On June 23, I attended the third date of the Vans Warped Tour’s final cross-country run at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA and it was an amazing day.
About two hours before the event, thousands of fans were already lined up and looking forward to the day ahead. Despite the long line, I was able to get in early by making a donation at the Feed Our Children NOW! tent. Many others followed suit and flooded into the venue with smiles on their faces. However, those that didn’t make a donation had to wait a lot longer to get in, so if people had some canned food, $5.00, or an old cellphone to spare for a good cause, it was worth it.
Once inside, fans were treated to variety of things as they navigated the festival grounds. This included merch booths, food booths, a much needed hydration station, etc. I walked around and checked everything out before the music started, because once the first bands took the stage that is what my focus shifted to. Now, I obviously couldn’t see every group considering there was like 60 bands, but I can give you bit of a breakdown of everyone I did watch.
I officially started my day off with a set from Ice Nine Kills. The band had a horror theme with costumes based on Friday The 13th‘s Jason Voorhees, Halloween‘s Michael Myers, etc. which was pretty cool if you’re a fan of old school slashers. One thing that sucked was the fact that they were only able to get through two songs, before being stopped for a 15 minute intermission so fans could have more time to get into the venue. After some time passed, they picked up again without a hitch. Highlights from their set included: their recently released single “The American Nightmare,” and “Bloodbath And Beyond.”
After Ice Nine Kills, I caught a set from Australian hardcore group Deez Nuts. They put on a fun performance that helped raise the energy early on in the day. The crowd still wasn’t too big yet, but those that did watch them were not disappointed. Some highlights from their set included: “Your Mother Should Have Swallowed You” and “Shot After Shot.”
Next, I went and watched Crown The Empire. The band always puts on an energetic performance and this time it was no different. The music was on point and frontman Andy Leo had some great stage banter moments as well, like when he said he can’t encourage crowd surfing, but he can laugh at those that fall while attempting it. A couple highlights from their set included: “Voices” and “Machines.”
Following Crown The Empire, I got to watch Unearth tear things up. The group was one of the heavier acts of the day and that reflected in the crowd as everyone was going crazy. Their performance was as brutal as one would hope, making it a perfect set for the metalheads at the event. On another note, it was rough day for people in the metal community with Vinnie Paul (Pantera, HELLYEAH) having passed away the night before, but Unearth did their part to honor him by having the audience participate in a toast for the legendary drummer. Aside from that, the other highlights from their set included their brand new track “Incinerate” and “Watch It Burn.”
Once Unearth were done, I took a quick a water break and got back to the same stage in time for Senses Fail. The band drew the biggest crowd I saw up to that point and for good reason. The post-hardcore group knew how to put on an awesome show, and Buddy Nielsen was probably one of the most energetic frontmen of the day. They played a lot of great songs but the highlight was definitely their covers medley, which featured System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey.” Drowning Pool’s “Bodies,” Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff,” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade.”
After Sense Fail, I went and watched Twiztid. It was a bit of a change in pace considering they lean more in a hip hop direction, but it was still interesting to check out. They wear makeup and obviously have an Insane Clown Posse type of vibe, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Highlights from their set included: “Kill Somebody” and “We Don’t Die.”
Twiztid finished up and then I went over to see Black Veil Brides. The backing band took the stage after doing a bit of setup, and just started shredding before frontman Andy Biersack ran out to break into the first verse of “Faithless.” Say what you want about them, but they always put on a good show. Everything was solid on all fronts and they pretty much proved they aren’t going anywhere, despite the recent breakup rumors. The crowd was huge during their performance and everyone was screaming nonstop, even after the group finished, because they still wanted more. Highlights from their set included: “Fallen Angels” and “In The End.”
As soon as Black Veil Brides wrapped things up, I caught the end of Palaye Royale’s set. I only got to see them play three songs, including a cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Teenagers,” but that was enough to confidently say they are a rockin’ live band. Frontman Remington Leith was insane and would hang from the top of the stage, jump in the crowd, and more. From what I saw, a highlight was their performance of “Mr. Doctor Man.”
After Palaye Royale, I went and got my spot for Every Time I Die’s set, and they absolutely killed it. Singer Keith Buckley was extremely energetic and got the crowd going crazy. He was even encouraging them to go past the barricade. The whole thing was intense from beginning to end and it was one of the best shows of the day. If you haven’t seen Every Time I Die live, you are missing out. Highlights from their set included “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space,” “The New Black,” which included some Pantera mixed in for Vinnie Paul, and “Glitches.”
Every Time I Die finished, and I stayed at the same stage waiting for Motionless In White to kickoff their performance, and once they started they were on fire the whole time. Chris Motionless had the audience jumping and singing along to every word. It was also cool seeing TJ Bell (Escape The Fate) playing with the group as a fill in for bassist Devin “Ghost” Sola, who recently exited the band. This was one of the largest crowds I saw during the event and people were totally losing their minds. Someone even lit a red smoke bomb in the middle of the pit. In my opinion, the group was actually the strongest act of the day. Highlights from their set included: “Reincarnate,” “Soft,” and “Puppets (The First Show).”
The last group I saw at the festival was Chelsea Grin. New frontman Tom Barber (ex-Lorna Shore) is a great addition to the group and he totally slayed everything he sang, new and old songs alike. If you were having any doubts about the band moving forward without Alex Koehler, you can lay your worries to rest, because this latest incarnation may end up being their best. The group’s metal onslaught was a sick way to end the day. Highlights from their set included: “Dead Rose,” “Hostage,” and “Recreant.”
All in all, it was fantastic day. All the bands I watched were in top form, and if you happen to be attending a later date of the tour, these are ones you should consider checking out. However, if these artists don’t interest you, there are still plenty of other options such as The Amity Affliction, Wage War, Harm’s Way, In Hearts Wake, The Used, Knuckle Puck, Mayday Parade, Simple Plan, Reel Big Fish, Makeout, and more. No matter who you decide to check out, it will be worth your time and money, since this will be the last time to experience Warped Tour as we know it.