Saturday morning was time to rise n’ rock for the last Long Island Vans Warped Tour at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. Eighteen thousand fans lined up at the gate despite the heat and humidity for this sold out show.
Several Warped Tour veterans, including Silverstein who played 231 shows on the Vans Warped Tour over the last 15 years and the legendary ska-punk band Reel Big Fish who’s been playing on the tour since the 90s, joined the tour for its final hurrah. When I asked Reel Big Fish, “how does it feel to play on the last Vans Warped Tour,” trumpeter, Johnny Christmas responded with “Spec-terrible.” Even though Reel Big Fish is happy building a young fanbase on the Vans Warped Tour, these 40-year-old rockers are happy they won’t be inundated with noise for 12 hours a day straight going forward.
Silverstein played their last Warped Tour date ever on Long Island. Silverstein’s frontman, Shane Told said, “We’ve been part of the tour for 15 years and knowing it’s the last time we’re ever going to play this tour is so special, there is nothing really like in the world. Knowing that it’s over for us, it’s pretty sad.”
Warped Tour also welcomed new bands to their lineup. Grudgeholder, from Boston, MA, played the tour for the first time. “It’s our first time we’re getting to play on the Warped Tour. We’re pretty humbled we got the chance, it’s pretty bad ass,” said vocalist Paul Travers. Grudgeholder is influenced by bands like Thrice, AFI, H20, Sick of it All and Hatebreed. Their new EP that will be released in September is “lyrically more introspective than screaming hatred. Musically we’re trying to be more structured,” said drummer Jay Monteiro.
(Photo Credit: Grudeholder’s Facebook Page)
Some bands took the stage a member short but still had solid performances including Crown the Empire and Simple Plan. Dave Escamilla, former vocalist for Crown the Empire, announced he left the band in January to seek treatment for substance abuse and depression and to start writing his own music. May 2017, Simple Plan bassist, David Desrosiers, took a temporary leave from the band to fight depression.
The Vans Warped Tour has always been a great place non-for-profit groups to raise funds, awareness and empower today’s youth to make positive changes across a variety of platforms. Seeing bands struggle with issues like substance abuse and depression, it’s not surprising that Warped Tour founder, Kevin Lyman, is throwing in the towel to focus on positive social change; beating the opioid epidemic through The FEND movement.
Tonight Alive delivered a memorable sunset performance as well as a positive message. Vocalist, Jenna McDougall said, “Nothing is more important to us than you leaving the gate feeling more empowered, feeling the most liberated and feeling the most fucking free that you ever felt in your life.”
Other festival highlights included a pop-punk revival from We the Kings, Simple Plan and 3OH3, who peaked during the ’00 pop punk movement. We the Kings attracted a huge crowd during their set as well as 3OH3 and Simple Plan who closed the show. Fans got a double dose of high-energy, nostalgia and catchy lyrics before they said their final goodbye to punk-rock summer camp.