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Vans Warped Tour 2013 Toronto

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Vans Warped Tour 2013 Toronto –

 

Vans Warped Tour 2013 Toronto - Cred: Jason Hodgins

Vans Warped Tour 2013 Toronto – Cred: Jason Hodgins

 

What: Vans Warped Tour 2013
Where: The Flats at Molson Canadian Amphitheater (Ontario Place) — aka Echo Beach
When: July 5, 2013 — 11am-9pm

 

Total Score: 6.8/10

Vans Warped Tour made its stop in Toronto yesterday, July 5th, 2013. Hundreds upon hundreds of teens and 20-somethings were roaming around The Flats (The grounds surrounding Molson Canadian Amphitheater). A total of 8 stages were shaking from the sounds and energy of this year’s line-up, including The Used, 3oh!3, The Black Dahlia Murder, Reel Big Fish and Bring Me The Horizon.

When I first found out that I was going to Warped Tour, I was as excited as a kid at a state fair. My mind quickly took me back to a time when I was a kid in middle and high school, discovering all these great punk bands and hearing how they all get together to play Warped Tour. Every year I wished I could go and now my dream was about to become reality. I was looking at the line-up and desperately trying to figure out what happened. There was hardly a band that I was dying to see, and my biggest expectation was placed on 3oh!3, because they fit the festival formula perfectly (upbeat music, catchy lyrics, easy-going personas). I was also excited to finally see The Black Dahlia Murder since I missed them when they came to Toronto with Dethklok.

I was not discouraged from attending though, as festivals like this usually carry a lot of hidden gems with them. As it happens every so often, Toronto weather decided it would be a good day to rain. Equipping myself with an umbrella on the way, I arrived at the cozy, air-conditioned press area. I signed in, signed up for interviews, and was on my to the festival, eager to get my hands on the schedule as soon as I could. The schedule was only announced at 10 am that morning, so no pre-planning could be done.

As it turns out, there were schedules available to press for free in the press area, but I couldn’t find one and figured that if I wasn’t given one with my wristband upon singing in, there wouldn’t be one at all. I was also hoping to get my hands on the official app, so I could get all the news and updates, but it wasn’t available for Android. Not giving up, I figured I would enter the festival and take a picture of the inflatable sign with all the times. Imagine my frustration when I walked through most of the tour area and haven’t found it. Like a blind puppy a staggered to the nearest employee selling schedules for $2. $2 for a xeroxed piece of paper! It all got me wondering where do teenagers work nowadays if they can afford to go to a festival like this, buy food and drinks, buy merch and not complain about spending two extra bucks on a piece of paper. Schedules were selling like crazy, because people want to know who’s playing and where right away. Maybe they were missing their favourite band while in line for the schedule. The inflatable sign turned out to be near the main two stages at the very back of the festival. Was it a ploy to get more money? I don’t know. But I know that I missed The Black Dahlia Murder… again. I’m sorry BDM, it’s just not working out between us.

“Its part of the journey at warped to seek things out but a map is available for those who wish to take a photo. No one is forced to buy anything.” said a spokesperson from Warped Tour Press.

With a schedule/map in hand, I began to properly explore the premises. Metalcore, Hardcore and Emo bands dominated the stages. At first, I thought there was some logic to which bands appear on which stage, and for the most part there was. I just hoped that there would at least be one straight-up punk stage, or that hip-hop and electronic would be two different stages.

Kia Soul Stage and Kia Forte Stage were the main stages, providing space for the biggest acts on the bill. These two were alternating 30-minute sets. The Acoustic Basement Stage was mostly muted by by the fore-mentioned two, and I couldn’t even pay attention to what was going on there.

Tilly’s Stage and Domo Stage had the same deal going as the Kia Stages and had acts like Hawthorne Heights and The Early November.

Monster and Ernie Ball Stages were erected back to back (a little confusing at times, in terms of directions) hosting Architects, Crossfaith, While She Sleeps and other metalcore and trancecore (is that the term now?) bands.

Kevin Says Stage was located where Echo Beach is, so I was deeply annoyed by sand getting intro my wet flip-flops and ruining my feet. However, it provided the most diverse line-up of the tour and I was drawn towards it all the time.

Spotify Stage had an odd chuck of space behind it that wasn’t used for anything. I wished it was pushed more to the perimeter of the tour’s territory, so there would be more space in front of it for people to dance, as it was home to mostly electronic and hip-hop musicians.

