Happy fourth year anniversary, LAmb readers! Every summer, my favorite music festival reminds me how much I love living in Los Angeles and getting a chance to share the incredible music scene with our readers! This year, I’m bringing some awesome interviews back with me from the Pomona Fairplex. Check out the video below and read on as I share the sights and sounds of this year’s twentieth Warped Tour, sponsored by Kia and presented by Journeys.
Music Credits: Four Year Strong – “Tread Lightly” / Yellowcard – “Lights and Sounds”
My day kicked off with Four Year Strong, one of the most high-energy bands on Warped. After taking a hiatus last year, the group is back on independent label Pure Noise with an EP that shows a return to their hardcore roots. They played crowd-pleasing classics like “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die” and “Find My Way Back” during their set, and despite the large signs on each stage forbidding crowd surfing and mosh pits, Four Year Strong instructed fans to form a circle pit that covered the crowd in dust during “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now.” The perfectly-titled “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” incited a crowd sing along that had me warmed up for the rest of the day.
California-based pop-punk group The Story So Far was next and had one of the largest crowds of the day, perhaps because their emotional songs feature the most passionate call-and-response gang vocals. As fans screamed the lyrics back to lead vocalist Parker Cannon, the band packed eleven songs into their set, including “Quicksand,” “Daughters,” and “Right Here.” The crowd surfers were constant through “Empty Space” and “All Wrong,” while set closer “High Regard” left fans with no voice as Cannon applauded their enthusiasm.
As I wandered the dozens of booths, I noticed a few charity organizations that always make appearances on Warped, including To Write Love On Her Arms, peta2, Keep A Breast, and MusiCares. Cool Gear Water hydration systems were set up to allow Warped concertgoers free water bottle refills, although many fans chose the free slip ‘n slide as a way to cool off.
In what they have announced as their last year of performing music, Anberlin took the stage to a warm welcome. What can be seen as their “victory lap” on this summer’s Warped Tour kicked off with “Feel Good Drag,” after which the band played songs spanning their seven-album discography, including “Self-Starter” and “Never Take Friendship Personal.” Lead singer Stephen Christian’s voice was as strong as ever, and the performance ended with “Paperthin Hymn.”
The Maine packed their set with pop-rock perfection, opening with the infectious “Run” off their recent release Forever Halloween. “Right Girl” and “Into Your Arms” represented the Warped Tour veterans’ emo roots. Frontman John O’ Callaghan’s voice was overpowered by mostly female fans during the hook-heavy “Girls Do What They Want,” and “Ice Cave” closed out their late-afternoon set.
I discovered Echosmith at last year’s Warped Tour, and in the elapsed time, the group of siblings has released an impressive debut, toured across the country, and watched their dreamy debut single “Cool Kids” receive serious radio play. The members of the indie-rock band performed with the confidence of Warped Tour staples, particularly lead singer Sydney Sierota, who shook a tambourine and added her powerful voice to song like “Tell Her You Love Her” and “Come Together.” “Nothing’s Wrong” ended their set and confirmed this local band-on-the-rise’s talent.
Conflicting set times kept me from seeing some of my other favorite acts, including hip-hop artist George Watsky, nerdcore electronica band I Fight Dragons!, and Warped mainstays Saves The Day and Less Than Jake, and pop rockers Mayday Parade, but such is the price you pay when there are ten stages and only one of you!
Yellowcard closed out the day for me, performing for a sixth year at the festival. As one of the most legendary acts on this year’s Warped tour, the band’s impressive crowd exploded into applause as the full Game of Thrones theme song played and the band epically took the stage. The explosive “Lights and Sounds” and “Way Away” had the crowd jumping from the start, and the summer-themed “Awakening” was picture perfect for the end of my day at Warped.
I lost my voice singing “Only One” (which vocalist Ryan Key insisted was an indication that you “did Warped Tour right”), and “Ocean Avenue,” arguably the best pop-rock song of Warped Tour, ended the day. Key asked the audience during that closing song, “How will any other show on the tour top Los Angeles?”
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