Review of Warped Tour In Syracuse

by Stefani Reynolds

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This summer Syracuse has seen the return of live music after the addition of a brand new amphitheater, and on Thursday, Van’s Warped Tour continued that trend by bringing Syracuse concertgoers the pop-punk music it had been lacking.  The gray skies and fear of rain didn’t stop crowds of people from piling into the New York State Fairgrounds to witness Warped Tour’s first ever stop to the city- and they weren’t disappointed.

The Firestarters, a band out of Albany, New York, kicked off the day as fans flooded through the gates.  One of the 41 bands who won a day to play Journey’s left foot stage, they gave people a glimpse of what the rest of the day would hold: high energy and great music. 

As fans hopped between stages and quickly figured out their stops for the day, they were able to catch incredible bands such as The Masked Intruders, who played an eye catching set on the Poseidon Stage.  In ski masks color coordinated with their guitars, a mock cop ran between band members and danced around the stage, flipping off fans before the band left the stage, leaving with, “If anyone asks, we were never here.”

Against The Current by Holly Turner

Poughkeepsie-based trio Against the Current followed right after on the Cyclops stage, playing songs off of their brand new album In Our Bones, which dropped this past May.  After five years together as a band, nobody could have guessed that this was their very first Warped Tour.  The band came out bursting with an infectious energy and a likable confidence as they started their set with Running With the Wild Things.  They later dedicated their song Paralyzed to anyone who is struggling at the moment, which was a common theme throughout the festival.  Hope for the Day, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention and mental health education had a tent set up, as well as announcers before several of the acts.  They, along with some of the Warped Tour bands, are working to bring people together, and help them understand that “it’s ok to not be ok”.  

State Champs by Dan Wright

Of course there were can’t miss acts hitting the Main Stages, including Albany natives State Champs.  On their second Warped Tour ever, they hit Journey’s Right Foot Stage, as a line of crowd-surfers worked their way to the front amidst blowing bubbles and flying beach balls.    

As State Champs wrapped up their set, fans raced over to the Left Foot Stage to snag the perfect spot for Warped Tour legends New Found Glory.  Fans flashed back to 2002 as the Warped Tour veterans played crowd favorites that had everybody singing along.   

Immediately following New Found Glory, Tonight Alive took the Journey’s right foot stage.  A rock band hailing from Sydney, Australia, they are another veteran group on the Van’s Warped Tour. Lead singer Jenna McDougall expressed the special place that the tour holds in her heart, and arguably summed up what it means to the thousands of people who attend the tour year after year. “Warped Tour is a safe place to express yourself.  Here, you are not just accepted, you are celebrated… Those who suppress our creativity are not the gatekeepers in our life, we are.  Repeat after me: my reality, my expectations.  Don’t let that end today.” 

Set It Off by Dan Wrihgt

As fans hopped from the Journey’s Right Foot Stage to the left, Set It Off came out with an incredible performance to follow up Tonight Alive’s high energy set.  The Florida-based rock group had a sentimental piece of their own regarding Van’s Warped Tour.  Lead singer Cody Carson spoke of their days in Florida, attending their respective Warped Tour date and running around to see all of their favorite bands.  “Everyone on this tour is just a bunch of kids.  All we’ve ever wanted was for someone to give a shit about what we’re creating”- and people definitely did.  As fans climbed up on shoulders for a better look, Carson spotted one fan in particular who knew every single word.  He crowd-surfed out to her and passed the mic off to give her an unforgettable moment in her personal Warped Tour history. Their newest album Upside Down is set to be released this October.  

Less Than Jake caught the crowd’s attention as lead singer marched on stage in an American flag suit- fitting, since the band’s motto is “Make Warped Tour Great Again”.  Of course, they did just that. The circle pit started going in the main crowd as lines of people at different tents watched on, waiting to meet their favorite bands.   

Yellowcard by Dan Wright

With Yellowcard's recent announcement that Warped Tour will be the beginning of their final tour together, they were definitely a must see act for the day.  Longtime fans packed in front of Journey’s Left Foot Stage to make sure they could see the band together one last time.  Since the 2014 departure of drummer Longineu W. Parsons III left them without a steady drummer, New Found Glory drummer Cyrus Bolooki has been filling in on drums for the duration of Van’s Warped Tour.  Fans didn’t seem to mind, though, screaming along to every song, making sure to soak it all in one last time. It wasn’t a sad set though, with singer Ryan Key telling fans “not to be bummed.  Use what’s left of your voices to sing along”.  They proved they still had it, as violinist Sean Mackin climbed one of the cases on stage, only to backflip off of it moments later.  Before finishing their set with songs off of Ocean Avenue, the album they released their first time playing the Main Stage at Warped Tour back in 2004, and the album that changed their lives, Key offered a heartfelt thank you to the fans.  He was thankful to the fans for letting them do what they love for the past twenty years, and asked for “one last Warped Tour circle pit for old times sake” as they started their song 5 Becomes 4 (off their third album). Their new, and final, album is set to come out September 30th.  

With so many incredible acts playing the bigger stages throughout the day, it can be easy to overlook the Full Sail Stage.  However, acts such as Safe to Say, an Ontario-based rock band with an album dropping the 22nd of this month make it obvious that they are not to be overlooked.  

Bad Seed Rising is yet another reason to make your way over to the Full Sail Stage during your day at Warped Tour.  With their new song I Can Feel You, which was released the first day of Warped Tour, hype for their set started to build, and they didn’t disappoint.  Although starting out with a fairly small crowd, you could watch the number grow as her powerful vocals cut through and drew people in.  

Sum 41 by Dan Wright

Sum 41 wrapped up the night on Journey’s Left Foot Stage, and kicked off their set by demanding that people don’t lose the energy that had been flowing through the fairgrounds all day. Immediately after appearing on stage, they chose three fans to watch their set from the stage. Three extremely excited fans made their way to the stage and sang along side-stage, until about halfway through the set, when it was decided that they needed another three fans to join them.  Fans crowd-surfed their way to the front in the hopes that they would be the chosen ones to join them, but in the end the privilege was given to six die-hard fans hand picked from the crowd.    

This Warped Tour gave fans the perfect blend between modern day pop-punk, up and coming rockers, and throwbacks to the early 2000’s bands that so many grew up listening to.  It’s impossible to witness every single band on this Warped Tour.  With a lineup like this, there wasn't a stage that you could walk past without getting sucked into the music, and sometimes that’s the best thing that could happen.  In any stage hopping pursuits that you go on at your respective Warped Tour, keep an eye out for incredible bands like The Story So Far, Roam, and The Maine- their high-energy sets are amongst the many that are definitely worth checking out. 

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