Warped 25 Years: Locations Announced

Following the announcement that 2018 would be the last cross-country run, the Vans Warped Tour headed out for a final summer of music, philanthropy, and community.

Looking back on it now, Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman shares, “It was truly an honor to do a final cross-country run of Warped in 2018; to see fans from all eras of the tour come out for a day to celebrate an event that meant so much to them. I walked away from the final show with a true sense that the Vans Warped Tour became the community I had always hoped for.”

Fans can expect the heart of the Warped Tour experience to be intact, but on a much larger scale over 2 full days.  50+ bands across multiple stages, extreme sports ranging from skateboarding to motocross, and an exhibit of art that has come out of the tour’s history.

“With the [Vans Warped Tour] 25th Anniversary events, we want to bring the atmosphere of a classic Warped Tour show, but on a scale that our fans simply could not get with a national tour “ explains Lyman, “The bands, the special attractions, everything – we want to bring back elements that have made the Warped Tour, Warped Tour, over the past 25 years.”

VANS WARPED TOUR 25TH ANNIVERSARY EVENTS:
6.08 • CLEVELAND, OH • ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME
6.29 + 6.30 • ATLANTIC CITY, NJ • ATLANTIC CITY BEACH
7.20 + 7.21 • MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA • SHORELINE AMPHITHEATRE

The individual band lineup and special attractions for each of the Vans Warped Tour presented by Journeys 25th Anniversary events, will be announced Friday, March 1st.  Pre-sales will begin on Monday February 28th and tickets will be available to all on Friday, March 1st.

For many, this announcement comes as no surprise; the Vans Warped Tour 25th Anniversary was eluded to in Lyman’s original statement about the end of the Vans Warped Tour: 

“ ’The enduring spirit of the Vans Warped Tour remains as bright as ever, continuing to inspire creativity and ambition in new and exciting ways as we prepare for a 25th anniversary celebration in 2019.’ ”

For more information, fans can visit – https://fanlink.to/VWT25

JUNE 8 • CLEVELAND, OH • ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME
The Vans Warped Tour has partnered with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to create a special new exhibit, Forever Warped: 25 Years of Vans Warped Tour, celebrating a quarter-century of the iconic traveling music festival. This comprehensive exhibit documents the history of the tour from its inception in 1995 through the final cross-country run in 2018.

Visitors will see artifacts from quintessential Warped bands and breakout artists from the tour’s lengthy run, including instruments played by members of Fall Out Boy, No Doubt, Rancid and Reel Big Fish and stage clothing worn by Joan Jett and Ice-T. The exhibit will also present iconic items from the very first Warped Tour, as well as from 2018’s final touring run. And much more!

On Saturday, June 8th, 2019, the Forever Warped will kick off with a special opening concert featuring bands from across the 24-year history of the tour, a mini vert ramp, and more!

JUNE 29 + 30 • ATLANTIC CITY, NJ • ATLANTIC CITY BEACH
Set to a backdrop of sun, sand and surf, the Vans Warped Tour will celebrate its 25th Anniversary with a special two-day extravaganza on the beach in Atlantic City on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, 2019. Atlantic City will be one of only three cities to host the Warped Tour and the only one on the East Coast.

The Vans Warped Tour’s 25th Anniversary event features 50+ bands across multiple stages over the two-day event, extreme sports ranging from skateboarding to motocross, and an exhibit of Warped Tour art that has come out of the tour’s history.

“We’re thrilled to host the only East Coast celebration of Vans Warped Tour’s 25th Anniversary on the Atlantic City Beach,” said Geoff Gordon, Live Nation Philadelphia Regional President. “Warped Tour was meant to take place on the surf and sand, so we welcome fans from across North America to experience this unforgettable weekend with us in Atlantic City.”

JULY 20 + 21 • MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA • SHORELINE AMPHITHEATRE
After a sold out show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre for the final cross-country run, the Vans Warped Tour makes a triumphant return to the Bay Area for a special 25th Anniversary 2-day event on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21 at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. 

The Vans Warped Tour’s 25th Anniversary event features 50+ bands across multiple stages over the two-day event, extreme sports ranging from skateboarding to motocross, and an exhibit of Warped Tour art that has come out of the tour’s history.

It’s only fitting that Warped Tour would choose the Bay Area’s as it became an instant second home to the event that got its start in the punk community of Southern California.

“I think probably close to half the bands on the first Warped Tour had some tie to the Bay Area,” remembers Lyman, “there was the up-and-coming band The Deftones, and then of course the Fat Wreck [Chords] roster – Good Riddance, No Use For A Name, Face to Face, and Tilt.”

