Even if there was only one band that I even remotely, slightly cared about on this year’s Warped Tour, I would still go and here’s why: there has never not been a time when I haven’t left there with at least one new band to love, or an old band to have newfound respect for.
If you like music at all, no matter what your age is, you could probably find at least one band that piqued your interest. Probably. I don’t know. (Even Henry usually likes one band, and that’s a guy who likes Ted Nugent, you know? If there’s hope for him there’s hope for all.) The festival is very well-rounded in that regard and if people hate on it, it’s probably because they’ve either reached that crotchety “THINGS WERE BETTER IN THE 90s” phase in their life, or they just have some preconceived notion that it’s literally a field overrun with feral scene kids and bros.
Please – my tolerance for kids is pretty non-existent so if I can float through an entire day on a cloud of bliss and ignorance, then you know it can’t be all that bad!
They don’t even make me feel old! And let’s be real, I’ll be 37 by the time I finally get off my ass and finish writing this idiotic post, so this isn’t exactly my demographic.
THAT BEING SAID, here are the bands I saw at this year’s Warped Tour. Bands that are in bold are the ones I have deemed worthy of expanding upon and you know how much I love expanding. Have you seen my waistline?
- In Heart’s Wake (If I hadn’t been going through a personal life crisis, I would have probably REALLY ENJOYED this set; these guys are on my radar now at least. But right now all I associate them with is Chooch literally pacing in circles begging me for my phone so he could play Pokemon Go and I JUST CAN’T WITH POKEMON GO.)
- Assuming We Survive (Chooch said he didn’t care about them but then inexplicably wanted to meet them until he saw the line)
- Real Friends (I got as far as waiting for them to come out before freaking out for the 2nd time that morning and walking toward the exit)
- I See Stars (some – I really want to like them more than I do; th)
- Ballyhoo! (some)
- Knuckle Puck
- Bad Seed Rising
- Hail the Sun (Chooch fucking pissed me off and I ended up storming off because he kept trying to TALK TO ME while I was attempting to ENJOY A BAND THAT I LOVE. Rude. I was right in front of the stage too when I stormed off, ensuring that there were ample witnesses. But fuck, those two songs were tight as fuck, yo. I LOVE YOU HTS. I will see you in October with Dance Gavin Dance! Chooch, you’re lucky that I’ve seen them a million times.)
- Young Guns (they were playing in the background when I had another freak out and then Henry was all, “THAT’S IT WE’RE LEAVING FOR REAL THIS TIME, FUCK THIS NOISE” and Chooch and I were like “Haha, have fun leaving, we’re gonna go down here and wait for Emarosa” and then Henry was only bluffing anyway – we saw him hiding behind a thing.)
- Sykes (they were playing on the other side of the stage while we waited for Emarosa and I liked them just fine, but hurry up because Emarosa.)
- EMAROSA!!!!!!! (They got their own post.)
- Ghost Town (Chooch and Henry went to see coldrain during this. WHATEVER BITCHES.)
- Set It Off
- Oceans Ate Alaska (LOVE this band. They can melt my face any fucking day. Chooch and Henry ditched me during this because they can’t handle it.)
- State Champs (I 100% do not remember watching their set but I have video and a picture….?? And I like Stamp Champs too so this is completely confusing and terrifying all at once.)
- With Confidence
- Secrets (Henry fell asleep during them and they were pretty scream-y, so there goes Henry showing off his God-given talent of BLOCKING IT ALL OUT.
