Wet and Warped

By on August 1, 2014

 

Ghost,  Motionless In White (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Ghost, Motionless In White sporting the LA Kings jersey  (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

The annual Vans Warped Tour washed into Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg on Friday and brought with it something for everyone, especially camaraderie and individuality. This is what makes the Warped Tour so special. I had been looking forward to this tour and this might seem strange to those who know me and the bands that I support but Warped is a different experience then most of the festivals that my metal friends go to.  At Mayhem or Ozzfest, you get exposed to other types of hard rock or heavy metal but at the Warped Tour, you can experience everything from pop to hip-hop, hardcore to indie, and emo to ska.  Throw together all these styles of music and more and what will that bring? A blender full of people in one place, at one time. But on this Friday in Vinoy Park with the Saint Petersburg Pier in the backdrop and the downtown high rises looking over the Monster Energy Stage, another participant played a big part early in the day and that was Mother Nature.  Raining the previous night and then during the first couple hours of the festival, I knew going to the park that the mud could play an interesting role. The potential for a slip-n-slide, a muddy mosh pit, or a full blown mud fight could be achieved, but in the end, the mud really just affected people’s traction and the dirtiness of their bodies and their clothes. No big deal for a veteran Warped crowd.

 

Chris Fronzak,  Attila (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Chris Fronzak, Attila (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

The rain also brought on extreme heat throughout the day without a lot of cloud cover and thankfully for all, a slight breeze coming off the water. But, it was hot. Damn hot. It’s a given though when you schedule outdoor festivals in the middle of July in Florida, but I digress.

 

I arrived late due to the aforementioned rain and picked up a schedule for the 80 plus acts on the 10 different stages.  It was time to plot a course of action especially seeing that I wasn’t very familiar with most of the bands except for Motionless In White and We The Kings.  We the Kings played to a huge crowd the last time I was at this tour and I wanted to see how they have progressed.

MW Paul (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

MW Paul (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Motionless In White has been touring non-stop for the last 2 years following their release of Infamous and will be releasing the follow up to it in Reincarnate in September. They are led by frontman Chris Motionless who donned a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey to the delight of the local hockey fans and Ghost, their bassist wore a Stanley Cup Champion L.A. Kings jersey.  Possibly a preview of next year’s Cup final. Bolts fans can only hope.

Once again Motionless In White put on a power packed set on the Monster Energy Stage drawing one of the largest crowds of the festival. It has been interesting following this band’s rise through the ranks and gaining popularity not only from their base but also from non-metalcore fans. By drawing from influences like Slipknot, The Cure and Marilyn Manson and providing a terrestrial radio anthem in “A.M.E.R.I.C.A.” MIW continue to move up the ranks and impress across the states.

Chris Motionless in White

 

Throughout the day bouncing from stage to stage and taking in the fest as a whole, the variety of spectators and their appearances was worth the price of admission alone. From super hero costumes, speedos and some wearing leather from head-to-toe, Warped is where you can be who you are, if only for once a year.  Sure you might get a double take from someone, but you are accepted.

photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

photo by Travis Failey / RSEN

photo by Travis Failey / RSEN

Warped also provides the fan access to the performers at their tents for meet and greats and other artistic opportunities throughout the day. You will see this at other festivals but not at arena shows and never at the level of Warped.

There were many great bands and performances and I could go into detail on all of them, but here are a couple that stood above the others:

 

Dave Scmidt Breathe Carolina (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Dave Scmidt Breathe Carolina (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Breathe Carolina:  Performing on the Kia Soul Stage, Breathe Carolina got the crowd involved early not only with their impressive non-stop energy but by providing props to engage the crowd with. Giant red beach balls with their name emblazed on the side, waterguns and vocalist David Schmidt riding rubber rafts in the crowd, to name a few. Their power pop sound mixed with electronica and multi layered vocals, has caught the attention of millions and has served them well. Just look at their youtubehits. In the millions.

 

Schmidt is the ultimate performer and frontman. He had the massive crowd filled with women locked onto his every note and move as he traipsed his way back and forth across the stage. With Tommy Cooperman providing the unclean vocals during their set, and Luis Bonet on bass & keyboards and Eric Armenta on drums, Breathe Carolina isn’t a one man show. The music that they play isn’t really my thing but I would go see them again just for the performance and the crowd interaction.

 

Protomen (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Protomen (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

My favorite performance of the day came from The Protomen. They are from Nashville and provided a sight and sound performance that I will remember for a long time. With nine band members in perfect synch, dressed in outfits from a throwback sci-fi film, they interchanged their instruments and really showed diversity.

