Raise Your Voice: Warped Tour 2018 Review and Photo Gallery

Walking through the crowded grounds of Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana, on a hot July day, it’s nearly impossible not to reflect on Warped Tours past. It was here, nine years ago, where I baked in the sun watching bands like Saosin, Underoath, and Chiodos while screaming along to every word. A year prior in Cincinnati, I stood on the main stage watching Norma Jean bring down the house before singing along to The Academy Is, Anberlin, and Cobra Starship.

Over the years, the Vans Warped Tour is where I met some amazing friends, discovered some of my favorite bands, and truly felt part of a community for one of the first times in my life. As the longest-running touring music festival in North America comes to a close, I’ve felt it necessary to remember those experiences while acknowledging that the experiences have others have not always been so pleasant. For a myriad of reasons, it is time for Warped Tour to end.

There were things to feel good about and music to be excited about during this final trek, yet the staggering lack of gender and racial diversity across the lineup served as a reminder of why it must come to a close. With any luck, whatever takes its place will provide a more balanced and honest view of the underground music scene in years to come.

For now, we take a look at a few of the bands on the 2018 Vans Warped Tour that made some noise and made the tour’s final run worth the price of admission. Take a look below and feel free to share some of your favorites from the lineup in the replies!

Mayday Parade

For a band that made a name for itself by following Warped Tour around the country in 2006, selling CDs to those standing in line, it’s appropriate that Mayday Parade take part in the festival’s final journey. The band has come a long way since those early days, having just released their sixth studio album, Sunnyland, earlier this summer. Per usual, Derek Sanders bounded across the main stage singing fan favorites like “Jamie All Over” and “Jersey”, making for the perfect summer sing-a-long session.

Check out our podcast interview with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade!

Mayday Parade

As It Is

The band’s second stint on Warped Tour has brought a new sound and a new look. Making light of the obvious changes in between songs, vocalist Patty Walters introduces the band as “My Chemical Romance.” Even if As It Is haven’t quite hit the heights of the aforementioned emo legends, the early signs from upcoming album The Great Depression seem to be promising. From “The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)” to “The Wounded World”, these new tracks sound even better live than on tape.

As It Is

Doll Skin

While watching Phoenix, Arizona, rockers Doll Skin tear through their set, I was reminded of watching letlive. just a few years prior. The band harness the same amount of energy and passion in their performance, with vocalist Sydney Dolezal even climbing into the crowd mid-song to unleash her powerful scream. For as exciting as the band’s set was, it was disappointing to find it on a side stage. This is the kind of band deserving of the biggest platform available.

Doll Skin

Real Friends

Real Friends feels like our best current example of what it’s like to watch a band grow up on Warped Tour. Having just released their third full-length album, Composure, the band’s main stage set was one of the highlights of the day. Dan Lambton’s energy, even this late into the grueling tour, provided a spark for the crowd as he lit into “Get By” to kick off the band’s set. Having put together the best album of their career, it will be exciting to see where they go next.

Real Friends

Issues

Tyler Carter has the kind of voice that you have to hear to believe. Even when taking on an early set on a hot day late in the tour, Carter still manages to croon his way through eight songs at full tilt. The band, now a four piece, is in the process of putting together their third album, this time minus Michael Bohn. Nevertheless, Carter handled both sides of the vocals beautifully throughout the band’s set, with help from Adrian Rebollo.

Issues

Waterparks

It feels like the stock for Houston pop punk powerhouse Waterparks just keeps rising. With the release of Entertainment earlier this year, the band has cemented their stay as one of the genre’s hottest acts and have ascended to Warped Tour’s main stage. Awsten Knight carries the band’s vocal duties and helps wake up the morning crowd with performances of “Blonde”, “Take Her to the Moon”, and more.

Waterparks

This Wild Life

While standing at the front of the stage to shoot This Wild Life’s gentle set, I couldn’t help but feel good for the security guards, finally relieved of flying bodies and crowd surfers for 30 minutes. The Long Beach duo’s quiet set is the perfect intermission for a day of loud noises, especially as their catalogue of songs continues to grow. The band performs tracks from their new album, Petaluma, while still finding time to throw in some oldies like “History” and “Concrete”.