- Chunk! No, Captain Chunk
Issues: I wouldn’t even say I’m a casual fan of Issues, because Tyler Carter has always kind of rubbed me the wrong way and I will forever associate him with Jonny Craig (like when they had a fight and Jonny demanded that Tyler remove the “4L” from his name because JONNY STARTED THAT?!) But everyone in the stupid Warped Tour videos I love to watch kept saying “OMG Issues is a can’t-miss this year” and I figured, nothing else was playing at that time, so why not give them a second chance. The only other time I’ve seen them was when they opened for Dance Gavin Dance in 2013 – so they’re actually the first band that Chooch has even seen live. He liked them then and now he REALLY LIKES THEM because they’re marketing geniuses and worked the Pokemon theme into their merch AND played that dumb Pokemon song when they first came out. One thing that you can say for certain about Issues is that they are genre-bending. They even have a quasi-country jam with some country singer who I don’t care about and Chooch really likes that song for some reason which concerns me because is this the GATEWAY INTO COUNTRY MUSIC FANDOM for him?! I can already see him pissing in the parking lot of a Kenny Chesney concert just to defy me and perfectly curated standards.
The only video I had of their set was through Snapchat so that shit is gone baby gone but here is a video for COMA which has been stuck in my head ever since and will probably go down in history as the one Issues song I actually REALLY LOVE, because I want to be all you think about, anything and everything you dream about. (Fuck, you got me. I like this song a lot too.)
Henry’s review: Eh, they weren’t…I don’t know. They just didn’t do it for me. They opened up good but then….I wouldn’t see them again.
(SOMEONE GET THIS DICK A JOB AT PITCHFORK.)
Knuckle Puck: in full pop-punk disclosure, I am what you would call a CASUAL FAN of this band. I know their album’s name is Copacetic because I love that word and would never forget something like that, but damn I couldn’t name one song for you. However, I have been wanting to see them live and we missed them at Bled Fest (we saw The Beautiful Gorgeous’s last show ever instead), so we clomped our way down into the pavilion and this is where Chooch kept talking to be able it French fries and I was like I DONT CARE DO WHAT YOU WANT so he had Henry go and get us French fries (US! He said he was going to SHARE them) and I stupidly assumed that Henry knew to get them with that weird cheese sauce that First Niagara Pavilion slings, but he came back with just ketchup and I was like WHAT KIND OF INJUSTICE ARE YOU SERVING ME RIGHT NOW? That just made me snap out again (the ground was made of egg shells at this point) and I left the two of them standing there, watching a band they couldn’t give a shit about.
See ya another time when I’m not being a moody asshole, Knuckle Puck. :(
Henry’s review: We didn’t stay there very long, did we? I can’t remember when that was, so I can’t say yes or not.
(To be fair, he was off buying french fries that were all wrong.)
With Confidence: Oh man, I will be honest and say that I was only waiting for them because it was the closest stage to where we were standing and nothing else was happening during this time, but good god damn am I happy for this accident because they were fucking SWEETHEARTS! And also, FROM AUSTRALIA!!! God, I love Australian bands. I also love how many non-American bands were on Warped Tour this year.
That guy wore a With Confidence shirt to a With Confidence show.
Henry’s review: Was that on the little stage? I”m trying to think what band that was.
Ghost Town: I saw them by myself because Henry and Chooch were somewhere else and I’m not their keeper so GO I DON’T CARE. Anyway, this band is so reminiscent of mid-2000s nu-emo, kind of like that wave of candy-coated quasi post-hardcore that rode the wave in with Pierce the Veil, the kind of bands with fluorescent merch and scene queens loitering by the bus after every show. I’d say this kind of music is my guilty pleasure, but I KNOW NO GUILT. I derive unabashed, wanton pleasure from synthy-scene jams. Plus, they have upright coffins on stage with them, so of course that caters to my interests.
They make me want to start living my life with a dramatic side-part and raccoon eyes again, you guys. Where did I put all of those old hair bows….
Henry’s review: I would see them, yeah.
Set It Off: This was only my second time seeing them and I think they’re fun watch but if we’re being honest, there’s really only ONE SONG that I l-l-l-love and that’s The Haunting. So we wandered off right after they played that one and it’s fine because I’m not a true fan. I don’t make that diamond symbol with my hands like all the girls do.
We were there though when Cody launched into this full-fledged self-help motivational speech about reaching for the stars, etc blah blah, it’s never too late, don’t let anyone stop you, and Henry gave me multiple shoulder squeezes that translated into “Yeah, Erin, it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality!” and I was just like, “It is when you’re dead inside.”
