The Vans Warped Tour made its twelfth stop in a rainy Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday. Shortly after the gates were opened crowds were evacuated from the festival grounds due to inclement weather. After a couple hours, the weather cleared and a new schedule was made for the remaining bands’ sets. The fans who chose to stay enjoyed a variety of artists from many genres – from hip-hop and pop punk to hardcore and alternative pop.
Many of the artists featured on this year’s Warped Tour lineup hail from the UK, including pop punk band Neck Deep, which formed in 2012.
The five-piece group is headed by Ben Barlow, whose powerful and in-your-face vocals have gained the band a lot of popularity during their short time in the pop punk scene.
Neck Deep’s set on the Journeys Left Foot Stage included fan-favorites “A Part of Me” and “Over and Over” from their 2012 EP Rain In July and even the new single “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” from their upcoming release Life’s Not Out to Get You.
The fast-paced songs with easy to learn lyrics had fans singing along, and Barlow often held his microphone towards the crowd, with a smile on his face as he heard his own lyrics being sung back to him.
Minnesota-native Derek Smith, better known to fans as Mod Sun (an acronym of “movement on dreams stand under none”) took the Journeys Left Foot Stage, radiating positivity with his songs like “Free Love” and “My Hippy.”
Mod Sun’s music is most often described as “hippy-hop,” although he got his start in the music world touring with post-hardcore bands Four Letter Lie and Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
Leaving both the hardcore scene and his role as a drummer to pursue his rap career seems like it is paying off thus far — he has released six mixtapes and three EPs and collaborated with fellow hip-hop artists Schoolboy Q, Nipsey Hussle and G-Eazy.
Smith’s lively personality on stage combined with his high-energy songs made it impossible for fans to stand still, as they danced and clapped along until his set ended.
Never Shout Never
One of the largest crowds during the day formed during Never Shout Never’s set on the Shark Stage.
Never Shout Never is an indie rock band headed by frontman Christofer Drew Ingle, who is typically found with guitar or harmonica in hand.
Ingle reached his initial success in 2007 at age 16 after posting music on Myspace, and although he began as a solo artist, a full band now accompanies him.
Ingle’s free spirit and contagious positive energy captivated fans as he played “Trouble” and “I Love You 5,” but the climax of his set was when guitarist Taylor MacFee took the stage and played the first few notes of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” Ingle and the rest of the band covered the entirety of the song as fans clapped along.
Boston emo band Transit made their second appearance at the Vans Warped Tour with a set filled with songs with lyrics that have spoken to fans since their releases.
Vocalist Joe Boynton said in an interview before their set that he writes the lyrics for the songs and occasionally works with the rest of the band on the melodies.
“I’m a word nerd. I’m obsessed with words and sayings and phrases,” Boynton told Sidelines. “I turn to literature and books for inspiration rather than the other bands I’m surrounded by.”
Most of the set was composed of songs from Transit’s 2011 release Listen and Forgive, including fan favorites “Long Lost Friends” and “Skipping Stone.”
The catchy, carefully-worded lyrics had fans singing along, like the chorus of “Skipping Stone”: “Every memory is like a skipping stone / You’ll never understand how long it took the tides to bring them back to us / And we grow into those sadder songs / And leave our love behind in every single line.”
Boynton hinted during his interview that the band is currently working on new music. “I just worked on a song that we’re going to demo probably today or tomorrow,” he said, adding that the influences include Bright Eyes, Third Eye Blind and Brand New. “I’m trying to bridge the gap between me and my ‘future old self‘ so that I have something to enjoy later on down the line and be proud of.”
Knuckle Puck, a five-piece band from Chicago who gets asked about The Mighty Ducks every day according to guitarist Kevin Maida, thrilled fans of all genres with their energetic set on the Hard Rock Kevin Says stage.
The group played songs like “But Why Would You Care?” and “Bedford Falls” from their 2014 EP While I Stay Secluded and even gave the audience a taste of their upcoming full-length release Copacetic with the single “Disdain.”
Although Knuckle Puck is typically referred to as a pop punk band, they don’t see themselves as one.
“I worry that our biggest challenge is that we get almost type casted sometimes,” Maida said in an interview that morning. “We don’t like being called ‘just a pop punk band’ or ‘just an emo band.’ I don’t think it is healthy to tag something as one genre because you’re limiting yourself as an artist, and what more can you do then?”
But no matter what genre – if any – fans associate Knuckle Puck with, they definitely enjoy it. Crowds sang along to songs both old and new, especially fan-favorites “Your Back Porch,” and closing song “No Good.”
Nashville fans can expect to see Knuckle Puck quite often in the future. “We like Nashville,” said Maida. “Even outside of our shows, we can tell it’s a really music-oriented town.”