Fine Line Live: Harry the Showman

Fine Line Live

On the 13th, I attended Harry Styles’ Fine Line: One Night Only concert.

The lights went out around 9pm and the crowd erupted into screams and chants of Harry’s name. We all knew what was about to happen next. He started out the night atop a platform placed at the back of the stage, doing the iconic pose featured on the Fine Line album cover, and in the exact outfit. Then as the music increased, he proceeded to start the night with the first song of the album, “Golden,” and it did not disappoint on the album, or live for that matter either. His energy throughout the song, and the entire show was intoxicating, making you wonder how he keeps up the energy for such a long time.

fine line live
Photo: Hélène Pambrun

From “Golden,” he opened up a conversation to the audience with a prolonged “I’m baack,” which caused the whole crowd to erupt with cheers. It was nice seeing him back on stage where he truly belongs. There’s something about Harry that proves that he was born for this life, as he commands attention while on stage.

He continued on the night performing all of his songs on the album, in order, including the three released singles from the album, “Watermelon Sugar”, “Adore You”, and “Lights Up,” saying it would be the only time he would do so.

His energy was high for most of his songs, but when it came to songs like “Cherry,” and “Falling,” there was a shift, the emotion behind the lyrics written plainly on his face. It’s easy to feel his pain in these moments. And as heartfelt as those songs were, he was able to bring the mood right back up again with “To Be So Lonely,” a song that is more uplifting with fun lyrics “I’m just an arrogant son of a bitch,” which the crowd screamed back at him passionately.

During a break after the song, he stopped for a moment to see how the crowd was doing. Unfortunately there was a fan down, but Harry made sure to send security to help the fan using gestures from the fans around the person to find them. During this moment he then proceeded to ask the audience “Why is it, when I call myself an ‘arrogant song of a bitch,’ that you sound the loudest? Did everyone just decide to sing it with their whole chest.” This is a moment that is sure to become a running thing, as iconic as the “Kiwi” pose as well as the new album pose.

There were other moments that I know fans will be able to enjoy on tour as much as we did that night; from the “boop” noises at the end of “Sunflower, Vol. 6,” to the way Harry completely loses himself in his dance moves during “Treat People With Kindness.” His dance moves are something that seem so him, so Harry, that I can’t help but make the comparison between him and Elvis, and the way Elvis’ moves drove fans nuts back in his day. Harry just has that effect on people, and he doesn’t even have to try.

Fine Line Live
Photo: Hélène Pambrun

Before he ended the show, he took another moment to talk to the crowd. He almost seemed shocked at how fast the time had gone. When we realized this was his last song on the album, we were all shocked too. One hour had gone by, but it had felt like 10 minutes with how much fun we’d all been having.

Because this is Harry, and he knows us, he let us know that more was in store and the night wasn’t over just yet. His last song, before the encore, was, of course, “Fine Line”. The uplifting tone, and the way that he repeats “we’ll be alright,” is the perfect tone that you want to leave a concert feeling. A hopeful excited feeling that makes you realize how much you enjoyed your time.

When he finally returned to the center of the stage, the opening chords of a song we all know and love well began, “Sign of the Times.” It was his first single, one that seemed so bold when he first released it, being that it is 5 minutes and 41 seconds.

When he had finished, he began speaking about someone he admires deeply, and we all immediately knew who was coming. He then proceeded to announce the iconic Stevie Nicks, and this was undoubtedly the loudest the crowd screamed that night, since he had stepped on stage at the beginning of the show. They took center stage together, and performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” As she left the stage, fans continued to cheer for her and you could see the admiration on Harry’s face as well.

Fine Line Live
Photo: Hélène Pambrun

Now, we’ve all been dying for Harry to give us a Christmas album for years now, even back in his One Direction days, and sadly we’re still waiting. But tonight he gave us a glimpse into what that would be like by performing “Wonderful Christmas Time.” Not only that, but the holiday spirit continued with fake snow falling from the ceiling as the song continued.

