LIVE: Vans Warped Tour @ Alexandra Palace, London (16/11/2013)

Date: November 16th, 2013
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London


Following its return to the UK after a 10 year hiatus last November, it was clear from the response that Vans Warped Tour on British shores deserved to stay. So, come 2013, Vans Warped Tour is back once again at London’s Alexandra Palace. This time packing a weekend full of brilliant bands from across the globe, including stage headliners such as Enter Shikari, Rise Against and Parkway Drive, we just had to get involved with the final major UK music festival of the year.


ATTILA – 6/10
Party metalcore outfit Attila are granted the duty of opening the weekend’s main stage, and with the nature of their lyrics and general persona of partying, it should be a breeze for them. Their efforts to get the crowd pumped up and moving with songs like ‘Rage’ and ‘About That Life’ are definitely valiant, but maybe its the early hours that don’t bring the set to its full potential. [ZR]

Everyone’s favourite Japanese electronic metallers Crossfaith return to Vans Warped Tour for their second year, and their promotion from the Kevin Says stage to the Main Stage shows how far they’ve come in 12 months. ‘We Are The Future’ fittingly opens the set before the band get into the deep cuts from the popular ‘Zion’ EP; namely big singles ‘Monolith’ and the booze-fuelled ‘Jägerbomb’. Energy is personified on stage by crazy keyboardist Tamano Terufumi and vocalist Koie Kenta, who have the audience doing whatever they want. It’s easy to see why they’re being called Japan’s answer to The Prodigy. [MH]

Not messing about, The Wonder Years launch straight into their biggest single of the year, ‘Passing Through A Screen Door’, which expectantly triggers audience harmonies for its catchy chorus, “I’ve been looking for…”. Fans also get their voices round ‘Local Man Ruins Everything’ and ‘Melrose Diner’ early on before front man Soupy Campbell and his big bushy beard give a warming, yet perhaps over the top, speech on being honoured to play the main stage at this type of festival and how you can reach your goals if you work hard enough. ‘Come Out Swinging’ closes out the set for the band who, once again, prove that they’re always good for a sing-a-long. [MH]

Sticking mainly with their latest full-length ‘Tracing Back Roots’ for the most part of their set, post-hardcore/metalcore troupe We Came As Romans have soared over the past few years, and the crowd before them on the main stage is proof of that. The liks of ‘Mis//Understanding’ and set closer ‘To Plant A Seed’ are major highlights, but it’s their cover of ‘Glad You Came’ by The Wanted which gets most of the room bouncing and singing back to Michigan outfit [ZR]

THE MAINE – 5/10
The main stage is taken down a softer and more melodic path for a brief moment with The Maine‘s set. Indeed, we’re treated to far more sing-along moments than we have thus far at the Vans Warped Tour, where we see a plethora of fans singing along to songs like ‘My Heroine’ and ‘Love & Drugs’. However, a few songs into the set and it appears that the band are somewhat going through the motions and, as a result, we start to get a little bored along with them. [ZR]

Returning to making things heavy on the main stage, Memphis May Fire take to the stage to a roar of cheers and open their set with ‘Without Walls’. Frontman Matty Mullins is able to pull off both melodic cleans and raspy screams and growls as effective as one another, but it’s when the band are joined onstage with Craig Owens of Chiodos for ‘Miles Away’ where we truly see Memphis May Fire‘s deserved place on this festival’s impressive line-up. [ZR]

CHIODOS – 8/10
Returning to the stage with his own band, Craig Owens proves to the Vans Warped Tour crowd why he is recognised as one of the genre’s best vocalists and why he and the rest of his bandmates in Chiodos are still considered one of the forerunners of post-hardcore. The huge sing-along of ‘Thermacare’ (also known as ‘The Only Thing You Talk About’ by D.R.U.G.S. fans) is easily their most accessible inclusion in the set, and the sneak peek at new song ‘Expensive Conversations In Cheap Motels’ leaves us excited for album number four to drop next year. [ZR]

Yellowcard have released 4 albums, 2 acoustic albums and had a 2 and a half year hiatus in the decade that has passed since their breakthrough album, ‘Ocean Avenue’. They stand on the main stage for one of two performances over the weekend and use perfect opener ‘Lights And Sounds’ to start off proceedings. They play some excellent songs in ‘Breathing’ and ‘Way Away’, yet they don’t fill their live potential and sound very average. Some of Ryan Key‘s audience interaction seems very rehearsed and cringey. An unexpected appearance from We Are The In Crowd‘s own Tay Jardine on post-hiatus ‘Here I Am Alive’ is a nice surprise and ‘Ocean Avenue’ finally gives the crowd the song they wanted. [MH]

