This year Warped Tour in Virginia Beach, Virginia was hot! It was 90 degrees in the shade and there was no shade. Well, there was not much. Oh wait, it is always hot when Warped is in town and that is the way we Virginians like it. Hot weather, hot people and most importantly hot music. This year Warped Tour did not disappoint. Folks were lined up early eagerly awaiting the gates opening at 11:00 AM with the first band beginning at 11:15 sharp. Kevin Lyman was manning the front of the crowd making sure there was a smooth flow of concert goers. I heard someone say, "They are herding us like cattle." I had to laugh. They were indeed, but they were also opening the gates early so that when I arrived to take pictures of Go Radio I had to wait 20 minutes. This was a pleasant surprise. The show began on time. The Kia Forte stage was packed with fans and Go Radio was impressive. I had expected them to be quite good, but they were amazing playing all of the songs the fans had come to hear. Now this is where Warped Tour gets tough. I managed to shoot and see 26 bands in 10 hours and I only got to see four of the bands whole sets. There are so many bands that there is something for every rocker, but don't ever expect to see them all because it just can not be done in one day. At my pace it would take four days to just see them and not really be able to fully appreciate them. So knowing this going in to 2013's Warped Tour I chose some of my favorites, some popular bands and then I chose a few I had never heard of. I like a variety of music so finding new bands is always like finding buried treasure to me. The ones that surprised me the most were indeed the lesser known bands and DJ's.
The major label rock bands like Go Radio, 3OH3, The Used, Hawthorne Heights and Story of the Year were all just magnificent. I held them to high esteem and they did not disappoint. They were spot on! The Metal Core bands had the kids crowd surfing being surfed to the front of the railing, having security catch them as they reached the photo pit and returned to the back of the crowd. This made it a little difficult to shoot pictures, but the kids were well behaved and were so overjoyed that they were "allowed" to do this. I counted one girl come around 5 times in one set. You know she had a great day. I really enjoyed Memphis May Fire and August Burns Red. The band that I have seen many times and at least three times at Warped Tour is Reel Big Fish. This band is great! Being around the music scene for over 20 years, these guys are pros and know how to work a crowd. There were fans of all ages in attendance and the fans knew the words to all of the songs. I would like to personally thank them for playing my request, "She Has a Girlfriend Now," and improvising for me. Not only are Reel Big Fish fine musicians their tongue in cheek lyrics make for a fun show where everyone skanks!
My greatest surprise of the day was being able to interview two amazing DJ's from Frankfurt, Germany: Frank Ellrich and Dominik Felsmann of Kairo Kingdom. Kairo Kingdom is an Electro, Progressive House, Dubstep music duo who have burst onto the scene with their EP "One Two," Electro "Crazy Rock," and Remix "Keswick." I ran over to catch part of their set and was blown away by what I heard. It is not really one genre but many. The mixing was really well done and everyone within ear shot was dancing. This is why I like Warped Tour. Finding new talent is always a gem. When asked who the band they enjoyed most on tour was they said, "Reel Big Fish" (I already liked these guys, but now I really do) and MC Lars. When asked who they would like to see and tour with on Warped Tour they said, "Motorhead". (Nice!) Finally, when asked what Warped Tour means to them their response was "Peace, Love, Unity." (Where have I heard this before?) Seriously, check out Kairo Kingdom! They have some mad skills. If you don't catch them on Warped Tour they will also be playing at the Shambhala Music Festival in Canada.
2013 Warped Tour in Virginia Beach ran like a well oiled machine. The artists were amazing, the fans sang, danced, banged heads, crowd surfed and had fun and the management both local and with Warped Tour knew how to orchestrate an event with over 100 bands. Much thanks to all that made this happen and especially to Kevin Lyman for continuing to promote both local and national music acts.