Show Review: Warped Tour 2017
Warped Tour 2017 has come and gone - and in its wake it has left behind some sunburned skin and empty wallets, but most importantly: incredible memories. Soulless Cult hit up the Long Island, New York date of the annual summer touring festival and had an absolutely mental day filled with back-to-back brutality, sweet sweet riffage, and breakdowns to please even the hardest of metalheads. Here's some of the highlights of this years Warped experience from your favorite cult!
We started off our day bright and early with SWORN IN as they kicked off the party. I've been a fan of SI for the past few years, and been lucky enough to see them a couple of times before today. They bring it each and every time they play, but today was my first chance to see them play some of the songs off their new album, "All Smiles" that dropped just over a week ago. The older songs they played - like "Mindless," "Hypocrisy" and "Snake Eyes" were all sick as hell - they go hard and crazy. But unfortunately I just wasn't feeling these new songs - I guess their new style just isn't my thing. The clean singing parts just didn't sound good to me, but in all fairness, I think every band you see at a tour like Warped needs to be given a little bit of slack, since these dudes are out there giving it 110% every day, and most of the time they are in the disgusting heat and brutal sun, which has to take a toll on your body eventually. So maybe today was just an off day for them - but besides the newer songs, the rest of their set was great and it was a great lead-in to what would be one of my favorite Warped Tour shows I've been to.
AFTER THE BURIAL were absolutely mind-melting as usual, and crushed their set song after song. These guys never put on a bad show; every time I've seen them it is absolutely nuts seeing how these dudes get down, and today was no different. I unfortunately missed the first two songs of their set, but managed to catch the second half of their set, which included "Berzerker," "Anti-Pattern," "Aspiration," and to close out their set, "A Wolf Amongst Ravens." If you can't get down with some ATB, you're missing out! Every song these guys play makes you just want to bob your head and bounce - it's some of the best stuff you can see live if you like to just chill out. These guys brought it and slayed their set.
EMMURE and ATTILA were both next on the list, and I've got no shame admitting that these two are two of my guilty pleasures: I've been listening to both bands for so long that their music is just naturally in my rotation (plus the new Emmure record is their best stuff in years, it's sick). So naturally, I had to go check out these two and both sets were wild and drew in great crowds. The bands blew their shit up and people went nuts for 'em. Emmure crushed their set with songs off their new record - "Shinjuku Masterlord," "You Asked For It," "Smokey," "Torch" and "Flag of the Beast" - before heading into some of their older, popular tracks. They pulled our fan favorites like "I Thought You Met Telly and Turned Me Into Casper," "Sunday Bacon," and of course, "Children of Cybertron." Seeing these guys - especially with their whole new lineup and new energy - is always a treat. As for Attila - if you know these guys, you know what to expect: they bring the party every show they play and make sure they keep the crowd moving from the moment they walk out until the moment they walk off. They kicked off their set with "Moshpit" (which is so good live), following it up with all the Attila classics: "Proving Grounds," "Middle Fingers Up," "About That Life," and "Party With The Devil." Love 'em or hate 'em, these guys are always a Warped Tour favorite and never fail to bring one of the largest crowds of the day with their wild, careless music.
Anybody who knows me knows CARNIFEX are one of my absolute favorite bands ever - possibly even my favorite overall. I'll do anything to get to a Carnifex show, and I honestly think these guys are one of the best in the scene right now. So when I saw Carnifex was listed on the lineup for Warped this year, I lost my goddamn mind. I made sure I got to the stage early to get a sweet close spot (ended up right in front of guitarist Jordan Lockrey and I'm not complaining in the slightest!) and had an absolute blast with these guys. It was so sick seeing some death metal on Warped Tour, and bringing in Carnifex to fill that job was the perfect choice. They started it off with some sweet metal off their latest album: "Drown Me In Blood" and "Slow Death." They continued to bring the sickness with classics like "Die Without Hope" (probably my favorite Carnifex song ever), "Lie To My Face" and "Hell Chose Me." If you saw these guys on their headlining tour this past winter, you were treated to a sick Slipknot cover of "The Heretic Anthem." The band brought this one out again for Warped, and the fans had an absolute blast with it (who wouldn't lose their mind to some Iowa-era Slipknot?!). So good seeing these dudes and they crushed it.
We finished up our day with the best set of the day: THE ACACIA STRAIN. The Soulless Crew were all burned and ready to get out of the sun and into a shower way before TAS took the stage, but everyone pulled whatever energy was left and hung out the extra hour and a half wait to catch TAS before heading out. And I'm so thankful they did: this was - hands down - the sickest set of the day, and one of the best Acacia performances I've personally ever seen. This lineup brought energy to the stage that no other Acacia Strain lineup has in the past. They left the crowd bloody, bruised, and fucked up - but nobody walked away from the stage without a smile on their face. The mayhem started off with "The Hills Have Eyes" and "Holy Walls Of The Vatican" before leading into the crushing song "Beast" that left people destroying each other left and right. They played one new song off their new album "Gravebloom" (if you missed our Gravebloom review, check that out), and it was a good one: Bitter Pill, which is mental live. "Ramirez" was brought out of the TAS archive, and it was followed up with some of the absolute best old school Acacia songs ever: "Whoa! Shut It Down" and "4x4." It was, of course, a treat to see these dudes bring out songs from all of their history (unfortunately nothing from Death Is The Only Mortal). They finished up with set (and our day) with one of their most notorious songs in their catalog: "JFC." After destroying the crowd one by one, The Acacia Strain left an aftermath of bodies and tired as fuck fans. Like I said, this was the best set of the day in my opinion, and it was so worth hanging around in the sun. It was the perfect end to a crazy day at Warped.
If you've ever been to Warped Tour, you know you're bound to miss some bands you would have loved to see. We were lucky this year - we didn't have to really miss too many bands, and that was awesome. Unfortunately we didn't make it to see bands like Knocked Loose, Alestorm, Gwar, and Bad Omens, but I'm not complaining: we got to see almost everyone we wanted to (and then some!). We checked out some non-metal acts throughout the day, and had a blast in between breakdowns with bands like The Ataris, Anti-Flag, and CKY. These guys all put on awesome performances and it was great seeing some of the songs I grew up listening to live (considering I probably wouldn't see them outside of Warped otherwise). So its definitely worth nothing that if you like any of those three, to make sure you get to their respective stages and go have a good time with them!
Overall, the Vans Warped Tour 2017 was one of the most successful and fun times I've had in my 11 years going. The fun started as soon as we walked through the gate and didn't end until it was unfortunately time to go. My crew are all a beautiful shade of red from sunburn, but I think everyone would agree that it was an insane day. Just want to take a second to say thank you to the two who stood by me throughout the day in the blistering sun to see some of my favorite bands: my beautiful girlfriend and my dude Andrew, both of whom have been supporting Soulless since the very beginning. You guys are fucking beautiful - thanks for sticking it out in the brutal sun with me and instilling me with these incredible memories of the day. Can't wait to do it all again next year!
The Warped Tour runs until August 6th, so if you are interested in hitting up a date near you and getting in on all the action, visit their website to see a full list of the bands playing, and to find a date near you! See you guys in the fucking pit!