Vans Warped Tour arrived as the highlight of the weekend for Long Islanders, setting up for a day of hardcore rock and more at Nikon at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY. In conjunction with clothing retail company Journeys, Vans Warped Tour began at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, July 11, 2015 and carried on until 8:00 P.M. Located in Nikon at Jones Beach’s massive parking lot, Vans Warped Tour unpacked trucks that also served as mobile stages for the one-hundred bands performing that day. Just some of the major bands that had a tremendous amount of people standing shoulder to shoulder were Memphis May Fire, Pvris, Asking Alexandria, Emarosa, Black Veil Brides, Pierce The Veil, and We Came As Romans.
With the sun beaming down on the crowd, Memphis May Fire opened up their performance on the Unicorn Stage with “My Generation” from their latest album Unconditional. Lead vocalist Matty Mullins introduced “Beneath The Skin” by announcing that they would “step it up a notch”. On the first guitar chord and drum kick, fans jumped in unison with fists in the air. At the second verse, fans tossed each other into the air that took them to the front of the stage where security guards prepared for the oncoming crowd surfers. “Prove Me Right” brought a sea of hands clapping, and heads banging to break downs. In the genre of Heavy Metal and Hardcore Rock, Memphis May Fire are perhaps one of the last great bastions of post hardcore/metalcore music. With four full length albums under their belt and now music production under Rise Records, Memphis May Fire strongly maintain their influence in the Hardcore Rock scene and continue to rise to the challenge of an ever changing heavy metal genre.
The following act on the Unicorn Stage were the rapidly rising, alternative rock band Pvris from Lowell, Masshachusetts. Lead singer Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s vocals were soft yet packed with grunge during performances such as “Saint Patrick”, “Holy”, and “White Noise”. Pvris’ unique collaboration of music that has been propelling them to the top stole many new ears at Vans Warped Tour. Along with guitarist Alex Babinski and bassist Brian McDonald both on keys, it was no surprise that dozens upon dozens of fans congregated at the Unicorn Stage during Pvris’ set. Lyndsey Gunnelfsen is masterful as a front woman and guitarist with a powerful high pitched vocal range. With a fresh sound in the rock scene, Pvris’ lyrics are the main infatuation among fans. In 2012 Pvris released their EP and in 2014 a full length album titled White Noise. Pvris closed out their set with their reverberating powerhouse single “My House” in which fans, decorated in colorful paint brush splashes on their skin, jumped and sang along to.
Fast forward to the Shark Stage where Asking Alexandria’s intro single “Welcome” clouded the stage with fog. a rumble of cheers, and hundreds of horns up in the crowd. Lead vocalist Denis Stoff’s first growl into the mic saw every Asking Alexandria fan in attendance aggressively jumping up and down and uncapped water bottles flying and splashing into the air. No sooner were fans crowd surfing and tossed up by fellow fans during break downs, as girls sat atop the shoulders of their guy friends to cheer and take photos. Never at one moment during their set did members of Asking Alexandria stop moving and jumping across the stage, including drummer James Cassells rising from the drum throne with fists in the air to cheer at devoted AA fans. Guitarists Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell stood together during a “Not The American Average” breakdown to throw down synchronized head bangs. The finale to “Not The American Average”, Denis Stoff growled the final verse meant for crazed moshing and a wall of death. All the way from England and toting three full length albums since 2008 to the present, Asking Alexandria have built an international fan base that swarm to every venue they perform at. Asking Alexandria have staked their banner in the Westeros of Metalcore.