Local Stage on paper had the weakest line-up, no big names, but I caught myself sticking out an ear and slowing down my pace whenever I was walking by it. It had some great local talent, and if it wasn’t Warped Tour, I would have been curious to see what it had to offer.

 

There were tons of band tents all around the tour grounds, and Black Veil Brides won the award for the most dedicated fans, who were lining up as the tent closed down, because they were out of merch. There were also tents with t-shirt vendors for bands gaining momentum, like Monster Aesthetics and Ancorsand. By the end of the day most people were either wearing Black Veil Brides or Smoke Meth & Hail Satan t-shirts. I wanted to grab a Monster Aesthetics shirt, but since all of them were going for $20, I got swayed by Vans deal, where I got a t-shirt and a trucker hat for $20.

In terms of food, most people lined-up for pizza stands, which was unfortunate, because there were other, tastier and healthier options available. There was a whole area near the Local Stage with vendors for drinks (tea, coffee, smoothies), fish meals, sandwiches and vegetarian dishes. It was no mystery why I helped myself to a delicious Portobello veggie burger and a cup of tea, all for $11, instead of beer and pizza for $19. This area was not marked on the $2 map however.

From what I heard from people the washrooms were a mess, so I made an effort to go to the press area for my needs, as it was well-maintained throughout the day. There were lots of first aids tents near by and the security was generally pleasant, which was a nice touch.

The crowd was very excited and the on and off rain didn’t stop the fans from cheering for their favourite bands for most of the day. 12pm to 3pm saw most energy out of people, with crowds roaming around, putting paint on their faces, starting mosh-pits and circle-pits. The energy level peaked when the lead singer of Bring Me The Horizon asked the fans to make 3 circle-pits — on the right, on the left and in the centre — and the crowd just went nuts. By 6pm, when 3oh!3 started playing, the energy started to fade and people slowly started leaving The Flats. I certainly felt drained by the end of the day, and couldn’t wait to go home and crash.

Memorable Sets:

Sumo Cyco — Kevin Says Stage — 4.25pm

Sumo Cyco, fronted by a now mature and edgier Skye Sweetnam, is a breath of fresh air in a scene filled with Evanescence wannabes. Inspiring a fit of nostalgia for the late 90’s and Guano Apes in me, with the heavy delivery and vocals ranging from clean and sweet to aggressive screams, Sumo Cyco quickly gained a soft spot in my heart. Can’t wait to see them again!

 

Five Knives — Spotify Stage — 2.45pm

Five Knives first caught my eye and ear with their video for “All Fall Down” and I was curious what they could bring to the festival. With great mix of European synthpop, American garage rock and modern electronic trends, Five Knives made me wish I was younger and drunker, so I could just drop everything and dance in the rain.

 

Diemonds — Kevin Says Stage — 7.05pm

Diemonds are the hard rock band that was made for big stages, arenas even. The boys felt right at home and Priya Panda (vocals) was on the mark the whole time, making for a very tight set. In fact, people who were just passing by stopped and stayed for the whole thing. It was hard to believe that these party rockers were up from 7am! Rock on!

 

3oh!3 — Kia Soul Stage — 6.00pm

3oh!3 reminded me what festivals are all about — having fun. The guys made jokes, played “Rock You Like a Hurricane” (originally by Scorpions) and did their best to win the exhausted crowd over. They even apologized for bringing the rain to Toronto! Don’t get me wrong, people weren’t all dead, but it could have been better.

Honourable mention goes out to Reel Big Fish, who I sadly only got a glimpse of, The Beaches, who made me stop on my way to the washroom and Crossfaith, who do core better than American bands.

 

Overall, the festival decided to stick to the high-school demographic instead of the established genre(s) and fans. There were small stands with Molson Canadian, Heineken and Bacardi breezers, there were some bigger structures with more options (or so said the menu) but they looked empty and there were no crowds near them. Every other band sounded the same, with their drop-D tuning and whiny growling. It is working for Vans Warped Tour though, because the crowds were massive and everyone was really excited to see the bands.

Review By: Raya P. Morrision
Photos: Jason Hodgins

Acres of Lions interview at Vans Warped Tour

Tommy Cee of Diemonds interview at Vans Warped Tour

[nggallery id=205] THE SCENE


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