As eclectic and high energy of a tour as you’ll find, the Vans Warped Tour again rattled into Indiana this past Tuesday at the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, featuring what has become a variety of genres but still at its roots centered around the punk rock that has made it a staple in the pantheon of modern music since 1995.
Though I’ve seen many of these bands present at their own shows, I’d never been to the tour, and the experience was fantastic. It was one part rushing the field at a college football game party atmosphere, one part laid back music festival with autograph and sale tents lining the multiple stages.
Bands were given about 45 minutes of time per session, so you’re most likely going to hear each band’s “best” tracks, so to speak. Honestly, the best part about these events is the meshing between the bands you know, and the opportunity to discover those you don’t.
Pop punk icons New Found Glory are my must-see whenever they are in town. The high energy pioneers of the genre always put on one of the most energetic shows.
That’s the thing about this tour. These bands love being here. A lot of times you’ll go to concerts and it just feels like the guys on stage are staring out into another host of faceless people at just another dot on the map.
Not bands like NFG, Four Year Strong, or Senses Fail, who lit up the crowd late with their mix of humor and fast tempo style. Yellowcard and We the Kings drew huge evening crowds, with an aura of excitement that doesn’t always stick with a festival that starts in the morning in 90 degree heat, but did on this day.
Part of the beauty of the show was much of the ethereal messages espoused by the majority of the bands. Travis Clark, front man for We the Kings, used the mic to urge people to use music as a tool for love and acceptance with one another.
Justin Sane of legendary punk rock group Anti-Flag gave a passionate speech about not looking to government for change.
As mentioned, the true beauty of a music festival or tour like this is the chance to find new music to make it onto your playlist lexicon.
Bayside is a group that is a must be checked out. I’d seen them in years past as an opening act and they were fantastic. Polar Bear Club, whom I’d never seen and didn’t know much about, had a unique sound that will appeal to a heavier sounding punk audience. Mayday Parade, one of my personal favorites, also doesn’t get the national recognition they probably deserve.
The one big winner I took from this show though that I’d never really heard was We are the Ocean, a rock band from England that really had me sort of standing there mesmerized for the majority of their set.
Overall, the tour was a great success. Heat didn’t keep the fun away, and while the place was busy and bustling, it wasn’t overwhelming to the point where you couldn’t move around to get from show to show.
Though the Warped Tour has undergone changes in its 17-year history, in my opinion, if you have a music bucket list, this should be included.
— Bart Doan is a reporter with the Hendricks County Flyer.