The final cross-country run of the iconic Vans Warped Tour kicked off in Pomona on Thursday, June 21st. On a sweltering summer day, fans young and old came out to support their favorite bands, and continue a longstanding tradition of their summer. With artists ranging from State Champs, to 3OH!3, to We The Kings, the extensive lineup guaranteed that each attendee would leave satisfied.
As people trickled into the Pomona Fairplex, Movements played a highly energetic set. Although it is only their second year on the tour (and third year together as a band), they secured a spot on Journey’s Right Foot, one of the larger stages at the venue. It was clear that fans of theirs came out to support them, as they screamed along to their popular songs, including “Daylily” and “Nineteen,” as well as deeper tracks like “Third Degree,” and crowd surfed to every song.
Warped Tour veterans Mayday Parade played a set catering to not only those who grew up with their music, but also those who only recently discovered them. With their new album Sunnyland having dropped only a week ago, they played two songs off of it (“It’s Hard to Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated by Bolts of Lightning,” and the much shorter-named “Piece of Your Heart”), and also played fan favorites like “Oh Well, Oh Well” and “Jersey,” even throwing in a cover of blink-182’s “The Rock Show” for good measure. Although they have played Warped many times before, they gave their set everything they had, like it was their first time.
State Champs, a band who has grown relatively quickly in the past few years thanks to spots on Warped and other large tours, brought out a giant crowd for their short set. The band also just released an album, Living Proof, last week, so their set was split half and half between old and new tracks. Kicking off their set with “All You Are Is History,” the crowd screamed along and opened up a mosh pit almost immediately. Even on a deeper track off their week-old album, “Mine Is Gold,” fans were already singing the lyrics perfectly with the band, showing their dedication and love for the new album.
Philadelphia natives Grayscale were given 25 minutes to prove they belonged on the tour, and they exceeded expectations. Although the crowd was smaller at the Owly.fm stage, those in the crowd were incredibly dedicated to the band, calling out their names as they stepped on stage. Playing their biggest hits “Atlantic” and “Palette,” everyone in the crowd was singing, even opening a mini pit. The best part about their set was how much each member was into the music — it was clear the music meant something to them, and they reflected that in the way they played individually. Whenever they come back to play their hometown, I highly recommend going to see them. (Interesting fact: their lead singer went to our neighboring school, Drexel, and has a few classes left to a finance degree!)
Easily the kindest band on Warped (and elsewhere), The Maine played an unforgettable set in the late afternoon. Adorned in all red, a stark departure from their signature light blue, the quintet (joined by a sixth touring member) played their hearts out to a group that fed the energy right back to them. Given their longevity as a band, they had plenty of songs to pick from for their setlist, and they managed to assemble a set that encompasses their entire development as a band. From debut album banger “Everything I Ask For,” to the newer “Bad Behavior,” they had everyone in the crowd on their feet and dancing. As they have done before at Warped, they brought a male fan on the stage for “Girls Do What They Want,” lead singer John O’Callaghan stepping away from the mic and letting a complete stranger command the stage.
Technical difficulties can be killer at Warped, considering the sets on main stages are restricted to 30 minutes. After nearly 20 minutes of technical difficulties, Waterparks had to sacrifice their planned set, including a guest appearance from My Chemical Romance’s Mikey Way, for an impromptu acoustic set led alone by lead singer Awsten Knight. While it was clear that he was frustrated, Knight took suggestions from the crowd and it led to an even more interactive set than usual, even though he always makes it a point to call out members of the audience. Playing slower songs “We Need To Talk,” “Lucky People,” and “21 Questions,” Knight’s voice was highlighted, and held up well on its own.
Drawing one of the biggest crowds, pop-punk legends Simple Plan rocked into the early night. Even though they are nearing 20 years together, they have stayed strong as a quintet, and their fans have stayed loyal to them through the years. For attendees who grew up listening to Simple Plan’s music, seeing them was a culmination of what Warped stands for — bringing together the largest icons in the pop-punk and metal worlds to spread their music across the country. Playing their greatest hits, including “Welcome to My Life,” “I’m Just A Kid,” and “Perfect,” the band jumped around like they were still teenagers, and the crowd went wild right along with them.