Vans Warped Tour 8/1 at First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre

Vans Warped Tour 8/1 at First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre

Summer means nice warm weather (or at least it is supposed to), longer daylight hours, and the return of the annual Vans Warped Tour, now celebrating its 15th birthday. The weather forecast for the day wasn’t very promising, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me, and neither did anyone else because the place appeared to be even more crowded than last year!

I got there about 45 minutes after the place opened and the parking lot was nearly full so I knew it was going to be quite crowded in there, however since the place is huge and the fun is spread out all over the complex, I also knew there would still be plenty of room to move around comfortably. I checked my phone and looked up the band schedule for the day and immediately started to get to work.


Cash Cash


Cash Cash


Cash Cash

Since it had started to rain around the time I got inside, I opted to check out the two stages in the pavilion for awhile in hopes that the rain will pass and that I could stay dry in there.  The first band I witnessed was Cash Cash. I had never heard of them before they took that stage. They played some pretty mainstream sounding pop music that seemed to be a hit with the very young audience that had gathered to see them. One of the members even was playing a key-tar! I thought I took a trip back in time to the 1980s and if they were around then I’m sure they would have had their video in regular rotation on MTV (you know, back when they actually played videos).


Forever the Sickest Kids


Forever the Sickest Kids


Forever the Sickest Kids

Next up was a band whose name I heard before because I’m pretty sure they played last year’s Warped Tour as well, though I didn’t see them, Forever the Sickest Kids. With a name like that I figured they’d be some really noisy hardcore band and they might in fact be awesome, however I was completely off with my guess! They were anything but hardcore, in fact they were another pop band. Think of the music you hear on any CW Network series and you’ll know what these guys sound like. They attracted a huge crowd and at one point had to stop playing because someone got hurt by the crowd constantly trying to push themselves closer to the stage. It was nuts!


Underoath


Underoath


Underoath

On another stage I checked out Underoath. I was relieved that they sounded a lot different and heavier than the bands I had checked out thus far. They mixed rock with some harder elements and the mix came across quite well. I definitely liked it when they played the harder parts. I think I’d like to see these guys play again.


Less Than Jake


Less Than Jake


Less Than Jake

I ventured outside the pavilion during a break in the rain where it changed from a steady drizzle to a light mist and checked out some of Less Than Jake. They’ve been around for a long time and had a huge group of people watching them who didn’t care they were getting rained on. They played their punk/ska blend to a happy audience and the band were all smiles the entire time. When the rain started to pick up a little bit again I moved onto the next stage.


Escape the Fate


Escape the Fate


Escape the Fate


Escape the Fate

I walked across the compound to the other end hoping the rain would stay away and saw Escape the Fate. They were a metal tinged rock/pop band. They almost could be classified as emo at times, and then sometimes they sound like a metal band. They too attracted a very large crowd of enthusiastic kids who made regular trips over the barricade while crowd surfing.


I Set My Friends On Fire


I Set My Friends On Fire

The strange name of their band enticed me to check out I Set My Friends On Fire. These guys were more up my alley. They had a lot of really hard screaming parts and noisy stuff that reminded me a little bit of early Curl Up and Die, but then seemingly at random they would get melodic for short periods of time. They definitely stayed on the noisy side of the spectrum more often than not. When they would get into the melodic parts they’d start to lose me but those parts never lasted long enough to completely lose me and it did keep them from sounding repetitive.


Chiodos


Chiodos


Chiodos

I left the pavilion to go check out Chiodos. I’ve heard them described as “post-hardcore” but they are more like a pop/punk band with a slight post-hardcore influence. They were also a big hit with the younger members of the audience and there was another big crowd gathered for them, most of them dancing and crowd surfing. The security guards had their hands full during their set pretty much the entire time.


Alexisonfire


Alexisonfire


Alexisonfire

Is there a new trend to have the word, “fire” in band names? I was starting to think so when I saw the second band with that word in their name, Alexisonfire. They were like a hardcore indie rock blend and had a lot of intensity. I was enjoying them quite a bit. The crowd were too, and while it wasn’t as large as it was for some of the other bands, those that were there seemed to be loving it. I wanted to see more of their set but I had to walk across the compound for the umpteenth time to see Bad Religion!


Bad Religion


Bad Religion


Bad Religion


Bad Religion

The band I was most excited to see,  long time punk rock heroes Bad Religion ushered out the rest of the rain over on the main stage. There was a large crowd gathered there already by the time I made it over there. They played mostly newer songs but threw a few older ones in the set list including something from their first album! Bad Religion is one of those bands that consistently put on a good show so any Bad Religion performance is pretty much a given that it will be a good one, and this was no exception.