As the song ended, we knew our time with Harry was ending as well. Chants began throughout the crowd, from “Kiwi,” to “Medicine,” two well-known songs that Harry performed on his last tour. He began the end of the show with a quick speech. He thanked those that helped him create this album, those who joined him onstage, as well as thanking the fans for continuing to support him, “The album is yours, I am yours.” He told us he had one more song, and the lights on stage faded to a deep red tone. We knew what was coming.

As the opening beats of “Kiwi” began, everyone in the crowd was on their feet, dancing and jumping as Harry raced around, waving at those behind the stage. This is the song that he always sings the loudest, as he would say, with his whole chest.

Fine Line Live
Photo: Hélène Pambrun

This song is just one of those where you really do just want to dance without a care in the world, and Harry does just that. As us fans would say, Harry almost looks possessed when he is dancing to “Kiwi”. It would surprise me if he didn’t have a headache with how hard he shakes his head to the beat of the drums during the song.

As Harry finished the song and gave his final bow, we all felt melancholic. Happy that we were finally able to see him back on stage and in person after it being so long, but sad at the fact that the show was over and we’d have to wait till 2020 to see him once again… To see him back on stage where he truly belongs.

Click here to catch Harry on tour in a city near you with Love on Tour!

And remember, always treat people with kindness!

Harry Styles
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Words: Brianna Jerina | Featured Photo: Hélène Pambrun

5 Seconds of Summer: Back On Tour & Better Than Ever

5 Seconds of Summer

5 Seconds of Summer started the first night of their co-headlining tour World War Joy with The Chainsmokers last week. The first show took place at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.

5 Seconds
Photo: Jules Bressler

The Wait

The band had dozens of fans camping out overnight to see them at the venue, and I was one of them. I mean, it was the first time they have been to Cincinnati in over three years!

The group of us also got to talk to the drummer of the band, Ashton Irwin, the night before the show. He reminded us to stay safe and to have a good night, is that not the sweetest? And every person in the overnight line were only there for 5SOS (which surprised the locals in the area).

Spending 30+ hours on the street for a band may seem like something only crazy people do… And maybe I am a crazy person… But spending time with the people I have met through this band is one of the most special experiences of my life.

We kept ourselves occupied by playing board games and making random TikTok videos. The security were amazing and wonderfully accommodating which made the entire camping experience so much better. I personally helped run the line for the majority of the time I was camping, and that in itself was no easy task. I had many people tell me the line wasn’t going to work the way we envisioned. But I held out hope that everything the security had told us the day before was still applicable to the situation. 

The Show

After everything was said and done, we were let into the venue a couple of minutes after doors opened. We were given wristbands and our tickets were scanned to walk down to the pit and get to our spots. The minute I finally got barricade for my favorite band, I felt like crying. I’ve waited seven years to be close to my band and I could feel an overwhelming wave of emotions wash over me.

We sat down at the barricade and I realized I was seeing them with my best friends, which made everything a million times better. We made some small talk with the security guard in front of Calum Hood‘s mic (shout out to Jordan from U.S. Bank Arena, you’re a real one) and finally soaked everything up before the band took to the stage.

Lennon Stella started off the show at exactly 7:00pm with her 25-minute set. She is a certified angel and an incredible amazing performer. If you have the chance, definitely get to the venue early to see Lennon perform.

5 Seconds
Photo: Jules Bressler

Although it was the first night of the tour, and her setlist wasn’t well known by the crowd, she had many fans singing the words to her songs and cheering along as she performed. If you’re looking for a reason to listen to her before your World War Joy show, or just an excuse to listen to some new music in general, this is it… She sounds exactly like she does in the studio the minute she hits the stage.  

It’s Time

Before I knew it, the lights went down at 7:50pm, signaling 5SOS were about to start their 50-minute set. I was one amongst 8,000 people in the venue… And alongside thousands of fans watching online through live streams of other fans. I was looking across a sea of people all smiling wide, singing along to every song 5SOS performed for us.

