Festival Review: Vans Warped Tour – Blossom Music Center July 20th 2016

VWT1For 22 years Vans Warped Tour has been hitting the road in the U.S, Canada, Australia and Europe.  Every year it’s a mixture of what’s to come in rock and some staples from years prior to bring the noise that everyone is familiar with. I caught up with the festival as it rolled through NE Ohio, landing at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. Let me tell you, it was a day!

I personally have never been to Vans Warped Tour.  So, when I found out I would be catching the show this year the first thing I did was hit up the website at VansWarpedTour.com.  A couple of cool and noteworthy things I found while I was there: VWT201604Free tickets for parents with minors who have bought tickets and FREE WATER! You can bring your own water bottle into the venue.  Also check the website for the incredible list of all 91 acts that will be out on the road with the festival. Yes, you read that right, 91 bands/artist. The day I caught only had a small grouping of 85 of those bands, so I had plenty of time to take it all in.  Seriously though, I had no hope of                                                                                                 catching them all.

Right from the gate I headed to Monster Stage South to catch Florida rockers, Wage War.  They came out hard and had a large crowd to wake up the day.  Some peopleVWT201605 chose to take the show in from the large Monster Energy drink truck parked towards the back which distributed Monsters throughout the day. There was also a nice misting station to cool you off if you felt a bit overheated.  One thing I noticed was how Warped ran like clockwork.  If it said your favorite band of all time was starting at 2:40pm, you damn well better be front and center at 2:40pm. There was music raging all day long from everywhere.

As Wage War tapped out for the day Veil of Maya stepped up to make sure there wasn’t a Veil Of Maya 1gap in the wall of sound coming from the stages.  The crowd was jumping and throwing horns while lead guitarist Marc Okubo brought more fire and pink to the day than most others.  However, just as you’re getting into it, it’s over.  Most bands only had about a 30 minute set time.  Which when you’re haulin’ ass through 85 bands that’s what ya gotta do.  After Veil of Maya left the stage I headed away from the Monster stages and went right over to the Journey’s Right Foot Stage.

Issues was bringing their own style of rock and had one of the largest crowds of the day VWT201616gathered to check it out.  I don’t know why, or how, but Issues’ entire stage was decked out in Pokemon.  Speaker covers, drum heads, props and whatever other nonsense they could find.  But, how did they do all this before all the GO madness? I will probably never know, but seriously guys, props for riding the wave.  

Did I mention the unlimited water?  Yeah, I grabbed some at this point and headed over to Wage War 2check out some of the artist booths.  This is something special to Warped Tour.  Every band/artist has their own booth and at that booth you can find their merch, music and meet and greets.  That’s right, the bands, selling to the fans.  There’s no more pure way to have it and no better place to be a fan than at Vans Warped Tour.

Next, I was off to the Full Sail Stage to check out up and coming rockers, Cane Hill.  With their new release ‘Smile’ fresh off the press these guys we ready to go.  Bringing a hard driving constant wall of rock and tons of energy on stage it was one of the best performances of the day. VWT201610 Just because a band is playing the “small” stage doesn’t mean they bring a small sound.  Cane Hill closed out their set with the banger “Time Bomb” which will get just about anyone in the pit.  Check out the album stream for ‘Smile’ HERE.  After Cane Hill it was time for a food break and MORE water.  I did manage to find a Guy Fieri  food booth.  I grabbed a “Real Deal” burger, fries and a soda.  Twenty two dollars lighter I returned to the stages to catch more of the action.

First up was Crown The Empire.  With some awesome melodies, great hooks and little bit VWT201613of electronica mixed in for good measure, count me in.  I did find one plus side to short sets. If there has to be one.  All the bands bring their best and they put it out there with every song.  Crown The Empire closed out with ‘Machines’ and the whole crowd went nuts.  I didn’t find myself leaving the Monster Stages, both south and north very often. Mainly because Warped knows how to make a killer lineup.

In Hearts Wake took the Monster stage south right after CTE with a stage adorned by whatVWT201614 one could best describe as a bayou feel with alligators and ivy vines included.  It was hot, the crowd was wearing down but the day wasn’t over yet.  Ice Nine Kills stepped up next, rocked hard, and left little air in the attendees.  Lead singer, Spencer Charnas spent a bit of time on the barrier giving fans a up close personal experience.

One last band had yet to take the stage.  Motionless In White closed out Vans WarpedVWT201617 Tour for me (there were 3 other stages going at the same time).  With a stage presence of a band not looking for anyone’s approval, they got it anyways.  MIW brought some of the largest pits of the day and one of the most excited crowds.  No one left early and it didn’t matter how hot it was.  With the sun setting and a MIW flag being waved on stage by Chris Motionless it was time to call it a day.  I have to say, it was a blitzkrieg of music.

I was heading for the car by about 8:45 pm, which for a working stiff like myself did actually pay off the following day at work.  However, when you’ve got that many bands allVWT 1 in the same place, at the same time, you don’t ever want it to end.  When the summer sun rises again next year, and the days become almost unbearable outside, I’ll be looking up the tour dates for Vans Warped Tour.  There’s no better chance for you to meet the artists, take pictures with them and get your stuff signed than this tour.  It was made for the fans, and they know that. Vans Warped Tour runs through August 13th and closes out in Portland, OR. Catch it before the summer runs out! Cheers!!

Catch all the info on this Vans Warped Tour and future Warped Tours at www.VansWarpedTour.com

Brian Reynolds

About Brian Reynolds

I’m a Cali transplant living life in rural Ohio. Every Saturday night I produce The Social Revolution on Metal Nation Radio which you can find more info on at www.321Cheers.com. When ever the opportunity arises to jump in and photog at a festival or concert I’ll be there. Hopefully I’ll be bringing you fine folks at Metal Nation News great coverage of the premier concert and festivals in the U.S.. So grab a drink, settle in, and get your reading on! Cheers!

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