Warped Tour - Live in Holmdel, New Jersey (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Warped Tour

Live in Holmdel, New Jersey (2016)

live show

Warped Tour has always been somewhat of a tradition for my friends and I. For the past ten or so years I’ve been to almost every year of the tour. And while it may not seem that impressive knowing others out there have been going since the 90S, it still holds a place in my heart as a staple of summer. That’s exactly what the stop of Warped at the PNC Bank Art Center in Holmdel on Sunday; a staple of summer regardless who played. This year’s date definitely had its ups and downs and was a little different than what I expected.

The day started by being really bummed out that Good Charlotte wasn’t going to be playing our date. This had been something my friends and I had been looking forward to and it was a letdown. Although, it was our fault for misreading the Warped Tour site.

Upon walking in, Reel Big Fish were playing and could be heard throughout the venue. Their energetic ska and interesting attire made for a good start to the day. The band ended their set with their cover of “Take On Me” that helped get fans in the spirit.

Immediately after, Four Year Strong came out and immediately pumped up the crowd. The endless energy of the mosh pit proved that Four Year Strong are still contenders to be a great band and an even better live band. The band played new songs and old songs alike that all strung together into a perfect set.

Less Than Jake continued the early afternoon of ska and what a performance it was. Less Than Jake has played so many warped tours that they’ve become a staple for the tour. The band was in full energy performing a wide variety of songs mostly from Anthem. And after being accompanied by Reel Big Fish for “The Science of Selling Yourself Short,” Less Than Jake established that they’re still legendary.

After Less Than Jake I decided to look at all the merchandise offerings from bands and companies alike. Warped Tour has always managed to stay the same besides the constant venue changes for the New Jersey date. Finally finding it’s home at PNC Bank Art Center, the show is able to thrive in the parking lot and the amphitheater of the venue. While I didn’t really see any merch that caught my eye, it’s always an experience to walk around.

Yellowcard was next and being that they are on the verge of calling it quits, it was nice to see them as well. They played a set full of songs from their huge catalog and brought the energy only a pop punk band with a violin player could bring.

On a whim, my friend suggested we check out We The Kings. They were a bit poppy for my liking, but the way they engaged the crowd was incredible. Every single person in the crowd was singing along to infectious pop rock. At one point the band had everyone in the crowd duck down and shoot up into a dance, which was a pretty great example of unity within Warped Tour; the idea of coming together for the love of a band.

New Found Glory and Sum 41 closed out the night and both bands were incredible. New Found Glory ripped through their usual classics and had one of the most energetic sets of the night while Sum 41 was refreshing to see after all this time. It’s great to see that ¾ of the original members are still going. The band announced a tour for October as well, building up anticipation to see them again.

While Warped Tour was fun this year, I feel like other years have been more fulfilling. Although I saw less than ten bands, they were all big name bands that have been pretty well established. In previous Warped Tours, I would be more into the lesser known bands and the band that were just making it in the industry. I guess when it comes down to it, it’s quantity versus quality and I’d pick the quantity of bands instead of the bigger names. Comparatively speaking, last year at Warped Tour, I saw 16 bands all over the spectrum of known to unknown. This year, I saw about 10 bands that were all on main stages. It was definitely a different experience for me. Seeing a lot of the bands I saw on smaller stages in previous years on main stages didn’t come as a surprise but it was lackluster.

Overall, Warped Tour will always be a fun summer event that is somewhat tradition. All of the bands were really great this year, it was just experienced differently than other Warped Tours I’ve been to. Either way, Kevin Lyman knows I’ll be back next year for another fond memory.