The Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Party 2015, Club Nokia, April 7, 2015
With a hot and heavy time of year on the minds of a nation ready to rock, the place to be was at the Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Party at the Club Nokia in Downtown LA, where a massive show of 8 bands enveloped the audience ready for the summer of their lives. Hosted by Grant Cotter and Eli Olsberg, two of the comedians who will be on the entire tour, the Kick Off Party showcased only a few of the many acts destined to captivate audiences throughout the upcoming season of Warped. Showing once again the sheer diversity a Warped lineup can present to the world at large, the impending 21 year birthday celebration is sure to set the USA and Canada ablaze as well as launch the careers of some of the bands into the stratosphere. Here is the madness and mayhem that commenced within the hallowed walls of the Club Nokia on the glorious night of April 7th.
The Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Party commenced with an ultra-sonic blast to the senses when the almighty Ho99o9 from New Jersey took the stage hostage. One of the most innovative additions to this year’s Warped Tour lineup, when performance art and punk rock mix with the greatest unease, you will find Ho99o9 stoking the flames of rebellion and intrigue. One of the performers showed up in a wedding dress and one of the scariest masks ever. The other vocalist exuded a ferocious aggression and brought the uncontrolled chaos out into the audience. A rabid slam pit would ensue early on, with the embers of the Ho9909 collection of songs combusting into an explosive wall of sound. Probably one of the most hardcore bands you will see on Warped Tour and or anywhere else, Ho99or’s terrifying set of sheer auditory terror is not to be missed!
Ho99o9 on Facebook
After clearing up the stage from the aftermath of the experience known as Ho99o9, it was time to be introduced to someone who is clearly destined to be the Vans Warped Tour breakout star of 2015. Meet Bebe Rexha, a singer / songwriter from the East Coast ready to take the entire nation by storm. Her major breakthrough was as the front woman for Pete Wentz’s Black Cards project and in the past she has opened for the likes of Panic! At The Disco and Bon Jovi. Truly coming into her own as a performer, songs such as I’m Gonna Show You Crazy and I Can’t Stop Drinking About You demonstrated a passionate artist at the height of their creativity. All this, and Bebe performed her own interpretation of The Monster, a song she c0-wrote for the one and only Eminem. Joined on her set by a surprise appeared of two guy dancers who turned out to be part of the New Beat Fund entourage, Bebe Rexha exuded a fun sense of humor and a sense of adventure that was truly refreshing. Expect a debut release on Warner Brothers Records and a summer at Warped to send Ms. Rexha into the stratosphere.
Bebe Rexha on Facebook
When the genres of indie pop and punk rock sweetly collide, one finds the wonderful Candy Hearts distributing their vibrant confections to all adventurous enough to give a listen. Founded by singer / songwriter Mariel Loveland while attending college in upstate New York, the band has attracted the attention of many a music enthusiast – including Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory who has produced several of their songs. In a live setting, the passion and conviction found within the Candy Hearts compositions clearly swept the audience off their feet, with songs such as I Miss You, Something’s Missing, and All The Ways You Let Me Down leaving a deliciously intoxicating effect on the Warped Tour Kick Off attendees. It’s going to be a hot and wicked summer, but the music of Candy Hearts is sure to cool down and enchant all looking for a joyous reprieve to the sonic overdrive within the wilds of a Warped event.
Candy Hearts on Facebook
New Beat Fund
The lads of New Beat Fund have returned to Warped Tour to spread their own brand of pop punk mischief and were at Club Nokia to give attendees a sneak preview of the festivities in store for the summer. Opening with the insatiable refrains of Scare Me, this Los Angeles based collective unleashed a thoroughly rambunctious set was as lively and animated as ever. The four musicians of New Beat Fund exude a sense of fun and have the epic tunes to back it all up. A highlight of their set was the final song Sunday Funday, where the band was joined onstage by a whole collection of dancers and the one and one Party Shark! Look for their debut album to arrive this summer via Red Bull Records. Expect the hard working, fun loving New Beat Fund to break it on out and get your booty dancing during the Summer of 2015!
New Beat Fund on Facebook
As It Is
The New British Invasion has arrived onto our shores and they are ready to rock! The Nokia really kicked it up into hydrasonic gear when As It Is took to the stage. The energy level in the room soared as the band launched into superbly memorable songs such as Concrete, Dial Tones, and Cheap Shots & Setbacks. Lead vocalist Patty Walters has plenty of charisma to spare, jumping all over the stage and delivering the tunes in the grand tradition of the best singers in the pop punk genre. The entire band was tremendously tight and focused, easily winning over the crowd in a big and glorious way. Their debut full length release is entitled Never Happy, Ever After, available from Fearless Records. If you only see one new up and coming band on Warped this year, tear yourself away from the main stages and check into what these talented Brits have to offer! Fans of New Found Glory and Cartel may just discover a brand new favorite with As It Is arrive to tear it up within a summer at Warped!
As It Is on Facebook
It has been an exciting year for Metro Station and their many fans – the original duo of Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso are back together, not only playing the much beloved songs from their back catalog but unveiling a whole new selection of tunes! Opening with Control from their classic Self-Titled album, Metro Station launched into a set that had many in the house singing along. Whether it was the brand new anthem She Likes Girls or the much revered Kelsey, Metro Station presented music that was fun to hear, while possessing a good deal of heart and soul. In addition to the wonderful performances of Musso and Cyrus, rock solid musicianship was also delivered by Bryan Lemus on keyboards and Spencer Steffan on drums. When the band closed out with the rollicking Shake It, the Nokia was spinning with the sweet sounds of rapturous delight. A good pop song is timeless, and Metro Station has plenty to spare. You can board the Metro Station dance party all summer long on this year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour!
Metro Station on Facebook
New Years Day
Hell bent and revenge and ready to rock your world, New Years Day from the OC took over the Club Nokia stage, launching into their own driving mixture of punk and goth. Fronted with imagination and flair by Ash Costello, if the unique look of New Years Day exudes doesn’t hook you in, their fantastic songs are sure to leave lingering impression. Performing several cuts from their recently unveiled Epidemic EP on Another Century Records, the entire band performed with a good deal of passion and conviction. One of the highlights of the New Years Day set was when the band launched into Angel Eyes, and the audience sang the Chris Motionless portion of the song. New Years Day will celebrate their second tour of duty on Warped, and their exhilarating live shows are destined to be one of the grand highlights of the summer.
New Years Day on Facebook
After a final lineup announcement from some of the Bloggers who will be touring across the country on Warped, it was time for night to spin an end. And closing out the Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Party 2015 was Knuckle Puck from Chicago, sending off the show on the wondrously high note. Recently signed to the Rise Records roster of talent, Knuckle Puck exuded a ton of passion in their songs, and impressed many of those who stayed late in the night to enjoy the final minutes of the Kick Off celebration. The Knuckle Puck lineup consists of Joe Taylor on vocals, Ryan Rumchaks on bass, Kevin Maida on guitar, Nick Casasanto on guitar, John Siorek on drums. Expect a brand new album from this massively talented band over the summer!
Knuckle Puck on Facebook
The Vans Warped Tour kicks off June 19th at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, CA and concludes August 8th at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, WA. See you all in the pit!
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
Vans Warped Tour Official Home Page