Vans Warped Tour 2016 is hot, loud and everything that you want.

Written by on July 22, 2016

Bradley Waden, vocalist of Emarosa, joins the crowd at the Vans Warped Tour

Bradley Waden, vocalist of Emarosa, joins the crowd at the Vans Warped Tour

Darien Lake’s Vans Warped Tour was on July 14 and as I’m writing this, it has been a week and a day since it has happened. I’ve been transcribing four different interviews and editing over 3,000 photos, so with that said, this article will be split up into two parts. Part One will feature interviews with long time bands, Emarosa and I See Stars. Part Two will feature two up and coming bands that have been together for a few years, but are just now making waves into the scene. Each part will contain photos from ten different bands and even then, there will still be more galleries posted after both parts have been published.

This, ladies and gentleman, is your 2016, Vans Warped Tour Series.


Bradley Walden, of Emarosa.

Bradley Walden, of Emarosa.

Every year, punks, emos, goths and just your “cut from a different cloth” kid gets ready for one of the best days of the year. If you’re unaware of what Warped Tour is, here’s a brief overview.

50+ bands perform in one day
Hot, humid and sweaty
Opportunities to meet your favorite bands
Mosh pits, circle pits, all of the pits
Crowd surfing
Basically a festival packed into one day where bands travel across the country for 42 days, play 30-minute sets and wander around meeting people.

That’s Warped Tour in its simplest terms. Obviously there are different factors at each date, some bands hop off the tour, others hop on, it rains during the show or it rains from your forehead.

This was my fourth year at Warped Tour and admittedly, I was just as excited for it as I was four years ago. Granted I was more into it back then than I am now, but hey, I’m always an emo at heart as I’ll belt out “Welcome To The Black Parade” as soon as that note hits. So no matter what age, Warped Tour is just one of those days that you love.

I got there early because you never know which band is going to be playing first, your favorite could be on at 11:00 a.m. or 8:00 p.m. and the worst part is, it changes everyday. Emarosa was one of the first to play that day and with the release of their new album 131 they were able to pack a crowd in no problem. Immediately Bradley Walden, vocalist for Emarosa, hopped off the stage and joined the crowd, which is something very common at Warped and perhaps one of the many reasons why this tour is so different from the others. Walden punched out each lyric with power as he sang to the audience and with the new album only being released a couple weeks ago, everyone was singing along.

“They know the new songs a lot and some cities only know the new ones,” Walden explained as we sat down after their exhausting set. “So that’s awesome, it’s different.”

Emarosa has been touring and releasing albums since their first EP, This Is Your Way Out, which was released back in 2007. Within those nine years as a band, Emarosa has seen different changes in members and sounds and even took a brief hiatus. When they came back with 2014’s Versus you could sense that Emarosa was heading in the right direction. Two years later 131 seems to be the sound that they’ve been looking for.

“It’s better, it was the one we wanted to make as far as emotional stand point,” keyboardist, Jordan Stewart explained about the new record. “We’re more proud of it because it was something we wanted to do.”

Emarosa at the Vans Warped Tour.

Emarosa at the Vans Warped Tour.

When coming onto Warped Tour, having a new album to tour with is beyond helpful. Artists have the songs that people already know and are excited for, but they also have those new songs in their back pockets that people are dying to see live. 131 is a record that the audience wants to see more than anything as they belt out hits like “Helpless”, “Cloud 9” and “Miracle.” They want more from the new rather than the old and Emarosa understand that.

Versus was different, the band was tense because it was our first release in about four years.” Stewart explained as he compares Versus with past records. “We felt like we had to beat and do better than our first ones like the self-titled and Relativity.”

“Yeah, but I think with 131 we didn’t have that mindset,” Walden said. “The problem with Versus is that we felt that we had to beat the old records, but once you stop chasing it, that’s when you get it.”

I See Stars vocalist, Devin Oliver agrees that releasing a new record right before Warped Tour go hand in hand. On top of that I See Stars has seen a change in line up with Zach Johnson and Jimmy Gregerson no longer part of the picture. The transition however seemed fairly easy for ISS as they went from a six-piece band to a four.

“To be honest with you, and I mean this in a very genuine way, not like a cocky way but it is 100 percent easier to be a four piece.” Oliver explained as he talked about the difference. “The guys Jeff, Brent and Andrew, we’ve all been playing music together since we were ten, I have photos of us playing a punk rock show in a garage together and Jimmy and Zach came in way later so it doesn’t feel wrong, it feels right.”

Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die. Unfortunately I wasn't able to actually shoot I See Stars.

Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to actually shoot I See Stars.

Thankfully there is no bad blood between them as it was just a difference in music preferences and where they wanted to take it.

“Just to be clear most of the issues with Jimmy was not with his personality, he’s a great dude and he’s a great friend,” Oliver explained. “It was just more musically and dedication and being present and being there in general, that was a bit of a struggle.”

With now a four piece band, their new record Treehouse has been making waves and exploding out of the mouths of fans as they sing along during Warped Tour. This new record fully captures what I See Stars was, is and will be. You hear sounds from their first release 3-D, to their heavy hitter Digital Renegade and their acoustic sounds from Phases.

“It’s just evolution going on in the band and for me, I’m 24 now and I’ve just had different inspirations that I did at 15 and the goal is to always to be around,” Oliver said as he expanded on the new record and the process of it. “As a musician you want to evolve with my fans and I think it’s hard thing to accomplish, especially in a band with the genre that we’re in.”

Despite trying to fit into one of those genres that parents don’t want their kids listening to, because they just don’t understand, the fans still belt out right along ISS from beginning to end. The crazy thing about this band is, they are old. Yeah, I understand Devin Oliver being 24 isn’t old, I get it, but this band has been around since 2005. Do the math real quick I can wait.

That’s right, Devin started the band when he was only 15. Full blown teenage angst rebelling harder than we ever could. Fast forward a few years and they released 3-D on Sumerian Records at the age of 19. Since then, they’ve released a total of four studio albums, three remix/extended albums and have been on Warped Tour countless times. So yes, ISS is old and are naturals when it comes to this tour.

“It’s warped tour man, it’s been hot, sticky and all summer long and loud and busy but it’s good,” Oliver said. “It’s our third Warped and it’s different, it’s a little more laid back.”

Buffalo's own Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die.

Buffalo’s own Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die.

Without being to stressed out during the tour, ISS have some plans set as they finish up the summer and hit a full Asian tour. Then, following in the Fall, they’ll be back in the U.S. touring with Asking Alexandria. At the time of the interview, I knew this information prior to the announcement so I wouldn’t have been able to publish that, but seeing as it took me forever to throw this up… well, now you know that they’re touring with Asking Alexandria and I can actually say it.

Emarosa and I See Stars have been hitting it big at Warped Tour as they enjoy these hot, sweaty days and playing new songs for the fans. Definitely check out the new records and check out what they’ve been up to.

For the part two article, I spoke with Japan’s, Coldrain and Australia’s With Confidence. Keep an eye out for that and see what it’s like to be on Warped Tour for the first time ever.

Also keep an eye out for a gallery coming soon of photos from Every Time I Die, Sleeping With Sirens, Issues, Set It Off and more!

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