One of the greatest things about music, of all genres, is that it is a community. Within each pocket of the music scene, you have communities popping up with each and every member brought together through the same love of whichever genre of music brought them there in the first place. Likewise, within every community there is the ceremonial gathering in which all members, from various parts of the world can all come together and celebrate the songs, musicians, and vibes that embody their genre – this being done in the form of music festivals. These are the times in the year when people can flock to their music in hordes and lose themselves within a sea of individuals whom they are connected to through their shared love. While for those in the rock community, though there are many festivals to choose from, one finds itself as the pinnacle above the rest, as it is not simple a three day or so event. Rather it roams the US going from state to state all summer long – bringing the music to the fans, and leaving there endless possibilities to see the show. For those of you who don’t know what event I am talking about, it is an event known as Warped Tour, and, on July 16th in Columbia MD, I finally got to go.

Since embracing rock music, of all varieties, into my life, I have found myself seeing, and being present for life music more frequently than ever before. From seeing Andy Black only a few months ago, to now this, I have become hooked on the sensation of being within the crowd and absorbing the music live. Especially at a rock concert – there is nothing more thrilling than being within the crowd, all moving, and sometimes raging, as one in the shared excitement of being so close to the music we adore. One of the best things about the festival is the diversity that it holds. From hard core rock bands like Motionless in White to more punk bands like Mayday Parade to even throwback veterans like New Found Glory, there was really something for everyone. No matter where you turned there was never a lack of great music and great vibes to keep the day rolling.

Though Warped Tour is an all day festival consisting of many bands on multiple stages, I’m going to focus on the two bands that I was most anxious, and pleased to see, being that of Sleeping with Sirens and Falling in Reverse. What was nice about these two performances was that they were relatively close to one another, both being in the section of bands that rounded out the end of the day. Both bands played the at the two main stages – with Sleeping with Sirens performing on the Right Foot Stage and Falling performing at the Left Foot, so right next to one another, with the bands Sum 41 and the Maine playing in between their sets so there was time to get from one set to the other without missing anything. Having been my first experience, I was not disappointed. Both bands were incredible performance wise, which is nice about rock shows. At these types of performance there is never a question as to whether the band is truly performing to the best of their ability, or whether they are performing at all. Each band gave it their everything, as did every band that played; a determination and sense of passion that oozes into the audience and has an almost cosmic effect. Knowing that the band is stoked to be there only makes you want to jam out harder, and that’s exactly what we did.

For Sleeping’s performance, I found myself further towards the back having gotten there a little late, but that didn’t bother me one bit. No matter where you are the crowd us riddled with intensity, and the speakers make you feel like you are right up front. Lead singer Kellin Quinn is a phenomenal talent, which he showcased by going off into little riffs at the end of a couple songs, showcasing his voice in its purest state. Each band gets 30 minutes on stage, in order to keep the influx of bands playing on schedule, which means that each band only gets about 5 songs to play. What this does, by giving the bands a limited amount of songs to play, is ensure that there will be a good mix of new and classic songs. For both of these two bands, being some of the more popular bands on the tour, this really showcases the devotion of their fans. As new and old songs alike were sung with a ferocity that proved how devoted people truly are to them. Plus is started raining at the beginning of their set, a perfect way to set the mood for a classic like “If I’m James Dean, You’re Aubrey Hepburn” – a perfect mood for a beloved song.

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Moving on to Falling in Reverses set, this was a completely different beast. For this I was a little more strategic, getting myself right up to the third row after Sum 41 finished. Now if being in the back was intense one cannot imagine what it is like in the front. At these kinds of concert, the energy brings out an aggressive nature within people in an interesting way. People are not violent, as one might stereotypically fear, but rather they all move as one. Plus, there is the little situation of crowd surfers, which automatically guarantees that one will be kicked in the head many times. Being up front is not for the faint of heart. Especially for a band like falling in Reverse who is known for their intensity more than anything else. Like Quinn, lead singer Ronnie Radke showcased his immense range through his diverse set. Ranging from classics like “The Drug in Me is You”, to newer songs that have been infused with rap like “Alone”, to even a song from his previous band (Escape the Fate) that in all honesty helped put his name on the map called “Situations”. All were tied up with the nice red bow of their latest hit Just Like You off of their newest album of the same name. Being one of my favorite bands, I was awestruck by their intensity and sheer ability to dominate such a wild and crazy crowd. Yet leave it to Radke to get a crowd of lunatics to listen to only him – he is simply a rock star.

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In the end, covered in dirt and sweat that wasn’t entirely mine, I left Merriweather Post Pavilion feeling both elevated and tired. Having been a long day I should have been much more exhausted than I was, but I couldn’t escape the feeling of the drums still vibrating in my chest or fathom that I had just been up close to one of my favorite bands. It was a sight to behold, and one that I wish to behold again. Having been Warped once, I am hooked, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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