VANS WARPED TOUR
MANSFIELD — The format of the annual Vans Warped Tour presented show-goers with a particularly contemporary crush of overabundance. With some 80 musical acts to choose from on seven stages throughout the grounds Thursday, the sheer magnitude and scope were staggering — you literally needed a map and a schedule to synchronize your day’s revelry.
Consider the plight of the young fan choosing between Tallahassee’s affable Mayday Parade, playing a set of muscular power pop with hair metal trappings on songs like “Oh Well, Oh Well,” while the woefully monikered Parisian scene-metal upstarts Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! ran through a gauntlet of double kick drums and chugging guitars next door. Nearby, the riff-heavy metalcore of Minnesota’s After the Burial snaked through the air and all around the hive-like cacophony of dozens of echoing drum sequences and inspirational speeches. “Be yourself you guys!” every singer seemed to offer.
This directive was harder than it sounds for the bands themselves, with so many of them drawing water from the same musical well. Westfield’s Arrows Over Athens, one among a strong Massachusetts contingent, aimed for a heavier-spun Paramore pop-punk, and impressed in the effort; while Boston’s Transit worked their ’90s-emo guitar noodling into an exceptionally high-energy set, with singer Joe Boynton doing much of his work from atop the upraised arms of the crowd. Worcester’s Four Year Strong played a set of more traditional, low-slung hardcore that made the parking lot throb with bass, easily the most visceral set witnessed all day.
More established favorites like Florida’s We The Kings had eager crowds eating out of the palms of their hands with alternately smart and exceptionally dumb pop-punk hooks on hits like “Check Yes, Juliet.” San Diego’s Pierce The Veil wielded high-pitched guitar squeals, and higher pitched screams, while the UK’s You Me At Six and countrymen Rise to Remain represented well for the burgeoning wave of Brit-metalcore — although after a few dozen bands like that, it can get hard to tell one from the next. The whole experience was a whirl of constant stimulation where you scroll past one band and move on to the next without much time to reflect — there’s nothing more modern than that.