Vans Warped Tour 2012

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Monday, August 6, 2012

This was my third year covering the Vans Warped Tour and my eighth Warped Tour overall. This year’s lineup was pretty great with a nice blend of old school Warped classics like New Found Glory, Yellowcard and Taking Back Sunday while including a bunch of new favorites like Falling in Reverse and Blood on the Dance Floor. This review will encompass all three shows I covered this year in one review. I covered multiple bands multiple times so rather than trying to come up with something unique to say about each individual show, I’m just going to pick their best show and review it.

It’s amazing how much the landscape of Warped has evolved over the last decade and a half, going from being the “punk rock summer camp” to something entirely different. This year’s installment seemed more like a return to form with some of the best in punk and pop/punk.

All Time Low (7/20 – Camden, NJ):

Maryland’s-own All Time Low was definitely one of the most popular bands on the main stage this year. It’d been a few years since I last saw All Time Low – I believe it was the 2010 Bamboozle Roadshow – and they’ve definitely grown on me. Not that I didn’t enjoy them before, but I never really gave them a chance after seeing them by listening to their music. I wouldn’t consider myself a big fan now, but I definitely enjoy listening to a few songs of theirs now and then.

Guitarist Jack Barakat was a lot of fun to photograph. At one point he came over to me and pointed at my Ravens t-shirt and started screaming “FUCK YEAH!” (pictured below). Vocalist Alex Gaskarth has a really catchy voice that’s perfect for their style of music.

Their crowd, mostly consisting of teenage girls, was so packed that I almost missed shooting their set because I couldn’t get through them fast enough. Clearly I underestimated the power of pop/rock.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. Damned if I Do Ya (Damned if I Don’t)
2. Lost in Stereo
3. Heroes
4. Time-Bomb
5. The Reckless and the Brave
6. Jasey Rae
7. Weightless
8. Dear Maria, Count Me In

Anti-Flag (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

Sadly Anti-Flag and The Used were not participating in the full tour so I chose the Burgettstown, PA (Pittsburgh) date so I’d be able to see both of them. The last time I saw Anti-Flag was at Warped Tour 2004. One of my biggest complaints about their set back then – and my biggest for seeing them again – was whether they were going to spend 2/3 of their set bitching about politics rather than playing their music.

I understand that Anti-Flag are overtly political so to a point you should know what you’re getting when you see them, but frankly I wanted to see them play music rather than standing on their soapbox for twenty minutes. Thankfully they did play a long set with very little bantering.

Charging through ten songs spanning their career including classics like “Fuck Policy Brutality” and “Die for the Government”, they played one of the best sets at Warped and it was a damn shame that people going to the remainder of the tour weren’t able to catch them.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Fuck Police Brutality
2. This is the End
3. This is the New Sound
4. The Press Corpse
5. Death of a Nation
6. Turncoat
7. 1 Trillion Dollar$
8. Die for the Government
9. Cities Burn
10. Power to the Peaceful

Blessthefall (7/20 – Camden, NJ):

Blessthefall was definitely one of my standout bands. I’ve never really been a big fan of theirs over the years, but damn did they step it up in a big way for Warped. Vocalist Beau Bokan had phenomenal energy and stage presence, leaving the stage several times to jump into the crowd.

The rest of the band – especially guitarists Elliott Gruenberg and Eric Lambert – were jumping around constantly and screaming at the crowd to keep them psyched. While I’m still not a big fan of BTF, I would gladly see them again and recommend them to anyone that’s a fan of post-hardcore and metalcore.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 8.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. 2.0
2. What’s Left of Me
3. Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad
4. I’m Bad News, in the Best Way
5. The Reign
6. Bottomfeeder
7. Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted
8. Promised Ones

Blood on the Dance Floor (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

Christ, this band. I really don’t know what to say about BOTDF. Their music is beyond awful and their fans are even worse. I try very hard to be open minded with music and more often than not I can at least understand why other people like a band, even if I don’t. Blood on the Dance Floor is a strong exception to that rule.

While their music seems to be geared towards older teens and young adults, the majority of their fan base (at least from the past couple times I’ve seen them at Warped) seem to be roughly 13-15. I saw a group of very young girls with things like “fuck me in the ass”, “put your dick in here ^” and other grotesque sayings written on their bodies. I don’t mean to sound like an over-protective parent at a PTA meeting, but I just think it’s disgusting how their music seems so overtly sexual, yet geared towards young girls. Say what you want about the pop music of my youth, at least they attemptedto be more subtle about it.

