Year after year, the Vans Warped Tour that dominates the US taunts us from across the pond, with its fantastic weather and even more fantastic line-up of bands. But now, after 14 years of waiting, it has returned to the UK. Unlike its American counterpart, the event is held inside and sunshine is not a feature either, but today it’s all about the music. Co-headliners of the main stage are Welsh rockers Lostprophets, who are half way through a full UK tour, and Sheffield metallers Bring Me The Horizon, with this being their only UK show this year.
BREATHE CAROLINA (WEST STAGE) – 5/10
Breathe Carolina were meant to be one of the bands to watch of the day, but sadly their set is completely middle of the road. Nothing special or particularly noteworthy at all. The vocals from both David Schmitt and Kyle Even aren’t great, sounding like a complete mish mash. Not really a great start to what is set to be an amazing day.
BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR (JAGERMEISTER STAGE) – 2/10
For a band whose set is slap bang in the middle of the day, Blood On The Dance Floor command a full room, probably consisting largely of people who’ve probably heard things about them and wish to give them a chance. However, this isn’t a chance the band deserve and it just doesn’t work in any sense. The vocals are all screeched and out of tune and no one in the crowd seems to ‘get’ it. Next time, I’m sure the crowd won’t be half this size. People don’t tend to make the same mistake twice.
3OH!3 (WEST STAGE) – 8/10
3OH!3 are one of those bands people seem to love to hate, but for everyone else, they’re just a complete guilty pleasure. From the opening beats of ‘Starstrukk’, which gets everyone whistling along, right up to the closing beats of their biggest hit, ‘Don’t Trust Me’, the band command the crowd with every ounce of strength. Listening closely, the vocals aren’t impeccable and there are moments where they’re off, but their energy and fun factor push those thoughts away, leaving 3OH!3 as one of the biggest surprises of the day.
THE ACACIA STRAIN (JAGERMEISTER STAGE) – 6/10
The Acacia Strain are potentially one of the heaviest bands to hit the stage today. Their music has a strong beat and distinct sound, which has everybody in the crowd bobbing their heads along and inciting some of the biggest pits of the day. The screams are heavy, and we’re talking pig squealing heavy, but it thankfully for the most part it works today.
A SKYLIT DRIVE (JAGERMEISTER STAGE) – 7/10
Frontman Michael Jagman‘s voice is certainly as unique as modern rock voices come nowadays, and he still sounds like a pre pubescent boy, with a voice so high pitched and sweet he could easily be mistaken for a female vocalist. This voice though works perfectly within this post-hardcore band, who storm through a punchy fasted set. The band have grown leaps and bounds over the last few years and today’s set is a true testament to that fact.
NEW FOUND GLORY (EAST STAGE) – 8/10
Pop-punk mainstays New Found Glory show that punk certainly is not dead as they play their way through a fast paced punchy set of summer drenched delights. It’s been ten years since their album ‘Sticks And Stones’ came out, but every track played from this sound just as current and fresh as they ever were. Frontman Jordan Pundik‘s high pitched voice is flawless in every sense and today’s performance is living proof of the band’s staying power. If their fans are anything to go by, they’ll still be around for another few decades at this rate.
THE USED (WEST STAGE) – 8/10
As vocalist Bert McCracken comes onstage alongside the rest of his bandmates in The Used, it’s hard not to smile at his eclectic style as he busts out a fantastic pair of floral shorts which are the piece of sunshine that this Vans Warped Tour is missing. The band were only announced as part of the bill within the last week and it seemed to excite a lot of the crowd if their smiles are anything to go by. Previously, Bert‘s voice was known to be a bit unpredictable, but tonight it stands up to the large stage and sounds perfect. The highlight of their set is the sing-a-long the crowd provide during ‘Taste Of Ink’. Classic.
BRING ME THE HORIZON (EAST STAGE) – 10/10
The divide of the East and West stages was most prominent during controversial headliners Bring Me The Horizon, who are the epitome of love and hate. The opposite side of the stage was quiet and made no effort to enjoy or even tolerate the music. But, regardless, their set is still incredible and complete proof that a temperamental crowd doesn’t always define a band’s set. The right side though were a screaming, thrashing brutal mix of energy, showing everyone how it’s done. The set was like a complete best of, with the band playing a fully charged set of hits, including ‘Fuck’, ‘Blessed By A Curse’ and ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’. Set closer ‘Chelsea Grin’ gets a hearty sing-a-long, whilst frontman Oli Sykes‘ vocal mash up of ‘Gangnam Style’ is a festival highlight. Hearing “Hey, sexy ladies” in a thick Yorkshire accent is one you can only imagine.
LOSTPROPHETS (WEST STAGE) – 10/10
It’s hard to think that tonight’s two headline bands once toured together as the crowds seem poles apart. But, Lostprophets showcase tonight why their legion of fans are still around over a decade later. With every track, they’re greeted by loud screams and even louder singing. If somehow you’d never heard of this band (if that’s even possible), then this would have been the perfect set to hear, ranging from tracks from their entire catalogue, such as ‘Last Train Home’, ‘Burn, Burn’, ’Bring ‘Em Down’ and ‘We Bring An Arsenal’. For most people here, Lostprophets are the sound of their teenage years; a band they’ve grown up with but never grown out of. Musically, every member of are pros in their field. Lee Gaze‘s guitar skills are second to none, whilst Jamie Oliver melts together heavy beats with a deeply charged throaty scream. Tonight, it seems like Lostprophets can do no wrong.
Written by Rhian Westbury