Softer Sounds Suit This Year’s Warped Tour

Concert Review

click to enlarge So many bands, so little time. - Martin Harp
Martin Harp
So many bands, so little time.
Straying away from the heavier sounds for which it's recently become known, this year's installment of Warped Tour went a softer route. Last year saw performances from bands like the Devil Wears Prada, Parkway Drive and Enter Shakari, all hardcore staples in the scene. While hardcore and metal bands like Miss May I, Beartooth and August Burns Red were still on the card yesterday at Blossom, they were overshadowed by the alternative and pop rock bands alongside them. It was a breath of fresh air for the tour, showing a softer dynamic that’s been missing from years past.

The Monster Energy Stage, which featured some of the festival's hardcore acts, was off the beaten path and practically tucked away in the woods. While an odd choice for a stage placement, it fit, especially for the genre of music it played host to. Beartooth proved this early on in the day and put on a stellar performance. Vocalist Caleb Shomo managed to whip the crowd into a frenzy, and a blinding cloud of dust flew from the ground, making the stage almost hard to see from far away. Fans would leave the area covered in dirt.

On a day with so many performances from so many bands in so many genres, it was hard to stand out from the pack. But a few acts managed to separate themselves. One of those was Neck Deep who performed on the Journeys Left Foot Stage in the amphitheater. The band manged to draw a large crowd and play flawlessly. This is a band that should be playing on main stage very soon. Their following is growing through word of mouth and their ability to sell themselves with their amazing performances.

A big performance also came from the alternative band PVRIS, who just won an Alternative Press Music Award for Breakthrough Band. PVRIS went from playing Warped last year on the small Ernie Ball Stage for a measly week and a half to playing main stage for the entire duration of the tour. The band drew in a huge crowd as it stepped out onto the Unicorn Stage. PVRIS put on an amazing show as vocalist Lynn Gunn belted out her vocals effortlessly. This band has exploded over the past year, and the attention is much deserved.

A great performance that flew under the radar came from the pop-punk band Knuckle Puck. They played on the Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage, and they knocked it out of the park. Joe Taylor's vocals sounded sharp. This is a band that deserves more recognition than it gets and hopefully with the upcoming release of its first album the band will get some recognition. It would be great to see this band playing to larger crowds on subsequent Warped Tours.

While the lineup may have been a bit different than what fans have grown to expect, this year's Warped Tour surely did not disappoint. The bands on it were great, and the set up allowed for a pleasant day for any fan. Hopefully, the dynamic change is something Warped Tour keeps in the game, and hopefully fans will be in for a pleasant surprise next year as well. 
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