Vocals: 4
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 3

Setlist:

1. Star Power!
2. Sexting
3. Ima Monster
4. Yo, Ho! (A Pirate’s Life for Me)
5. Unforgiven
6. Where’s My Wonderland
7. Scream for My Ice Cream

Every Time I Die (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

Much like Blessthefall, I’m not a big fan of Every Time I Die but I love them live – especially to photograph. Vocalist Keith Buckley and his brother – guitarist Jordan Buckley – are awesome to photograph and their energy on stage is unparalleled.

I loved hearing favorites like “Floater” and “Ebolarama”.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space
2. Holy Book of Dilemma
3. Floater
4. No Son of Mine
5. She’s My Rushmore
6. Kill the Music
7. Bored Stiff
8. We’rewolf
9. Ebolarama

Falling in Reverse (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

After catching their awesome (albeit short) set at Rock on the Range I was definitely stoked to see Falling in Reverse again. Thankfully I was able to catch them at all three shows I covered, but this show was definitely my favorite.

For those who are unfamiliar with Falling in Reverse, they were formed by ex-Escape the Fate singer Ronnie Radke who was kicked out of ETF in 2008. Several of their songs feature lyrics aimed at ETF for kicking him out of the band. There’s been a huge feud between fans of ETF circa Radke and those who like the band with former Blessthefall singer Craig Mabbitt. Personally I find Radke’s voice and music style to be infectious. I rarely find new bands that I enjoy anymore so the discovery of Falling in Reverse has been a real pleasure for me. Their debut album, The Drug in Me is You is a really solid album from start to finish and the songs all sound great live. Their opening song “I’m Not a Vampire” is especially great for crowd participation.

If you’ve never seen Falling in Reverse, I strongly recommend you do if you ever have the opportunity. Radke is here to stay.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall Rating: 10

Setlist:

1. I’m Not a Vampire
2. Tragic Magic
3. Sink or Swim
4. Raised by Wolves
5. Goodbye Graceful
6. Good Girls Bad Guys
7. The Drug in Me is You

Four Year Strong (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

I’ve never really gotten into Four Year Strong. I’ve always liked them live, but they don’t really bring anything overly exciting to the table in either their music or their live shows.

Vocals were almost impossible to understand at most points in their set and none of the members really had any energy. At one point vocalist and guitarist Dan O’Connor jumped down from the stage to sing to the crowd from the barricade, but that was about the only entertaining moment.

Vocals: 5
Crowd Response: 8.5
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 5
Overall Rating: 6

Setlist:

1. Tonight We Feel Alive (On Saturday)
2. Stuck in the Middle
3. What the Hell is a Gigawatt?
4. Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
5. Heaven Wasn’t Built to Hold Me
6. Maniac (R.O.D.)
7. It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now
8. Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)

Lostprophets (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

The first time I saw Lostprophets they were headlining the final day of Download Festival 2008 in England in front of roughly 50,000 people. For my second (and first of 3x on this years Warped Tour) time seeing them they were playing their first date on the tour (and first show in the States in quite some time) in front of a few thousand packed onto a hillside.

I wasn’t really too familiar with the band when I saw them in England so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate their talent then. Sadly in the US we’re much more fixated on where the next great single will be and once hits like “Last Train Home” and “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)” passed, we were onto the next band. With a few years to build up my fandom I was definitely the most excited for their set throughout the entirety of Warped Tour. They definitely didn’t disappoint.

This set was definitely my favorite of the three that I saw, but they were phenomenal at each stop. Each show I noticed more and more people remembering who they were and that was great to see. Vocalist Ian Watkins and bassist Stuart Richardson were all over the place from the start of their set to the end. Sadly due to some technical difficulties they were forced to cut “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)” from their set list at this show but were able to get all issues under control for later dates.

Lostprophets will be back to the States later this year for a brief headlining tour. I strongly recommend you see them if you’re able. You won’t regret it.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 10

Setlist (out of order):

1. Burn Burn
2. Bring ‘Em Down
3. To Hell We Ride
4. Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)
5. We Bring An Arsenal
6. Last Train Home
7. Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja

Man Overboard (7/20 – Camden, NJ):

Thankfully amongst all the bands that I’d seen multiple times outside of this year’s installment of Warped, there were still a few bands I was able to see for the first time. Man Overboard was one of those bands.

