Vans Warped Tour UK 2012 review

'Hopefully Vans Warped Tour UK is here to stay'

Photographer:Virtual Festivals

Hollie Garraway - 12 November 2012

For the first time in over a decade, the legendary Vans Warped Tour rolls into London, welcomed by a 10,000 strong army of fans. Held in the iconic grounds of Alexandra Palace, it couldn't be a more suitably impressive venue.

First band of the day, Taking Hayley (6/10), kick things off on the Kevin Says Stage. Despite the questionable band name, you can't help but warm to them. Winning a place on the bill through a competition, they give it their all. A cover of Labyrinth's 'Earthquake' emerges as a highlight and fits the 'pop goes punk', wholesome demographic. Bumping into them later they describe the set as "one of the best experiences of our lives". A strict entry policy ruffles a few feathers as many simply can't get in to the stage. At least it's safety first but perhaps next year, more popular acts could be given a larger stage to cope with the demand.

Next up, Me VS Hero (7/10) waste no time with crowd participation. 'Days That Shape Our Lives' prompts a mass rush of crowd surfing that security aren't quite prepared for. As a result, there appears to be a human conveyor belt of people that crash land on the floor after the jump! Vocalist Sam Thompson immediately calls for a beefed up presence, but it later turns out one kid actually breaks his foot. Overall, a strong set, with drummer Simon Smith standing out with impeccable timing.

Over on the Monster East Stage, Architects (7/10) blow the crowd away with their signature heavier sound, gathering pace for the rest of the day. The majority of their set is comprised from new album 'Daybreaker' which they specifically wanted to showcase today as they admit "we're not the biggest band in the world, but we like to stay true to what we do".

Opinion is then divided on the Jagermeister stage with Funeral for a Friend (6/10). A bit of a marmite band on a tour like this. Veterans of the Kerrang! generation nonetheless, they get the best responses from 'End Of Nothing' and new track 'Travel'. Similarly, anyone under the age of 25 heads over to Bring Me The Horizon (8/10), who without doubt, save their loudest screams of the day for poster boy vocalist Oli Sykes. 'Sempiternal' creates near mass hysteria and windmilling galore!

To lighten the tone, New Found Glory (8/10) are up next, kitted out in matching basketball jerseys, dedicating 'Dressed To Kill' to Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman. Of course their set wouldn't be complete without a cover of 'Kiss Me' which they confess, "is the song you hate to know the words to".

Special guests The Used (8/10), fresh from a victorious stint at Wembley, bust out C+C Music Factory's 'Everybody Dance Now' as a warm up track before taking to the stage with an incendiary version of 'Take It Away', swiftly followed by a setlist of fan favourites, ideal for a concise, all balls no falls slot.

Speaking to Virtual Festivals backstage, vocalist Bert Mccraken tells us, "music is love and we just want everyone to enjoy themselves, be themselves and act like an idiot. We have so many friends here today so we're looking forward to having a good time and hanging out". Bassist Jeph Howard adds "I feel like British people and fans have the best sense of humour because it's so dry". They then suggest it may have rubbed off a bit on them too as they reveal their Christmas plans to "burn trees and sacrifice miniature pigs for christmas bacon, to get into the spirit of things".

Continuing with the American run of bands, Warped Tour veterans Less than Jake (10/10) get the prize for being the band that most define what today is all about. Storming onstage with boundless energy they launch into an uplifitng rendition of 'Gainsville Rock City', hailing their set as "the perfect time to go on because everyones got a nice buzz on and should take their shirts off, even the girls". Some do and 'All My Best Friends Are Metalheads' goes down a treat.    

Ending things on a happy high, Bowling For Soup (9/10) deem themselves 'The Band You Can Wave To' with an interactive, drink themed,set. Erik Chandler, bassist, tells VF "This is our 31st trip here so we're very familiar with London and love this city". He went on to add "there is a real sense of community with British crowds rooted in it's punk rock history, so we're very happy to be playing here today". 'Hooray For Beer' and 'Girl All The Bad Guys Want' typically go down a storm and epitomise the origin and intentions of this tour. To have a good time, make friends and drink a lot of beer!

In conclusion, a good time was had by all with the perfect combination of US meets UK, and as the banner on the exit says, 'See you next year!' It's been a long time coming, but hopefully Vans Warped Tour UK is here to stay.


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