Festival Review + Photos: Vans Warped Tour at The Fairplex (Pomona, CA)

Vans Warped Tour
Chiodos (Davison, MI), Hands Like Houses (Canberra, Australia), The Story So Far (Walnut Creek, CA), Stick To Your Guns (Orange County, CA), Bring Me The Horizon (Sheffield, UK), Never Shout Never (Joplin, MO), Goldfinger (Los Angeles, CA), The Ataris (Anderson, IN), Blessthefall (Phoenix, AZ), The Wonder Years (Philadelphia, PA), August Burns Red (Lancaster, PA), Sleeping With Sirens (Orlando, FL), We Came As Romans (Detroit, MI), The Early November (Hammonton, NJ), and Black Veil Brides (Hollywood, CA).
June 21st, 2013
The Fairplex in Pomona, CA

The annual Vans Warped Tour stopped by lucky Pomona, CA twice this year for two days of sun, sunblock, lemon slushies, and of course music.  My kid sister Melanie and I headed out to The Fairplex on the second day with my camera and a huge bottle of sunscreen ready and willing to party.

The first band of the day for us was Chiodos.  Craig Owens is back and better than ever. Even in the midst of the midday heat Chiodos killed their set and made the crowd go especially crazy when they played “There’s No Penguins In Alaska,” “The Words Best Friend Become Redefined,” and “Baby You Wouldn’t Last A Minute On The Creek.”  They even treated the crowd to a new song called “Expensive Conversations In Cheap Hotels.” I personally can’t wait for their new album to drop next year.

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The second band of the day was Australia’s own Hands Like Houses.  This band has been creating quite the buzz since their tour with Pierce the Veil last year.  These guys are quite the ball of energy live and are definitely worth you checking them out either live or recorded if you haven’t yet.

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The Story So Far was a band on a lot of people’s ‘Must Watch’ list.  I totally understand why.  They put on a fantastic show.  They have a fan base that meets if not at times exceeds the energy the band puts out.  It is obvious they love what they are doing and that is what it’s all about.

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Stick To Your Guns was a band on my ‘Must Watch” list.  I had heard some awesome things about their live show and was glad I got to see it for myself.  In particular I really liked when vocalist Jesse Barnett spoke about looking inward instead of blaming your issues on others.  It sounds simple enough but it’s amazing how some will prefer to point a finger than take the blame.  Then they band melted the whole crowd’s faces right off. BOOM.

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Everyone’s favorite UK lads Bring Me The Horizon were another band on everyone’s ‘Must See’ list.  They must have had the biggest crowd of any band I saw that day.  They were also the band my kid sister was most excited to see.  The band started their set off with “Shadow Moses” off their last record Sempiternal.  They ended up playing 7 songs total and finished with “Antivist.” The crowd was nuts and had every right to be.  Bring Me The Horizon played excellently.  I would definitely see these guys play again.

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Never Shout Never is one of the happiest bands I saw at Warped Tour.  From constantly complementing the crowd, to encouraging hip swaying, and songs about having crushes, coffee, and cigarettes while looking on the brighter side -what’s not to love about Never Shout Never?

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Los Angeles’ own Goldfinger put on one of the best and funnest shows I saw this year.  They were perfect.  I don’t even know what else to say they were so awesome.  Basically, if you’re not seeing Goldfinger on Warped Tour this year you’re wrong.

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The Ataris are a band I remembered fondly from my middle school days but never really got further than that.  I made sure to make time to watch their set for nostalgia purposes.  They totally played “Boys of Summer” and they totally changed the words to “after the boys of Warped Tour have gone.” It was magical.

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Blessthefall is a band on the verge of a breakthrough.  You’ll definitely be hearing more of them in the next few months as they have a record due out in August.  They were one of the funnest bands I saw at this year’s Warped Tour. Keep your eye on these guys in the near future.

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The Wonder Years is a gem of a band and one you should definitely catch this year or anywhere if they’re playing near you.

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August Burns Red was a band I made sure to see live.  These guys put on a performance you can’t help but watch.  SO GOOD. I had heard a lot about the band’s vocalist Jake Luhrs non-profit HeartSupport that he brought out on Warped Tour for the first time.  HeartSupport aims to encourage, inspire, and bring comfort to those who are struggling or going through hard times. He is meeting with fans at the HeartSupport tent daily to speak about his personal struggles and to hear the stories of those willing to share them. .  Luhrs has called upon other artists like Austin Carlile from Of Mice & Men, and Stephen Christian from Anberlin among others.  This year his partner in crime is Beau Bokan from Blessthefall.

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Sleeping With Sirens was another ‘must see’ band for the day. They started their set with “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” a classic for the band. Along with older songs they made sure to include songs off their recent release, Feel. It was impressive to see their fans sing every single word since their album was released earlier this month. Their newer material has a more soulful vibe to it but was received with the same enthusiasm as songs like “If You Can’t Hang” and “A Trophy Father’s Trophy Son.”

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We Came As Romans wins the award for having the most people on stage at a time.  The 6 member group killed their set and even got a visit from Goldinger’s vocalist John Feldmann -way cool!

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The Early November was probably the band I wanted to see the most at this year’s Warped Tour.   After seeing Ace Enders perform with his other project I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business countless times on the Copeland Farewell Tour in 2010 (a moment of silence please…yes, I’m still not over Copeland breaking up) I knew his set was going to be killer.  It totally was.  Anything Ace Enders is involved in is a good idea.  Plus, The Early November are behind some of my favorite jams ever. MY HEART, MY HEART YOU GUYS.  Find the time to see The Early November this summer. You won’t regret it.

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Black Veil Brides was a band I was curious to see this summer.  I had heard a lot about their stage show but never saw it for myself.  These guys definitely put on a performance worth watching.  Their shows are definitely reminiscent of those older rock n’ roll type shows.  I half expected explosions coming out of their guitars or something.  Nothing exploded though, except people’s brains in the front row from all the awesome.

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As the day came to an end I noticed the ridiculous sunburn across the bridge of my nose and the killer sunburn on my sister’s back.  We were exhausted, we were hungry but most importantly we were happy. Warped Tour 2013 was an awesome way to spend the first day of summer.

Thoughts?

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