While I wasn’t completely blown away, they were definitely one of the most entertaining bands on the bill and easily one of the best sounding. Definitely one of the better pop/punk bands on the bill.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Rare
2. Real Talk
3. Dead End Dreams
4. Something’s Weird
5. Septemberism
6. Fantasy Girl
7. Atlas
8. World Favorite
9. Montrose
10. Love Your Friends, Die Laughing

Matt Toka (7/20 – Camden, NJ):

Matt Toka was easily one of my top three surprise acts on the bill. Music was solid and his showmanship was even better. I listened to a few of his songs on YouTube before seeing him and wasn’t entirely won over but as soon as he took the stage in Camden I was sold.

If anyone deserved to make it in the business, it’s definitely Matt Toka. His song “Get Money” was definitely a crowd pleaser.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9

Motionless in White (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

Not really a fan of their music but they were definitely one of the better bands to photograph. Vocalist Chris Cerulli looked like a younger (and thinner) Marilyn Manson while sounding nothing like him. The rest of the band members were relatively energetic while being nothing exceptional.

I was amazed by how big their crowd was. They apparently had a huge following that I was unaware of. If the vocals were more discernable (vocals were almost impossible to hear), I probably would’ve enjoyed their set more but based on background music alone, I wasn’t that impressed.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 8
Band Activity: 8
Overall Rating: 7.5

Setlist:

1. Abigail
2. Creatures
3. We Only Come Out at Night
4. If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It
5. Puppets (The First Snow)
6. To Keep From Getting Burned
7. Immaculate Misconception

New Found Glory (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

I can’t remember the last time I saw New Found Glory. It was probably at a previous Warped Tour since I missed their last few headlining tours, but it was definitely nice to see them again since they were one of my favorite bands on the bill. The whole band had matching basketball uniforms and from the very start of their set they were definitely there to put on one of the best shows of the day.

Vocalist Jordan Pundik spent a good portion of their set out amongst the crowd while the rest of the band screamed along to the words and jumped around merrily. The highlight of their set – and arguably Warped Tour in general – was their amazing cover of Green Day’s “Basket Case”. One of the best covers I’ve ever seen a band do.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 10

Setlist:

1. Hit or Miss
2. Understatement
3. Truck Stop Blues
4. All Downhill From Here
5. Something I Call Personality
6. Anthem for the Unwanted
7. Truth of My Youth
8. Basket Case [Green Day cover]
9. My Friends Over You

Senses Fail (7/24 – Columbia, MD):

Senses Fail was by far my favorite band on the bill. While I’ve been a casual fan of theirs for around eight to nine years, it wasn’t until the last year or two that I truly discovered my love for them. Over that time I feel like I’ve rarely listened to anything but them. Supporting the release of their first greatest hits CD (that also includes five brand new songs) the band was definitely one of the biggest draws of the tour.

During day one I was forced to skip them to cover Anti-Flag, day two I was only able to photograph their first three songs and then leave to cover someone else but I vowed to stay for their entire set at this date. Finally being able to hear “War Paint” – one of the new songs on their greatest hits and one of my favorite Senses Fail songs – was definitely one of their highlights as well as hearing such classics as “Buried a Lie” and “Bite to Break Skin”.

Vocals: 7
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 8.5

Setlist:

1. Rum is For Drinking, Not for Burning
2. Bonecrusher
3. Calling All Cars
4. War Paint
5. Buried a Lie
6. Can’t be Saved
7. Bite to Break Skin

Taking Back Sunday (7/20 – Camden, NJ):

Oh how the mighty have fallen. TBS used to be one of my favorite bands and helped shape my taste in music for years. Sadly, they have sounded absolutely terrible the last few times I’ve seen them. I was hoping after reuniting with the line up from their amazing Tell All Your Friends years that it’d be a return to form for them. Sadly I was mistaken.

I think it’s pretty clear that vocalist Adam Lazzara either doesn’t have his voice anymore or chooses not to use it. His vocals sounded so sloppy that it bordered on pathetic. With that said, hearing the classic line up playing songs like “Timberwolves at New Jersey” and “You’re So Last Summer” was definitely a treat for the old version of me. I just hope that they either have that return to form or throw in the towel because what they’re doing to their former glory now is just depressing.