Also part of the Rise Records family, Emarosa from Lexington, KY began their set with a wake up call to fans who were losing stamina under the glaring hot sun. Emarosa climbed up onto the Hard Rock Kevin Says Stage along to a backing track of the famous 20th Century Fox theme song. With the mic in hand, beginning their palate cleanser single “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play”, lead vocalist Bradley Walden climbed over the stage barrier and walked directly into the audience where fans surrounded, sang along, and jumped with him. Running back to and over the barricade with the help of fans, Walden climbed back up onto stage to rejoin Emarosa band members. Mid set, Walden took the camera of the band photographer and photographed fans from the photo pit. Bradley Walden set the stage for an unforgettable performance as he leaped back from the barricade and into a crowd surf while singing into the mic. After thorough changes in line up and music, Emarosa released their third full length album titled Versus under Rise Records in September 2014. Transitioning from a Prog/Rock sound to straight rock, Emarosa have maintained their fan base by staying true to themselves and the energy they unleash at every performance.
Glam metal are the pale faced, raven haired, and tattoo adorned Black Veil Brides who entered the Shark Stage to face a crowd of fans reaching as far back to the Vans Warped Tour midline location. Black Veil Brides only had to clap their hands once to the opening song before fans followed suit. The chorus erupted smoke at the front of the stage while fans sang along. It is staggering that such a powerful and balanced voice projected from someone as petite as lead singer Andy Biersack, staring down the crowd as he growled and screamed into the mic and demanding to see horns in the air. Fans A.K.A “BVB Army” and guitarist Jinxx held a “sticking the tongue out” war during the performance. Biersack introduced Black Veil Brides’ single “In The End” in dedication to the talented and late Chris Holley, who formed a relationship with Black Veil Brides as the band’s guitar technician. The dedication was followed by respectful and resounding rounds of applause and cheers for all affected by the loss of Chris Holley. Black Veil Brides provided the Wantagh, NY Warped Tour concert with strong lyrical and vocal emotion and singing guitar leads. Christian Coma on drums was the source of all moshing during the Black Veil Brides set with fierce double bass kicks and constant cymbal chiming. Through Universal Republic Records, Black Veil Brides released their latest full length album Black Veil Brides in 2014 and continue to tread alongside the support of the BVB Army.
Pierce The Veil’s performance opened up with an unexpected burst of colorful streamers which introduced Pierce The Veil’s newly released single “The Divine Zero”. Fans threw their arms into the air to reach the thousands of confetti pieces fluttering overhead. Pierce The Veil’s intro to their show created a moment of good vibes and high energy music for all with more to follow. Female fans joined PTV in their snap back cap style while singing along with lead singer Vic Fuentes. With three sqaure shaped platforms on top of the stage itself, bassist Jaime Preciado was able to leap frog onto each one to reach the opposite side of the stage. Due to an unfortunate mountain biking accident, guitarist Tony Perry is unable to perform the beginning tour dates of Vans Warped tour. Instead, PTV temporarily recruited guitarist Jesse Barrera until Perry recovers. Pierce The Veil perform as a rock band fused with Punk Rock influences. With Tony Perry recovering, Barrera keeps the whipping Pierce The Veil energy in motion for Warped Tour. Drummer Mike Fuentes hits the snare drums hard and fast with thundering double bass kicks. Pierce The Veil concluded their set with “King for a Day” with a confetti cannon sending thousands of colorful confetti over roaring fans.
We Came As Romans were one of the final acts to perform at Wantagh’s Warped Tour spot this summer, but definitely kept the heat in the setting New York sun. WCAR kicked off their set with their charged 2013 album single “Tracing Back Roots” and quickly jumped into “Ghosts” and “Fade Away”. Theirs was a set that showed a band fiercer and heavier than ever before, yet still thankful and proud to be playing for so many people. They have truly stepped into their own with this most recent effort. “Regenerate” showed Dave Stephens even more in control of his dirty (and now clean) vocals than ever before. Clean vocalist Kyle Pavone’s voice rang in nicely and entertained well as he stroked the crowd between vocal parts and at one point even “surfed” the audience all the way to the sound tent in an inflatable raft while performing. All in all they were a great closer to an already strongly billed tour, though more importantly provided a great “family” feel that closed and resonated with everyone well into their journeys home. We Came As Romans are set to release their self titled album We Came As Romans this month.
Memphis May Fire:
Black Veil Brides:
Pierce The Veil:
We Came As Romans: