A VICIOUS RESCHEDULING OF FEATURED ACTS
DANCE GAVIN DANCE
Dance Gavin Dance was one of the first acts to play on the Journeys Main Stage at Warped Tour, and one of the groups I was most excited to see. The day I saw them, the 12th, was also a special day for vocalist Tilian Pearson, who turned 30 years old to the sound of crowds cheering.
Three of the six songs on the band’s setlist came off their 2016 release, Mothership. DGD opened with “Chucky Vs. The Giant Tortoise,” and as soon as vocalist Jon Mess yelled into his microphone, I found myself screaming along to the entire song. Lead guitarist Will Swan’s magical fingers danced all over the fretboard in perfect synchrony to the song’s groove, and had the whole crowd moving, from the standing area all the way up to the back of the general-seat seating area of the Xfinity Center.
Pearson’s voice stood out throughout the entire set. His ability to perform vocal strains akin to Jonny Craig (ex-DGD, Emarosa) had made him a perfect fit for the band when he left Tides of Man to join in 2013; now with three DGD releases under his belt, it’s like his light-tenor vocal range wasn’t meant to be with any other band. The raspy strains he utilizes bore a stark resemblance to Jonny Craig on DGD’s performance of “Lemon Meringue Tie,” which was written in 2007 when Craig was lead vocalist.
Dance Gavin Dance capped off their set with “We Own The Night,” one of their most popular songs of late, and “Inspire The Liars,” and invited the crowd to meet them at the band’s merchandise tent, which was all the way on the other side of the venue. I didn’t get the chance to meet them, but their Warped set has me anticipating a headlining tour in the coming years.
Following Dance Gavin Dance’s set, I had planned to see Silent Planet on the Mutant stage, but due to thunderstorms, their set was delayed – enough so that Fit For A King, who was supposed to play an hour before, was just starting when Silent Planet was supposed to begin. FFAK’s stage presence impressed me greatly – despite the heavy rain overhead, the group was able to open a circle pit large enough to completely surround the Mutant stage soundbooth.
OUR LAST NIGHT
New Hampshire post-hardcore act Our Last Night took stage at 3:40 in the afternoon, as the rain was starting to really pick up. Luckily the Journeys Main Stage had rain cover, making this set much more comfortable than others.
I had only listened to OLN’s 2010 record We Will All Evolve, but following their 7-track set, I will be checking out their newer releases. The band released the Selective Hearing extended-play in June, and decorated the stage with props in the same shade of red as the album artwork. They opened their set in a humorous fashion, dubbing a voice over the PA that said “Please face forward. During the show, do not use selfie sticks nor fidget spinners.”
Three songs from OLN’s came off Selective Hearing: they opened with “Broken Lives” and also played “Tongue Tied” and “Common Ground,” all of which I recommend listening to. I also enjoyed “Same Old War,” as did much of the crowd – everyone was jumping to the song’s introduction. Enough to tug at the heartstrings was vocalist Trevor Wentworth’s acknowledgement of OLN’s growth into a stadium packing band, from one that only had dreams of playing the Warped main stage a decade prior.
After Our Last Night, I was hoping to next see After The Burial, who happened to away from the main stage. Due to the rain, however, their set didn’t begin until an hour after it was scheduled. So, I was able to watch death-metal outfit Carnifex as well.
When California’s Carnifex took the Mutant stage, vocalist Scott Lewis introduced the group as the band who was “bringing death metal to Warped Tour.” The group played three songs released after its year-long break in 2012: “Drown Me In Blood,” “Slow Death,” and “Die Without Hope.” Drummer Shawn Cameron impressed me during the performance of “Die Without Hope,” with blast beats so smooth it was as if they were programmed. However, I felt Lewis’s performance was also the weakest during this song, the growls and guttural screams he attempted felt very hollow, and were nearly inaudible above the aural chaos the band delivered.
My favorite part of Carnifex’s set was their homage to Slipknot in their cover of “The Heretic Anthem.” The song, released on Slipknot’s 2001 record Iowa, is best known for its live rendition, where vocalist Corey Taylor screams “If you’re five-five-five…” and the crowd answers “I’m a six-six-six.” Lewis was able to pull this off quite well, engaging the entire crowd, who clearly grew up with Slipknot before checking out Carnifex. Cameron did his best to emulate Slipknot’s tri-percussionist barrage by filling the space with tom-drum hits wherever possible, and guitarists Corey Arford and Jordan Lockrey maintained the song’s frantic pace with great form.
AFTER THE BURIAL
Minnesota four-piece progressive metalcore band After The Burial (the group that this review’s title refers to) came on to the Mutant Stage soon after Carnifex and Being As An Ocean, and drew in a gigantic crowd despite increasingly-heavy rain. Due to time constraints with the weather delays, the group unfortunately had enough time for only five songs, making their set one of the shortest of the day.
ATB opened up their set with “Lost In The Static,” the lead single to their 2016 release, Dig Deep. A tribute to former guitarist Justin Lowe, who died from an unspecified illness a year earlier. Parts of “Lost In The Static,” in fact, came from a demo reel Lowe had published on YouTube just weeks before his death. Knowing this, the crowd came alive immediately upon drummer Dan Carle’s striking of his snare drum. The entire audience was moshing during a mid-song breakdown, and chanted along to the closing chorus, after which vocalist Anthony Notarmaso greeted Warped.
After playing “Collapse,” the opening track on Dig Deep, guitarist Trent Hafdahl swapped out his six-string guitar for Lowe’s lime-green eight-string, and the band stepped backwards in their history for the rest of their set. As the group started playing “Anti Pattern,” the mosh pit grew wider and wider, until Notarmaso called for a “wall of death,” where the crowd splits into two sides and runs at the opposite side. While usually quite the spectacle to witness, the feeling of being a part of it was even more beyond comprehension.
Despite the heavy rain, being away from main stage, and a late set time, After The Burial drew one of the largest crowds of the day, and delivered a strong show a result. Since they’re one of my favorite bands, I had hoped for nothing less, and am glad to say they’ll be on my radar for another tour in the future.