At last, our coverage of Warped Tour 2014 has ended. We at The Garden Statement loved all of the interviews we’ve done, but when we weren’t at the press room, we did what we originally went there to do: watch some great bands play some great jams. Below, you’ll see every act that each of us saw throughout the day (with the author’s name in parentheses), and what we felt was their best song of the set. We’ll be updating the site’s playlist with these songs soon! Enjoy our reviews!
Finch (Donald): It’s astonishing to me that Finch’s reunion after the seemingly never-ending celebration of What It Is To Burn is still going on. But here we are, and Finch is only getting started. The Holmdel date was the last day they were on Warped this Summer, and their run on the Main Stage went out with a bang, thanks to a What it is-heavy set that also included Say Hello to Sunshine standout “Ink” and a new song that’s slated to be released on thier new album, which they said was due out in the fall. I hadn’t paid much attention to the Finch reunion before this, but this set made a believer out of me.
Best Song: “Letters to You”
Mayday Parade (Maddy): This is the first time I was able to see Mayday Parade. Last time they were on Warped, I missed them to watch some band I don’t even remember. BUT I definitely would recommend seeing them at some point before you completely outgrow them. Off the bat, I noticed how stoked vocalist Derek Sanders seemed to be. It was cool to know that even after playing to huge crowds all over and being in this vital pop-punk, he still was happy to be there and almost seemed amazed that so many people came out to watch the band. Looking past the hundreds of screaming tween girls behind me, this set was so much fun.
Best Song: “Jamie All Over”
The Word Alive (Maddy): A must-see band on Vans Warped Tour. Even if you are more a pop-punk fan and tend to stay away from metalcore, The Word Alive’s showmanship was on another level. Vocalist Telle Smith was on the barrier by the second song of the set and guitarist Zach Hansen never stopped moving. Even though they were the first set on The Monster Energy Stage that day, they had a huge crowd of fans ready to go ballistic, which was fitting because the band seemed just as ready.
Best Song: “Lifehouse”
Anberlin (Craig): Breaking News: The best band on the planet is still great at everything they do. Even in a woefully short 30 minute set, Anberlin pulled out all the stops, blasting off immediately with the biggest hit of their career, “Feel Good Drag,” before ripping into two consecutive tracks from their powerhouse 2012 album Vital (“Self-Starter” and “Little Tyrants”). This should be just enough to hold people over until the band’s fall farewell tour in which they will be playing a four times as long set. They could play all night and I wouldn’t even really complain. I’m not ashamed to say I cried during this set.
Best Song: All of them, but if I had to pick one, “Little Tyrants”
Anthony Raneri (Craig): One of the scene’s best frontmen plays an eviscerating set in which he plays some of the best songs from his main band (“Don’t Call Me Peanut,” “Landing Feet First”), the very best song from his solo EP (“Sandra Partial”) and two of the best covers you will ever see, the now classic “Megan” Smoking Popes cover, and a stunning rendition of Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark.”
Best Song: “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” (cover)- Death Cab for Cutie
The Devil Wears Prada (Donald): The Devil Wears Prada may not be the best metalcore band of all time, but they certainly have a claim to stake as the best metalcore band out there right now. Their career-spanning set was voted on by the fans, which the band is doing for every date of the tour in anticipation of their ten-year anniversary as a band. Featuring rarely-played Plagues single “Hey John, What’s Your Name Again?” and fan-favorite “Dez Moines,” the band gave all their fans something to mosh to, while tracks from their most recent effort 8:18 “Gloom” and “Sailor’s Prayer” showed the band’s ever-evolving sound.
Best Song: “Dez Moines”
Breathe Carolina (Maddy): I have this strange love for Breathe Carolina that started back in middle school and it seems to be rekindled every time they’re on Warped Tour. Their set is a cool way to break up the day, especially if it’s smack in the middle of it like it was at Holmdel. It’s super fun, stuff you can dance to and give yourself a break from the heaviness of the rest of the tour. Would I miss another band I wanted to see for them? Probably not. But the set is an absolute blast. Tommy’s headbanging and dance moves are also contagious. Plus, they have huge red beach balls that they send out into the crowd that everyone seemed to get a kick out of. It’s a good set to catch if you want to vibe out to something different but don’t want to leave the Main Stage.
Best Song: “Savages”
Every Time I Die (Donald): We’ve been waiting for an album to define our summer, and I truly believe we got it with Every Time I Die’s From Parts Unknown. Needless to say, I was most excited to see how the new tracks translated to the band’s already infamous set of circle pits and insanity. In short, very well. Keith Buckley was spot-on with every last lyric he sang, while the guitar tandem of Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley were energetic and committed, thrashing around the stage and off of it. From Parts Unknown tracks like “Thirst” and “Decayin’ With The Boys” melded perfectly with classics like “Floater” and “We’rewolf.” Every Time I Die have never disappointed on the Warped stage, and if they keep writing great albums, they’ll be up there for many more years to come.