I even planned a fan project for the show, consisting of the first eighty people in line to wear clown noses during their opening song. I thought they might be a little thrown off by a sea of clowns, but they are always unphased by their fans coming together, even to participate in something as silly as wearing foam clown noses. After they finished the first song, it was evident they were excited for the rest of the night and excited to see how the rest of tour would play out.

Photo: Jules Bressler

Overall, 5SOS played a total of seventeen songs within their allotted fifty-minute time slot. They didn’t stop much to talk to the crowd like they would normally do throughout their own shows, but it was understandable given the time crunch they were performing with. Fan favorites like “Why Won’t You Love Me”, “Ghost of You”, “Waste the Night”, “Jet Black Heart” and their latest single, “Teeth”, were all performed at the U.S. Bank Arena Wednesday night.

They had the crowd in the palm of their hand their whole set, and constantly had us dancing or jumping along to their high energy songs. Everyone in the crowd, whether they were on the floor or in a seat, were up on their feet and singing along with 5 Seconds Of Summer for the wonderful set they’d prepared for us. During their last song, “Youngblood” the security guards were even nodding their heads and singing along.

Not every person in that arena may have heard of them before the show, but they definitely all left knowing who they are. And the fans of each artist who walked into that arena knowing every word to every song shed many tears, shared many hugs and wore huge smiles throughout their entire set. 

In my honest and very biased opinion, 5SOS are the best live band of our generation.

The dedication these four men put into their stage presence and production is unmatched by any other artist out there. They continuously blow their fans away with everything they do. They truly love being onstage most nights of their lives, and give back to their fans whenever they can… You’d be hard pressed to find a group of more genuine guys.

5 Seconds Of Summer are going to be around for a really long time, so if you haven’t gone to a show or at least given them a listen… What are you waiting for? I promise you that you will not regret it. Listening to them was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Be sure to check out 5SOS’s latest song “Teeth” on Apple Music and Spotify. And if you get the chance, go see them on tour with The Chainsmokers and Lennon Stella!

5 Seconds of Summer
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Words & Featured Photo: Jules Bressler


(And if you’re wondering… Calum messed up the lyrics right to “Waste The Night” this show too.)

Video: Jules Bressler

Flor Had Austin “Dancing Around”

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Last week flor embarked on their North American tour and we were lucky enough to be in attendance at the second tour date in Austin, TX last Thursday! This whole show was full of good vibes with the openers, Lostboycrow and joan to finish.

Lostboycrow opened up the show at Parish as the crowd continued to grow and fill the venue, although many didn’t know the lyrics to his songs we can all agree he definitely got some new fans than night! Someone in the crowd screamed for them to play “Devil in the Backseat” at some point during the set, which the band agreed they would get to, and it’s definitely the song from their setlist that stuck with us for the night!

Next to grace the stage was joan, who got the crowd in a great mood for flor‘s set afterward. Although the duo don’t have many songs out at the moment, they brought down the house and had everyone dancing and sweating before the main act even stepped on stage. “stop and stare” was a favorite live performance by us, and if you haven’t heard of the band, try that song first!

flor came on stage to a sold-out show as they opened with “slow motion” and you could literally feel the band’s good energy radiate out into the crowd with the first note. Lead singer Zach Grace, kept the most infectious smile on his face the whole show, regardless of the sweltering heat the ran through the space. It was so hot the band members even began to give fans their own water bottles from stage, but fans seemed to care less about dehydration as they “danced around” to the lively music.

The band played a mix of songs between their two albums, come out. you’re hiding. and ley lines, with the setlist as follows:

  • slow motion
  • heart
  • unsaid
  • ley lines
  • restless soul
  • listen for you
  • overbehind
  • back again
  • white noise
  • where do you go
  • dancing around
  • money
  • rely
  • hold on
  • warm blood

Even though their newest album, ley lines, was recently released everyone knew almost all the lyrics to every song on the setlist, the happiness in the crowd’s voice as they screamed back the lyrics still sits in our ears, and our hearts until we get to experience another flor show. You may still be lucky enough to catch one yourself, check out the remaining tour dates their website!

flor
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

joan
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Lostboycrow
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Words and Featured Photo: Mar Maldonado

Shawn Mendes On Tour

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Photo: Shawnaccess on Instagram

Canadian, singer, songwriter, and model, Shawn Mendes has made quite the ruckus on his current tour, Shawn Mendes The Tour. Bouncing from city to city with little to no rest, the young singer is still performing his heart out at every show and making sure his fans leave with a night to remember.

