EDITORIAL: Camden, NJ Warped Tour, My Brother, and I – A Written + Photo Essay

UTG FEATURE WARPED

 The Vans’ Warped Tour. Say what you want about the genre changes within the tour, Kevin Lyman has created an event that has become engrained in the fabric of kids’ Summers. I haven’t been going to Warped Tour for long, I’ll admit. And to be honest, Warped Tour has always been one of those tours that I go to, but I don’t necessarily enjoy as much as the next kid. There is something I frankly don’t like about the festival atmosphere. So this year, I decided to do Warped Tour a little differently. In addition to covering the tour through my photos, I was going to bring my 14-year-old brother Max along. He isn’t as into the punk scene as me, but he had some bands he really wanted to see on the tour. I thought it would be interesting to see his take on the tour so that I could figure out why Warped Tour wasn’t always my “punk mecca” as it is to some other kids my age and a little younger.

This is My Brother Max, ToZ Productions

The first band we saw a full set for was I Call Fives (we saw some of Hostage Calm, but were late due to long press lines). These NJ pop-punks drew a decent sized crowd for a side stage, and put on a really great live set. Since they were a hometown band, a lot of kids were singing the lyrics back. Although I was not super excited about the primarily new album setlist at first, it did get me to listen to their self-titled release so I guess their plan worked.

I Call Fives, ToZ Productions

I Call Fives, ToZ Productions

Make Do and Mend was the next band we saw, and they put on a KILLER set. Seriously these guys are one of the best bands in the scene right now, and it really bummed me out not a ton of people showed up to see them. Maybe it was other bands were playing at the same time (I don’t think so) but I think it’s a travesty more people didn’t show up to see them play.

Make Do and Mend, ToZ Productions

Make Do and Mend, ToZ Productions

Next up was Man Overboard. I’ve seen this band countless times, but Max said we should see them so I obliged. The day was more about him then me since I’ve seen most of the bands we went to see anyway, so I went with no protest. To my surprise and amazement, Man Overboard has a TON of kids at their show. Like one of the more packed shows of the day. The crowd reaction was insane, and was almost on par with New Found Glory later in the day. These guys are already big in the pop-punk scene now, but give them a few more years and I think they will be frequented on the radio.

Max On Man Overboard: I had listened to them a little bit going into Warped, but not enough to know the songs they played. However, after seeing them live I definitely will get into them more.

Man Overboard, ToZ Productions

Man Overboard, ToZ Productions

One of the artists I was most excited to see all day was Koji. He’s an acoustic act, and was featured in Vans’ Warped Tour new stage, the Acoustic Basement. I have to say, this was honestly the coolest part of Warped Tour. One problem that is inherent in all music festivals, especially Warped Tour, is that by the end of the day you’re just tired and want to go home cause you’ve seen so many shows. The Acoustic Basement is an all day affair that showcases unplugged acts, and it’s such a cool reprieve from the sometimes overbearing onslaught of loud bands. Koji absolutely killed his set, and was arguably one of my favorite shows of the day due to how sincere and genuine the man is.

Max on Koji: Koji’s music was really interesting because of his vocals. I found the tone of his voice to be really interesting.

Koji, ToZ Productions

Koji, ToZ Productions

Koji, ToZ Productions

The Ghost Inside kills it, and today was no different. I didn’t take pictures of them purely cause they were the one band I really wanted to go off for all day because last time I saw them I didn’t really know them very well. They were crushing, and while we didn’t stay for the whole thing (Max really wanted to see Fireworks), I highly enjoyed every second of it.

Crowd Shot, ToZ Productions

Fireworks, well I don’t have much to say much about my love for them. Despite some technical difficulties at the beginning of their set with the guitars, Fireworks proved once again why they are one of the more loved bands within the pop-punk scene. Being with all of my Philadelphia friends was so nice since I’ve been living in DC year round.

Max on Fireworks: It seemed as if they kicked the rest of the day into high-gear for me. I didn’t really know the bands we saw before them and couldn’t sing-along, but I knew almost every song Fireworks sang and really enjoyed them. My favorite song by them is Detroit and was so happy when they closed their set with it. They are one of my favorite bands, especially live.

Fireworks set was all about hanging with friends, and realizing that people like Ethan, Alex, Angelina and Des are the reason why I fell in love with the punk scene in the first place. Introducing Max to all of these friends over the course of the day was also really cool, and even though we didn’t hang out with people too long, I think it made an impression on him about how big of a family the punk scene is. Fireworks is a great example of this, and they will always be the soundtrack to my closest friends.

Fireworks, ToZ Productions

Fireworks, ToZ Productions

The next was Taking Back Sunday. I’ve seen them before, and they didn’t really disappoint at all. I will admit, the new songs they played were not my favorite, however the minute they kicked back to anything off of Tell All Your Friends, Where You Want to Be and Louder Now the crowd went out of their minds.

Max on Taking Back Sunday: I haven’t listened to Taking Back Sunday in awhile and am not familiar with all of their music, however I really enjoyed the set they played. They were fun to watch, a lot of that can be attributed to the mic tricks that the lead singer was doing during the individual instrument solos. 

Taking Back Sunday, ToZ Productions

Taking Back Sunday, ToZ Productions

Taking Back Sunday, ToZ Productions

The next band was easily the most anticipated band of the day: Yellowcard. I grew up listening to Yellowcard my entire life, and they were one of those bands my brother latched onto when he was really young that he liked when I played them in the car. I had attempted to take my brother to see them a while ago, however due to some trigger-happy bodyguards who didn’t like my posi-jumping, we got kicked out during the third song. So seeing them this time where we knew this wasn’t going to be a problem was exciting for the both of us.

