VANS WARPED TOUR 2011, Seaside Park, Ventura, CA, July 3rd, 2011

After a grueling week in overheated temperatures, the Vans Warped Tour went to the beaches of California for a show. The traveling rock and roll extravaganza made its way to Seaside Park in Ventura, and while the mercury barely made it to 90, the entertainment sure was sizzling. It was certainly the ideal day to run all around the park getting acquainted with both the signed and unsigned acts that were performing on the various Warped Tour stages. From the heaviest to the poppiest bands, there was something here for everyone to enjoy.

Ventura was jammed packed with attendees in what was surely the most pleasant stop on the itinerary thus far. Here are some of the bands we caught in action at Seaside Park…


The best place to discover local band talent in your area is the Ernie Ball Stage. For several years now, the folks at Ernie Ball have been sponsoring a Battle Of The Bands competition, with the winners playing a date in or near their hometown. One of the winners was Sounds & Sciences, a collective from Fresno, who kicked off the day with an explosive set of super intensive hardcore. Although the stage was small, Sounds & Sciences performed with a mighty sense of passion and urgency that thoroughly impressed the early Warped arrivals. Songs contained within the short but powerful set included Fancy Me Dead, Ballot or the Bullet, A Fever Called Living, and The Violet and The Vine. The band is loaded with talent, starting off with the superb dual guitar work of Andy Benavides and fill in Christian Manzo, who seared the air with a sonic wall of sound. The driving rhythm section was courtesy of Malachi Robertson on bass and Tyler Huebert on drums. And bringing it all home with a vengeance was their highly charismatic vocalist Justin Simmons, who screamed the reflective lyrics with an all-out ferocity. A thrilling start to a wild and Warped day from a band we are sure to hear a lot more of in future days! Highly recommended!


Next was a trip across the park to the Advent stage, where Of Mice And Men were performing. With the return of their original vocalist Austin Carlile earlier in the year, Of Mice And Men from Costa Mesa has found a renewed passion for their music, and unleashed an inspiring set of melodic metalcore. Carlile is a force to be reckoned with, his singing always impassioned and appearing to be having a terrific time back as the front man. Of Mice And Men opened their set with the rowdy O.G. Loko and then absolutely tore it apart with the dynamic Farewell To Shady Glade. The terrific tunes never let up, with other highlights of the set being Let Live and They Don’t Call This The South For Nothing. In addition to the thrilling performance of Carlile, the formidable Of Mice And Men line up included Phil Manansala on lead guitar, Alan Ashby on rhythm guitar, Shayley Bourget on bass guitar and clean vocals, and Valentino Arteaga on drums. An accomplished performance from one of the very best bands the genre has to offer.


One of the heaviest bands to play the Warped Tour is the mighty August Burns Red from Manheim, Pennsylvania. Literally scorching a hole right into the Main Teggart Stage, those within hearing distance were easily swept away by the sheer intensity emitting from the band. Their latest album is the aptly titled Leveler, and August Burns Red delivered the new songs with a fiery sense of conviction. For the older fans, earlier tracks were also unleashed to vast acclaim and appreciation. While on the spiritual side of the spectrum, the music spoke volumes and ignited some fierce mosh pit action throughout the crowd. The musicianship in the band is beyond first rate, featuring some excellent lead guitar work from JB Brubaker. Jake Luhrs is a powerful front man, delivering the thoughtful lyrics like a man on a dire mission. An astounding set that would surely be hard to beat, and it was still very early in the day.


A hard working band from Los Angeles who is finally getting the break they so rightfully deserve, New Years Day rocked it out on the Kia Kevin Says Stage. Front woman Ashley Costello is a dazzling presence, delivering the spooky lyrics with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Opening with the super infectious 2 In The Chest, 1 In The Head, the audience was instantly hooked to the wildly addictive tunes. Celebrating the release of their Hollywood Waste debut EP entitled The Mechanical Heart, the songs within their energetic set included Let’s Get Dead, I Machine, and an older one entitled My Dear. It’s great to see a band as inventive as New Years Day performing the Warped Tour, as they are definitely one of the most underrated entities to be found within the City Of Angel’s vast music scene. In addition the sparkling presence of Ashley Costello, the New Years Day lineup consists of Russell Dixon on drums, Anthony Barro on bass, Matthew Lindblad on guitar, and Jake Jones on guitar.


Although having dealt with generic comparisons to Never Shout Never in the past, Stephen Jerzak has clearly found his own voice and style. Developing tremendously as an artist over the past two years, Jerzak and his band kicked off a vibrant dance party on the Skullcandy stage. The set launched into high hear with She Said, originally a duet, but the girls in the audience more than filled in admirably by singing all of the Leighton Meester parts. Up next was the title track from Miles And Miles on Universal Records, a free wheeling number that rang out perfectly with the mild Ventura weather. Time Bomb kept the pace ticking with it’s sheer infectious beats while Party Like You’re Single was that anthem of the summer that had a definite mass appeal when played live. Jerzak’s sunny personality and catchy tunes make for a winning combination and was a nice contrast to all of the heavy bands on the Warped Tour. In addition to Stephen Jerzak on guitar and vocals, band support was effectively supplied by Adam Chojnacki on keyboards and guitar and Joel Tock on drums.


