State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Vans Warped Tour Holmdel, NJ 2013 Review

Shane Told of Silverstein

Chances are, you probably know about The Vans Warped Tour. Whether you heard it in the Blink-182 song, or actually attended the festival before, this powerhouse of a festival is the definition of summer for kids like myself. Warped tour is currently in its 19th year running, and festival creator Kevin Lyman has his tour perfected to a well-oiled machine.

I grew up going to Warped Tour and have been attending the festival in my home date of Camden, New Jersey, since 2006.  Last summer, I was blessed to cover the Hartford, Connecticut date. I was given the opportunity again this summer to cover the Holdmel, New Jersey date, along side State In The Real’s finest, Eric.

The Vans Warped Tour is a world of its own. The heat was a scorching 93 degrees with sun and humidity. Upon arriving to the PNC Bank Arts Center as doors were opening, the line to get in went on for days. For majority of the tour dates, doors open at 11 a.m. and the music starts at 11:15 a.m.  This year, Warped Tour had 8 stages with a full line up of artists and bands on each stage.  Each date, the bands always have a different set time. It keeps it fair on which band opens and closes each night, as well as keeping the fans on edge and encourages them to arrive early in hopes that they won’t miss their favorite bands.

As my friends and I were walking up to the gates to pick up my pass, we quickly realized one of the reasons why we wanted to come to warped tour was the opening band. The Summer Set got moved to the main stage, and was the first band to kick things off for the day. We grabbed my pass and ran to the main stage to catch the pop rock band.

Brian Dales of The Summer Set

The Summer Set is incredible live. Their energy and the way they feed off each other is awesome. Their songs are super fun and upbeat and definite summer hits. This past spring, the band released their album, Legendary, and is easily one of my favorite releases of 2013. Their set included many hits off Legendary such as “Boomerang” and “Lightning In A Bottle” . They concluded with their most popular song, “Chelsea”.  They also have a girl drummer, so ten points for them.

Because we ran to The Summer Set, my friends and I didn’t get a chance to see the giant inflatable set list. So we wandered to the huge Vans inflatable and checked out where and when our favorite bands were playing. Luckily for us, a good amount of the bands we wanted to see were in the amphitheater, so we were able to beat the heat for a good portion of the day. The amphitheater was split into two stages: the Domo Stage and the Tilly’s Stage. Through out the day, as one band was playing on one stage, the next band was setting up on the other to keep the flow going.

Upon entering the amphitheater, we caught the end of All Star Weekend’s set on the Tilly’s Stage. This was my first time seeing All Star Weekend, but I knew they were a band that got their start on Disney. Apparently, this tour is the band’s last run as All Star Weekend, and they plan on changing their name and sound after the tour concludes. Nonetheless, All Star Weekend was so fun to watch. It was easy to see that the guys really loved performing and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the band.

Next, New Jersey natives The Early November opened the Domo stage and absolutely killed it. I have seen The Early November previously and I really love this band. Ace Enders has an incredible voice and understanding of music as a whole. His guitar was also so sick! The band played new and old favorites and I’m glad I was able to watch them.

Back on the Tilly’s stage was an alternative rock band called Gin Wigmore. They walked out on stage in matching black and white outfits. They had to be sweltering in those suits. It made me sweat just by looking at them. I had never heard of the band before and they definitely were not my style, however the lead singer (who was covered in really awesome tattoos) was absolutely incredible. Victoria Claire’s voice resonated in the amphitheater and it was amazing.

Brian Craig and Anthony Li of Action Item

Next up were Action Item, who are also from New Jersey. The pop band sent chills down my spine as they explained to the crowd that they grew up coming to this venue, and how incredible it was for them to be playing on the same stage they saw some of their favorite bands play on. They set the stage on fire and quickly became one of my favorite sets that I caught during the day.  Action Item was so appreciative for everyone in the crowd and you could tell this tour date meant the world to them.

Following Action Item, a third band hailing from New Jersey took the stage. Pop-punk band, Man Overboard, brought the house down, filling a good portion of the amphitheater with fans ready to defend pop punk. I love Man O, and their set was filled with my favorite songs. They didn’t spend much time talking as they wanted to get the most out of their set time. They did, however, express how awesome it felt to be back in New Jersey. It was interesting to see them perform without a “mosh” pit. The amphitheater was set up so that the rows of seats went all the way up to the barricade, meaning it was impossible to open up a pit.

After Man Overboard, I decided to wander out of the amphitheater and back into the heat to check out the many tents that can be found at Warped Tour. From band merch to non-profits organizations to Warped tour sponsors, every one has a tent that concertgoers can check out throughout the day. It’s nice when there’s downtime between sets to check out the tents and support your favorite band or non-profit organization.

Before I knew it, my most anticipated band was ready to hit the main stage. Sleeping With Sirens are unreal live, and I caught them many times last summer on Warped Tour. As much as I love them, I was kind of disappointed with their set. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it’s the fact that I practically hate their new album, but I just wasn’t satisfied when their set concluded. They did play many old favorites, and the one new song that I do enjoy, titled “Congratulations,” featuring Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire. Matty came out on stage for his part in the song. Other than that, I was left feeling half-satisfied at best.

After their set concluded, I ran to the press area behind the amphitheater as Eric set up an interview with The Story So Far’s bassist Kelen Capener. Be on the lookout for that later this week!