Max on Yellowcard: Yellowcard is easily my favorite band of all time and seeing them at Warped was beyond what I could have imagined. The entire crowd was obviously pumped to see them because the atmosphere during YC was fantastic. They got the crowd involved really well and I had a blast seeing them. My favorite set at Warped by far.

The band had a new kind of fire that I hadn’t seen from them even when I saw them pre-hiatus, and it only got me even more excited for their new album. Yellowcard is seriously one of the best pop-punk bands in the scene right now and you’re doing yourself a disservice not giving them another chance.

Yellowcard, ToZ Productions

Yellowcard, ToZ Productions

Yellowcard, ToZ Productions

Yellowcard, ToZ Productions

While waiting for New Found Glory, Max and I saw Of Mice and Men and Pierce the Veil. Pierce the Veil is one of the only “scene” bands I still think is really solid musically. However Max thought differently about Of Mice and Men:

Max on Of Mice and Men: Can be summed up in three words: No Me Gusta. ='[

Last band of the day: New Found Glory. I love this band. A lot. Sticks and Stones was the first pop-punk album I probably really loved (in addition to Sum 41’s All Killer No Filler), so seeing them was an obvious choice. However the thing that really surprised me about seeing them was Max. He LOVES them, and it blew my mind how much he liked them. I didn’t realize until the drive up how excited he was to see New Found Glory, and it really showed when we saw them play.

Max on New Found Glory: Having only gotten into New Found Glory recently, I didn’t know what to expect. I have listened to their CD Sticks and Stones and listen to it regularly. I was excited to see them because Tyler told me they were really fun live, and they did not disappoint. Being a huge basketball fan, I really appreciated the basketball uniforms they wore on stage. They were a great way to close what had been a really fun day at Warped.

Best part of the show? Max knew every song they played off of Sticks and Stones. It was so cool to see, like seriously it was such a proud big brother moment. New Found Glory’s set was nothing short of a perfect way to end the day, and it made it that much better that my brother loved them just as much as I. It really shows how music can stay relevant when it is of quality.

New Found Glory, ToZ Productions

New Found Glory, ToZ Productions

New Found Glory, ToZ Productions

So I guess the thing that I got out of Warped Tour was that I love my little brother a lot. He’s hardly little, but seeing him grow up finding things that he loves has been a true pleasure of mine over the years. He’s always been more of a sports guy, but recently I think music has truly sparked his interest, especially with what I love. I can’t stress to you how much I’ve loved sharing my experiences and my second home with him, and hopefully some of that rubs off. I don’t live at home anymore, and at times I really miss being with him and the rest of my family. He is the kind of brother people would kill to have; he is so open to trying new things and experiences, despite his preconceptions as to what those experiences might hold. He may not become so engrossed in the punk scene like I am, but it makes me so happy to know that he is trying to understand.

Max on Warped Tour: This is not only my first Warped Tour, but my first event of this kind. It was a crazy experience. Having so many bands and so many stages in the parking lot of the Susquehanna Bank Center, and being able to walk from band to band, I have never been in an atmosphere like the one that was at Warped. There were people crawling on top of others, fights in the pit, and people trying to run over the security guards and the barricade. At first arrival it was a bit overwhelming, but I got into the flow quickly and thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was something I would most certainly go to again. I would like to thank Tyler for bringing me with his extra ticket and thanks to St. Francis De Sales for making me the gentleman I am and always will be. [Note From Tyler: I was forced at gunpoint to leave that quote in]

Warped Tour now is more relevant to me, because it will (hopefully) become a day that I can spend with my brother every year seeing new bands, laughing at ridiculous moshers, but more so enjoying each other’s presence. I didn’t know why Warped Tour has been around for so long, but I know now; it’s the shared experience of being around people you want to be around. It’s a place kids go so they don’t feel as weird in comparison to normal society. Shows have always been like that to me, but Warped Tour blows that up to a much larger scale. I see most of the bands in small venues before I see them on Warped Tour, but seeing them all at the same time and with everyone in the punk community. That’s a truly special experience.

Max Crowd Shot, ToZ Productions

I love Max to death, and it kills me inside knowing I am not around as he goes into high school this Fall. But if I know one thing, it’s this: this is not the last of our adventures. I was thinking about this today. Max is the complete embodiment of what punk is. He may not have ripped jeans or a mohawk, but the kid does what he wants, when he wants, and doesn’t give a shit what people think of him. He could be listening to Wale one day, then the Wonder Years the next, and it’s not something that he thinks twice about. He loves what he loves, and does whatever the hell he wants, and that is a quality I think will be monumental in making him happy in years to come. I’ve always loved my brother more than anything, but Warped Tour gave me a new appreciation of the person he is becoming, and I couldn’t be more proud and happy with what this years Vans’ Warped Tour gave me.

Written and Photographed By: Tyler Osborne

For prints of any of these photos, email ToZFilmProductions@gmail.com and he can sell you some. Basically the price of shipping/materials, he doesn’t ask for much.

Tyler Osborne

Live in DC, grew up in PA. I specialize in writing, filming and taking pictures about punk, pop-punk, and hardcore music, and I also have a huge background in film as well. When not on the site, i'm running my own internet radio show, ToZ's Edge Radio (www.facebook.com/tozedgeradio). I also love stage diving and goldfish.
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