After ten years of waiting patiently, The Warped Tour has clattered over to our tiny island and brought with it a rather anti-climactic line up. Through this smoke screen of disappointment, came the brilliant Road to Warped tour and its superior line up, creating an almost tangible atmosphere around the industrial surroundings of Rock City.
First band on, Walnut Creek’s The Story So Far, storm the stage with a presence that is quickly becoming something they are increasingly known for, almost a trademark. Within the first few chords of Roam the crowd is a frenzy of shouting, screaming, crowd surfing, and every inch of everyone’s being completely at one with Parker Cannon’s ferocious yet heartfelt lyrics and stage presence. Classic songs such as High Regard and Daughters are mirrored back to the band word perfect whilst they interact with everybody daring to leap the barrier to get an inch closer, and passing the microphone on to a male scrambling over the security guards in a fit of passion.
New Jersey’s Man Overboard had to follow the storm, and they did so valiantly. Their stage presence is a strange one; lots of pot humour, awkwardness and static bouncing, but despite this it is incredibly clear how passionate they are about their music. Covering a variety of songs from their extensive back catalogue from Love Your Friends Die Laughing to Atlas, they get the crowd moving and generally having a great time screaming about loves lost, close friends and pizza. In earlier shows of their career they may of seemed disconnected, sloppy and too high to function, but this show showed a much more controlled and polished performance from the fast rising pop punk band. Though with this has gone the slightly more precarious, almost fun atmosphere they have brought in the past and a more serious appreciation for their music. Which is better is yet to be decided.
On a rotating headline, Veteran punk band Less Than Jake bring the party to the stage in a way few bands can. Everything about them is fun, savvy and sharp, the banter and interaction to the crowd is risqué and one I’ve never experienced from any live act before. They make comments like a stand up comedian, invite everybody to do certain tasks (which they oblige without question), even coaxing a young guy on stage and baiting girls to dance with him. From hits like Gainesville Rock City, to previously unheard time capsule songs, the band deliver a knock out performance enticing both new and hardcore fans to dance, get crazy and scream to the contrasting ska-punk sound of guitars, shouting and trumpets. It is easy to see how so many bands and fans are inspired by Less Than Jake. Their sound and personalities have stood the test of time to show just how far determination and hard work can take you.
Ten years since Sticks & Stones has been released and the godfathers of Pop Punk, New Found Glory, take to the stage in spectacular passion reciting the album in full force, previously unheard apart from their tour back in 2002/3. The more I see NFG, the more I am thoroughly impressed with everything about their live performance. As musicians they are completely flawless, but they are also modest on stage, friendly to fans and obviously still in awe at the reactions they get after all these years. The venue is practically on fire at this point from the sheer ferocity of both the band and the crowd, hundreds of people’s bodies moving in sync to an album that has inspired thousands and propelled NFG to where they are today. You would of thought by the time last song The Story So Far was played the show would be winding down… oh no. The band crash straight into an encore that to me, was utterly perfect, with their Sixpence None The Richer cover of Kiss Me spreading the love throughout the room, along with classics such as My Friend’s Over You and “Hit Or Miss”, which whip the crowd into one last union of love for this incredible band.