a treat.
Kicking things off with “Retrograde,” “Face of the Earth,” and “Smile In Your Sleep,” the guys in Silverstein were pumped to make their long awaited set well worthwhile. Vocalist Shane Told worked the crowd, feeding off their energy as he gave it right back to the fans. He paused to thank the crowd for sticking around on this particularly hot day to catch their set, before moving the show onward. Silverstein closed out their set with “Massachusetts” and huge crowd-favorite “My Heroine.”
Holding down the fort over on the Mutant North Stage, Arizona-based Blessthefall had been waiting all day to take the stage and impress the Jersey crowd. Full of energy, Blessthefall launched themselves onto the stage like a storm.
Lead Vocalist Beau Bokan did not stand still for one moment while “Hollow Bodies,” “Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Want,” and “Young Bloods” played. Between jumping around the stage, climbing across the stage, and making his way to the barricade, Bokan was ready to provide the PNC crowd with the Rock show that they came for. Every time Bokan made his way to the barricade, swarms of fans launched themselves at the barricade in return; attempting to reach out and touch their Rock idol.
At one point, Security even urged fans to come closer, prodding, “Let’s go! Get up here!” Closing out their raucous and fun set with “Dear Air” and “You Wear A Crown But You’re No King,” Blessthefall had put on one hell of a set that was absolutely worth the wait.
No strangers to the stage, GWAR were ready to close out the Mutant South Stage at around 8:35 PM. Formed in 1984 in Virginia, GWAR have been giving fans of theirs – and of heavy music – something to talk about for the last three decades.
Walking onto the stage to the sounds of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” a human-like figure arose to amp up the crowd. Moments later, the aliens known as GWAR took the stage to ecstatic cheers of “More blood, more blood!”
As the entire band climbed onto the stage, the head was chopped off of the human-life figure and blood began to rain from the sky! Fans at the barricades loved every second of it as the photographers in the pit ducked and dodged to avoid the steady stream of red that was soaking the earth. “Saddam A Go-Go,” “Hail Genocide,” and “Fuck This Place” had the crowd singing at the top of their lungs as GWAR kept the entertainment going non-stop from start to finish. Ending their set with “Bring Back the Bomb” and a cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It),” the stream of red turned to blue and all of GWAR’s fans walked away soaked to the bone in a plethora of shades.
Our Last Night
Closing out the Journeys Right Foot Stage at 9:05 PM were New Hampshire natives Our Last Night. Known for their fabulously fun covers, this Rock band have been in the music game since 2004. Eager to go, the band took the stage to a sea of fans who had waited out in the hot July heat all day just to catch a glimpse of their set.
Starting things off with “Broken Lives,” the band quickly moved into fan-favorite “Same Old War” and then “Prisoners.” With massive energy, it was clear that Our Last Night was here to put on a show that was worth waiting for! With the stage lit up and fog machines working overtime, the production for Our Last Night’s set was something worth seeing, for sure.
Vocalist Trevor Wentworth played to the crowd’s energy and even made a few appearances at the barricades to sing-along with his fans. Original track “Tongue Ties” as well as a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” were next on the setlist, and both were met with massive crowd approval. Closing out their triumphant set with “Common Ground” and “Sunrise,” Our Last Night had absolutely provided one of the best sets of the day and had left their fans happily sated!
When it was all said and done, 2017’s Vans Warped Tour stop at PNC Bank Arts Center was one for the ages. Filled with a diverse mix of music, like in years past, Warped Tour regulars left the grounds with more than a few new favorite bands.