Warped Final Thoughts

Less Than Jake Photo by Henry Chung

I was late to the Warped Tour party: my first one wasn’t until 2012.  No particular reason but I had been perfectly content going to club shows to see 2 or 3 bands at a time. Baking in the hot sun for 10 hours to see abbreviated sets didn’t really interest me.

Chelsea Grin Photo by Henry Chung

I finally relented and saw it as an interesting opportunity to knock out a few interviews and get samplings of a few acts both familiar and new.

State Champs Photo by Henry Chung

In hindsight, that’s exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got.

Unearth Photo by Henry Chung

While some felt that this year’s lineup didn’t acknowledge the earliest years enough, it really is a fair representation of what the tour has evolved into. There are some faces that have never left (Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, come to mind) some long-running acts that never really got a proper run before (Unearth) and the next generation is still being given a big boost (Sharptooth, Doll Skin).  There were some familiar bands who hopped on when they could fit it into their summers.  While this was a nice bonus and led to some last-minute surprises, in many ways, 2018 was just another year of the festival.

Sharptooth Photo by Henry Chung

If anything, this year was one of the least I was able to soak in the actual performances as my interview schedule and the layout made me less mobile.

Ice Nine Kills Photo by Henry Chung

With so many acts that have been on the tour over the years, there was no way to represent everyone and make everyone happy for this final run.  Would the older crowd even turn up for a nostalgia-fest?  Would the kids appreciate the history lesson?  What about the acts that did it for one year, got huge and never returned?  Would focusing only on all of the newest and hottest acts be financially feasible and even capture the spirit of the festival?  If you think about it, there’s really no way to appeal to everyone. It’s been the same argument every year and that’s been one of the most consistent parts of Warped.

Silverstein Photo by Henry Chung

These last seven summers have been truly important to me.  The festival has brought me scorching heat, pouring rain, the chance to see some bands I never thought I’d get to experience, introduced me to some new artists, allowed me to meet and interview some incredible people, made me push through some overwhelming crowds, and walk many, many miles.

Kosha Dillz Photo by Henry Chung

No one knows what the future will bring.  That’s not really important.  What is important is the great memories we have already made and will fondly recall forever.

Motionless In White with Kevin Lyman Photo by Henry Chung

Besides, it’s not like music is going anywhere.  There will always be something to lure us out for a day full of fun.

Doll Skin Photo by Henry Chung

Words by: JJ Ellis
Photos by: Henry Chung

Vans Warped Tour 2018: The End of an Era

For the last 24yrs, the Vans Warped Tour has been been the largest traveling music festival in the United States plus the longest-running touring music festival in North America. Criss-crossing through the US (and the occasional parts of the UK and Australia), It’s been nicknamed the “punk rock summer camp” for veteran bands and those trying to making a name for themselves. The tour is not one for the weak willed. The grueling Summer heat, the traveling, vehicle breakdowns, an ever changing daily schedule, and time away from loved ones would push those to their limits. But for a lot kids (and young adults like me), this tour was a place where you can be yourself and be one with your tribe.

The blow-up schedule for the Camden, NJ stop of the Vans Warped Tour 07/13/2018

This year would be considered the final cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour. Despite what everyone else keeps thinking, the TOURING part is over but not the festival. Who knows what the future may hold for this Summertime staple.

As I made my way through the production halls of the BB&T Pavilion in Camden NJ, a moment of melancholy loomed over me. This is the last time I’ll be getting lost in these halls for Warped. All of the friends I have made over the years in production I might never see again after this. After a moment of clarity, I pushed onward and met up with my writer for my shot list. (NOTE: I was originally collaborating with another outlet but a lot of the interviews that were originally approved ended up being cancelled that morning so I decided to share the coverage here instead.)

Tonight Alive – Photo by Henry Chung

One of the first groups I shot was Tonight Alive. Us here at neostar//media have had a long history with with the band. Some of our first Warped interviews were with various members as they were on the rise. It’s still phenomenal to see how far their careers have soared over the years and they’ve always made time to hang out and talk to us whenever we’d run into each other at shows. This was their 4th time on the tour.

Nekrogoblikon – Photo by Henry Chung

The next group I saw was Nekrogoblikon. There’s been a buzz over the last few months about this band. The crowds were too massive for me to fight my way through so I hopped up on the Monster Energy truck to try and catch a wide shot. This was their first ever run on the Vans Warped Tour.

