Vans Warped Tour – Comcast Theatre (Hartford, CT)

My day on Warped… was hot. It goes without saying that summertime in the northeast can be hot, but it was especially brutal this past Sunday, and it took a toll on Team EAH. After checking in and getting our press credentials, and waiting for the doors to open, we dissected the day’s schedule and we were off.

I started my day in the Acoustic Basement tent with Brian Marquis. Marquis, of the newly formed Easy Killer Records (check out our interview with the founders), put on a great set, interacting with the still-filling-in crowd. I was most impressed by his resilience after breaking not one, but two strings (on two different guitars) during his set. He quite literally would pick up the next guitar in line, and continue the song he was playing, picking up exactly where he left off. I got to chat with him a little bit afterwards and hope to see him again when he tours back through the east coast this fall.

Next was Anarbor, a band I admittedly knew very little about. What put them on my to-photograph list was the inclusion of former Every Avenue guitarist Josh Withenshaw. Every Avenue is one of my favorite defunct bands and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see at least one of their members still in action. Anarbor’s set was high-energy from beginning to end and they’ll definitely be on my radar for future tours.

Afterwards it was back to the acoustic tent for one of my favorite early 00s voices, Vinnie Caruana (of The Movielife and I Am the Avalanche). While I could have done without the excessive dude-bro turnout, Vinnie’s set did not disappoint. His signature hooks and screams were exactly as I remembered them. It was a very nice, albeit edgy and aggressive, trip back through time.

Relient K was next on my list, and in retrospect, I was very glad to see them on the tour this year. There was some confusion, at least on my end, on what dates they were actually playing, and plenty of other venues in the area posting about having them as well. But, in the end, they were in Hartford, and I was happy. There set was great, almost (almost!) enough to make you forget about the face-melting heat we were all facing.

Then it was back to the acoustic tent for a third (and ultimately final) time for Ace Enders of The Early November, playing under his solo moniker, I Can Make a Mess. Ace, also playing with TEN this year (more on that later), was every bit the storyteller during his set. Regaling the now very full tent with personal stories and anecdotes that make his music all the more personal for him.

At this point in the afternoon, we quite literally couldn’t bear the heat any longer. We retreated to the car to bask in the air conditioning, and being off our feet, for a good long while.

Once we felt like we could go back out there and charge on with the day, we went straight inside to the amphitheater to check out more acts playing on the Domo/Tilly’s stages – including the aforementioned The Early November. They all, Ace included, had great energy and stage presence, and were truly appreciative of all the friends and fans they’ve made over the past decade.

While The Early November was the last band I covered, it far from concludes Emo At Heart’s total coverage of out Warped Tour date. Browse through the Photos section for great pics of We Came As Romans, Bring Me The Horizon, Story of the Year, and many more!  – J.

Vans Warped Tour and I have always had a love/hate relationship. On one hand, I love getting to see so many bands and friends together that I normally would see separately once or twice a year if I was lucky. On the other hand, it’s a ton of bands that I want to see and photograph all in the same day, some of which are on 5 minutes apart, spread across multiple stages. Oh and did I mention the sun/heat? Yea, I definitely hate that part.

This year was too rough for me. We got there around 10am and by 3pm I had to take a break. The sun/heat had gotten to be so bad that I felt as if I was going to pass out. Thankfully, the VWT publicity team was kind enough to provide me with an additional wristband so that my assistant, Daryan, could take over for me while I went out to the car and sat in the air conditioning for a while. I was about to call it quits when I remembered that there was still another band performing that I really wanted to see.. Story Of The Year. I knew I would hate myself if I missed their set so I took every last bit of my energy and went back inside to sit in the pavilion until their set. I dunno what it is about that band but they always get me hyped up. Out of nowhere I seemed to have gotten a second wind and not only photographed the first couple songs, I spent the rest of their set in the crowd, screaming along to every song. I still can’t believe that Page Avenue was released TEN years ago! Hell, I still have my EP and shirt from back when they were called Big Blue Monkey! SOTY are one of those bands that I will always love and support.

To backtrack a little, the first half of the day went really well. Thanks to Daryan, I stayed on track with who was where and when. Sadly, there are just too many artists performing within the same time frame on different stages to get to see everyone. Some of the artists I would have loved to see include Echosmith, who are a group of young family members that are going to be huge, The Used, who are phenomenal and I always seem to miss when they’re playing near me, and of course, the fun-loving boys of Reel Big Fish. I will always have a place in my heart for some ska.

One of the artists I DID catch that I feel are highly underrated are RDGLDGRN. Before VWT, all I knew about them was that Kevin from Hit The Lights was going to be with them as a backup guitarist and that a friend of a friend was in the band. I’m glad I got to check them out because they were definitely the hidden gem on the tour. Their music is something you can’t just walk past, you are drawn in by their sound and energy and you will leave their performance remembering who they are (and that they ain’t nothin to f**k with).

I have to say, aside from Story Of The Year, We Came As Romans stole the show, they never disappoint. You can feel their passion when they perform and you know that they are using every last bit of energy they have to give their all. They are definitely one of those bands that bust their ass to make sure their fans feel fulfilled. On our way out we did catch a few moments of Silverstein’s set, who apparently gave a little speech thanking the crowd for sticking around and supporting them and the other hard working bands on the tour. It’s always nice to see such awesome acts being humble and grateful for the fans that show their support. – Envy

After about 6 years on missing out on Warped Tour, I got the opportunity to not only go as a fan, but with press access with the crew of Emo At Heart.  A chance that I am so happy I had.

The dynamic I felt was incredibly different this time around, though everyone is enjoying the same bands. With an expensive camera in my hand, I found that the energy around me wasn’t like when I was 15 years old, but I certainly felt as if I was.  Getting to experience bands on a different platform, being front and center gave feelings of butterflies in my stomach and adrenaline going through me as I took shots of the performances. And to make it clear, I am not complaining. This was way better then eating a tube of chocolate frosting.

I was able to photograph bands like blessthefall and Go Radio, and a handful more. Because they are all so different from each other, the different types of energy they give off came out in their photographs. You could feel their energy, and see it transmitted into everything else, such as the photographs and myself.

Seeing some of my favorite bands throughout the tour sent me home with a new interest in music. I’m listening to the old and the new, finding my old flare that I had in high school. I had a much better time then I did as a teenager, because I got to see the excitement up close in their eyes, and see the body language as they express their love for their fans.

Even with the heat, I think everyone did an incredible job at preforming, as well as the people who worked the booths, and the Emo At Heart crew doing their best to get everything done. – Daryan

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Chief Of All The Things at Emo At Heart
Josh is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Emo At Heart.
Evil Mastermind at Emo At Heart
Photographer. Music Lover. LA Kings Fan. Gamer-In-Training. Fat Chick. Rawr.