 

By mixing many different kinds of music with operatic theatrics and concepts, The Protomen provided an experience like I’ve never seen before. These guys got together in Nashville over 10 years ago and are inspired by the Nintendo video game Megaman. Some of the band members names derive from fictional movie characters and song references:  Raul Panther, Turbo Lover, Murphy Weller (taken from the movie Robocop), K.I.L.R.O.Y, and The Gambler are a few. I know this may sound silly but it works famously and in today’s set they performed a cover of the Iron Maiden classic “The Trooper” and they crushed it. Their music never seemed redundant or rushed like many of the bands who performed today. With a limited set time, some bands moved so quickly that they never addressed the crowd, which is critical in a performance especially to listeners with virgin ears. Every time I cover a festival like the Warped Tour, one band will steal the show and make me an instant fan. This year it was obvious: The Protomen.

 

photo  by Travis Failey / RSEN

photo by Travis Failey / RSEN

Lastly, Attila took the stage Monster Energy stage and provided Saint Petersburg with the largest group of people running in a semi-organized circle that I’ve ever seen. Lead singer and founder Chris Fronzak got the crown moving and then directed them to run around the “Truth” sculpture in the middle of Vinoy Park. This went on for about 4 minutes before the heat set in and people couldn’t run anymore.

Attila also provided me with an interesting perspective in regard to the evolution of “moshing.” There has always been an unwritten etiquette to moshing starting back in 1982, with an important part being that you respect the other participants and if they get injured, you do everything to help. During many mosh pits today and especially the one that I witnessed during Attila’s set, many of the people were out there with bad intentions and aggressively trying to injure others. These actions really remove the spirit and the bond of “the pit.” Do I understand it? Yes. Do I like it? Not at all.  Call me “old school” if you want. I’ll take it as a compliment.

 

Dan Lambton Real Friends  (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Dan Lambton Real Friends (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Other bands that I really enjoyed and will check out again were:

The Marmozets www.marmozets.co.uk

Echosmith www.echosmith.com

Real Friends realfriendsband.com

Yellowcard yellowcardrock.com Great stage show

Ice Nine Kills www.iceninekills.com

 

Sydney Sierota,  EchoSmith  (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Sydney Sierota, EchoSmith (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

All in all, The Vans Warped Tour was a huge success, even after battling Mother Nature throughout the day. Huge props need to be given to the organizers, the vendors and especially the security staff that handled many issues, especially the crowd surfing. Being up by the rail in the photo pit really provides you with a bird’s eye view of what these guys deal with and it is extreme. I do not envy them having to deal with the responsibility of people’s well being, especially when the people do not have any regard for their own.

 

Dave Scmidt, Breathe Carolina (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

Dave Scmidt, Breathe Carolina (photo by Travis Failey / RSEN)

As I was leaving the show exhausted I received a message from a friend who saw a picture that I posted on FB, asking why I was at the Warped Tour and if I was 12?  I pondered this for a minute and I thought about a snide remark, but the truth was the easiest answer to give. I get introduced to bands and mostly, “It’s always a great time” and that is why I will continue to go and so should you.

 

Special thanks to Laia Gore and Nathanial Bell for providing gallery images from the show. Check Laia’s photography on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/laiagorephoto

And for more info on The Vans Warped Tour:  http://vanswarpedtour.com/

GALLERY INCLUDING PHOTOS BY LAIA GORE AND NATHANIAL BELL

The Devil Wears Prada by Laia Gore

The Devil Wears Prada by Laia Gore

The Maine by Laia Gore

The Maine by Laia Gore

The Summer Set by Laia Gore

The Summer Set by Laia Gore

Sleeping With Sirens by Nathaniel Bell

Sleeping With Sirens by Nathaniel Bell

A Skylit Drive by Nathaniel Bell

A Skylit Drive by Nathaniel Bell

Ice Nine Kills by Nathaniel Bell

Ice Nine Kills by Nathaniel Bell

Crowd surfer during The Devil Wears Prada by Laia Gore

Crowd surfer during The Devil Wears Prada by Laia Gore

The Devil Wears Prada by Laia Gore

The Devil Wears Prada by Laia Gore

By Travis Failey / RSEN

By Travis Failey / RSEN

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Ghost By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Ghost By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Noah Sierota, ECHOSMITH By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Noah Sierota, ECHOSMITH By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Sydney Sierota ECHOSMITH By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Sydney Sierota ECHOSMITH By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Tommy Cooperman Breathe Carolina By Travis Failey / RSEN)

Tommy Cooperman Breathe Carolina By Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

 

 

 

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