Wage War – Photo by Henry Chung

Next, I made my way through to catch Wage War. I believe they were on the previous year but I never got a chance to see them until I caught their set during the Self Help Fest last September. Their album ‘Deadweight’ was hands down one of my favorite records of last year. This was also their 2nd Warped Tour run.

Four Years Strong – Photo by Henry Chung

Next up was Four Years Strong. I wasn’t sure what to expect from FYS this summer. Probably a “hits” show since they’ve just released an acoustic record earlier this year Some of You Will Like This, Some of You Won’t so figured they’d just stick with fan-favorites (which they did.) This is their 6th year playing the Vans Warped Tour.

Crown the Empire – Photo by Henry Chung

The buzz around Crown the Empire has been the departure of co-vocalist Dave Escamilla with Andy Leo taking over full vocal duties. You can tell that there was just “something” missing from their performance but over all, I think Andy did a great job. It was almost impossible to get a still shot of him as he kept jumping around on stage. This was their 4th time on the Vans Warped Tour.

We the Kings – Photo by Henry Chung

We the Kings opened their set each day with the crowd singing along to Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” before going right into “Sad Song” and kept the crowd singing along throughout their half-hour set all the way into their closer “Check Yes Juliet.” This was their 6th time on the Vans Warped Tour.

The Amity Affliction – Photo by Henry Chung

Another Australian band that has been making waves this summer was The Amity Affliction. The band has been gearing up to release the sixth studio album, ‘Misery’. This was also their 3rd time on the Vans Warped Tour.

Simple Plan – Photo by Henry Chung

Playing their 12th run on the Vans Warped Tour, the Canadian pop-punk band Simple Plan was also celebrating their 20th anniversary as well.

Falling In Reverse – Photo by Henry Chung

Falling In Reverse are no strangers to the Vans Warped Tour. This will be their 6th time returning to the tour.

Every Time I Die – Photo by Henry Chung

I don’t know what else there is to say about Every Time I Die that hasn’t been said a million times before. They have become a Warped Tour staple over the years, they put on one of the best live shows, and their albums are phenomenal. This is Every Time I Die’s 9th run on the tour.

Hatebreed – Photo by Henry Chung

Hatebreed was a “special guest” on two of the East Coast dates of Vans Warped Tour. Today in Camden, NJ and tomorrow at Holmdel, NJ. In the previous year when I tried to photograph them, but a massive thunderstorm erupted over the skies above us causing us to seek shelter. This year, I finally get redemption. Within the first note, they did not let up. They tore right into old school fan-favorites. The majority of their set leaned more on the hardcore side of their catalog. This is the band’s 3rd time on the Vans Warped Tour.

Senses Fail – Photo by Henry Chung

Earlier this year, Senses Fail released their seventh album titled ‘If There is Light, It Will Find You.’ It was a deeply nostalgic and personal record written by vocalist and sole original member Buddy Nelson. The entire record harkens back to the sing-along feels of their landmark album ‘Let It Enfold You.’ But being around the same age as the singer, a lot of the songs on the new record felt uncomfortably too relatable. From growing up and getting older, dealing with the loss of close ones, and having kids. Just a few songs in, Buddy dedicates the song “Elevator to the Gallows” to his daughter Penelope (seen in the bottom corner along with his wife.) The main highlight of their set was the Nu Metal mashup of System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey”, Drowning Pool’s “Bodies”, Limp Bizkit’s “Break stuff” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” towards the end. This was their 6th year on the Vans Warped Tour.

Motionless In White – Photo by Henry Chung

We’re getting closer to the end now. Closing the Monster Energy White Lightning stage today is our very own Motionless In White. With the recent departure of  longtime bassist Devin “Ghost” Sola, they called in the help of the group’s former guitarist, TJ Bell to fill in for the duration of the tour. This is also the band’s 10th run on the Vans Warped Tour.

Twiztid – Photo by Henry Chung

Now officially finishing the night is Twiztid. I didn’t know what to expect from them. I’ve heard of them and have had friends been fans of them over the years but I knew absolutely nothing about them. But, their stage presence was a pleasant surprise. They came out onstage with a live drummer to be honest, hearing the clean drums with a backing track was a nice relief to the ears after eight straight hours of punishing breakdowns.

So as sad it is that the tour is over. I try NOT to dwell too much on it. In the last two decades, I’ve felt that I have found an identity associated with the tour and the music it encompasses. I have watched as bands begin from playing small stages to filling arenas to becoming household names, from touring in broken down vans to becoming icons. The tour might be over but the music isn’t. If anything, it just opens up doors for others to start their own movement. Summers won’t be the same again after this but in the end, the music will continue.