Alex Reed of Go Radio

When we finished up with the interview, Go Radio was tearing it up on the Tilly’s stage. I absolutely love this band and I’m so happy for all their success thus far. Their music is so real and I think that’s what I like about them the most. Their lyrics pull at your heartstrings and suck you in. They really pride themselves on making music that is real to them and I really appreciate them for that.

The night was winding down, and two big names were closing the night in the amphitheater.  Forever The Sickest Kids were on Warped and ready to make a comeback after falling out of the scene for quite some time. I’m happy to say that after all these years, watching them brought back so many memories. The best part about their set list was that they played all their hits and it was so fun hearing those songs live again. I’m excited for the future of Forever The Sickest Kids and I’m glad to see them back.

The last and final band I caught was one of my favorite bands on the tour: Australia’s finest, Tonight Alive. Lead by the incredible vocalist Jenna McDougall, their set was indescribable. Something special was in the air during their set and Jenna could feel it. She opened up to the crowd and found a connection with us unlike anyone I’ve ever seen before. The band played my absolute favorite Tonight Alive song titled “Amelia,” which is a pretty slow song. I did not look up the set list before their performance and almost cried when I heard the first opening chord. It’s a beautiful song about the death of a young 16-year-old girl. The feeling in the amphitheater when the song concluded was an extremely special moment that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

As the sun set in New Jersey, The Vans Warped Tour concluded and it was another festival for the books. Yet again, Warped Tour did not disappoint and the festival delivered everthing I expected and more. I can’t wait to catch the tour next year and conclude this review in Warped Tour fashion: “I’ll see you in the pit!”

The rest of the guys who attended Warped Tour in Holmdel weighed in on their day at Warped, so keep reading to hear their experiences!

Eric Poluhovich:

I’ve been to Warped Tour a number of times, but this year was probably my favorite. Not only was it my first year with a photo pass, but the show itself was awesome. A number of my favorite bands played, some of which I had never seen live before and others that I will always love seeing perform. Throughout the day I saw The Chariot, The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, Bring Me The Horizon, While She Sleeps, letlive., Chiodos, Silverstein, and Big Chocolate. My favorites for the day were letlive., The Chariot, and While She Sleeps. All of the bands have some of the best stage presence I’ve ever seen, and letlive. and The Chariot always get crazy. Jason from letlive. ran off stage, climbed a tree, and was crowd surfed back to the front. Stevis from The Chariot brought his guitar into the crowd and rocked out in the middle of a circle pit, and closed out the set by climbing the top of the stage. Those were definitely some of the best performances I’ve ever seen.

Lawrence Taylor of While She Sleeps

In addition to hearing great music from great musicians, I got to talk to a number of them about their work and about the tour. I conducted and assisted in interviews with Silverstein, While She Sleeps, letlive., The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, The Swellers, and No Bragging Rights.

In my opinion, this year’s Warped Tour was the best tour they’ve had in the past few years. The lineup was on point, and I had a lot of fun (PNC Bank Arts Center ended up being a good venue for Warped). It was a really great experience.

The interviews and pictures from the show will be up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Johnny Chadwick (The Lion 90.7fm/State In The Real):

Warped Tour 2013 is a step in the right direction for those unsure of its various genre changes and venue placements over the years. The PNC Bank Arts Center isn’t as open as the Raceway, but they definitely made it work. Through the blistering heat (and wearing a film of sunscreen), we ran around the entire festival to catch the greatest bands on the bill (they really should just put them all on the same stage shouldn’t they?). Man Overboard, Bring Me The Horizon, August Burns Red, We Came As Romans, Silverstein, No Bragging Rights, and The Used all killed it with great stage presence and commendable performance through the heat. The Story So Far was one of the most anticipated bands, and they filled the entire amphitheater. The top performance has to go to Chiodos, though, as they hit every great song they put out, and you can see the difference with the addition of Tom (formerly of The Fall Of Troy). Lastly, the break out band of this year was Stick To Your Guns as they were engaging and on every beat. It was a great year, not only for familiar bands, but newer ones as well.

David Kennedy of The Chariot

Ryan Kappy (The Lion 90.7fm/State In The Real):

Every summer I wait for the one day that is like Christmas to me, and that day is Warped Tour. This year the theme of Warped Tour was “best day ever,” and I believe it was for the sole purpose of the lineup that was presented this year. Old gems and newcomers graced the various stages through the day and not one band held back their blood, sweat, and tears during their sets. The New Jersey stops are always favorites on the tour, so bands knew what they were getting into with the fan reactions.

The bands I saw were The Early November, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, August Burns Red, The Story So Far, Chiodos, Silverstein, and The Used. As you can tell, my list consisted of seeing both old and new acts who I’ve seen before in some way, shape, or form, but wanted to see in a setting like Warped Tour. My favorite set is tied between Chiodos and The Story So Far with The Wonder Years right behind them.

The Warped Tour is a summer camps for bands that travel the country together and form a community with each other and the whole fan base of the punk/hardcore scenes. If you ever get a chance, go see this camp for it could be the best day you can ever have.

Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon

State In The Real Photos By: Eric Poluhovich
Crowd Photos By: Samantha Metz & Carly Pogachefsky