Vans Warped Tour 2012 made its usual “Philadelphia” stop at Camden, NJ’s Susquehanna Bank Center with over 100 bands spanning countless scores of genres and sub genres of popular music. Skateboarders, vendors, and all of the usual extra-curricular activities fans have come to expect over the past 18 years were laid out in smorgasbord fashion. Hard to believe the Vans Warped Tour is now older than a significant portion of its fan-base.
Per usual, you have to plan your Warped Tour day accordingly, as the 9 stages overlap performances, which can be up to 5 at one time, squeezing in as many acts as is humanly possible in the course of one day.
Due to the fact that the daily line-ups and stage plans change on the fly, you really have to be on your toes to catch the acts you want to see. This rotating roster is one of the aspects that makes Vans Warped Tour stand out from other more strictly regimented tours of equal scale. This is a “win some, lose some” scenario though, as we old-timers at BTS couldn’t predict bands such as Every Time I Die would hit the stage before 12:30 pm while we were still getting a lay of the land.
Vans Warped Tour has become more and more mainstream over the years, with the skateboarding and extreme sports sections becoming more of a accoutrement than a staple of the tour as it was in the 90s. More stages, more performers, and more vendors use almost every inch of space available on the concert grounds. These are not the days when Sublime headlined a Warped Tour with 4 stages that alternated performances around some of the best skateboard and BMX riders in the world. For those that think of and want to experience “punk” as group of music fans cramped into a tiny basement or venue, getting sprayed with sweat from their favorite musicians, this is probably not your choice concert atmosphere. But for those that want a day jam packed with performances by bands that span metal, punk rock, and even pop genres, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
There is still some semblance of “punk” atmosphere amidst the corporate saturation with a handful vendor tents spreading information on animal rights and veganism, albeit a far cry from the DIY table at your local anarchist bookstore. Bands still hob nob it up with fans at the merch tables and for many, Warped Tour provides a space for that first crowd surf, or venue to meet a favorite band member, or pop in the mosh pit for the first time.
Despite a more sterile environment than what we often see with Philly’s inner-city street punk shows, it is still fun to watch the young and unjaded rip it up at his or her first real concert experience with that infectious energy that attracted many of us the music world in the first place.
There is quite a dichotomy between some of the newer metalcore bands and The Old Guard such as Hot Water Music‘s Chuck Ragan, who all but set the acoustic stage on a fire with his solo band, immediately bringing to mind the days of old with his infectious stage presence and bulletproof musical delivery complete with stand-up bass and acoustic guitars. Same can be said for ska mainstays Streetlight Manifesto, who spike the collective energy of the audience with an engaging set, chock full of invigorating horn work and more upbeat tempos than you can shake a stick at. It was also great to see Pennywise and NOFX still taking charge of the audience, having chalked up quite a few Warped Tours over the years.
Blow The Scene‘s Senior Staff Photographer, Dante Torrieri (Useless Rebel Imaging) was on hand to capture a huge swab of Vans Warped Tour 2012 for your viewing pleasure with a massive 250+ photo gallery you can peruse below.
Four Year Strong
Blood On The Dance Floor
Crowd, Skateboarders, and More
The Ghost Inside
Born Of Osiris
I Fight Dragons
Miss May I
Of Mice and Men