Words and Photos by: Henry Chung

Punk In Drublic Festival: Philly + Interview with The Last Gang (Ep 83)

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Punk isn’t for kids anymore. Sure, they may have been teens when they heard their first punk records but we all grow up and adulthood claims us all.

When the Punk In Drublic festival came to Philadelphia’s Festival Pier on Mother’s Day, it brought out the 21 and way up crowd to let loose and enjoy a festival of alcohol and music.

PID_Philadelphia_05.13.2018 - Set Times

What could possibly go right?

Rain the previous night and that morning did nothing to deter any of the action and provided sloppy, soggy grounds for all to wade through.

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The Last Gang – Photo by Henry Chung

First up was The Last Gang, a new addition to the Fat Wreck Chords family. The three-piece played an energetic brand of punk rock and largely drew from their debut full-length ‘Keep Them Counting’. More about them later.

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The Mad Caddies – Photo by Henry Chung

Next was The Mad Caddies. Last we heard from them, they put out ‘Dirty Rice’, a collection that showed a lot of maturity and refinement from them while also having some of their catchiest tunes. The horns and ska/reggae was in full-force. They have something new in the pipeline with a covers album called ‘Punk Rocksteady’ due out June 15th. From that, they played a reggae-fied version of Green Day’s “She” slowing things way down while still making it work.

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The Interrupters – Photo by Henry Chung

Continuing the ska-theme was the hardest-working band in America, The Interrupters. Seriously, does anyone know when they sleep? Along with a healthy selection of songs from their two full-lengths (and of course their rendition of Operation Ivy’s “Soundsystem”), they played new single “She’s Kerosine.” This was a great choice for a single as it fits right in with the rest of the set’s energy. Look for their new album ‘Fight The Good Fight June 29th.

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Bad Religion – Photo by Henry Chung

After this, we came to the truly heavy-hitters as Bad Religion came out, starting with “Recipe For Hate.” It was odd seeing a band that should be headlining everything playing while the sun was still out but at this time of year and for an early-starting festival, it is what it is.

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Bad Religion – Photo by Henry Chung

This was my first time seeing the band in a number of years and they have undergone a number of changes. You know Greg Graffin, Jay Bently and Brian Baker are solid, so no worries there. First of all, long-running rhythm guitarist Greg Hetson is out and Mike Dimkich is in. Superstar drummer Brooks Wackerman (who was so instrumental in revitalizing the band) jumped ship for Avenged Sevenfold and Jamie Miller from …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead is in. Regarding these changes…wow. Dimkich’s playing was super tight and precise and Miller, while a different player, was just as impressive as Wackerman. Ultimately, I have never heard the band sound so good. Along with classics like “Atomic Garden” “American Jesus” “Infected” and other expected/hoped for songs, the band gave us a treat. They played ‘Suffer’ in its entirety, straight through for the middle of their set. Actually, they seemed to focus a lot on older material for this event, perhaps a product of not being there to support a new release.

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NOFX – Photo by Henry Chung

Since Fat Mike was the one whose name was tagged as presenting this whole festival, NOFX brought it all home. It went as you would expect/hope a NOFX show would go. Some appropriate alcohol-themed songs made it in “Seeing Double At The Triple Rock” “The Brews” along with some newer numbers early on “Six Years On Dope” “72 Hookers” “I Don’t Like Me Anymore”. The latter portion of the set largely skewed toward older classics (or crassics) Some noteworthy details include a new, slimmed down version of El Hefe and Karina Denike from the Dancehall Crashers helping out on keys. After threatening for much of the day, some rain arrived late in the set but didn’t have much of an effect on anything.

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NOFX – Photo by Henry Chung

Before the night concluded (specifically, between the latter half of the Mad Caddies and the very start of The Interrupters, so actually, rather early in the event) I was happy to be able to sit down with all 3 members of the Last Gang: Brenna Red (Guitar and vocals), Sean Viele (Bass) and Robert Wantland. We talked about Keep Them Counting, their first visit to Philly, working with Cameron Webb and all of the other cool things that arose from that and…..well, just listen. Special thanks to Sean for joining us for the interview despite being on a flight-related time crunch.

Check out the band on www.thelastgang.com, buy their record on Fat Wreck Chords or at least stream it and show them some love. Maybe we can get them back in town.

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Words/ Intervierw: JJ Ellis
Photos: Henry Chung

Fat Mike Presents: Punk in Drublic Craft Beer & Music Festival

When a lot of people think of punk rock shows, they think of loud bands crammed into sweaty little clubs.

As fun as that can be, Fat Mike is bringing something different to town this Spring.

