I feel like I’ve been doing this same dance like clockwork, albeit a bit older. I have not fallen into the that “what is this music” conundrum – I’m comfortably in the middle where I can appreciate the old and new. Usually falling about two days before my birthday, Vans Warped Tour made it’s eventual stop at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ. For once, it didn’t rain and it was not the typical desert-like heat that is trademark for this time of year.
I’m sure everyone has heard of the controversy around Front Porch Step, and while hard to ignore, I’m going to narrow our periscope to the music. There has been a lot of thoughts about it, while many have been valid takes, there are many bands on Warped Tour that deserve our attention and support. After all, that’s what we go to Vans Warped Tour for in the first place. There are ten stages all in which includes an acoustic basement stage with artists like Koji, Meghann Wright, and a comedy tent. To see your favorite bands, it literally felt like running the Spartan Race running back and forth to try to catch at least some majority of sets. Susquehanna Bank Center’s layout isn’t too bad that you couldn’t see someone from each stage.
Some of the highlights of the day were two bands in particular that we will be talking about for months to come, Beartooth and PVRIS. I believe that both of these bands will be headlining festivals in for years down the line and their sets were some of the most packed that day at the Monster and Unicorn stages respectively. A huge part of Warped Tour is discovering bands that you may have not seen otherwise. For me, the Kansas City, Missouri three piece, Beautiful Bodies, Sheffield’s own While She Sleeps, and English emo band, Moose Blood. If you can point to bands who have fire and the music to back it up, these would be your picks.
There were other delights as well. Lead singer Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail swimming and flipping on stage, singer Bradley Walden from Emarosa climbing on the scaffold of the Kevin Says stage and singing upside down, and newcomers like Jule Vera and Youth In Revolt. In trying to see/photograph as many bands as I possibly could, Warped Tour gave me a good workout in the Camden date. I discovered, laughed and interacted with a lot of cool people. What do you know, you can have a good time at Warped Tour still.
See more photos from Warped Tour 2015 – Camden below. All photographs © Murjani Rawls.