Live Gig Review and Photos: Andrew Fiero
They say “All good things must come to an end”. For nearly a quarter-century, Warped Tour has been a yearly tradition for fans and musicians alike. Getting its start in the summer of 1995, the longest-running touring rock festival has delighted fans nationwide every summer for 24 years. The tour built a reputation boasting huge lineup of popular bands from a variety of rock genres for a low-ticket price while showcasing local talent via Battle of the Bands winners. Sadly, it was announced late last year that 2018 would mark the end of the full-country run, leaving fans scrambling to be part of the tour’s final bow. Late in July, that tour would find its way to Wantagh, New York. With each tour stop boasting a different set schedule, fans lined up early as to not miss their favorite act.
Despite kicking things off on the Journey’s Left Foot Stage, opening act Atlanta, Georgia’s Issues seemed determined to start the Wantagh stop off on the right foot. The Alternative Press’s 2015 Artist of the Year set the pace for the day, opening with “Hooligans” for the building crowd. The mosh pits were in full motion by the time the band closed with “Mad at Myself”.
While the Journey’s Left and Right stages primarily focused on the more Punk, Alternative and Ska oriented bands, the Mutant Red Dawn and White Lightning stages brought the Metal and Hardcore. Boston, Massachusetts’s Unearth would take the honors of opening up the White Lighting stage as the sun hit its apex in the afternoon. There was plenty to bang your head to as the band unleashed tracks like “Watch It Burn” and “Incinerate” before closing with “The Great Dividers”.
Over on the Red Dawn stage, MyChildren MyBride was ready to go in front of an already sweaty crowdy. The Metalcore band out of Madison, Alabama eagerly invited circle pits while raising the intensity of the day through brutal tracks including “Headshot!” and “Terra Firma” while also showcasing “XeNO” off of their most recently released album, Vicious World.
Seven prior years of Warped Tour experiences still couldn’t prepare Ontario, Canada’s Silverstein for their final Warped Tour run. Remembering times years ago selling albums outside the venues the tour visited, the group enjoyed their eighth time on its stage. With crowd numbers continuing to climb as more entered the grounds, lead singer Shane Told took to the barricade to close out the band’s set with “My Heroine”.
The Red Dawn stage was next as they hosted Ocala, Florida’s Wage War. Getting the mosh pits moving and heads banging, the group blazed through tracks including “Alive” and “Gravity”. The band formally known as Empires is currently celebrating the one-year anniversary of their album Deadweight and have recently released a stripped-down version of the track “Gravity” to celebrate.
With the sun high in the air, Post-Hardcore band Movements came out to play for the Wantagh crowd. The Santa Margarita, California based band provided fans with a darker, emotional set highlighted by “Third Degree” and “Suffer Through”.
The Red Dawn stage was next to attract fans as Detroit, Michigan’s Twiztid hit the stage. Providing something different for the day, the Hip Hop team were joined on stage by Jason and Michael of Friday the 13th and Halloween franchise fame respectively. While the face-painted duo pumped up the crowd with cuts including “Kill Somebody” and “We Don’t Die”, the horror icons would occasionally cross paths teasing a showdown of epic proportions.
The main stages weren’t the only one’s attracting massive numbers. Over on the Owly.fm stage, bands like Doll Skin were busy making a name for themselves. Showing the longevity of Warped Tour’s heritage, none of the four members of the all-female Rock group were even alive when Warped Tour first made headlines twenty-four years ago. Showcasing tracks off their album, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”, the group proved to be a fun alternative to the main stage offerings, worthy of the large crowd that came to see them.
Back at the Journey’s Left Foot Stage, English Rock band Asking Alexandria. Perfectly fitting the tone of the day, the group opened up with “The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel). Breaking down the frantic pace for a moment, the band let fans soak in an acoustic version of “Someone, Somewhere”. The band got things moving again with “Eve” before ultimately closing out with “Alone in a Room”.
Right next-door on the Journey’s Right Foot Stage, Worchester, Massachusetts’s Four Year Strong attracted an ever-growing Warped Tour crowd. With the day hitting a stride, the group broke into the Stephen King’s It-inspired “We All Float Down Here”. Including favorites like “What the Hell Is a Gigawatt?” before closing the set with “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)”.