Between May 5th and 20th, six lucky locations will be hosting the Punk In Drublic Beer and Music Festival.

While the lineups may vary by city, we here at Neostar Media (and Decent Exposure Radio!) have our eye on the closest date which just so happens to be in Philly on Mother’s Day.

It’s always a good time when NOFX and Bad Religion come to town.  Plus, they’re bringing along an exciting blend of Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph artists.  The Mad Caddies have been around a long time as well but the next generation is also being ushered in with The Interrupters and The Last Gang.  Bad Cop/Bad Cop are amazing as well but won’t be at the Philadelphia show, unfortunately.

As the title implies, there will be music but also a huge selection of craft beers on hand as the festival seeks to celebrate both.  In a recent announcement, there will be free beer tastings until 4PM, so it might actually be a good idea to arrive early!

If your May is booked solid and if you’re the outdoorsy type, there’s still hope!

June 1st-3rd at Legend Valley in Thornville, OH is Camp Punk In Drublic.  As you can see, it’s a whole weekend full of punk rock goodness.

South Side Arts & Music Festival

Friday, April 20: 6-11:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 21: 2-11:30 p.m.

Throughout South Bethlehem

The SouthSide Arts & Music Festival presented by Capital BlueCross will take place all throughout South Bethlehem and will showcase all of what the SouthSide has to offer including its shops, restaurants and arts venues. In addition to great, live music, the SouthSide Arts & Music Festival showcases visual and performance art in both expected and unexpected places.

The event will consist of a number of free plus tickets events throughout.

Click here for more info.

South Side Arts & Music Festival 2018

Self Help Fest – Philly

Now in it’s fourth year, Self Help Fest returns to the ‘City of Brotherly Love. Setting up camp at Festival Pier, the Penn’s Landing outdoor venue played host to the tour that ‘spreads positivity through music.’

With thirteen artists on the bill, the show was separated into two stages. On the Black Stage: Microwave, Bad Omens, Can’t Swim, Real Friends, and Silverstein. On the Red Stage: The Plot In You, Angel Du$t, Stray From the Path, Wage War, Moose Blood, Falling In Reverse, Underøath, and A Day to Remember. Continue reading “Self Help Fest – Philly”

Preview: Self Help Festival Returns with Dates In Philly, Detroit, Orlando & San Bernardino

For the last few years, A Day to Remember has spearheaded the popular ‘Self Help Festival’ in conjunction with Fly South Music Group and United Talent Agency. They’re mission has always been to spread positivity through music. Previous Self Help Festivals have included acts like Bring Me The Horizon, Of Mice & Men, Memphis May Fire, Stick To Your Guns, Whitechapel, The Ghost Inside, Motionless In White, Crown The Empire, The Wonder Years, August Burns Red, Yealwolf and Chides among others.

Now in it’s 4th year, the festival will make a return to Philadelphia’s Festival Pier as well as include Detroit, Orlando and San Bernardino on it’s itinerary. This year’s lineup will feature: A Day to Remember, Rise Against, Underoath, Pierce The Veil, Falling In Reverse, Moose Blood, Less Than Jake and more (depending on city.)
Continue reading “Preview: Self Help Festival Returns with Dates In Philly, Detroit, Orlando & San Bernardino”

Warped Tour: The Roots and the Radicals

7/7/17

While the last few years of Warped Tour have, to varying degrees, seemed to course-correct the festival’s reputation for chasing the latest trends, 2017 may have hit a high water mark. While different regions had some bands jump on and off (West = Goldfinger, Midwest = The Suicide Machines, for examples), Camden’s lineup was certainly packed with a load of heavy-hitters. There was some of the expected fare for the younger crowd (Attila, New Years Day, Beartooth and personal favorite Dance Gavin Dance, among many others) but veteran acts may have outnumbered the newer ones, which is a shocking change.

Having different experiences at the show, we decided to share both JJ and Henry’s experiences here. Sometimes they’ve crossed streams, and sometimes they were at different parts of the venue.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

JJ: On a side note, this was my first time seeing the event at this location as Scranton is my usual location of choice. While that location has its advantages (my familiarity with the layout, easy and free parking, short lines to get in, and just a generally laid-back experience) this location had its own appeal. After getting the layout figured out (which did take a little while), the navigation here was easier than Scranton as stages were less spaced apart.

