If it weren’t for the Vans Warped Tour, I wouldn’t be writing this piece. Aside from the fact that there needs to be an event worth writing about to be able to write about said event, I wouldn’t have as much of a passion for the music that I listen to if it weren’t for all of those early years of attending Warped. All of that goes to show that Warped holds a special place in the heart of many people all spread throughout the country who share a passion for music.
Without further ado, here’s what I have!
Traffic was a real pain throughout the Miami and West Palm area. It ended up taking so much longer to get to the venue than I could’ve imagined, and by the time I got there, it was already close to 12 pm. Yikes. So I then jetted around to the press trailer, went through all of the check in procedures and formalities, then stepped outside to one of music’s premiere festival tours.
First up was A Loss for Words, the pop-punk band that could. I need to add that by the time I got to see the Boston, MA group perform, it was already considerably late into their set, as they were just finishing off their second to last song before closing with “Wrightsville Beach”. The band set it off with the South Florida crowd, and they set it off well.
Before making my way to the Monster Energy stage to see Man Overboard perform for an unreal crowd, I stopped to catch up with my good friends at American Dance Party, a non-profit that sells sweatshop-free clothing and puts the profit towards feeding the homeless community in Central Florida. After our quick conversation, I went on over to see MO play through a hit-packed set, complete with all of the typical pop-punk frills. One of my favorite highlight’s of the show was when a fight began brewing in the middle of the pit, and the band’s bass player/vocalist Nik replied with something along the lines of “C’mon guys, we’re a pop-punk band, we only sing songs about girls and smoking weed. You don’t have any reason to get that aggressive”… classic.
Afterwards, I made a few more rounds around the venue, while making sure to catch up with various friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in months. Somewhere along the line, I stopped at the Ourstage.com stage to watch a folk punk band called Everymen perform for around 30 people. In spite of the low attendance, the band really knew how to have a good time with the crowd to the point that there were more than a few moments of conversation between the crowd and the musicians on stage. It was intimate, but in the least awkward way possible.
Fast forward a half hour later, and I went to the Ernie Ball stage to watch June Divided play a set. For those wondering as to how I came across a small pop rock group from Philadelphia, I stumbled across the band a few months ago at the Florida Music Fest, and they didn’t disappoint me to any capacity. If you want to be “in the know” about a soon to be up-and-comer, I would recommend these guys (and girl).
After JD, I made my way to the acoustic basement tent in hopes of running into Koji before his set so that I could put together an interview for later, and what do you know? It worked. Before Koji took the stage, I got to watch Owen Plant wrap up his set with a cover of Bob Marley’s “One Love”, which I think was a perfect fit for a smaller shaded tent at Warped Tour. So back to Koji, I’ve never been more impressed with the turnout for a band that I’ve never seen before until I watched Koji play to a packed out tent. A good chunk of that crowd may have only been there for the shade, but based on the crowd’s reactions at the end of the show, they were sold.
By the time I was done with both of my interviews for the day, I stumbled into A Loss for Words again, this time, at the acoustic tent. I have to say, their songs transition well in an acoustic setting. Sure there isn’t any room for hardcore dancing or anything of the sort, but they still hold a lot of the appeal that you think they would lose from playing unplugged.
I had a quick phone call to take after that, but the next thing that I did was run over towards the Monster Energy Stage to watch For Today absolutely tear it up. Sure I was already a couple songs late to their set, but that didn’t stop me from taking a few pictures and enjoying the show. I need to hand it to the band, Immortal was one of my biggest disappointments of the summer of 2012, but their live show most certainly wasn’t. It could’ve been all chance, but I heard the best sound mix of the entire festival coming from their set.
Sometimes, you need to take a break from the action to find some food and friends. The lines were WAY too long, and surprisingly, West Palm didn’t have any Cuban Sandwiches for sale, which was a rare occurrence. Before heading back in for another round of shows, I took a trip to Larry g(EE)’s merch tent and chatted with the guys for a bit.
I’ve heard way too much about Fireworks over the last couple of years to miss their show, so I made it a point to watch the band’s full set, and it was by far one of my favorite “pop-punk” performances of my time at West Palm. Would I really call Fireworks pop punk? Not completely, but most would consider them as a pop punk band. There was a whole other level of musicianship brought out on that stage. I really can’t remember the last time that I’ve heard any slide guitar accompany gang vocals.
To cap off the night, I got to hear New Found Glory play to (essentially) their hometown, which was totally surreal once you include all of the stops that they pulled to make for a memorable performance. Sure the crowd wasn’t the same size as A Day to Remember’s home state crowd from 2011, but beggars can’t be choosers. NFG busted out a shirt cannon towards the middle of their set, and even played a couple gems out of the 5-piece’s early catalogue that frontman Jordan Pundik claimed were exclusive for West Palm. By the time the final chords “My Friends Over You” rang through the ears of the hundreds, if not thousands of people, it was all history.