Anti-Flag


Anti-Flag


Anti-Flag

After watching some skating on the halfpipe I went back to the main stage to catch Anti-Flag. These guys have been at it for well over a decade now and show no signs of letting up. They play a really nice brand of melodic punk rock with a lot of sing along parts that the crowd eat up like sugary treats. The respectable sized crowd showed their appreciation by bouncing into each other like pinballs and crowd surfing.


Scary Kids Scaring Kids


Scary Kids Scaring Kids


Scary Kids Scaring Kids

After another lengthy walk I was at the Hurley stage to see Scary Kids Scaring Kids. They were another band I checked out because they had such an odd name. They weren’t really that scary looking and they played some hard edged metallic rock. There was some yelling by the singer but there was more melodic singing and metal leads. They weren’t bad, but they didn’t really sound that different from a lot of the other bands playing that day.At times they sort of reminded me a little bit of AFI.


3OH!3


3OH!3


3OH!3

Another repeat from last year 3OH!3 upgraded to the main stage this year. They drew a big crowd last year and the one this year easily doubled that. They are a party band who play electronic based dance music. Think about it like early Beastie Boys in spirit, but the sound is much more dancey and the lyrics even more goofy. The crowd went crazy during their entire set, everyone was dancing, crowd surfing, singing along, jumping up and down, or all of the above. While they aren’t my cup of tea musically, they are put on an entertaining live show.


The Devil Wears Prada


The Devil Wears Prada


The Devil Wears Prada


The Devil Wears Prada

The next band was one whose t-shirts I saw on tons of kids throughout the day, The Devil Wears Prada. They were one of the most interesting and intense bands I saw that whole day. Metallic post-hardcore with angry vocals, but still had some harmonies in there too. The main singer looked really pissed off, was missing a tooth, and rarely held still while he was screaming his head off. I think they drew the biggest crowd of the day too, it was nuts.


Tat


Tat

Tat was a band I had read about about a week or so prior to this event and wanted to check out. The band is fronted by the very attractive Tatiana DeMaria who sings and plays guitar. The band sounds a bit like older punk rock mixed with modern rock with great female vocals. They were a pretty fast paced and high energy band and in between songs Tatiana would entertain the crowd with some banter. I have a feeling this band will become quite popular in the next couple of years if they keep it up, they were really entertaining.


All Time Low


All Time Low


All Time Low

Over on the main stage All Time Low were playing. They are billed as a pop/punk band but really there is nothing at all punk about them, they are a pop band with slightly hard edged guitars. They were a big hit with the younger girls in attendance and had a giant crowd gathered for them as well of people who were easily less than half my age. I saw a lot of the kids singing along with their songs and bouncing up and down.


Gallows


Gallows

Last for the day was a band I had seen once before and thought were pretty interesting and that was Gallows. As they were setting up their gear the singer came out and asked the crowd to start booing in the direction of one of the other stages where some pop band was playing. He then went on a rant about how Warped Tour used to be punk rock but somehow lost its way and that it was a big joke. They then started playing and they were really intense and powerful. Their original songs sound great and they actually sounded even better and more powerful than the last time I saw them a year or so ago.  In between the songs the singer kept going on about how the tour sucks,  the 40 dollar ticket price, and the “lameness” of the other bands on the tour. It made me wonder why his band was on the tour at all if he thinks it was so shitty. If he was against the 40 dollar ticket price they could have refused to play it. Honestly 40 bucks for an all day show isn’t that outrageous considering some shows with three band bills at the larger theaters will cost you the same money. Also what is so punk rock about being on a major label and on such a high profile tour? Seemed a bit hypocritical if you ask me


Gallows

After the first two songs the band decided to get off stage and play out in the crowd. The singer was the ringleader instructing the crowd where to form their circle pit and they played out amongst the people the rest of their set while their poor drummer was left alone on stage since it wasn’t really possible to quickly dismantle and move his drums out in the crowd to play there too. The crowd seemed to love this and a lot of hardcore Gallows fans were singing along and running around in the big circle pit that encompassed the whole area. Aside from the incessant bitching between songs and their Black Flag cover, they were easily the best band of the day and a pretty good way to close out the evening.


Gallows

Another Warped Tour came and left, unhindered by some bad weather, and at the end of the day while it felt a bit less diverse of a lineup than last year, it was still one hell of a fun way to spend the day and not once did I see any bummed out faces while I was walking around, even during the part of the day that it rained.






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