The return on this globally renowned festival to Australia was certainly welcomed with open arms, but in order for it to be a success, it needed to have an extra memorable and authentic atmosphere. With a line-up and similarity, albeit on a smaller scale to the USA version, it was safe to assume that this bonus festival certainly had the potential to be unforgettable.
Arriving to quite an extensive line for entry, it was of slight concern of whether this writer would be able to witness New Jersey’s nerd pop-punk quintet Man Overboard open the event. Favourably the festival was already running behind and nothing was missed, but the performance did little to invigorate the early guests. Nevertheless, the single Montrose is possibly one of the most enchanting emotional pop-punk songs and was appreciated along with vocalist/guitarist Zac Eisenstein’s peculiar dance moves.
It wouldn’t be a Vans Warped show without an injection of ska and thankfully one of the best bands in the world waving that flag Reel Big Fish were responsible for this honour. With a career spanning 22 years, the sextet quickly had fans crowd surfing, dancing and partying along with these beer enthusiasts. Highlights including the track Suburban Rhythm which the six-piece executed in five different sounding genres spanning from country to disco to death metal, but more importantly the songs Beer and their cover of A-ha’s Take On Me which were simply glorious.
One of the more notable acts on the tour was long time pop-core geniuses New Found Glory and their set consisting of their exceedingly adored 2002 album Sticks & Stones being performed in full. Thankfully this was only part of the good fortune, as the Floridian quintet not only executed this but also threw in some bonus favourites for good measure, including: All Downhill From Here, Hit Or Miss, Dressed To Kill amongst even more. The wait for this was well and truly worth it and it is arguable that NFG’s chemistry maybe impossible to rival with how elite their stage manner is executed.
It was going to be tough to top the prior act, but if there was ever a capable band it is Swedish punk favourites Millencolin. Without hesitation or deliberation the four-piece launched into a “best of” set-list assault which had eager punters and even the professional skateboarders alike injected full of energy. Fox, Bullion, Man Or Mouse, No Cigar, The Ballad, Penguins & Polar Bears, Carry You and many more were executed brilliantly with pure contagious enjoyment. A special addition was pro-skater Steve Caballero who did a guest stage appearance on bass during the song Kemp, there seems to be no end to that superstar’s talent.
As thousands flocked to see SoCal punk long-stayers The Offspring, it was actually preferable to stay put and witness the Byron Bay surf rats Parkway Drive prove their iconic stature in the metalcore world. For many it was a choice which certainly paid off as the decade plus career of playing shows of all nature equates to this quintet being at the top of the game. Opening with Boneyards, the crowd were quickly whipped into a frenzy and the smile on the PWD members’ faces were impossible to ignore. With an extensive list of tracks showcased from practically their entire career, there was something for everyone for this final set of the day, but the favoured were: The River, Swing, Deliver Me, Wild Eyes and closer Carrion which conveniently brought upon some perfectly timed rain for added effect. Come back soon please Parkway, somehow you only get better with age.
So after a long absence, Warped tour has returned and thankfully to a remarkable degree, let’s hope that its stature continues to grow as it is a fantastic introduction to summer.
Photos by Shannon Djordjevic
Photos By Matt Allan (below)