Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Vans Warped Tour 2016 | Review in Photos By Arica AJ Waters

Motionless In White
Photography by: AJ Rocktography

After recently attended Vans Warped Tour in Akron, Ohio at an outside venue called Blossom, I can honestly say that I can rest happy knowing I've seen some of the coolest bands in the country: I’ve encountered a lot of bands through my times being involved in the metal scene as a Photographer (and as an avid concert-goer) so being present at Warped Tour in and among the heart-pounding electric energy of the crowds was yet another amazing experience I would be happy to play on repeat. This was my first time attending this event where I was able to capture images from the photo pit and I am thoroughly pleased with the experience and results.

The first act I photographed was ‘ISSUES’. I was a big fan of Woe is Me a few years back so the excitement to hear Tyler Carter’s new band was an understatement. Pokémon Go has been taking IPhone, Androids and now even computers by storm and opening their set with the Pokémon Theme song was brilliant. The sound and energy was great! I recently watched a documentary conducted by Rise Records on co-vocalist Michael Bohn and his struggle with Tourette’s syndrome. Being in the photo pit to capture moments that almost seemed impossible for him was a moment I will never forget. 

New Found Glory
In all honesty I had no idea 'New Found Glory' was even at Warped Tour and after hearing the first few chords of their hit song ‘Head On Collision’ I remembered that they made comeback recently and I immediately lost it:  I was singing so loudly and not paying attention that I almost dropped my camera!

After scoping the grounds and mingling with other talented Photographers and Media peers, I ran into a few local bands attending the event passing out their CD’s and stopped to chat. In that process, I stumbled upon a local band out of Chicago, Illinois by the name of Sheevaa. Their presentation and overall vibe was very engaging and I made sure to purchase their CD.

Bullet For My Valentine
Later, I moseyed on down to capture some images of ‘Bullet for My Valentine’ whom I have seen before when they opened for Slipknot in Pittsburgh. They put on an awesome show! Their song “Tears Don’t Fall” definitely had the crowd singing (including me) at the top of their lungs. It was becoming apparent to me that I was having as much fun as the crowd was; only, I was also capturing some amazing images as well!

In Hearts Wake
Next was ‘In Heart’s Wake’: the first time I saw them was when they opened up for Parkway Drive at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio and they are by far the best opening band I had seen to date. Their performance was spot on and the use of animal inflatables made it that much more fun.

When it came time for ‘Atreyu’ to perform, I instantly began singing their single ‘Becoming the Bull’.  This was another band that made an impact in my middle school days and graced me with their presence after being silent in my life for a while so it was pretty surreal being able to capture them behind the lense of my camera. Front man Alex Varkatzas’ performance and overall energy left me with a positive experience: he entered the crowd many times and sang his heart out! (I personally think he was in the crowd more than he was on stage).

Motionless In White
The final band of the evening was ‘Motionlessin White’. This band is known for being dark, creepy and macabre. The lead singer Chris Motionless was stellar: he moved around on stage with high energy captivating the crowd. I have seen them live when they opened up for Slipknot in Pittsburgh but the intimate setting at Warped Tour while watching from the photo pit definitely made my experience more intimate.

I have to say that overall, my first experience at Warped Tour was memorable. It was nice to see local bands being able to showcase their talents while sharing the stage with some of the bigger bands as well. I can’t wait until the next one!

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