Fortunately, I was able to attend his San Antonio show on July 23rd as a Gold VIP purchaser. My package included floor seats, a meet and greet/photo opportunity with Shawn, access to the q&a and so much more! The night was full of incredible experiences that I will cherish for years to come.

5 Years Earlier…

To many people’s surprise, Shawn Mendes actually performed for the first time in front of a real audience in San Antonio. On August 25th, 2015 pop-singer, Austin Mahone, kicked off his tour with Fifth Harmony, The Vamps, Shawn Mendes & Alex Angelo in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas. I was also lucky enough to attend this show five years ago. Subsequently, I was able to see the transition from Shawn’s first performance to where he is now!

I was even able to capture the moment during his most recent show that I attended, in which he references his first performance!

The difference in performances is unreal! Five years ago I remember sitting front row, watching a young, anxious boy about to perform for the first time. His nerves were apparent and it took him a moment to gain his confidence.

Before, he began singing his first song he openly spoke about it being his first performance in front of a crowd such as the one in front of him that night. Personally, the uneasiness in his voice made me nervous for him. However, it only took him until the chorus of his first song to appear completely at ease. By the end of his set one could assume that he’d been performing his entire life. Check out his first song performed from that night here!

How has Shawn Changed?

Previously, when the Canadian star was touring with the likes of Austin Mahone, 5th Harmony and The Vamps he had a fairly simple set. No band, no back up vocals, nothing but him and his guitar. As simple as it was, it made his performance even more impressive. With out all the accompanying instruments or the flashing lights he was still able to get the crowd on their feet and put on a show.

Since then, there have been several changes made to the way Shawn Mendes performs. On his current tour, his growth as a performer is extremely apparent. The way in which he carries himself is so much more confident than the first time I saw him perform. He now has as full band behind him as well as a giant screen that gives fans a closer look at him as well as some cool visual effects.

Roses Are Pretty

Shawn has also incorporated a gorgeous rose aesthetic to every aspect of the show. On the “B” stage sat an enormous rose that would light up and change colors with each song. However, the best part was that every fan received a bracelet that lit up to match the color of the rose. Additionally, VIP package holders received a regular-sized rose that lit up as well!

Photo: Destiny Zamora
Photo: Sophia Mora (Rose for the VIP package holders)

While some fans and spectators might think there is a deeper meaning behind this floral aesthetic the truth is, there isn’t. In fact, during the q&a session in San Antonio, a fan asked why Shawn chose the rose theme. The room went quiet as we all anticipated a long meaningful answer. However, Shawn simply stated, “Because roses are pretty”.

Shawn Shows Off a New Tattoo

Furthermore, Shawn showed off a new piece of ink that was actually suggested to him by a fan! Shawn gives a similar answer to the rose question when asked about his recently acquired tattoo as well. This time he announced that he got the tattoo simply because he liked how it looked. I mean, what other reason would someone need?

An Experience of a Lifetime

All in all, this young Canadian pop-star knows how to entertain. From the meet and greet experience, the q&a and the show itself I was blown away in every aspect. The meet and greet alone was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. Shawn is such a joy to talk to and truly makes an effort to give each fan every ounce of his attention.

Photo: Sophia Mora

Lastly, this young man can certainly put on a show. In my nineteen years of life, I have attended several concerts, many within the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Shawn Mendes put on one of the best concerts I have ever seen and it was by far the loudest I have witnessed. In fact, in one particular song called “Like to be You” that features Julia Michaels, the crowd almost overpowers Shawn‘s voice.

