Review and Photos by Beth Rutschman
The proclaimed ‘Best Day Ever’ has turned into the last ever cross country Vans Warped Tour! Earlier this year, Vans Warped Tour founder, Kevin Lyman announced to shocked fans that, after 25 years, this year will be the final run for the tour. The news hit hard for fans that have looked forward to the event each summer. Nonetheless, the news seemed to ignite fans into rushing to buy tickets and shows have been selling out across the country!
It didn’t seem like the ‘end of an era’ for the Vans Warped Tour at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater in Milwaukee on Monday. Fans lined up outside the gates patiently – but mostly impatiently – awaiting to get the go ahead to run inside and begin the treasure hunt of the giant blow-up set list that was hidden somewhere on the grounds. The set list is what you live for on Warped Tour day! It’s Warped tradition not to release the bands set times until the day of the show, and you can only find out once you are there. Unless you get lucky and your favourite band announces it on their social media beforehand. Otherwise, it’s a mad rush of carnage and mayhem getting to the set times. Afterall, you don’t want to miss your favourite band! Printed set times are for sale, once inside the gate, but that takes away from the hunt.
The hardcore and metal bands set to play for the day were divided between the Mutant Red Dawn and Mutant White Lightning stages. They weren’t too far apart from each other, which was convenient for fans who were planning on attending all of the sets. Some dedicated, diehard fans stayed in their coveted, front row spot at one stage for the remainder of the day. Others ran back and forth from each stage to catch each band’s set!
The first of the metal bands to take the stage on Mutant Red Dawn were MyChildren MyBride. Setting the tone for what was to be a thrashing, headbanging day for metal fans! Next in line was Harms Way on the Mutant White Lightning stage, and who gave a powerful, headbanging performance. Up next was the all-mighty Chelsea Grin who gave an outstanding thrash experience to the crowd; igniting even further their thirst for some metal in their veins! Nekrogoblikon aroused Warped Tour attendees with their performance, wit, and stage theatrics with their band mascot, John Goblikon.
Hardcore band, Sharptooth put on a solid show! Sharptooth, founded in 2012, straight outta Maryland was the only metal band on the tour that was fronted by a female vocalist, Lauren Kashan. The powerful vocals and shredding guitars were unforgettable. Chris Motionless and his band Motionless In White put on a hell of a show. Drawing in a crowd that expanded as far as the eye could see, Motionless In White were reunited with former bandmate, TJ Bell, for the final run of Vans Warped Tour. TJ is currently a member of the band Escape The Fate and The Dead Rabbitts. TJ joined the tour in place of the recent departure of bass player, Devin “Ghost” Sola.
This Vans Warped Tour date in Milwaukee on Monday was the first date this year for Asking Alexandria. They kicked off their Warped Tour run inside at the biggest stage for the festival in the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, the Journey’s Left Foot. The Amphitheater holds 9,200 seats under the pavilion and can hold a max of 25,000 all together, including lawn seating. Before the band even took the stage, concert-goers were passing out and already having to be pulled from the crowd. When Asking Alexandria took the stage, they opened with their popular metal hit, Final Episode. They went on with a solid performance which included a number of songs from their latest 2017 self-titled album.
Earlier in the tour, rock band Falling In Reverse took their turn on the final cross country run of the Vans Warped Tour. They recently announced that they had added more shows and Milwaukee was included! Frontman, Ronnie Radke, stole the show with his powerful vocals and animated personality. Performing on the second largest stage, the Journeys Right Foot, fans packed in and sang along to every word of every song that was performed (of which included The Drug In Me Is You, I’m Not A Vampire, and most recent hits, Losing My Mind and Losing My Life).
Later in the evening, at 7:00 PM, Crown The Empire commanded the Mutant White Lightning stage. Crowds were relentless and the long day of metal mayhem didn’t seem to deter them from moshing and partake in an abundance of crowd surfing!
Back over on the Mutant Red Dawn stage, clown make-up clad band Twiztid took over the evening to ignite fans into a hip hop frenzy. They put on a great show with insane ly.rics meshed with a heavy-hitting beat.
The last of the metal bands to perform were the theatricore band from Boston, Ice Nine Kills. Adorned with horror film masks, makeup, and costumes, they totally killed it! Demanding stage performance, along with wild crowd participation made for a show that I’m sure nobody will forget!
Honorable mentions from the last ever Vans Warped Tour include: Palaye Royale, Senses Fail, The Maine, Dayseeker, The Amity Affliction, Unearth, Kublai Khan, In Hearts Wake, and Simple Plan; along with numerous pop-punk bands! There wasn’t enough time in the day to catch all of the band’s performances but what I was able to catch live was well worth it. Every band gave it their all and outdid themselves! It’s hard to say goodbye to one of the best annual, cross country tours. From the heart of every EMO, screamo, metal, rock, and pop-punk kid across the country, we thank Kevin Lyman and his Vans Warped Tour crew for giving us ‘the best day ever!’
Motionless In White
Falling In Reverse
Crown The Empire
Ice Nine Kills