By: Nikki Steele
I went to the good 'ol Warped and this is what went down.
Vans Warped Tour has been showing music lovers for decades that you don't even need to leave the parking lot to have a good time.
Last week, Warped Tour stopped in Denver. This year's show differed from other years in one big way: the venue changed. For years, Warped was held in the parking lot of Mile High Stadium, but this year, they moved the event to the Pepsi Center. There were both pros and cons to this switch, the biggest con being that the layout of the Pepsi Center's parking lot put the main stages too close to the entrance. This made it easy for everyone to go to the main stages and see the big name bands, but it took something away too: you didn’t have to walk around the venue and stop at smaller stages to check out bands you’d maybe never heard of before on your way to the main acts. You weren’t as likely to discover new music. There was just no real need to venture past the main stages with the Warped setup this year, so for smaller bands, it had to be harder to gain a crowd and get heard. But, on the flipside, with this setup there was more shade, and if you know anything about Warped Tour, you know that some shade goes a long, long way.
This year, Warped Tour also tried to crack down on one of the more dangerous aspects: the crowd itself. VICE mentioned this in an article earlier this summer. Basically, every stage had a banner hanging that said if anyone was hurt moshing or crowd-surfing and tried to sue, there would be no more Warped Tour. Quite the threat.
But this is Warped Tour.
So the banner didn’t inspire change amongst the crowd behavior, nor the bands. In fact, the pleas from artists for a circle pits and rowdiness were common. During Pierce The Veil's show, the audience got so riotous that lead singer Vic Fuentes shouted at us to “keep each other safe.” He then turned around and dedicated a song to the crowd surfers, which turned the audience into an anthropomorphic California beach scene. Though the banner went unfollowed, Fuentes’ words actually did not. Moshers were respectful. They picked fallen kids up and they avoided throwing themselves into anyone who didn’t look prepared. They kept the punk rock spirit that has and still is Warped Tour alive, but they managed to still watch out for their fellow concertgoers.
Beyond the new set-up and the crowd, let’s get to the bands. This year, headliner Asking Alexandria came forth with a new lineup. A few months ago, Danny Worsnop, the band’s original lead singer, left the group. Denis Stoff took over the lead spot, and although AA had played a few shows with Stoff, Warped was his real “coming out” tour. And he was great. Stoff sang the songs as if he had written them himself and had a stake in their meaning. And the rest of the band played like they always have, which helped to make it feel as if nothing changed.
New venue, new rules, new frontman. But luckily, the same good ‘ol Warped.