For some people, The Vans Warped Tour might just relate to a lyric from a Blink 182 song (c.f. ‘The Rock Show’) however in its 23 years, the Warped Tour has made a name for itself for pioneering up and coming artists before they hit the big time. Supporting music from all genres, Warped has given a platform to the likes of Katy Perry, Machine Gun Kelly and Paramore. At the Wantagh, Long Island date it is clear to see the diversity in genres from the outset and throughout. This year’s lineup is no different, from the expected pop-punk elements all the way to hip hop, there’s something for everyone.
Split onto seven stages, the tour sets up and takes down in different locations every day (or every other day). The sheer production of the day is impressive – no doubt there is a crazy amount of work every day but by time the doors open there is a real sense of calm. With this touring style, the sense of community is palpable – with people from all different tents having fun with each other, to the bands just casually strolling around the festival site, it really feels a bit surreal.
On the Journeys Right Foot Stage, Andy Black proves himself in his solo act. Also known as being the frontman of Black Veil Brides, he is on the Warped Tour for the first time on his own, although he carries it off as if it’s what he’s been doing the whole time. With the likes of We Don’t Have To Dance and They Don’t Need To Understand showcasing his ability to capture a crowd, Andy Black’s vocals and showmanship are impressive. The audience is quite literally wrapped around his little finger – all it takes is for him to smile and the crowd erupts.
Neck Deep follow on the same stage. Changing up the pace slightly, the Welsh pop-punk five-piece bring what they do best – a collection of fiery anthems and are, as always, a joy to watch. From start to finish the energy never falls, they assure the crowd that they will be back to “play the slow ones” soon. A short set only allows for so much dynamism. Opening on ‘Gold Steps’ the band immediately take ownership of the stage and in their short set, the band raise anticipation for their upcoming album, ‘The Peace and the Panic’.
Dance Gavin Dance have known their fair share of drama over the years, but their performance today shows a band that are standing strong together. From start to finish their set shows harmony and cooperation and more than that, they all seem to be genuinely having fun on stage. With new song Summertime Gladness showing that the group still have so much to offer, their unique sound really makes them stand out. Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson’s mixture of unclean and clean vocals respectively, works (seemingly) effortlessly well.
Over on the Full Sail University stage, Boston Manor put on a show to rival any of the bands on the bill. The sheer energy that the five-piece present as they perform the likes of Cu and closing on Laika is captivating.
On the Mutant South Stage, Silverstein give the audience a mixture of new material as well as the absolute classics like Smile In Your Sleep and My Heroine that show nostalgia at its finest – also proving that they’re songs that age well and more than fit in with the vibe of the current festival line up.
All in all the day is a success. There may be some acts that are weird, some that are wonderful and some that are both these things. It’s easy to fall upon an act that may not be your thing here, but it’s just as easy to walk one stage over and find something that will suit you. If there’s one negative it’s something that you’re already aware of before you even go – in order to get this amount of talent on the road, artists have relatively short set times. With some as short as 20 minutes there can be a sense that it’s slightly rushed – just as the band and/or crowd is warming up, it’s over. But, if the only complaint is that you want to see more, The Vans Warped Tour is doing alright.