Arriving from the land down under, Australia’s Amity Affliction proved ready for their slot on the Red Dawn stage. Prior to the tour, the band was the victim of spelling mishap on a giant mural commemorating the final year. Lead singer Nicholas Simonsen let fans know “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” at the band being painted in as “The Ammity Affliction”. Simonsen certainly didn’t leave fans disappointed as he and the rest of the group blasted through a fantastic set that had fans jumping and singing along.
The Australian take-over continued as In Hearts Wake came to the White Lightning stage ready to show the American crowd how Aussies like to party. The highlight of their set saw lead singer Jake Taylor take to the crowd in an inflatable boat to the sounds of Lonely Island’s “I’m On A Boat”. As he rode the sea of Long Island fans, he was led to a flag which he waved proudly while making his way back to the stage.
Boston’s Ice Nine Kills were next on Red Dawn stage. In front of a movie theatre styled set, the band created a horror film feel through their music and blood-soaked outfits. Lead singer Spencer Charnas took the fight to the crowd, jumping onto the barricade for a more in-your-face approach to match the tracks blasting behind him. Even Nekrogoblikon’s goblin couldn’t resist getting up close and personal with the act.
Over on the White Lightning stage, Ridgewood, New Jersey’s Senses Fail were ready to take over Warped Tour. A bit of a special attraction, the band was a late addition for several dates of the 2018 tour. With the enigmatic Buddy Nielsen at the helm, the group had the mosh pits in full motion throughout their set. Perhaps a highlight of the entire show, the band broke into a medley of 90’s rock tracks including System of a Down’s “Chop Suey” and Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade”.
Out of Sherman Texas, Kublai Khan was next to bring their Metalcore offerings to the Red Dawn stage. Still hot off the release of their 2017 album “Nomad”, the band had fans moving through cuts of “No Kin” and “True Fear”.
Warped Tour veterans Buffalo, New York’s Every Time I Die were up next on the White Lightning Stage. Boasting eight years with the traveling tour, the band provided one of the most memorable sets of the day. Packed full of energy and jumping off of any surface they could. Offering up tracks including “Floater” and “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space”, the band clearly enjoyed themselves as much as the fans did as the evening went on.
As the temperatures became a little more forgiving in the evening, things were still heating up on the Red Dawn stage as Salt Lake City, Utah’s Chelsea Grin graced the stage. The band has provided fans with a steady stream of unforgettable Deathcore tracks despite a revolving cast of musicians. With Lorna Shore taking over vocals earlier this year and the band dropping from three guitarists to one, the band is currently proving that less can certainly be more. The fans showed no signs of slowing down as the band brought on tracks like “Dead Rose” and “My Damnation” before closing out with “Recreant”.
With the sun hanging low in the sky, Motionless in White was geared up to close out the White Lightning stage. The Scranton, Pennsylvania band are no strangers to the Warped Tour stage, celebrating their ninth year of delivering Warped Tour fans their unique brand of Metalcore music. The group opened with “Reincarnate” shortly before being joined on stage by Chelsea Grin’s Pablo for “Immaculate Misconception”. The group went on to close out the stage with “Eternally Yours”.
Headlining the Mutant stages for this night would be Baltimore Maryland’s Sharptooth. Led by the powerful vocals of Lauren Kashan, the group’s aggressive tracks struck a chord with those who stayed around all day to catch their performance. Incredibly grateful for the opportunity to close out the stage, Sharptooth gave fans hope as Kashan’s message became clear to not let yourself become a victim and to speak out. As the sun went down on the hot summer day, the band closed up their set with “Clever Girl”.
In a fitting move, Simple Plan took the honors of being the final band on stage for the Wantagh crowd on the Journey’s Right Foot Stage. The band is celebrating their eleventh Warped Tour appearance, seconded only by Less Than Jake’s twelve runs with the tour. Also celebrating their twentieth year together, Simple Plan treated fans to a myriad of their hits, opening with the fitting-for-the-occasion “I’d Do Anything”. Throughout the day, bands were joined by others on stage showing the fun nature of the tour, and Simple Plan was no different as 3OH!3 emerged armed with Super Soakers to soak the fans through “Jump” and “Addicted”.
And just like that, another good thing came to an end. While founder Kevin Lyman has announced plans for a 2019th celebration marking the twenty-five years of the tour’s existence, 2018 sadly marks the end of an era for both the bands and the fans that took part in the annual festivities. Gone but never forgotten, Warped Tour will live on in the hearts and minds of the Warped Tour faithful for years to come.