Vans Warped Tour Review
Photo by Vans Warped Tour
Since 1995 is one of the largest touring music festivals, Vans Warped Tour. Once upon a time, the tour was all about punk rock music, but for the last few years it has consisted of more diverse genres.
On July 4, I attended the tour at the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto. This is a day I have been counting down since last summer, when I missed the festival.
My morning began with a one hour wait in a line triple the size of the CN Tower. Definitely a long wait, but it was worth it once we finally entered the grounds.
Once we got in, our musical day began with The Devil Wears Prada, an American Christian melodic metalcore band. We reached there once the set was almost over, so there were many members of the audience anxiously waiting for Parkway Drive, who were playing right after this set was over. Once The Devil Wears Prada was finished, the crowd sprinted and tumbled to the Electric Soul Stage, where Parkway Drive opened with Wild Eyes. The crowd was chanting along to the repetitive intro and once the rhythm changed, the moshpits began.
During Karma, vocalist Winston McCall ordered the girlfriends to drag their guys into the circle pits, and that’s exactly what we all did. Almost the entire crowd entered the circle pit and it was hectic and fun! They closed their short 7-song setlist with Carrion, which I, no doubt, decided to surf the crowd to and oh man, it was quite something!
Although, my favourite part of the set was when one guy in his wheel chair decided to crowd surf. With no hesitation he was lifted in the air and having the time of his life, rocking out. It made me so happy to see how much he trusted us all in the crowd and had the confidence to go up there; guys got guts!
A few bands later appeared of my my favourite all time Ska-Punk bands – Less Than Jake, hitting the stage with their America Day celebrations! They were very exciting to watch, as they were constantly interacting with the crowd, calling out people to come onto stage. The best was when they called two guys to chug down beers and stage dive. Overall, there was a small, though hectic crowd, involving everyone in the moshpits. And ofcourse, they closed with one of the greatest songs in my book, All My Best Friends Are Metalheads. I was aching to hear this song months ago and I told myself that when they play it, I shall surf the crowd and sing at the top of my lungs (which is exactly what I did).
After a few hours, we realized that three of our main acts that we came to see were at the same time. Volumes, Yellowcard and MC Chris were all over the grounds of the Amphitheater, so we were forced to run back and forth to see them all. We stayed for a bit of Yellowcard and started a moshpit during Way Away, though you could tell that the crowd was quite inexperienced with live concerts, which vocalist Ryan Key pointed it out himself.
Next we ran to see MC Chris who was rapping with a small crowd which was supporting him and singing along. We did eventually meet MC Chris which was quite exciting. Mc Chris was also asking for donations for the cystic fibrosis foundation, which is a disease that his nephew was born with. He set up a bucket by the merch table with an e-mail list for everyone to drop a few bucks in, which was very thoughtful of him.
Unfortunately we missed most of Volumes, although they do come to Toronto here and there, so we will definitely go see them one day. We also caught a few glimpses of Every Time I Die, which was my second time seeing them. The crowd was the largest I’ve been in all day.
And then came the highlight of the entire festival – Vanna. I first began listening to them in 2008 and shortly after, my favourite song became Trashmouth, my official “party song,” with the zombies and beers. They opened up with Year of the Rat, and the crowd was quickly growing as the song went on. At one point during the set, vocalist David jumped into the crowd and began telling us a story. He told us to put our arms around anyone, people we didn’t even know and we all did. He told us about how 6 years ago, he almost gave up on life and then met this band, Vanna.
David said that though we are outcasts, alone, got weird hair, got odd teeth, he wouldn’t want it any other way, cause we’ve got eachother. Though we are alone, we got eachother by our sides right now at this very moment and we should hold on and never give up. We were all honestly tearing up and felt more powerful than ever.
This led Vanna into the song Digging, which David stayed in the crowd for. And guess what song Vanna played at the end of the set… yup, my favourite song, Trashmouth! I think I became the most psycho person in the crowd at that very moment as I was screaming the lyrics and headbanging harder than ever to the intro. I eventually ended up surfing the crowd right after the bridge, which was awesome.
It is safe to say that I was 99% satisfied with the set (the other 1% is missing cause I wish the set was longer). A great crowd, awesome band, amazing live music and fantastic motivation. I did end up meeting David and thanked him for the wonderful speech he gave us all, and giving us hope when we are ever close to giving up.
All in all, although I wish there could have been more Punk bands, I am happy with how Vans Warped Tour went.