Anyway, a few days later some girl tweeted that her two favorite singers sang together and it was CODY AND BRADLEY FROM EMAROSA?! So I asked her if she had a video and she sent it to me on Twitter it I don’t think I can save it and I am so pained. BUT FUCK YES I WAS ABLE TO EMBED IT HERE!!! THANK YOU TWITTER USER RACHELBEE!! I have watched this so many times while making Pudding Face.
— RachelBee (@RachelBee143) July 24, 2016
Henry’s review: I don’t mind them. I would see them again….?
These coppers were thoroughly enjoying all of Cody’s crotch grabs. So was Henry.
Bad Seed Rising: Oh shit you guys, I saw them accidentally after I ran away from Henry and Chooch while wearing my crown of Drama Queen thorns. I was planning on continuing my angry stomp across the grounds when I heard the singer unleash a gutteral scream and that’s when I realized it was this tiny girl. YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION. This was actually the only time all day that I almost got caught in the hardcore-dancing crossfire. I wish that I would have gotten punched because that could have been another thing for me to cry about that day. Boo hoo.
And she can SANG too y’all. So picky with chicks, especially ones that think that they can scream, but this one got my seal of approval.
I’m secretly happy that Henry missed this because I got to say, “Man, you have no idea how amazing it was” at least 67 times so far and he acts like he doesn’t care but he cares.
Henry’s review—OH WAIT HAHAHA HE WASN’T THERE.
Waterparks: I wasn’t sure what to expect with these guys, because Alt Press seems to be hyping them in the same way they hyped 5SOS and I just can’t get behind that media-choreographed hysteria, you know? Waterparks opened for Never Shout Never last winter, but Chooch and I got there after they played. When we walked into Mr. Smalls, the singer flat out interrupted the girl who was talking to him just so he could tell Chooch he liked his hair (it was still kind of pink back then). So that’s a definite stand-out impression for me.
Guys, my preconceived notions about this band were incorrect! They were fun and entertaining, and the singer Awsten’s stage banter was hilarious and smart. Funnily enough, he had a weirdness about him that definitely reminded me of Christofer Drew from Never Shout Never. This is all to say that I fell in some serious like with Waterparks on this evening and I will be looking out for them to come back to Pittsburgh so that I can go see them, by myself probably,
I would ask Henry what he thought of them, but he slept through their whole entire set, so…..
(I posted this video on Chooch’s Instagram because I figured all of my friends are OVER IT by now, haha.)
Chunk! No Captain Chunk: I feel like these guys got made fun of a lot when they were new, but now it seems like more people have accepted the fact that France has produced a pop-punk band. I personally enjoy them on a casual level, arms-length if you will, but for some reason Chooch was adamant that we watch them. This made Henry groan because they were the last band to play on the Cyclops stage, right as Warped Tour was winding down, which meant there was no chance of Henry escaping early like we have been able to do in past years when there were no bands left that we cared about.
Chooch’s favorite things about their set was when the singer would pronounce Pittsburgh like “PEETS-burgh” and the fact that they covered Smash Mouth’s “All Star” — I didn’t realize he was such a fan of that song?! Chooch was disappointed that I didn’t get a video it and I was like, “Why would I, though?”.
Henry’s review: Um…I didn’t mind them. I don’t know. I would see them again…?
Anyway, it was a nice FEEL-GOOD note to end Warped Tour on this year. Sorry I was such an asshole for the first half of the day.
And that wraps up this year’s edition of bands we saw at Warped Tour, some of us were clearly more into it than others. The line-up was exceptional this year and I wish I could have multiplied myself to be at every stage at the same time, except for when Falling In Reverse, Reel Big Fish, or Motionless In White were playing because I go out of my way to avoid those ones! (I don’t like supporting women-beaters, ska bands, or cheesy metal.)
I’m already counting down for next year! I could use a massive do-over and I’ll be sure not to answer my phone this time if it rings. Le sigh.