I was fortunate enough to be able to cover the 2013 Vans Warped Tour as it made it’s way to Noblesville, IN (on the outskirts of Indianapolis). My day began at 2:15am as I grabbed two friends and made the 5-hour drive north, picking up a third friend on the way. Although the region had just been drenched by a few inches of rain the day before, we luckily had good weather that day, and highs around 87 degrees, which, if you’ve been to Warped or any other summer festival in the U.S., is pretty nice!
But onto the actual music and hijinks and craziness that was Warped that day–we arrived there early and got in with ample time to catch the first band on the Kia Soulstage, Man Overboard. They put on a fun set of pop-punk that got the crowd of mostly teens and tweens moving and crowd-surfing despite it being relatively early in the day. It was to be an epic day as nearly all of the bands I wanted to see and photograph were not going to overlap–meaning I could catch them all!
Letlive. were up next on the Kia Forte stage, conveniently located right next to the Kia Soul stage, and were easily one of the highest-energy and most exciting bands of the day, with vocalist Jason Aalon Butler bounding back and forth across the stage and leaping into the crowd. At one point Jason even threw an amp cab across the stage – these guys are truly ridiculous live. These gentlemen have improved greatly since the last time I had the chance to see them, and their new material on their upcoming release, The Blackest Beautiful is truly a huge leap forward for them. I’ve talked to friends who’ve seen them on other dates of Warped and letlive is indeed bringing the energy on every date so they’re definitely worth seeing when the tour rolls through your town!
August Burns Red took to the stage after letlive, and were easy to get to as they were on the Kia Soul stage and put on a set that featured material both new, from their album they put out last week entitled Rescue & Restore, and material off of 2011′s Leveler and their older releases like 2007′s Messenger. While they were tight and solid as always, they truly seemed to be having a good time, with guitarists JB and Brent goofing around in between and during songs and the band sending beach balls out into the crowd. Frontman Jake Luhrs took time to address the audience, but unlike other bands of the Christian metal scene, he didn’t get overly preachy.
Back to the Kia Forte stage (convenient right?), for Attila was up next. These guys have gotten a lot of buzz lately both for their frontman Chris “Fronzilla” Fronzak’s attracting the Westboro Baptist Church’s attention and for their new record, About That Life, in which Chris (a.k.a. Fronz) doesn’t seem to hold anything back lyrically. Their live performance, however, speaks for itself. Few bands that day had the sheer volume of people they had turn out in the audience, or had the crowd going as nuts as these gentlemen from Atlanta, GA. Their set featured a smattering of new material from their freshly released album, as well as a few old fan-favorites from 2011′s Outlawed. With all the hype surrounding this band it’d be easy to be turned off from seeing them live on Warped when so many other bands are playing at the same time, however I’d encourage you to check them out, if for nothing else than the ridiculous display of kids going crazy to them. The band will be on Warped until July 11th.
After Attila I finally made my way to the Monster Stage to catch another band from Georgia, The Chariot. Their set was equal in craziness to that of letlive, albeit less of a spectacle due to the smaller crowd and smaller stage. The highlight of their set was when Jason Aalon Butler from letlive made a surprise guest appearance for the song “Not”. That’s it for now, check out Metal Insider later this week when we get WARPED again for the second half of our coverage.
Check out pictures from the bands mentioned above’s sets in the gallery below. You can see more of Nate’s work by following his Facebook page!