It was an incredible moment to witness and I cannot help but feel proud of the young man on that stage. To see the difference in just five years, I feel incredibly lucky. This is a show I HIGHLY recommend seeing, so if you haven’t seen Shawn live yet, don’t miss out on your next chance! Check out the remaining tour dates and available tickets here!

Shawn Mendes
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Words: Sophia Mora | Featured Photo: ShawnAccess

Blink 182 and Lil Wayne

My idea of fun has always been behind the barricade, smushed between thousands of gyrating bodies, my own rattled by raucous basslines on a Saturday night. So, when I heard that Blink-182 were coming to town, you bet I got our credit card ready faster than I can say ‘credit card’.

And when you add Lil Wayne to the mix, my excitement skyrocketed. I can’t even tell you how many junior high dances it took for me to memorize a majority of his lyrics.

After much anticipation, when the day finally arrived, the weather was looking ominous, and so the question arises: should I rock the poncho to the rock show? Surely no one would fall in love with me, so I ditched the idea. Instead, I tucked my skinnies into my tattered tennis shoes, and set out early, Twisted Teas in tow, with the idea of avoiding the steep $16 price tag for a drink at the venue.

I tucked my skinnies into my tattered tennis shoes, and set out early

Somehow, the rock gods shined their light on us, literally.

The sky opened up and the sun actually shined. Wild. The lot wasn’t quite as full as you’d expect for free parking to see Blink, but after maybe two hours, I seemed to look up from my Spiked Arnold Palmer and poof: people. There were the typical groups gathered by vehicles, except maybe what wasn’t so typical was the music selection. The lot filled with anything from the punk riffs of “Dammit” by Blink, to “Bedrock” by Young Money, and even… Kenny Chesney? Tailgating to country music seemed to be an odd flex at this particular show, but to each their own.

Once we deemed ourselves buzzed enough to enter after braving the seemingly mile long lines for the port-a-potty, we got in through the gates pretty fluidly. Then, after we got inside, we headed straight to the upgrade booth. For an additional $25, we were able to trade in our general admission lawn seats for Section 2 Pavilion ones. We were safe from any potential rain, and let me tell you, I could visibly see the sweat on Mark Hoppus‘s face: an image I don’t ever want to lose.

Neck Deep was first in the lineup

Though admittedly not knowing many Neck Deep songs, I loved their sound. We found our seats right at the end of their set and they simply oozed energy, everything I hope for in an opener. My adrenaline was pumping, which surely the alcohol had a part in, but all I wanted to do was dance. My friends and I remained standing, jumping up and down to the energetic beat of their last two songs, cheering loudly when they mentioned Blink 182.

Between sets, a few announcements were made stating that ‘due to unforeseen circumstances’, Blink 182 and Lil Wayne would be switching set times. We were all wondering what prompted the switch until the answer came from Mr. Mark Hoppus himself during their performance. In between songs, announcing “hope you’re ready for Lil Wayne… if he ever gets here”.

So Weezy was late.

No worries. As long as I got to hear “Aliens Exist” at some point during the night, why did it matter if it was sooner rather than later? They played it third, to be exact, and I lost it. I’ve always loved that song and hearing it live, actually able to see the band move across the stage… it was an outer-body experience. The band played Enema of the State in its entirety, it being the famous album’s 20th anniversary.

The only thing tugging at my heart strings was the absence of Tom. Tom Delonge has admittedly always my favorite, but what impresses me the most about this band is their ability to stay true to their sound after all these years, and losing a member. Their newer tracks, “Bored to Death” and “Cynical flowed seamlessly into their set, and any novice would be unable to spot the difference in the near twenty year gap between release dates.

The crowd was so responsive to the band, known for their playful commentary and charming performance of “Family Reunion”, which any true Blink fan would know and love. (Look up the lyrics, you won’t be disappointed). Seats were filled with people of all ages, those who grew up alongside Blink 182, as well as teenagers, who fell in love with their playful, timeless sound.

Everyone was jumping around, dancing, and the smiles were genuine across the venue.

One of the most impressive things about the show was Travis Barker‘s drum solo. Admittedly, I’m often guilty of zoning out through these, but there’s something about Barker‘s craft that’s simply mesmerizing. His slender, tatted arms don’t miss a beat, and he wowed the audience by drumming upside down. The platform he sat on flipped slowly and I had never seen anything quite like it.

After the few encores were played and confetti streams dropped, I was sad to see the band go. I was hyped for them to headline so naturally, the expectations for Lil Wayne were pretty big: I needed to keep this adrenaline going.

Lil Wayne made it, thank God, explaining to us that his tour bus broke down.

He and his band were incredibly thankful for the guys in Blink to let them switch set times, and he reiterated it several times. Wayne had a great way of connecting to the crowd, and despite his flashy chains and Gucci headband, he seemed quite humbled to be performing for us, and to be headlining, at that.

The atmosphere definitely changed a bit, filling the ampitheatre with raunchy lyrics and familiar beats I had once bopped to through my old portable CD player. I loved it- He played mashups of old songs like “Fireman”, and “6 Foot 7 Foot”. Though playing live with instruments made songs certainly sounded different, they were still incredible.

Lil Wayne‘s message was a positive one

In between songs, often pointing toward the sky and reiterating that there are three things we needed to know about him, Lil Wayne stayed true to a theme. “One, I ain’t shit without the Lord. Two, I ain’t shit without you. And three, and most importantly, I ain’t shit without YOU”. He also emphasized the importance of appreciating everyone in your life, earning a round of applause from the Pittsburgh audience when taking a moment to honor the late Mac Miller in his hometown.

It certainly felt nice to be appreciated by such a big artist, and I’m glad that these two decided to tour together. As someone whose Spotify is nothing short of erratic, I’m a huge fan of genre mixing at shows; more artists should take notes! It opens people’s minds and creates a larger, more accepting fan base for all parties. This show was certainly one I’ll never forget… even after a few too many Twisted Teas.

Blink-182 Socials
Website  | Instagram | Twitter  | Facebook | YouTube

Lil Wayne Socials
Website  | Instagram | Twitter  | Facebook | YouTube

Words: Taylor Yunk | Photo: Daniel Rojas

Forever Warped

warped-tour-logo-journeys-vans

The encore to an amazing 25 year show that no one wants to leave.

I couldn’t wait for summer and the Warped Tour

Blink-182 ‘The Rock Show’

Blink-182 got those lyrics right for the millions of people who have attended Warped Tour for the past 25 years. So you could imagine that this weekend was especially special and emotional for many. As someone who has been attending Warped since she was 12, it was definitely a hard goodbye.

Warped Tour was always the best part of the summer. 20+ bands across multiple stages along, a crowd of people who just enjoy music, and some light moshing and crowd surfing. That’s Warped. So what do you do for the very last one? You make it bigger.

The bands weren’t the only thing warped had to offer this year. Warped Tour went back to the basics from years ago and had a skateboard ramp, motor cross track, wrestling ring, and a Warped Tour Museum.

This weekend was the last time the east coast will ever see Warped. Across Atlantic City beach with 4 stages, 60,000 people traveled from up and down the east coast to attend the 2-day event.

DAY 1

25-years-warped-tour-line-up-atlantic-city
Photo by Vans Warped Tour
The first day was a little rough. It was obvious that the security and vendors didn’t know exactly what was about to happen, so things got a bit messy. You had to stand in line for food for about 40 minutes. There were only 2 hydration stations where you could fill your water bottles and that alone was about a 45 minute wait. The security by the stages were having a lot of fun playing catch and release with amount of crowd surfers that there were.

That night around 5pm, in the middle of Atmosphere‘s set, Warped Tour had to call an emergency evacuation because of a storm that was coming. The evacuation only lasted an hour until everyone was allowed back in and the party resumed, thankfully.

