Vans Warped Tour
San Diego, CA
Sleep Train Amphitheatre
June 25, 2014
My day started out by getting up just after 5AM and on the freeway juggling McDonalds breakfast while driving on the freeway at 7AM and making it to San Diego by 10AM. Already exhausted but took a shot of an energy drink and started my day. Checked in for press info and then I was off to see bands.
11:15AM First band I saw was Scarlett Avenue. I couldn’t find an ep or a cd of theirs anywhere. So it was good to see a local band first. They didn’t disappoint either. They drew a good 50 people or so early goers to see them perform. They are a five piece band. They play hard alternative with slight progressive hooks thrown in for good measure. One of their best songs of this set of tunes was a song called Piece Sign. Other great songs they did where Repetition, Silver Linings, Creekside, In The Open, Knots and Through Your Eyes. They are currently going to be recording an album soon. It was great to see them on The Ernie Ball Stage.
Four Year Strong
12:05(Noon) Next up was Four Years Strong. They had drummer problems due to his getting to the venue late. So other member’s filled in on the drums for the first couple of songs. The band could work as a three piece really well too. As they say the show must go on and they pulled it off. Well their drummer finally showed up at the bands third song. Despite drummer issues they play fun rock pop alternative yet punk style songs that got the crowd onto their feet with ease. They are currently on tour in support of their album Rise Or Die Trying. One of the best live songs they did was Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die. They were a fun group to watch and to listen too. They got a slam pit running around as well during their set.
12:40PM In the Acoustic Basement tent I saw a local band called Buttons perform. They really went into great details in talking about drug problems and getting Music Cares to help them get into rehab while performing last year on The Warped Tour. Now they are active with Natural High and no longer having drug issues. They are writing songs about girl problems including a great selection they did called Prom Queen. Other great songs in their set were To Who It May Concern, Little Black Heart, Daggers and Brand New Habit to name a few. They sounded like The Lemon Heads when playing acoustic. They have a few ep’s out. For more info check them out on facebook.com/buttonslovesmusic
1:05PM Starting to get warm out in the sun so I stayed at The Acoustic Basement tent and saw next Brian Marquis. Brian actually runs The Acoustic Basement and lets bands play in there that are on the Vans Warped Tour that usually play electric on the bigger stages. So he lets he bands break it all down for a half hour set and jam out some acoustic songs. Brian Marquis is also touring for his current release Blood & Spirits on Equal Vision Records. He started off the set with They Call It The Blues from his solo ep release Snow Damage CD. He also did a great version of his current Video and first single from the record Drink You Up. He played a great live rendition of his home town song called From Boston which the audience really liked. He shows variations in his abilities as a great acoustic guitar player and vocalist too. He ended with the beautiful song called Breathing In Ghosts from his current debut full CD.
1:45PM While everyone else was getting lunch in those long lines and high prices for food, I decided to go see The Maine perform. They have a couple of albums under their belts so I knew I was in for a great alternative music treat. They are currently playing songs from their deluxe version of Forever Halloween. The best songs they did was a new song called Cave In which is off of the new ep. They play fun slightly aggressive punk pop. This is the style of music The Maine do really well. Their catchy hooks and nice melodies are refreshing. You can easily sing along to the bands songs. So this engages the band to be with the audience and feeling a bit closer with them. A very positive experience is had with The Maine. With the loud applause that lasted way over 2 minutes after their set really showed what a good impression they made.
2:45PM I went to go see Anberlin perform. They are currently on their last tour so they are a band to definitely not miss on The Vans Warped Tour this year. I was surprised that they weren’t on one of the larger stages. They still drew a hefty crowd to come see them perform in the heat of the sun. They played their hearts out for the crowd. Paperthin Hymn and Feel Good Drag were getting the crowd into a frenzy of excitement. Stephen Christian thanked the crowd by also doing a version of Don’t Take Friendship Personal. They will be playing songs from their last album which is due out in a couple of weeks while on this Vans Warped Tour. I know I will definitely miss this band. They have been playing now for 12 years together.
3:30PM Just after a very quick lunch, I went to go see Rob Lynch who is currently on tour from England for his EP and soon due out first full length this coming fall. He described his music to the small but appreciataive crowd that dropped by to check him out of his each and every song. Some of the best heartfelt songs were Hawking and Plans. For moe info go to facebook.com/roblynchmusic.
Now it was time to get cooled off and go looking at the merch and the special agencies that had booths. One of the most interesting to check out if you’re a musician is Bandhappy Live. They provide a chance to actually get up close with your favorite music artist on the Vans Warped Tour that are available to learn an instrument from. It gives you a chance to see how they do some of their playing. You get to ask questions, take a class and get great help while becoming a better artist yourself. For more info go to facebook.com/bandhappylive.
By the time I actually got to sleep it was 1:00AM. So it made for a 20 hour long day experience including 6 hours of it was driving. I only do this for the music. This time it was definitely worth it. The Vans Warped Tour still have over 30 shows l available to go find and see. So go see one near where you live. The Vans Warped Tour this year will end in early August in Denver, Colorado.
(Review and Photos by Jonathan Wright – Four Year Strong Photo by Jack Lue – Opening Crowd Shot and Scarlett Avenue Photo by Ken Morton)