Festival Review: Vans Warped Tour; Nashville, Tennessee 2015

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BY: Melody Ryan

It has been six years since I have attended Warped Tour, and I wasn’t sure that I would ever go back; however, Warped Tour made it to Nashville this year, and I just couldn’t resist.  I’ll be honest and say I was a tad disappointed by the lineup at first as I scanned the names and didn’t see most of my favorite metal and hardcore bands that I had hoped would be playing. It seems that Warped Tour has been broadening its horizons and bringing in more genres of music besides the traditional punk rock and metal, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I have quite the sweet tooth for metal and definitely could have used more.

When I first arrived at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, it had been raining all day, and I walked up to see everyone huddled in buildings and beneath overhangs.  Apparently, the festival had been delayed despite the fact that the rain had let up to a light drizzle. I watched the scene around me and saw groups of friends clumped together laughing and telling stories, a guy wearing a coconut bra and a hula skirt gathering strangers together to play a game of frisbee, people splashing each other by jumping in puddles of water… 

August Burns Red
August Burns Red

After a couple of false starts because of the rain coming and going, the

music finally started. The first band I was excited to see was August Burns Red, a metalcore band from Pennsylvania.  I have seen them perform twice before and have been listening to them since their first albumThrill Seeker was released in 2005. They came out with great energy, and my heart rate jumped through the roof as soon as they started playing. They maintained this energy throughout their show, and it was the perfect start for my Warped Tour experience.

I believe the waiting and the anticipation for the shows to begin really added a terrific energy to the entire festival. And the mud. The mud!!! I am a native Memphian, and it is an ongoing joke that every year it rains for the Memphis in May Musicfest and becomes a mudfest.  Well, Memphis in May had NOTHING on this. Every performance was a giant mud party, and it added some serious fun to the shows and made this Warped Tour one of my favorite festivals I have ever attended. The mosh pits were mud pits, and everyone was jumping, splashing, slipping, and sliding all over the place… within a short amount of time, everyone was covered from head to toe in mud and loving it.

I Killed the Prom Queen...with some mud
I Killed the Prom Queen…with some mud

The band that definitely had the most fun with the mud was I Killed the Prom Queen.  A metalcore band all the way from Australia, IKTPQ had split up for a while but has recently been playing shows again and blessed this year’s Warped Tour with their killer breakdowns. In the middle of their show, both guitarists hopped off stage, joined the crowd in the biggest puddle of sludge I’ve ever seen, and then finished the rest of the show on stage with their bodies and guitars covered in mud.

Something I love about festivals is that you can go in feeling disappointed that some of


your favorite bands aren’t there, but then you end up leaving having found some new favorites.  This happened to me with the band Attila, a metalcore band from Georgia. Attila has found a way to fuse rap into metal while also giving you everything you could want at a show. It was the ultimate party show, and it took about 5 seconds for me to fall in love with them.  Their lyrics are filthy, the breakdowns are dirty, and Fronzak’s vocals can sometimes be compared to a screaming goblin…. All things that I love.

Now, this next band I’m going to mention is not metal, but I feel they deserve some recognition here. Family Force 5 is a name I have always known, but I have never really heard their music. Well, let’s just say they put on an unbelievably entertaining show and like with Attila, I was won over immediately. Definitely a party band, FF5 fuses everything from electronic and pop to rap, and even had hints of metal within some of their songs. There’s nothing I love more than a non-metal band that manages to add hints of the metal genre into their music, whether it be through a random incorporation of raspy vocals or with a subtle breakdown. Everyone in this band had the most fun and contagious energy on stage, and the lead singer, Jacob Olds, had me seriously mesmerized by his dancing skills- and by dancing skills, I mean just completely letting go on stage without caring what he might look like. This show was my favorite of the entire festival, and I am hard to please when it comes to live shows, so that says a lot.

Family Force 5
Family Force 5

I was able to watch some other performances throughout the festival by Black Veil Brides, We Came as Romans, Asking Alexandria, and Miss May I… all with great drive and enthusiasm despite the dreary weather.

I ended my Warped Tour experience as the sun set with Blessthefall, a favorite band of mine since their first album His Last Walk came out in 2007.  Although they only played one of their old songs I was hoping to hear, they still put on a great show and the crowd had a blast.  

So despite my initial uncertainty going in to Warped Tour after a festival hiatus, I came out with a huge grin on my face and mud in every crevice of my body. I’d say it was a successful show!

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