Article by Maddy Young and Alex Bagheri
Photography by Larry Young
Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Vans Warped Tour opened in Dallas, TX at Gexa Energy Pavilion under bright hot Texas sky. Warped Tour has been an iconic cultural tradition in the Alternative music scene for decades now. As a platform to meet up-and-coming bands, as well as engage with fan favorites, it is unrivaled and 2016 did not disappoint.
With a lineup as jam-packed with star power as this one, it’s difficult to pinpoint any true outliers. However, notable tour members included Whitechapel, Falling In Reverse, Gideon, and the granddaddy of Horn-Section Punk, Less Than Jake. The buzz around these acts exploded towards the end of the day with a back-to-back performance from Sleeping with Sirens and Mayday Parade. Hundreds of fans flooded the fields, screaming along with the two powerhouse performances.
Of the amazing highlights from the day, two of come to mind as the crème de la crème. The mind-blowing set from a cult-favorite band called The Maine stood out as a near-religious experience and in one of the most emotional sets of relatively recent popularity, metal core band Oceans Ate Alaska dropped some of the heaviest riffs in their catalogue, causing some of the best mosh pits of the tour.
Sweethearts of the indie scene, American Authors, chilled the crowd out with their upbeat lyrics and crowd-pleasing songs. Between their fantastic show and the will to make friends with fans, they will be big hit of the tour.
Of course, the popular bands weren’t the only ones to shine. Warped has always been a springboard for new acts, and this year’s freshman class was no exception. A particularly groovy performance from local Pop-Punk group The Heirs has firmly cemented them into the “Band To Watch” category.
The wide assortment of genres makes Warped Tour an enjoyable festival for music lovers everywhere. Seven stages catered to all types, two stages for metal, two for pop-punk and alt, two for indie and modern age alt rock, and one stage for first time Warped bands. Wherever you landed, there was sure to be some amazing musicians. Despite the hot heat, the first date of the tour seemed nothing less than an amazing opportunity to listen and connect with truly talented people from all walks.
Reel Big Fish “reeled” in the night with their cover of “Take Me On” as Kevin Layman, father and founder of Warped Tour, walked the deserted concert grounds of the amazing music experience he created.