This Wild Life

Frank Turner

Yes, THAT Frank Turner took the stage for a few Warped Tour dates this year. Each year on the tour, there are always a few surprises on the lineup that should be labeled required viewing. The English folk singer took to the main stage for an eight-song set that felt all too short, while still providing plenty of moments for sing-a-longs and even a few laughs. His closing performance of “Get Better” proved to be one of the highlights of the day.

Frank Turner

Senses Fail

One final run of Warped Tour just wouldn’t feel right without one of the screamo scene’s old guard in tow, and Senses Fail make for the perfect choice. Over 15 years in, vocalist Buddy Nielsen is still a sight to behold on stage, whether he’s playing old standards like “Bite to Break Skin” and “Calling All Cars” or even a few cover songs. The band’s latest release, If There is Light, It Will Find You, is one of the most underrated albums so far in 2018, and the band’s Warped set proves to be a reminder that Senses Fail still have plenty of life left.

Senses Fail

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Review: Waterparks – Entertainment

Back in 2015, my boyfriend added two songs by Waterparks, currently one of the biggest bands in the pop punk scene, to a playlist he made for me. I listened to those songs (“Silver” and “I’m a Natural Blue”) a couple of times and promptly forgot about them. They were good tracks, but lacked what I was looking for at the time. A little over two years later, despite their growing fame and a brand new collection of songs, the band unfortunately still lacks what I’m looking for.

You can buy Entertainment on iTunes.

I started the band’s second full-length album, Entertainment, with high hopes. Frontman Awsten Knight has what could be considered a bromance with the popular music publication Alternative Press, so I figured they wouldn’t steer me wrong. Oh, Alt Press, why was I ever optimistic?

Entertainment could be described as “cute,” or maybe even “adorable,” if I’m feeling generous. The songs don’t really fit together, feature a range of strange effects, and sometimes lean a bit too heavy on autotune. I know the band is a self-professed “boy band,” but I suppose I figured they were being facetious. The first track on the album, “11:11”, supported my view that Waterparks focused more on punk than pop, but over the course of the album’s nine other tracks, the band proved me wrong.

If we can be transparent, I made a temporary playlist in preparation for writing this review, titled, “Songs From Entertainment I Like.” Out of the 10-track album, I added four to that playlist: The album’s two first tracks, aforementioned “11:11” and lead single, “Blonde”, along with “Not Warriors” and “Rare”. I found the other six tracks to be filler and either immaturely written, musically uninteresting, or both. The song “We Need to Talk” begins so lyrically similar to Justin Bieber’s hit “Love Yourself” that I couldn’t get past it. Referencing the 2015 Bieber track, Knight opens the song with the lines, “Your mama likes me / And she doesn’t like anyone”.

“Lucky People,” is about Knight’s ex-girlfriend, who he apparently thought he was going to marry, and includes the childish line, “Happy birthday / Merry Christmas / To the one I call my Mrs.” I actually laughed out loud when I heard that line. Is this Nickelodeon? Is Awsten Knight the future and real-life iteration of the Disney Channel show Austin and Ally in which the titular character’s name is Austin Moon? The world may never know. It’s cheesy and maybe some people think it’s sweet, but “Lucky People” ends up being another filler track on an album that needed more substance in order to hold up to what I know of their past work.

Before concluding, we need to talk about “TANTRUM”, a track that sounds exactly like you’d expect from its name. It’s loud, obnoxious, and, as the title suggests, childish. Knight calls out people he dislikes by name and profanity abounds. It’s a fair effort in sincerity, but the track never lands right, leaving the listener a bit put off.

Even as someone who thoroughly enjoys a good pop album, Entertainment was too much. There are moments when the instrumentation aligns and the band executes a fun chorus or makes you nod and smile, but those moments are far too few.

Waterparks are a band that could have a promising career in the scene. They’re talented musicians and seem to have a large following, but for a band that’s now been around for seven years, it’s time to up the ante. It’s time to find the sound that defines them, but also to use the platform they’ve been given to write something more than bubblegum-y pop rock. Maybe they can find a way to channel the anger of “TANTRUM” into a song about something of substance. Here’s hoping they do.

2/5

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.