This is the summer that we say farewell to the rock show.
After 24 years, founder Kevin Lyman is putting the Vans Warped Tour to rest. Kicking off on its final cross-country run on June 21 in Pomona, CA, this last trek will end on August 5 in Florida.
Atlas attended the Phoenix, AZ, and Ventura, CA, stops and it’s clear that fans are not ready to say goodbye just yet. Despite temperatures over 100 degrees in Phoenix and sweltering humidity in Ventura, thousands of people turned up early to rock out with their favorite artists one last time. We’ve compiled some highlights to make your Warped experience the best one yet.
This Arizona quintet are no strangers to playing in the heat and they looked right at home on the main stage. From their first Warped appearance in 2009, the band has only gotten stronger and they bring the crowds to prove it. Arizona fans turned out in droves to see their hometown heroes play one of the last sets of the day, and fans in both states screamed every word as a jubilant John O’Callaghan hammed it up.
Verdict: If you’re here for a good time, don’t miss The Maine.
Few bands in the Warped scene have had careers as varied as The Used, but don’t let that stop you from catching their set. Despite their lengthy catalogue, the band sticks to a classic list of songs from their earlier (and arguably most popular) albums. Singer Bert McCracken prowls the stage, wild-eyed and exuberant, as veteran Warped-goers scream his words back to him. Whether it was their midday set in Phoenix or their closing slot in Ventura, The Used drew one of the biggest crowds of the day and they do not disappoint.
Verdict: Get your spot early, Ventura and Phoenix had crowds by the thousands for The Used.
Colorado duo Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman don’t tour as much as they used to, but after their rousing success on the Warped Rewind at Sea cruise last fall, it only made sense to have them out for the final Warped Tour. For 30 minutes every day, you’d never know it’s 2018. Everyone who ever had “Don’t Trust Me” as their MySpace song turned up for those iconic lyrics, along with hits like “Starstrukk” and “Choke Chain.”
Verdict: The self-proclaimed “Sauce Daddies” (you had to be there) are worthy of much more than the 30 minutes they get so don’t skip their slot.
This British group takes the #1 slot for most underrated band on Warped this year. Playing songs off their debut record, Technology, singer Rob Damiani struts around their small stage like he was born to be in front of adoring crowds. Speaking of adoration, it was clear that only the front section was initially there to watch Don Broco, but less than two songs won the rest. These guys can play and it was a joy to see them get the recognition they very much deserve.
Verdict: Venture over to the side stages throughout the day. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the gems you find.
At this point, it’s just the expectation that Mayday Parade is on Warped but that’s never a bad thing. Phoenix fans packed the venue’s amphitheater for a sweaty mid-afternoon set stuffed to the brim with the hits. While the opening lines to “Jersey” always trigger goosebumps, it’s the opening song, a cut from the band’s new album Sunnyland, that provided the most interesting moment in a set as familiar and comfy as your favorite band shirt.
Verdict: You know the words. Come sing with Derek Sanders, he’s overjoyed to be on that stage for you.
We the Kings
This is another Warped staple band and, again, that’s not a bad thing. “Check Yes Juliet” made a whole generation fall in love and that generation is all grown up and fully embracing the nostalgia. Even though there were highs of nearly 110 degrees in that Phoenix parking lot, excited fans squished in to hear Travis Clark and co. play the soundtrack to their middle school romances. The Arizona show was particularly special, as the band dusted off their stellar cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle”, to the elation of the crowd.
Verdict: Again, you know the words and they still make you smile. Make sure you catch the first song, We the Kings never let us down.
It’s hard to believe these guys have been in the game for 20 years. They certainly haven’t lost a step, with singer Pierre Bouvier belting “I’m Just a Kid” and “Welcome to My Life” with even more gusto. Of course the best moments are when usually silent drummer Chuck Comeau leaves his kit to crowdsurf, egged on by his bandmates. Even after all this time, they’re still having the most fun getting up on stage to play for us and they were always a “Perfect” fit on Warped Tour. Phoenix ended with Simple Plan at sunset and we all cried together.
Verdict: Simple Plan is a classic! Get ready to jump during “Boom!”
As It Is
Every Time I Die
Assuming We Survive