The summer concert season is finally upon us and is in full swing. Warped tour made a pit stop to Darien Lake as it does every year. This was their 21st year of being on the road and they have been pushing every year to be even fresher and entertaining than the next. They didn’t do so badly this year.
The weather could not have been more beautiful. It wasn’t too hot and it was a rain free day. The afternoon before we had hours worth of rain so the ground was pretty soggy and wet. My converse and calves were covered in mud by the end of the night.
Taking a walk around and scoping out the area, I had never been to Warped Tour so wanted to see what they had to offer besides the 10 stages of music. In the middle of the event strategically placed in rows like a carnival setting they had band’s tents where you could buy merch or shoot the breeze with them. So I took a peek and continued down the hill to where my favorite part of the event happened.
The Unicorn stage was second in command that night. If you have never seen Family Force 5 I recommend seeing them at least once. They were highly entertaining on the stage. Their retro bright straight out of the ’80s fashion-wear, to the trampoline jumping on stage kept things fresh and new. These guys brought so much stimulation to the stage I couldn’t look away.
Most of the melodic hardcore bands or borderline metal bands were placed in the far back on the Monster stage. I found myself unable to be peeled away from this particular setup, as most of the bands there were so tight on point. There are a few worth mentioning that were really pleasant to listen to as well as photograph.
Fit For A King, These guys were recently in town for a show at a tiny club called The Waiting Room. I did not attend but from what I understand they put on a great performance, according to a colleague this one trumped over the previous. Front man Ryan Kirby delivered a strong solid performance and newest member who is bassist and clean vocalist Ryan O` Leary was nothing but energy on the stage.
Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage had any miscellaneous band that didn’t quite fit into the pop metal categories. Alvarez Kings I must say out of all the bands on that stage I saw were the most relaxed. They weren’t your typical warped tour kind of band. They were softer and it wasn’t what I normally listen to you, but nevertheless enjoyable. I would certainly go out of my way to listen to them while doing a relaxing activity.
Until We Are Ghosts, Until we are ghost are based out of Rochester, NY which is approximately only hour away from Darien Lake. I have had the pleasure of working with these guys doing live photography for them on several occasions when they come to Buffalo. When I heard they were playing on warped Tour I couldn’t have been happier for them. I have seen how hard they have worked to get here. They deserve it all and more. The guys started off their set with Repression. Vocalist Rob Anders always brings an unbelievable performance every time I’ve seen them. Today was no different.
August Burns Red is from our friendly bordering state Pennsylvania. Vocalist Jake Luhrs and his band have been together for just about 13 years now and their sound was spot on. Drummer Matt Griener had such great dynamic drumming, and their lyrics and sound are so skillfully crafted to make it their own.
Quintet group Blessthefall was one of those bands, a forced to be reckoned with that day. They are a melodicore band from Arizona. These guys brought and left every last ounce of energy on the stage. The vocal presence of Beau Bokan was undeniably the strongest I heard all day. They opened up with “you wear the crown but you’re no king”. The middle of their set they played one of their most popular songs 2.0. This is primarily a song they are known for.
Asking Alexandria was one of the last bands to close out the evening at approximately 8pm. They had introduced their new singer Denis Stoff. He certainly brought his own flavor and did justice to all of their harder songs. I was impressed by them all around and thought they put on a good performance and kept the crowd enticed for the entire performance. Once they started singing “Breathless” The crowd just lost their minds. Moshing began and extreme crowd surfing commenced.
Well my very first Warped Tour was a success. I Spent approximately nine hours shooting and walked away with a little sunburn, muddy covered shoes and feet that felt like they were going to fall off; but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. All the bands brought their own flavor and it was enjoyable for all on one level or another. I will see you next year Warped Tour 22.