Henry: I’ve been to Camden a number of times. In fact, the first few Warped Tours were held at the parking lot of what was Wachovia Spectrum. I think they moved it to Camden back in ’97-’98 and have been setting up here ever since.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

JJ: Anyway, after figuring out where the Hard Rock Stage was, I knew it was where I was going to largely camp out. I made it into the venue in time to see Bad Cop/Bad Cop, one of the bands I was most excited to see, take the stage. They plowed through their set which had a ton of new material from their just-released album Warriors. The new material really blended nicely with their older songs and, if anything, upped the intensity. If you didn’t pick up the CD at their merch tent for only $5, it’s time to start kicking yourself. As good as they are musically, they are even better as people.

Henry: Bad Cop/ Bad Cop was a band I definitely wanted to see. I’ve become a fan ever since seeing them play with Masked Intruder on the 25th Anniversary Fat Wreck Tour. I’ve even forced a few of my friends to watch their set and they loved every second of it!

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: I headed out towards the Mutant North Stage to check out Silent Planet. They’ve been a band that has played a bunch of shows here locally for years but for every chance they were in town, I’d end up missing their sets. I was happy to see that they’ve blown up over the last few years.

JJ:  I wandered inside to the Skullcandy stage to see War On Women as they shouted their message of equality and making concerts safe spaces for everyone. This was followed by Save Ferris next door at the Journey’s Right Foot Stage (the stage placement is one bone I have to pick with this venue). Anyway, SF put on a tight, energetic performance that made everyone in the crowd move even if a lot of them weren’t even alive during the band’s initial run. Now THAT is how you come back bigger than ever. This seemed to an even peppier show than when I saw them in a club earlier in the year. After they finished, I had enough time to get my bearings and plan my next move which was right back to the Hard Rock Stage for….

Municipal Waste! I had never seen them before but it was everything I hoped for with maybe 15 songs being played in 25 minutes. You really get your money’s worth with them. It was nice to see drum-deity Dave Witte in person. A recent addition on second guitar, Nick Poulos really bolstered their attack and maybe it was because I was closer to his side of the stage, but his leads really were highlights of the set. It didn’t hurt that I was able give him a thumbs up and a fist bump later.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: Inside, to tried to cover Memphis May Fire. Literally ever since they’ve been appearing at Warped Tour, for some reason, they always end up playing inside. I hate shooting inside. It’s dark. Very dark.

After a few feeble attempts, I gave up and decided to try and catch The Ataris on the Hard Rock Stage.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: It’s been ages since I’ve seen The Ataris live let alone listen to any releases beyond ‘So Long Astoria’ (sorry, ‘Welcome the Night’ just never did it for me.) The band had just released a new record and is selling it at Bad Cop/ Bad Cop’s tent. No doubt was I curious. One of the highlights of their set was when they finished with the Don Henley cover of “Boys of Summer” and they replaced the line “Out on the road today I saw a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac” with “…Dickeys sticker on a Cadillac” in reference to the band that stirred up controversy earlier on the tour.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: The entire point of Warped Tour is to check out the bands that you’ve never heard of. Going with that notion in mind, I decided to run back inside to check out a Manchester, UK band that was pitched to me called Sonic Boom Six. They had an upbeat ska sound that you can totally skank to (do people even know what “skank” even means anymore!?)

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Photo by: Henry Chung

JJ: After walking around some more, I came back to the Hard Rock Stage to see Sick of It All and….wow. Being familiar with their recorded material forever but never seeing them, these guys may have won the MVP award for the day. Despite being in the game over thirty years, their energy is beyond compare. They have a tight, loud, massive sound live that the early records, for all of the quality of many songs, don’t really capture. It’s hard to imaging them being able to keep that intensity up for an hour, but maybe they can or maybe they just go all out and make the most of their 25 minutes. No matter what, it was impressive and I got to shake frontman Lou Koller’s hand afterward and express my gratitude.

Henry: I’ve been a huge Sick of it All fan ever since I picked up a copy of ‘Scratch the surface.’ It’s weird to think that I was 13yrs old when I bought that. But music has been a rather huge part of my life. The last time I saw them live was literally 20yrs ago at Warped Tour 1997.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: While walking around, I noticed my friend Sean up on the Full Sail University Stage with Courage My Love. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been clueless to the fact that I’ve been conversing with Mercedes Arn-Horn off and on in FB comment threads for a while now. I’ve always just figured she was a friend-of-a-friend amongst my other music industry friends. It was actually rather cathartic to see her on stage performing with her band since I only knew her from chat threads.

