Picking up where I left off on Tuesday’s Part I of our coverage of the Indianapolis stop of the Vans Warped Tour, I headed back to the Kia Soul Stage for pop-punk band, The Wonder Years. I’ve always heard great things about these guys, even from some of my most “metal” friends, and it was easy to see why. Their was filled with infectious hooks and exuberant sing-a-longs with the crowd. Even if you’re not a huge fan of the genre, if there’s one pop-punk band to see on Warped, it’s these guys.
Up next, Upon a Burning Body took to the Monster Stage, decked out in customized “UABB” formal attire, and played a killer set of music featuring tracks from both their latest release, Red. White. Green., and their older record The World Is Ours. This is a band that has toured the U.S. A LOT in the last few years, so I’ve seen them several times, but I’ve NEVER seen a crowd so receptive to them. They had the area around the Monster Stage filled up with fans who all seemed to be shouting the words to every song the band played. Not only has their fan base grown, but their live show has improved greatly as well. Be sure to catch them on Warped if you can!
Back to the Kia Forte Stage now for one of the more anticipated acts of the tour, Bring Me The Horizon. BMTH just put out a new record a few months back entitled Sempiternal and have been riding a wave of positive publicity from the record since that release. It’d been a few years since I’d seen these British gentlemen, but they didn’t disappoint, playing a set that featured tracks both new and old (nothing off of 2006′s Count Your Blessings, but they did play some songs from 2008′s Suicide Season). BMTH frontman Oli Sykes was one of the more vocal musicians of those who recently spoke out about a new Warped Tour policy in which bands are no longer allowed to incite moshing from the crowd, including asking fans to do a ‘wall of death’. The policy, as explained by Kevin Lyman, is due to the number of lawsuits that have been filed against Warped for injuries sustained by kids in mosh pits. Evidently Oli has found a way to circumvent the new rule in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, half singing/screaming the words “Let me see a wall of deathhh” as if to disguise what he was doing, at the end of a verse in their track “Diamonds Aren’t Forever”, right before the biggest breakdown in the song. All in all though, they put on a hell of a live show, with their new guitarist even taking to an inflatable raft and crowd surfing in it.
After Bring Me The Horizon, I ran off to catch The Black Dahlia Murder at the Monster stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect, with TBDM being the heaviest band on the tour, and wasn’t sure if the average Warped attendee would be interested in a legitimate metal band (as opposed to the various “core” sub-genres commonly featured), but to my surprise the band drew a relatively huge crowd. Their set included the first three tracks of their just-released album Everblack as well as fan-favorites from 2003′s Unhallowed, 2005′s Miasma, and 2007′s Nocturnal, including one of my favorites, “Statutory Ape” (Other dates have had the ape mascot during this song, alas we did not get to see the statutory ape at our date).
Footage of Satutory Ape from Indianapolis date by YouTube user Ethan McMahan is available here. Aside from the huge turnout for it, it was neat to see the ridiculous amount of younger fans crowd surfing over and over again during their set! Perhaps this will get a new generation hooked on heavier music?
After taking a break from the metal and catching MC Lars and Big Chocolate, it was back to the Monster Stage for two bands from the U.K. that I’d been looking forward to all day long. Up first, Architects (UK) put on one of the rawest and most energetic showings I witnessed at Warped that day. With a set featuring songs from their older 2009 release, Hollow Crown, and their most recent 2012 release Daybreaker, the band was joined by Crossfaith frontman, Kenta Koie for the song “Even If You Win You’re Still a Rat” and by letlive frontman Jason Aalon Butler for the song “Follow the Water” (see photos of both artists with the band below). Architects are definitely vastly underrated and I really think they ought to be much bigger in the U.S., like they are in Canada and the U.K. However, if the band plays a set like they did this day at every date on Warped I think there’s a good chance that they’ll be touring through the states much more often then they have in the past.
The last band of the night, While She Sleeps, from Sheffield, UK,was one that I was so excited to see. However, they had the misfortune of having to compete against one of the biggest-drawing acts on Warped, Sleeping With Sirens. As such, their set at 8:05pm began with a crowd of ~80 people. Rather than putting on a half-assed set, the melodic hardcore band gave it their all anyways, and put on a display that gave high-energy acts, letlive and The Chariot, a run for their money. The band played songs off of their debut full-length entitled This is the Six. After photographing their first 4 songs, I tried to film the title track…but got distracted by the opportunity to mosh a bit when lead singer Lawrence Taylor hopped the barrier and performed in the midst of a mosh pit….but you can see the footage here.
By the end of their set, While She Sleeps had managed to wrangle at least 100 more people over from other stages to check them out. Much like with Architects, I can’t urge you enough to check these guys out if you can fit it into your Warped schedule! After their set they did an impromptu hang-out with the fans who had been cool enough to come watch them play. And with that my day was over, and I made the 5-hour drive back home. I’m happy to say that I’ll be attending Warped once more this year in Atlanta on July 25th.
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!