The highlight of my day one was seeing Simple Plan and Good Charlotte for the first time! These bands were the staple of my childhood and the fact that I saw both from front row was so surreal to me.

Simple Plan easily blew the crowd away with their set. It was pop-Punk perfection. Opening with “I’d do anything” and closing with “Perfect” and smash hits in-between, it was non-stop beautiful chaos.

Good Charlotte‘s set was a little rough around the edges but that is what made it all the better. They came on after the evacuation of the beach. So as we were filing back in, they were setting back up. This caused some technical difficulties. Joel was having some troubles with his microphone and Benji’s mic just wasn’t working at all. Their performance was overall too low compared to how loud the others were.

Did these setbacks prevent the crowd from having the time of their lives? No! They had the crowd jumping, surfing, and screaming despite the troubles. They didn’t let a little rain slow down their last Warped Tour performance.

Following Good Charlotte was Bad Religion, 311, and A Day To Remember. As the night went on, the crowd got crazier. More and more crowd surfers and mosh pits. But hey, that’s Warped Tour!

Day 1 was a total success… Stay tuned for Day 2!

  • travie-mccoy-warped-tour-25-years
  • simple-plan-warped-tour-25-years
  • good-charlotte-warped-tour-25-years
  • good-charlotte-warped-tour-25-years

Photos: Jace Chiappetta

Warped Tour
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Words: Jace Chiappetta | Featured Photo: Vans Warped Tour

Warped Tour: Summer Camp Goes to the Beach

Warped Tour

Most kids spend their summer vacation at camp making crafts, playing games, and running around having the time of their life. Growing up by the beach meant I always had a place to run around and play, so I never spent weeks hanging out in a cabin or swimming in a lake. That is, until I was 14 years old and my parents FINALLY let me go to the only summer camp I have ever wanted to attend: The Vans Warped Tour. It was the ultimate punk rock summer camp that came to a town near you one day every summer with it’s loud music and kids running around wearing black skinny jeans on the hottest day of summer leaving a trail of rubber wristbands and stickers over the entire venue.

Each year you would wait to see which of your favorite bands would be on the Warped Tour lineup, and it was always a bunch of them. That meant being prepared for a day packed full of your favorite music, lots of meet and greets, and running from one stage to another that is ALL the way at the other end of the venue. And planning it out the night before? Think again. You and everyone else were running into that venue right to the inflatable schedule that told you who played where at what time, and that changed for every single city they stopped at. Every band played a 30 minute set, whether they opened the local stage or closed main stage. But the time has come to end such an important era, and after 25 years Warped Tour finally called a quits.

“Couldn’t wait for the summer and the Warped Tour
– Blink-182

Photo: Daniel Rojas

Such a staple in the current punk/rock music scene couldn’t end without one last hoorah. Warped Tour planned to celebrate 25 years with two mini festivals, each spanning an entire weekend, on the beach in Atlantic City, NJ and Mountain View, CA – with a show in Cleveland, Ohio to celebrate their exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was lucky enough to be one of those 60,000 people this weekend who ran onto the beach to the inflatable schedule to see when I would be seeing some of my favorite bands play Warped Tour for the last time.

In true Warped Tour fashion, the days were long and the water lines were even longer. The land breeze on the beach made the days hotter than they should’ve been and there was sand in places sand should never be, but I wouldn’t change even a second of the weekend. I watched bands play that I first saw and fell in love with at Warped Tour and I saw bands that I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d ever see playing this tour.

We will never grow out of this feeling that Warped Tour gives us.

I love that they took their normal setup and planted it on the beach. All of the bands had their merch tents and a bunch of organizations were there to grab your attention to support a good cause. They kept the standard of having multiple stages, leaving the dreaded and all too familiar realization that two of your favorite bands may have overlapping set times or are playing back to back. Do you have time to run from Main Stage to Full Sail University Stage? Or should I hear the first half of one set to make it to the end of another? It definitely can cause a stressful day, but it’s a type of stress that we’ve learned to strive on.

There was a halfpipe for skateboarders, people riding motocross, a lot of people wrestling (in an actual ring, not in a pit), and a guy shot himself out of a cannon. It was exactly what you would expect when you hear Vans was part of a punk rock music festival. The 25th anniversary not only kept the spirit of Warped Tour alive, but it gave an entirely new memory to people who have been going to this beloved festival year after year. Never before could I be floating in the ocean while hearing my favorite band play live.

Every summer camp has to come to an end

Attending my last Warped Tour was a bittersweet moment. The first time I went I didn’t think I would make it out alive. I finally got to tag along with my big sister to this punk rock show. I was still new to the scene and my main focus was to see my favorite band at the time. My sister kept telling me how I could meet them at this show. So we left early in hopes that I would be the first in line. But, five minutes from our house one of our car tires completely flew off. We had to call for help, wait for our mom to show up, and switch cars just so we could go. Of course when we got there we were late, the m&g was at capacity, and my 14 year old self was nearly in tears in a parking lot.

My sister calmed me down but after seeing my favorite band I wanted to go. I was hot, exhaustion was setting in and I couldn’t afford to buy a water bottle because I spent too much money on merch. Luckily, my sister said we couldn’t leave. She came to see Yellowcard and we weren’t leaving until they played. They just happened to be the last band to play the main stage that day. I waited as the sun started to set and everyone piled into the amphitheater to hear the last band of the day play.

There’s just no one that gets me like you do, Warped Tour

Photo: The Artist Spotlight circa 2012

I remember, in the middle of the set, complaining to my sister that I couldn’t see, that there were so many people and I was too short. She helped me stand up on the arm rests of the seats, quickly doing the same, right as they started playing “Only One”. Happy that I could see and that it finally cooled down, I sang along as loud as I possibly could but I couldn’t even hear myself, everyone was singing every word as loud as possible and it was in that moment that I knew surrounded by all these people, with this music playing, this is where I will always belong.

Thank you to all the big sisters and brothers, parents, friends, and cousins who have taken someone to their first punk rock summer camp. It may be coming to an end, but so many memories were created over the past 25 years on one tour. But most importantly, thank you Kevin Lyman and The Vans Warped Tour for giving me a place that I knew I would always fit in. It may be over, but we will always be Forever Warped.

Vans Warped Tour
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Words: Anna Grillo | Feature Image: Vans Warped Tour

5SOS Rock Out B96 Chicago’s Summer Bash

5 Seconds of Summer were one of the many headliners of last weekend’s Summer Bash concert, and the band had everyone in the venue jumping on their feet as soon as they stepped on stage.  Fourth on the lineup this year, 5SOS opened up with their newest single “Easier” with the smoothest transition from the intro to the song, thanks to drummer Ashton Irwin. It’s among one of the first performances of the new song, as the band continue to do promotion around the world. Calum Hood killed the incredible bassline, whilst Luke Hemmings hit an amazing falsetto – as usual. 

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Rockstars! @5sos #5sos #SummerBash

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Going from their new track to an old favorite, and a song that many know them for, the band then played “She Looks So Perfect” as the crowd shouted back the lyrics to the classic 5SOS hit! Transitioning into their recent collaboration with The Chainsmokers, next the band played “Who Do You Love” before going into another fan favorite, “Jet Black Heart”, as Michael Clifford hyped up the crowd and shredded the guitar.

Ending their set, 5SOS went into a single from their latest album, “Want You Back,” before ending with their hit song “Youngblood.” The band opened with a breathtaking acoustic harmony, before Hood jumped to keyboard whilst Hemmings lead into the first verse with vocals. The entire crowd were jumping by the end of the set, and the energy in the room was incredible!

We can’t wait till 5 Seconds of Summer goes on tour this Fall! Did you go to B96 Chicago’s SummerBash? What was your favorite 5SOS moment?

5 Seconds Of Summer
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B96 Chicago
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Words: Mar Maldonado | Featured Photo: B96Chicago