JJ: I ventured over to the Journey’s Left Foot Stage (see what I mean about the layout?!) to see CKY. They are local favorites and the entire Margera family came out to introduce the band. After watching them on TV for years, it was a little bit of a thrill. Bam even came out late in the set to sing a G.G. Allen song. The real story is how the band has recalibrated with the departure of frontman Deron Miller. It’s Chad Ginsberg’s voice at the forefront and…the approach is different. Instead of Deron’s smooth croon, Chad has the vocal approach of a stoner-rock dude who just rode into town and is looking for a fight. After a few spins, the new album The Phoenix is a short and sweet tour of a lot of what the band does just with a slightly different approach. They only played one track off of that “Replaceable” but mostly stuck to tracks from Vol. 1 and Infiltrate. Destroy. Rebuild. Everything was enjoyable and the crowd was into it but the performance seemed a little listless. The band and their layers of sounds are probably best-suited to an intimate club.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: I killed a little bit of time right after CYK. I needed to reorganize myself after all the running around I’ve done. I managed to catch up with a few tour friends along the way. Most were complaining about their lack of sleep (something I knew too well after my short stint a few years back). I caught New Years Day‘s performance over at the Journey’s Left Foot Stage. It’s funny. I can recall a time before they became a household name, when the band would hang out in the press area simply out of boredom and would sit-in during interviews.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

JJ: More wandering ensued before circling back to the Hard Rock Stage for the Adolescents. Even though they’ve been at it longer than I have been alive and influenced even the mighty Bad Religion, they were still sharp live. Sure, it’s basically Tony and Steve bolstered by some younger musicians, but those two were always the engine of the band anyway. They had a great new album last year (Manifest Density) and showed that they can keep going as long as they want.

Henry: The Adolescents were one of those bands I just wanted to be able to stand back and enjoy their set. I think the only song any of the younger crowds recognized was “Amoeba” made famous by Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 game that we all obsessed over.

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Henry: Back inside, one of the acts I was looking very forward to was William Control. I’ve seen him perform a number of times and in different configurations. Starting off with “Monster” and “Kiss the Girl”, he addressed the crowd “I know a band with synths is probably the last thing you’d expect to see here today at Warped Tour. But think of us as a bit of repreive. First we’re going to romance you, and then when Beartooth comes out after us, they’re going to fuck you all in the ass!” According to a few old-school Warped attendees, William Control was one of the new acts that they saw and fell in love with. Also worth mentioning was that ‘Revelations: The Red EP’ just came out today and is available at their merch tent for only $5 and is worth every penny!

Unfortunately, I had to run as the band was starting to launch into “Beautiful Monster” as blessthefall was about to start at the other end of the venue.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: After fighting my way through hordes of Warped attendees, I finally made my way to the Mutant North Stage. The sun was starting to set and “golden hour” was upon us. As the band took the stage, frontman Beau Bokan sprayed the crowd with a bottle of Monster’s Mutant soda. I managed to dodge most of the spray but my camera wasn’t so lucky.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

JJ: After this, I made my way over to the Mutant South stage to catch a little of Silverstein’s set. They had gotten a shipment of their new album Dead Reflection in a week early (it was officially released on July 14th) and were selling it at their merch tent. Don’t tell anyone. A few songs in, Beefcake The Mighty “killed” Billy Hamilton and took over on bass for a few songs. I wasn’t able to stick around long because….

Strung Out took the stage at the Hard Rock Stage! I’ve been crossing paths with them a lot over the last few years and as always, good stuff. Vocalist Jason Cruz’s voice sounded stronger than it had the last few times I had seen them and they can really do no wrong in my book.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: By the time Silverstein came on, I was beat. JJ took off to catch Strung Out right after GWAR’s Beefcake The Mighty “killed” Billy Hamilton but missed when him on bass for “Retrograde” and “Still Dreaming.”

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Photo by: Henry Chung

JJ: It was at this point in the day with clouds threatening and giving way to sun for so many hours before, that the rain finally delivered on its threat. A drizzle became a full downpour with gusty winds creating havoc as I tried in vain to put on my poncho. If it was just me, I wouldn’t have minded, but I had signed merch with me and was already down a backpack and pair of earplugs that evening. It was with a heavy heart that I had to miss the band’s last song as I ran inside for shelter to dry myself and assess the damage. Once solving this and realizing my poncho was torn and therefore mostly useless, I looked out to see the rain even heavier than before. It must have been an experience for those at the Mutant Stages who saw Hatebreed and GWAR through that.

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Photo by: Henry Chung

Henry: I was caught in the rain during Hatebreed and GWAR. I tried to photograph Hatebreed’s set but by the time they took the stage, the clouds overhead looked like it was nightfall to my left and a hint of daylight to my right. I watched as production staff tried to keep the stage together as strong gusts of wind kept knocking over scrims. When the band rolled into “I Will Be Heard”, I guess I was too distracted singing along up front and shooting that I then realized it was just me and another photographer still standing enduring the rain. I bailed out by their third song “Looking Down the Barrel of Today” and watched as production hastily tried to cover up speakers as the onslaught gifted us with a torrential downpour.