Based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Jordan Witzigreuter is the mastermind behind the pop rock outfit known as The Ready Set. Signed to Decaydance Records by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, The Ready Set climbed up the chart in a big and glorious way with the hit single Love Like Woe from I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming. Performing on the Tilly’s/AP Stage to an overflow crowd, The Ready Set brought a definite rock groove to the tunes and the songs sound terrific when performed with an entire band in tow. Kicking off the set with the anthem-like Forever Young, Witzigreuter and his band performed a super cool set of tunes. A dazzling new song entitled Operator was played that thoroughly impressed the crowd. Spinnin’ was a highlight, with its breezy dance beats and heavenly multi-layered falsetto in the chorus. And when Love Like Woe was rendered at the conclusion, everyone in the crowd sang along, jumping up and down throughout the entire song. One of the most talented and resourceful singer / songwriters out there today, Jordan Witzigreuter and The Ready Set continues to shine and impress music fans from all walks of life. As the artist continues to grow and develop, it will be exciting to see what Witzigreuter comes up with in what is sure to be a brilliant career.


One of the greatest aspects of Warped Tour – especially this year – has been the willingness of promoter Kevin Lyman to book hard working, unsigned acts on the traveling show. Shut Up And Deal is one such entity, a dynamic pop punk band whose spirited anthems and energetic live shows are sure to garner them a good deal of attention this summer. Performing on the Kia Kevin Says Stage, Shut Up And Deal presented a solid set of tunes.  Performing songs from their recently self-released This One’s For Me EP, fans of Simple Plan and All Time Low are sure to encounter a lifelong favorite when hearing the instantly memorable songs of Shut Up And Deal. A star making turn to be sure, Shut Up And Deal deliver the goods live and are sure to gain fans galore with sets this exciting. Tops songs in the set included Anything And Everything and Dangerous. By the way, you can acquire a free download of their song Dangerous on their Myspace now!


Speaking of Simple Plan, what a wonderful privilege it was to see such an influential band performing on the smaller Tilly’s/AP stage. The area was packed to the rafters when Simple Plan took to the stage, and rocked everyone out with their classic song Shut Up Shut Up. The band was in top form, and delivered what was sure to be the highlight of the day for many a melodic punk enthusiast. Their new album Get Your Heart On! is Simple Plan in their finest hour, and tracks featured live included Can’t Keep My Hands Off You and You Suck At Love – both destined to be much revered fan favorites. Other songs unleashed live to the incredibly appreciative crowd included Thank You, Addicted, and I’d Do Anything. Why Simple Plan wasn’t a headliner on the Main Stage was anyone’s guess, but judging by the audience reaction, we’ll be seeing Simple Plan headlining the bigger venues again in no time! Sets as exciting as these make for long lasting Warped Tour memories.


The last band we saw in Ventura was the very theatrical and highly entertaining Black Veils Brides. Bringing back the high energy days of KISS and Motley Crue for a whole new generation of fans, Black Veil Brides had the girls screaming even before they hit the Advent Stage. Front man Andy Six was performing with broken ribs, but ever the trouper, he still delivered the fiery vocals with plenty of charisma to spare. Promoting a sense of individuality and empowerment with their fan base, the audience response was rapturous. Haters were throwing badly aimed water bottles at the band, which emitted some pretty hilarious commentary from the always-affable Andy Six. Starting off with the explosive sounds of Love Ain’t Always Fair, the anthems presented by Black Veil Brides were extremely spirited. Highlights in the set included All Your Hate, God Bless You, and the fantastic Knives And Pens. Closing out with the vibrantly moving Fallen Angels, one could easily witness the powerful connection Black Veil Brides has with its young audience. Bonds like this rarely happen in an age when so many bands come and go with the passing of trends and time. In addition to the supremely charismatic Andy Six, the talent surrounding Black Veil Brides include Jake Pitts on lead guitar, Jinxx on rhythm guitar, Ashley Purdy on bass, and Christian “CC” Coma on drums.


Interviews of the day included Miss May I, Stephen Jerzak, New Years Day, Nathan Ryan, Setting Sunrise, Shut Up And Deal, and The Bots – all to be featured soon here at Highwire Daze Online. Next Warped stop for the Daze will be San Diego and then in Carson!!! See you all in August!!!

(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)

Sounds & Sciences on Facebook
Of Mice And Men on Facebook
August Burns Red on Facebook
New Years Day on Facebook
Stephen Jerzak on Facebook
The Ready Set on Facebook
Shut Up And Deal on Facebook
Simple Plan on Facebook
Black Veil Brides on Facebook
Vans Warped Tour Official Home Page


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