Vocals: 6
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 7
Band Activity: 7
Overall Rating: 7

Setlist:

1. El Paso
2. Error: Operator
3. Timberwolves at New Jersey
4. Liar (It Takes One to Know One)
5. What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost?
6. A Decade Under the Influence
7. You’re So Last Summer
8. Faith (When I Let You Down)
9. Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut From the Team)
10. MakeDamnSure

Tonight Alive (7/24 – Columbia, MD):

Per a friend’s recommendation, I decided to check out Tonight Alive. I’m not the biggest fan of bands with female singers but Tonight Alive genuinely impressed me. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Tonight Alive is fronted by feisty front woman Jenna McDougal. McDougall has an amazing voice and her stage presence is even better. With bands like Paramore taking up most of the mainstream, it’s great to see more bands like them popping up. Tonight Alive has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to see them again.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall Rating: 8.5

Setlist:

1. Breaking and Entering
2. Starlight
3. Wasting Away
4. Revenge and Its Thrills
5. Little Lion Man [Mumford and Sons cover]

The Used (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

Like I said for Anti-Flag, The Used was one of the two bands that were playing the Burgettstown, PA show and nowhere else near us so I had to make the five hour trip if I wanted to see them. Of course after the long and exhausting day The Used was the final band, but that didn’t stop them from putting on a solid show.

I saw them on their headlining tour this past May and it was the best they’d ever sounded. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of their newest album, all of those songs translated well to a live environment and vocalist Bert McCracken always sounds solid live.

Of course due to the short set lengths that come with playing Warped they were only able to play eight songs. I would’ve preferred one or two more “obscure” songs in their set list vs. all hits, but it’s understandable. Despite the short sets, they were definitely one of the highlights of Warped.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall Rating: 9.5

Setlist:

1. Take it Away
2. The Bird and the Worm
3. Listening
4. Put Me Out
5. The Taste of Ink
6. All That I’ve Got
7. Pretty Handsome Awkward
8. A Box Full of Sharp Objects

Vampires Everywhere! (7/24 – Columbia, MD):

Another band I’d never really heard of until a friend recommended them. Can’t really say I’m a fan of their music but they were definitely fun to photograph. Vocalist Michael Orlando was pretty solid and they definitely achieved the “creepy” vibe they were going for. Not really a fan of the band even after their set, but the large crowd that showed up to watch them definitely seemed to enjoy them.

Vocals: 8
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 8.5

Setlist:

1. I: Heartless
2. I Can’t Breathe
3. Hell on Earth
4. II: The Inferno
5. Star of 666
6. Rape Me [Nirvana cover]
7. Anti Hate
8. Drug of Choice

We are the in Crowd (7/20 – Camden, NJ):

Another band I watched because of a recommendation, We are the in Crowd were another pleasant surprise. Taylor Jardine has a beautiful voice and had solid stage presence. The rest of the band stayed relatively stationary for the majority of their set, but Jardine definitely made up for it.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 9
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall Rating: 9

Setlist:

1. Rumor Mill
2. Never Be What You Want
3. Exits and Entrances
4. For the Win
5. The Worst Thing About Me
6. Kiss Me Again
7. Lights Out
8. Both Sides of the Story

We the Kings (7/12 – Burgettstown, PA):

I still don’t understand the massive draw that We the Kings had, but they were alright. A band that was a lot more pop than rock, We the Kings had a huge following every time I heard them on the tour. Unlike bands like All Time Low, WTK didn’t really add any sort of excitement to their set. While sounding good is definitely a big piece of a good live show, just standing there doing nothing, isn’t.

Their song “Secret Valentine” was ridiculously catchy though. Sigh.

Vocals: 8.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 6
Overall Rating: 8

Setlist:

1. Skyway Avenue
2. She Takes Me High
3. What You Do to Me
4. Party, Fun, Love and Radio
5. Say You Like Me
6. Secret Valentine
7. The Middle [Jimmy Eat World cover]
8. Check Yes Juliet

Yellowcard (7/24 – Columbia, MD):

I was never a big fan of Yellowcard until their last album, When You’re Through Thinking, Say Ye. That album was amazing. Hearing songs like “For You, and Your Denial” and “With You Around”, coupled with the likes of “Ocean Avenue” and “Breathing” it’s not hard to imagine Yellowcard having one of the best sets of the tour.

I had a bad experience meeting Ryan Key at my very first Warped Tour back in 2004 so that always put a bad taste in my mouth when I tried to listen to Yellowcard after that. Apparently enough time had passed and I was absolutely ecstatic for the opportunity to see Yellowcard again. They didn’t disappoint. While I only listened and watched their set in Burgettstown, I got to fully appreciate their set in Columbia and they were a fitting end to my 2012 Warped Tour experience.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 10
Band Activity: 10
Overall Rating: 10

Setlist:

1. Breathing
2. For You, and Your Denial
3. Five Becomes Four
4. Always Summer
5. Lights and Sounds
6. With You Around
7. Only One
8. Ocean Avenue

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

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