JJ: I waited it out inside at the Skullcandy Stage again and was happy to realize this detour brought me right to the Street Dogs, one of the bands I wanted to see anyway. They burned through some familiar numbers including a cover of Joe Strummer’s “Coma Girl”. The crowd in front of their stage which included me, was modest but frontman Mike McColgan worked hard to win everyone over. In fact, he worked so hard, he spent just as much time if not more so in front of the crowd waiting in front of the Journey’s Right Foot Stage next door. They may have been there for Never Shout Never but they got a healthy dose of Street Dogs and I could see a lot of people in that crowd also really into it.

After the Street Dogs closed up shop, I headed back outside one last time to happily see the rain had ended. I took the walk back to the Hard Rock Stage one final time and was able to see all of Anti Flag.

There was something appropriate about them closing things out, especially given the state of the world.

Henry: I had to make a choice. Go see Anti-Flag, or stay and see GWAR. I decided to stay and watch GWAR. Words just aren’t enough to describe their clash of comedy theater/ rock show. It’s one that everyone has to experience first-hand to comprehend it. I was to tell someone that I had a great time getting blasted in the face by Blothar’s four penis’s, I’m pretty sure I’d be met with confusion and disgust. Still worth it!

JJ: All in all, it was an odd experience for me not being consumed by press and only able to get a sampling of performances. This is the exact experience a normal Warped Concert-goer would have and while different, was nearly equally enjoyable. I had already interviewed most of the bands I was there to see (in some cases multiple times) anyway, so with a few elusive exceptions, I was fairly up to date with a lot of them, anyway.

Henry: It was a marathon for me to try and cover as many acts as possible. But overall I was happy to see fans young and old showing up and actually having a good time together. I watched as men in their late-40’s/ early-50’s throwdown in a circle pit with kids half their age during Sick of it All. I saw concert goers in their mid-30’s develop a love for new acts. Acts that they’d never be exposed to on their own accord if it weren’t for the comradery and unity expressed throughout this tour. I saw numerous collaborations on stage that made me scratch my head (Big D and the Kids Table with American Authors, GWAR and Silverstein were the two big ones that came to mind) but they’ve made it all work.

JJ: Let’s also applaud the tour itself as it managed to strike an impressive balance of old and new which should make it a viable, relevant festival for even more years to come.

Written by: JJ Ellis and Henry Chung
Photos by: the unstoppable Henry Chung

 

 

 

Preview: Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch + Marilyn Manson Leads 2017 Rock Allegiance

The Monster Energy Rock Allegiance festival is returning to the Philadelphia area once again with over 20 bands set to perform across three different stages on Oct. 7th. This year’s fest will differ from previous as it’s going to be held at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ instead of the Talon Energy Stadium in Chester, PA who’s played host for the last few years.
The current lineup for Monster Energy Rock Allegiance is as follows: ‪Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Marilyn Manson, Halestorm, Mastodon, Gojira, In This Moment, Steel Panther, August Burns Red, Beartooth, Starset, Radkey, Bleeker, Badflower, DED, While She Sleeps, Black Map, Greta Van Fleet, He Is Legend, Biters, Them Evils, and more to be announced!

With over 20+ bands stretched across three stages, along with mouth-watering “Philly-centric” food, regional and national craft beer, meet-and-greets, and autograph signings will all be a part of the festival’s experience.

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General Admission and VIP tickets will be available for purchase starting Wednesday, May 24 at Noon ET, starting at the following prices:

  • General Admission Lawn: $44.50
  • Reserved: $49.50
  • VIP: $135.00

Monster Energy Rock Allegiance VIP tickets include:

  • Great seats in the 100 level of the Main Stage / Pavilion for the headlining four band performances
  • Commemorative Rock Allegiance 2017 VIP laminate
  • VIP entrance to the festival
  • VIP hang areas on the Battleship New Jersey, Blackbox and BB&T Pavilion lounge (space limited at each area)
  • Exclusive VIP restrooms, special food and beverage offerings (for additional purchase), and exclusive VIP Afterparty on the Battleship New Jersey (space limited).

During the first portion of the festival, all seating will be general admission. For the headlining four bands, the Main Stage / Pavilion will be assigned seating based on the ticket purchased.

Discounted online hotel rates are also available through Curadora.
Visit www.RockAllegiance.com for details.