Though certainly past their peak years of their ‘Billy Talent II’ era back in 2006, in terms of a live presence Billy Talent are as strong as they’ve ever been. It seems the Canadians agree with the aforementioned record being their strongest, with a setlist mainly including hits like ‘Red Flag’, ‘Fallen Leaves’ and ‘Devil In A Midnight Mass’. Still, newer tracks like ‘Viking Death March’ still stand strong, and as a whole the quartet leave a lasting impression. [ZR]

Bursting into life with ‘Dark Days’, Australian heavyweights Parkway Drive are one of the main attractions for people making it to the Saturday of the festival weekend, and rightly so. The metalcore outfit smash out heavy hit after heavy hit, showering the crowd with confetti during the likes of the set closing one-two of ‘Wild Eyes’ and ‘Carrion’, both enticing the crowd to chant along to its call-to-arms nature. These, along with other towering anthems like ‘Karma’, ‘Swing’ and ‘Boneyards’ ensure their name as one of metalcore’s main contenders stays secure. [ZR]

Saturday headliners Rise Against take the baton from Parkway Drive and are bestowed with the mission of wrapping up the day with a bang. Indeed, what Rise Against deliver to us is a setlist full of crowd pleasers and punk anthems. Of course, the singles are what get the best reactions, namely ‘Prayer Of The Refugee’ and ‘Give It All’, and the amount of people in the crowd that the Chicago outfit get to sing-a-long with ‘Ready To Fall’ is a truly impressive feat. Well done, Rise Against. Mission accomplished. [ZR]


FACT – 6/10
Japenese heavy pop-punks Fact are Vans Warped Tour UK‘s first band to play a single note to a crowd for 2013, and get the great opportunity to playing to everyone who filters in with no other bands elsewhere to distract them. Though there’s a clear language barrier, other than Britain’s born and bred Adam Graham, the band do offer a bit of banter between the likes of fast-paced anthems such as ‘Slip Of The Lip’. [ZR]

NECK DEEP – 3/10
Fans flood the Jägermeister stage to catch Hopeless Records newbies, Neck Deep. The hype surrounding the band is huge, but unfortunately they fall just that bit short this time round. It’s difficult to hear Ben Barlow properly, big tracks ‘Over And Over’ and ‘Tables Turned’ don’t do themselves justice, although quick mosh pit song ‘All Hype, No Heart’ sounds better and the audience lap it up. Big acoustic hit ‘A Part Of Me’ is fantastic and a song that has pushed the band to where they are today, but it’s not enough to redeem the set. An off day for the up-and-coming pop-punks. [MH]

Norwegian five-piece Blood Command are a rather under hyped and under appreciated prospect, and nothing proves that more than the talents of frontwoman, Silje Tombre. Shifting her vocal capabilities from towering melodic hooks to shrieks and screams that could have only been forged within the depths of hell itself, her and her bandmates deliver a style that is as hard to pigeonhole as it is to ignore. They’ve got the songwriting chops and on the stage prowess, all these guys (and gal) need now is the right push to truly explode. [ZR]

Chicago based pop-punks Real Friends are a fairly fresh prospect to UK shores, and judging from the crowd and their reaction throughout their set it appears they’re a band who are definitely on big demand from us Brits. Frontman Dan Lambton‘s voice is top notch and, though admittedly what they produce isn’t anything original, there’s clear heart in their performance. [ZR]

Self-proclaimed as “Epic-rock”, Lonely The Brave are certainly a band who are on a lot of people’s lips lately, and the slow build of hype over the past few months is well deserved. With their new EP ‘Backroads’ just over a month old now, the band compose most of their set with cuts from said release and, with the first few rows singing back to the Cambridge quartet, this is the start of what could be something special. [ZR]

Caked with make-up, sporting brushed up hair and avoiding any colour other than black or white where possible, London industrial metallers The Defiled are making waves across the UK and this evening’s set is no exception. Stitch D and co. carry an onstage swagger through the likes of ‘As I Drown’ that bring up memories of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson during their early years. Don’t be surprised if they manage to reach the same heights in a few years time either. [ZR]

With their debut appearance on British shores now upon us, Like Moths To Flames manage to draw a rather hefty crowd during their first ever UK performance. Opening up with the impressive stomper that is ‘The Worst In Me’, for the most part the Ohio troupe deliver their songs in a far more melodic approach than on record. The likes of ‘Learn Your Place’ and ‘Lord Of Bones’ get the room jumping, and even manage to bring the biggest circle pit the Jägermeister stage sees all day. It goes without saying that a full UK tour is more than wanted. [ZR]