Best Song: “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space”
The Story So Far (Maddy): The Story So Far could not be better suited for this tour. After seeing them fill the ENTIRE amphitheater at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ last year, performing on the Main Stage was not only necessary, but the safest options to maintain that massive of crowd. Tacking on another year of exponential growth to their broad fan base, they had the largest crowd I had seen all day. It was also a very diverse crowd, with the youngest Warped attendees to some of the veterans that have been going for 8+ years. These guys put on an amazing show, both sounding awesome and performing with every amount of angst and angry pointing most of us put into our own TSSF sing-alongs at home. If there was any point in the day were I completely geeked out and lost every ounce of cool I had, it was during their set.
Best Song: “Roam”
Plague Vendor (Maddy): If you recall TGS’s Warped Tour Preview, Plague Vendor was one of my most anticipated bands to see. The California natives have an incredibly unique sound that I have completely given up trying to explain or classify because I can’t seem to get it right or do it any justice. I’ve just been telling everyone I know to go see the set for themselves. Plague Vendor is unlike any band I’ve ever seen on Warped Tour or to be honest, ever. For a tour that has a lot of the same bands on it every summer (not that it’s a bad thing – always stoked to see my favorites back on the tour), their set was a welcomed breath of fresh air. Go see this band and fall in love with them too. I am already waiting for their next trip back to the East Coast.
Best Song: “Black Sap Scriptures”
Four Year Strong: (Craig): I’m not sure if any band on the tour is better suited for the Warped Tour atmosphere than Four Year Strong (possibly Less than Jake, but that’s an argument for another day.) Ripping through a densely packed nine-song setlist filled with barnburners like “Bada Bing, Wit’ a Pipe” and the ripping “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now,” the band proved that easycore is not dead (if the band’s contemporaries can’t pick up the slack for them, they’ll just have to carry an entire genre on their capable shoulders). The highlight though, was the massive mosh-pit inducing breakdown of “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die.”
Best Song: “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die”
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties (Craig): We here in the Garden Statement camp were lucky enough to catch one of Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties first acoustic performances at Vintage Vinyl, and it was an absolutely stunning mix of performance art and devastating songwriting. While he played the same set at Warped Tour, that didn’t make it any less eviscerating the second time around.
Best Song: “Divorce and The American South”
Saves the Day (Craig): Saves the Day have played what must be a Warped Tour record 75+ different songs on the tour. At the recent New York date, they played their album Stay What You Are in full. They’ve also let other bands pick entire setlists for them. Basically, they do thirty minute setlists the right way. By jamming them tight with a bunch of fun, interesting choices. But nothing is more fun than playing the song that will get the biggest response. And closing out their set with “At Your Funeral” did just that, with the hometown crowd bellowing back at vocalist Chris Conley, “This song will become the anthem of your underground.” And my how, thirteen years later, the song has done just that.
Best Song: “At Your Funeral”
PVRIS (Donald): The Ernie Ball Stage during PVRIS’s set wasn’t surrounded by the biggest crowd of the day, but it was certainly one of the most interesting. While looking around the crowd, I noticed a lot of members of different bands on Warped watching the band flow effortlessly through a set of songs from the band’s yet-to-be-announced debut full-length. The captivated fans who were watching proved that PVRIS deserved the attention. Crossing the spectrucm of guitar-driven rock to synth-pop dance songs, the band showed off a talent beyond their years, and created three new fans out of each of us here at TGS. There’s no doubt about it: PVRIS have become the breakout band of Warped Tour 2014.
Best Song: “St. Patrick”
Yellowcard (Craig): The spirit of Warped Tour came alive as Yellowcard took the stage, all pomp and circumstance to the tune of the Game of Thrones intro, and promptly tore apart the main stage as if they were taking part in the Red Wedding. Starting off with a bang, they ripped into the title track off their album, Lights and Sounds, before transitioning into the equally hard-hitting “Way Away.” The one-two punch to close it out of “With You Around” (and it’s blatant Saves the Day namedrop) and “Ocean Avenue” (which Saves the Day guitarist came on stage to play lead guitar on) was a perfect conclusion to an already summery, unbelievably upbeat set.
Best Song: “With You Around”
So, what did you think? What bands did we miss out on at this year’s Warped Tour? Which set did we miss the best song for? Who was the best performance you saw all week? Leave it in the comments, and let’s get a discussion going! Be sure to stay with The Garden Statement for more interviews and reviews soon!