VANS WAPRED TOUR – PNC Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ – 7/14/18
Review & Pictures: Tara Lakatos
I caught the Vans Warped Tour in Homdel, NJ at the PNC Arts Center on July 14, 2018. 2018 is the last year for this touring, mega festival, which will come to an end on August 5th in West Palm Beach, Florida. After 24 years founder Kevin Lyman announced this past November that he would be closing out the festival after this summer. Warped Tour has been a summer staple for emo kids around the country, and launched the careers of many bands including Blink-182 and My Chemical Romance.
This was another ordinary summer day near the Jersey Shore, 96 degrees and 100% humidity. I have the ultimate respect for every one of these bands that played, and those playing the rest of this festival in these blazing temperatures. The Warped Tour rolled into New Jersey with 7 Stages and over 70 bands. The festival kicked off at 11 AM and shut down around 9 PM. I managed to catch 17 of these bands throughout the day while running between stages.
This Wild Life
This Wild Life are Kevin Jordan (vocals, guitar), Anthony Del Grosso (vocals, guitar, drums)
This Wild Life started in 2010 as a four-piece band and changed to a two-piece acoustic act in 2013. They have fun filled songs that are bright and bouncy just as the brightly colored stage props and guitars would suggest. They are definitely a band to listen to when you need a bit of your spirit to be uplifted.
Reel Big Fish
Reel Big Fish are Aaron Barrett (lead vocals, keys/synthesizers, guitar), John Christianson (trumpet, backing vocals), Derek Gibbs (bass, backing vocals), Matt Appleton (saxophone, backing vocals), Billy Kottage (trombone, backing vocals), Edward Larsen (drums)
Reel Big Fish are a ska punk band from California that came onto the scene in the early 90’s. Their songs are swing based, catchy dance tunes. Their show definitely makes you dance, and apparently at Warped Tour; it also makes you mosh and crowd surf. In my opinion horns are way under utilized in mainstream music these days, they really make songs pop.
Dayseeker are Rory Rodriguez (lead vocals), Gino Sgambelluri (guitar), Mike Karle (drums), Ramone Valerio (bass)
Dayseeker unlike the first two acts I caught, are hardcore metal. This is what people will remember about Warped Tour, the diversity. Within the same hour I was able to catch an acoustic duo, a ska band and a metal band. This was my first-time hearing Dayseeker, even though they have been around since 2012. I was really impressed by Rory’s vocals and the bands overall sound, they will be added to my playlist for sure.
Senses Fail are James “Buddy” Nielsen (lead vocals) Gavin Caswell (guitars, vocals) Greg Styliades (bass), Jason Millbank (guitar), Steve Carey (drums)
Senses Fail are one of the hometown heroes to hit the stage, hailing locally from Ridgewood, New Jersey. They are billed as a post hardcore band but they are very much a punk band and feel like their peers in Blink-182. They are melodic and fit perfectly within the Warped Tour demographic.
Motionless In White
Motionless In White are Chris Motionless (vocals), Ricky Horror (guitar), Ryan Sitkowsi (guitar), TJ Bell (bass) Vinny Mauro (drums)
Motionless In White are one of my personal favorites on this tour. I have been lucky enough to photograph and review two of their shows in the past year. They always put on a great show. It was definitely different to see them in the daylight; it was like Dracula coming to lunch instead of a midnight rendezvous.
Twiztid formed in 1997 and released their debut album in 1998. To date they have released 11 studio albums and 8 EP’s. They are a hardcore/hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan. Jaime and Paul came out on stage and started blazing rhymes. Not what I had expected at Warped Tour, but it really seems to be a melting pot of musical genres; at this festival there was a little something for everyone to enjoy. Hip hop is not my preferred genre, but I found their set entertaining, particularly with the drummer in the back holding down their beats.
Makeout are Scott Boxold (vocals, guitar), Tyler Young (guitar), Jake Nathaniel (bass), Scott Eckel (drums)
Makeout started out in 2012 as a band named Trophy Wives. They won the Battle of the Bands in 2014 and played 9 dates on the 2015 Warped Tour. In 2017 they were signed to Rise Records and changed their name to Makeout. They are a pure punk band with their heartbeat coming from the drums.
Fat Heaven are Travis Yablon (vocals, guitar), Jack Counce (bass), Gayla Brooks (drums)
Fat Heaven are based out of Brooklyn, NY and have one full-length album, “Tough Luck” released in 2016. They are a 3 piece punk band that has more pronounced baselines than most other bands on the tour. They also have a kickass, fierce female drummer that I always love to see.
Hatebreed are Jamey Jasta (vocals), Chris Beattie (bass), Wayne Lozinak (guitar), Frank Novinec (guitar), Matt Byrne (drums)
Hatebreed is a hardcore/metal band out of Connecticut that formed in 1994. They have released 7 studio albums to date and are regulars on hard rock and metal festivals throughout the world. They were definitely one of the heaviest bands of the day. Jamey’s demonic vocals filled the dense air throwing the crowd into one big party. Every person was jumping in unison while trying to move crowd surfers along. They probably could have used a few more security guards during this set to catch all of the bodies. Jamey, while thrashing out vocals was one of my favorites to watch, he literally had the biggest, cheesiest smile on his face for most of the set.