ITCH – 6/10
Still trying his hardest to shake off his past with his old band The King Blues, Londoner Itch and his band deliver a rather fun set which, admittedly, doesn’t sound very much different to The King Blues, at all. The likes of ‘Homeless Romantic’ hold some potency but, all in honesty, even Itch jumping into the middle of the crowd to rap out a few bars, whilst a bit different for the festival weekend, doesn’t quite give us full confidence in his solo venture. Maybe he’s still laying the ground work, but until we see a full-length release, everything will still be compared to Itch‘s work in his previous project. [ZR]

Closing off the Jägermeister stage for day one, the more experienced Sublime With Rome and their ska punk offerings should have no problem at all wrapping things up and having everyone leaving their set with a smile on their face and a spring in their step. However, this is not the case this time around. Though tracks like ‘Wrong Way’ and ‘Santeria’ certainly have that element at their core, unfortunately the band look far from excited to be there, in turn rubbing off that vibe on some of the crowd. Maybe next time, eh? [ZR]


Securing their spot on the festival line-up following a few drop outs last minute, post-hardcore Southerners Saint The Sinner have a chance to prove themselves to a lot of potential new fans. The sextet are clearly fresh faces and there’s still a lot to be worked on, but even with this in mind, Saint The Sinner do better than most. Time will see what they can make of themselves. [ZR]

Four parts British and one part American punk rockers Love Zombies bring a 70s vinatage punk vibe to the Kevin Says stage, and frontwoman Hollis J is just a blonde ball full of energy. For not one single second is she stood static, running around, jumping and even throwing a bucket full of water over herself before jumping against the barrier with the crowd. If you’re into your punk rock ala The Ramones or Sex Pistols, give these newbies a shot. [ZR]

The sparse amount of people in the crowd depicts the still rather unknown presence of Yorkshire rockers, Alvarez Kings, but their somewhat progressive spin on the indie rock genre is one that is definitely worth taking an interest in. One thing the band do need to work on is their live presence, but it’s safe to say they’ve got their songwriting skills down to a tee. [ZR]

Essex based pop-rockers The Younger are another outfit that are fresh on the scene to prove themselves, and where better to do that then at London’s Vans Warped Tour. With their new EP ‘Have Hope’ still very new to the ears, the band showcase who they are and who they want to be now. With a sound akin to the likes of Young Guns, there’s a chance their hooks can drive them into radio charts. [ZR]

Things turn into far heavier and darker territory with Amsterdam’s The Charm The Fury. Frontwoman Caroline Westendorp has one set of lungs on her, and is able to belt out some terrifying screams and roars, standing as stiff competition for the likes of Eva Spence and Angela Gossow. With a set as enjoyably blistering to the ears as it is energetic, The Charm The Fury have a lot going for them. [ZR]

Switching genres up rather quickly on the Kevin Says stage, things turn to the raggea/ska persuasion for The Dirty Heads, and it’s a struggle to not get your skank on (as in dancing, not the other kind). In terms of this year’s Vans Warped Tour, The Dirty Heads certainly offer something different to most other acts on the bill, and clearly everyone in the room is having a great time. [ZR]

British up-and-comers We Are Fiction are steadily beginning to make waves over the past couple of months, managing to secure themselves some decent tour spots and are just about to release their new album, ‘One For Sorrow’. With a half-filled room, it appears that quite a few people are looking forward to what the Peterborough troupe have to offer, and cuts from the new album don’t leave room for disappointment. [ZR]

Tipped to be future pop-punk champions aside The Wonder Years, Pennsylvania unit Handguns are greeted to a rather large and dedicated crowd of fans who are there to scream back every word to frontman Taylor Eby and co. ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘A Year In Review’ stand as a few crowning moments and, at their current trajectory, it’s possible Handguns could be playing on the main stage of this very festival in a few more years. [ZR]

Shutting down the Kevin Says stage is a duty left in the hands of Surrey rockers, Canterbury. Always on the cusp of truly exploding onto the British pop-rock scene amongst their more successful peers such as You Me At Six, but have never really had the chance to break through that wall. It’s a shame really, as with sets like this evening, it’s clear that the four-piece are ready to take that level of success head on. Luke Prebble and Mike Sparks trade off vocals throughout perfectly and, judging from the few peeks we had into album number three, ‘Dark Days’, we may well see them truly take off come its release in January. [ZR]


Unfortunately, we were unable to catch any acts that performed on this stage.

Written by Zach Redrup [ZR] and Mike Heath [MH]

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