Vans Warped Tour Pomona, Day Two
It’s T-minus twenty minutes from opening doors at day two of Vans Warped Tour in Pomona. Merch teams scramble to find any free spots to post their band’s posters and walkie-talkies are barking last minutes orders before they allow the masses of kids to corral in. It already smells like teen spirit with the plethora of kids rocking classic Vans and band tees under the hot Southern California sun at the Pomona Fairfax. Day five of the festival tour is already off to a good start with headlining veteran bands such as Chiodos, Silverstein and Motion City Soundtrack. They are amongst the seventy-five plus bands that will be calling Warped home over the next few weeks.
This year, the growing hype among Warped tour fans seems to come from the underground pop-punk and indie-punk bands. Two-thirds of the crowd paired their high-waisted shorts and jeans with The Story So Far, Citizen and Man Overboard band tees.
Pop-punk band The Story So Far were among the many highly popular bands. The Walnut Creek group recently dropped their new highly anticipated album What You Don’t See. The reception was wildly positive, as seen by the mass amounts of crowd surfing, mosh pits and dirt devils occurring during their afternoon set. Nevertheless, their old stuff truly excites their fans once they wrap up their set list with “Quicksand”, off their first album Under Soil and Dirt. Sporting his own TSSF jersey tank, lead vocalist Parker Cannon offers his mic to the crowd as they all sing along in unison. You can see the appreciation and excitement amongst the members of TSSF in their fans’ growing love for the music. After just returning from a back-to-back overseas tour, the first one in Australia followed by the second in Europe, The Story So Far is on a mission to fill the ears of many.
Just a few feet away, Forever Came Calling from Twentynine Palms, California, shouts to the crowd from the Kevin Says Stage. Soon enough, a throng of ear-gauged onlookers tie in closer to see what the commotion is all about. Their single, “Front Porch Sunrise,” off their first full length album Contender causes an uproar as fans decide to climb up on one another in order to reach the FCC lead singer and guitarist Joe Candelaria.
For concertgoers who are not fans of the mosh pits or the constant fear of someone flying over their heads to crowd surf, there are alternatives. Warped successfully provides blown up couches, picnic tables and seating by food trucks close to the outlining stages. The beauty of Warped Tour might come from the intimate level fans experience with any band of their choice. Feel free to walk down an avenue of merch tables where you are sure to spot a lead singer of one group selling a vinyl or a mesh of bands playing hacky sack in the corner. Warped Tour does in fact feel like a giant traveling sleepover, where fans can come by for a visit, listen to some music and enjoy themselves in some summer festivities.
New to the Vans Warped Tour, Citizen is another underground indie-punk band that is still getting used to the festival setting. Luckily, lead singer Mat Kerekes’ aggression and intense stage presence is something that cannot be justified through text; you can see in his pulsing veins that he is honest about his band’s songs and live performance. Their set even provokes one fan to do a stage dive into the aggressive crowd below the stage, which proves to be a Warped no-no amongst security. Vans Warped Tour fans verify that they are anything but predictable at the Kevin Says Stage.
As the dust settles from previous spin kicks, The Chariot prepares to invoke more movement from their fans as they pile in closer to the Monster Energy tent. Although rumors circulate online about a possible break up in the Atlanta-based band, their high energy and impulsive stage presence, shows that these gossipers are not so well informed. Lead singer Josh Scogin propels himself into the crowd as his fans support his weight while he belts into the mic. Soon after sailing back to the stage, Scogin hoists himself onto the drum kit, proving The Chariot is alive and well. The Chariot is truly a performance band that successfully embodies a true punk rock ambiance on stage and in the crowd.
Trudging through the mass of bodies trying to beat the Pomona sun, kids line up to get free buzz cuts and rehydrate with free water provided by Vans. Anyone can tell you that staying hydrated and covered in sunscreen is key at Warped, regardless of the location. While She Sleeps from Sheffield, England, is one band getting used to the overabundance of Vitamin D. The lead vocalist of the metallic hardcore band, Lawrence Taylor, shouts to the crowd to take four steps forward to catch some shade. Then, the band immediately breaks into their set with songs off their newest album This Is the Six. With mics swinging and fists thrown into the crowd, Taylor tears off his shirt before crowd diving. The response is crazy, as bodies push forward, feeding off his energy and the rest of the band’s.
With ten stages and a ton of bands, this touring summer festival is always a sign that summer is here for fans of punk, pop-punk, hardcore and alternative music to come out to play. Aside from the surplus of music going around, the Vans Warped Tour has always made it a point to reach out and provide an opportunity for organizations to voice their cause. This year, Warped Tour has teamed up with Feed Our Children NOW!, a charity that focuses on coordinating and managing food drives to help dissolve the growing hunger problem here within the United States. Through Feed Our Children NOW!, fans can donate up to three canned food items (or donate five dollars) in order to jump the entry line. Ringing in their thirteenth year as a festival, the Vans Warped Tour has also decided to allow parents and toddlers in for free. All one has to do is take your parental or child up to the ticket booth at the entrance and boom– free entry.
Off in the distance, one can see a mob of kids swarming towards the Domo-sponsored stage as Stick to Your Guns’ set time ticks closer. Formed in 2003, the Orange County band is a familiar face to the punk festival. Girls scream as drummer George “Schmitty” Schmitz appears in a vibrant red Domo hooded onesie. Without hesitation, lead vocalist Jesse Barnett appears, followed by guitarists Josh James and Chris Rawson and bassist Andrew Rose. By the looks of these clean cut California native boys, it is hard to think they are part of a hardcore band. Immediately breaking into their 2012 hit “Diamond,” Barnett jumps off stage onto the crowd barricade. Security swarms in as bodies push forward and arms flail towards Barnett as he pulls a kid up by his shirt and they both sing into the mic. Shared moments like these are key highlights for fans at Vans Warped Tour. Accomplishing those sweet ten seconds is heaven to a Warped fan. Barnett retreats back to the stage, but not before a piece of someone’s weave and a sneaker gets thrown his way too.
As the sun begins to set and the number of performers dwindles, fans scurry in search of body warmth and the best music to end the night. Silverstein is just wrapping up their sound check as kids move closer to the Monster Energy stage. Lead vocalist and guitarist Shane Told opens up with an acoustic riff, warming up and welcoming his fans. Soon enough, Told transitions into “Stand Amid the Roar,” insisting that he better see a circle pit open below him. The kids oblige and soon enough, the mouth of a pit opens up, kicking dirt into the night sky.
Whether a long time fan of punk rock or still unfamiliar with the realm of Warped, it is always a fun festival to experience. The opportunities to connect with bands, to people-watch, or just enjoy the surrounding music are highlights for all. Interested in wanting to know where Vans Warped Tour is headed to next? Head to vanswarpedtour.com to find out.
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