Simple Plan are Pierre Bouvier (vocals), Jeff Stinco (guitar), Sebastien Lefebvre (guitar, vocals), David Desrosiers (bass, vocals), Chuck Cameau (drums)
Simple Plan are out of Montreal, Canada. Their debut studio album was released in 2002 and have released 4 other albums since. They have played on Warped Tour 9 times since 1999. Simple Plan put on one of the most energetic sets of the bands that I was able to catch. They spent plenty of time catching air and the hearts of their diehard fans.
Bowling For Soup
Bowling For Soup are Jaret Reddick (vocals/guitar), Chris Burney (guitar, vocals), Erik Chandler (bass, vocals), Gary Wiseman (drums, vocals)
Bowling For Soup is a rock band out of Texas that hit the scene in 1994 with their self-titled debut album. They are probably best known for their song “1985″, which is actually a cover, originally written and performed by SR-71. Their set was super fun; guitarist Chris Burney is great to watch. He has some fantastic dance moves to go along with his playing. Gary’s bass drum head reads; Bowling For Soup Is Still a Band ?!. The answer is yes they are and they are still as good as ever.
Falling In Reverse
Falling In Reverse are Ronnie Radke (vocals), Derek Jones (guitar), Max Georgiev (guitar), Tyler Burgess (bass), Brandon Richter (drums), Zakk Sandler (keys/guitar)
Falling In Reverse is a rock band out of Las Vegas. Their debut album was released in 2012 and they have been a Warped Tour staple for many years. Ronnie and Derek are the longest running members of the band; they seem to have a revolving door on lead guitarists, bassists and drummers. I have seen Max play in two other bands in the past year; he’s very talented so I hope he finds a permanent home.
The Amity Affliction
The Amity Affliction are Joel Birch (unclean vocals), Ahren Stringer (clean vocals, bass), Dan Brown (guitar, vocals), Casey McHale (drums)
The Amity Affliction was formed in Gympie, Australia in 2003 although their debut album didn’t drop until 2008. I was super stoked to hear them play my favorite song “All F***ed Up” of their 2016 release “This Could Be Heartbreak”. Having two vocalists sets The Amity Affliction apart from other metal bands. Most have one vocalist that pulls double duty with unclean and clean vocals. Having two separate vocalists allows the band to layer vocals live without the use of tracks. Ahren’s clean vocals are absolutely superb and they blend perfectly with the roughness of Joel’s. They are a must see if you are planning on hitting one of the remaining dates on this tour.
Tonight Alive are Jenna McDougall (vocals), Jake Hardy (guitar), Cam Adler (bass), Matt Best (drums)
Tonight Alive Anyone that knows me, knows that I love female vocalists, so needless to say I was so happy to be able to see Tonight Alive in concert. They are an Australian rock band that formed in 2008 and released their debut album in 2011. Jenna is 100% sass and that takes total command of the stage and her adoring audience. Tonight Alive has an upbeat, pop infused style. I can’t really compare them to any other female fronted bands, and that is a good thing. They are also a must see on this tour.
STATE CHAMPS are Derek DiScanio (vocals), Tyler Szalkowski (guitar), Tony Diaz (guitar), Ryan Graham (bass), Evan Ambrosio (drums)
STATE CHAMPS are a pop/punk band formed in Albany, NY in 2010. They just dropped a new album in time for Warped Tour titled “Living Proof”. For me they were good but there wasn’t much that set them apart from the other punk bands on the bill. Everything about them was solid, but nothing original.
Mayday Parade are Derek Sanders (vocals), Alex Garcia (guitar), Jeremy Lenzo (bass), Jake Bundrick (drums)
Mayday Parade are a rock band based out of Florida. They released their sixth studio album Sunnyland in April, just in time to play new material for the last Warped Tour. This was my first time seeing Mayday Parade and I was super impressed. I think Derek had the best vocals of the day; he was just himself and not trying to copy anyone else’s style. The crowd sang back every lyric and reached out in appreciation. They were a great band to start the closeout of the evening.
Four Year Strong
Four Year Strong are Alan Day (lead vocals, guitar), Dan O’Connor (lead vocals, guitar), Joe Weiss (bass, vocals), Jake Massucco (drums)
Four Year Strong formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 2001. They released a few EP’s prior to their debut studio album “It’s Our Time” in 2005. Four Year Strong delivered one of the heavier punk sets of the day, while most fans had run out of steam by this time, there were still plenty of crowd surfers to be found. This band mix punk music and intermittent hardcore vocals to accomplish something a little different than your average punk band. If you like the heavier side of punk they are definitely a band to check out on this tour.