Vans Warped Tour is still one of my favorite tours of the year. It’s one of the greatest, and longest running, festivals around. The first Warped Tour was in 1995, and that first one included such acts as the Deftones, No Doubt, and Sublime. The reason Warped has not only survived, but in my opinion thrived, is because they continue to get bands that love what they do, bands that are hungry, and bands that leave it all on the stage every time they perform. It doesn’t matter if it’s in an arena, or on a stage at the Pomona Fairplex at in the 12 noon Southern California August sun, these artists define performance.
I have lost count of how many Warped Tours I have photographed, but I can say this… I have discovered so many great bands, in their early days, that went on to greatness. There was even a TV show for awhile on the Warped Roadies, that is how important this tour is to music. Well, this past Sunday it was back at the Pomona Fairplex, and the lineup was one of the most unique I have seen. They still had those great young and hungry bands, ones that may not be household names – yet, but they also had some long running bands, like the Adolescents or The Alarm. This year, for the first time, they even had GWAR!
One of the bands from that original 1995 tour, Sick of it All, was back for their third time, and I have to say that this band was so fun to watch. Pete Koller is fantastic! I would argue they may have out jumped any of the newer bands.
As always, there are a few bands each year that really stand out. This year, there were two that I did not want to stop photographing. One was War on Women. Vocalist Shawna Potter is a blast. At this year’s Warped she staged a social justice workshop called “Creating Safer Spaces: You Have the Power to Shape Your Scene” to provide a space for young attendees to learn how to be good allies to others and support diverse scenes. Concentrating on gender-based harassment and violence, the workshop also addressed all forms of harassment and discrimination. Shawna was one of the few artists I saw that engaged with people prior to starting their set. She even joked around with us photographers and played well to the cameras. Fusing feminism and hardcore this band sounded great.
The second act that stood out was a band I had heard of before. I have a few LA based photography friends that have shot their shows before, and I had been warned they were amazing. Wow, they lived up to the hype. The band is Barb Wire Dolls, and you need to look them up, find their tour schedule, and go see them. Vocalist Isis Queen went into the crowd three times, and she was such a presence on stage it’s hard to explain. The second shot in the post (above) is her standing on the barricade.
One other band I need to mention is Doll Skin. I had photographed them once before, at the RMA in Riverside, and I had the feeling these girls were on their way to success. They were everything I remember. Make sure to check them out too.
I could go on forever here, but as usual I will let the images below tell you the story of the last Vans Warped Tour of 2017. As always, if you went to the show, or won tickets on the air, let us know how you liked it the comments.
All images are copyright 2017 Steve Brazill. All rights reserved.