By: Fridae Mattas
This was my second Warped tour and I didn’t think I would make it! There was a torrential downpour the minute I hopped onto the streetcar to head for the Flats at Molson Canadian Amphitheater which used to be Ontario Place. Now, they have turned Ontario Place into a three-in-one summer venue; The Molson Canadian Amphitheater, The Flats and Echo Beach.
Once I finally arrived and checked in drenched from head to toe, I headed straight for the stage at the Amphitheater where Joanna (Fridae TV Photographer) was already waiting. The venue had pond like puddles, inside of the Amphitheater was flooded and the people were huddled together trying to stay dry in ankle deep water. They really need to add a few more drains at this venue to keep it from flooding, it reminded me of the under developed areas in Cuba where they do not have many drains to control the water flow of heavy rains.
The rain added to the list of problems for this year’s Toronto stop, earlier in the day I was told a Woman had a heart attack during a band’s set. After talking with a few people I found out that it was Taylor Nesseth, 19 from Ontario. This was her first trip away from home and the girl had been saving every penny in a jar to attend “The Best Day Ever”. Taylor was in the mosh pit during American Deathcore band Chelsea Grin’s set and collapsed near the stage at about 12:40. Her friends and other concert goers were trying to revive her but were unsuccessful. The paramedics arrived and found her without a pulse, they rushed her to Toronto Western Hospital where she was pronounced dead. My condolences go out to Taylor Nesseth’s Family and Friends this tragedy is so heartbreaking. Nesseth’s official cause of death still unknown, autopsy results are still to be released.
After the tragic passing of the teenage girl, The Monster Stage at Echo Beach was shut down for the remainder of the festival, they say it was due to the weather but it was shut down immediately after the Chelsea Grin set. This incident hits close to home for me and every time I think of this poor girl, I remember one of the times I almost lost my teenage life at a concert.
Every stage was rescheduled after the storm minus the Monster stage, amazingly enough there were people still waiting for some live tunes! Everyone who had a Toronto Warped Tour ticket was welcome to hit the Buffalo stop of the tour but thousands of people refused to leave, they wanted to rock on regardless of the rain.
First up after much confusion was T.Mills, we had no idea what was going on and who was playing where. Last minute decision was we would wander to the biggest crowd and at that moment in time the House Of Marley stage had an enormous crowd waiting for whoever. I asked a few of the fans who they were waiting to see and they told me T. Mills along with a brief biography. T. Mills also known as Travis Mills 23, from Riverside California is a self made pop rapper causing a stir with his debut EP “Finder Keepers”. As a Rapper he is not too bad but his lyrics need work, a lot of it. I do give him props for putting on an entertaining set, giving the girls in the front row the attention they were craving.
Punk-Pop veterans Yellowcard hit the stage next, they have been in the game since 1997 with a few line-up changes in the years. This band stands out because of the use of a Violin with their punk sound. Vocals were okay, the music sounded fantastic especially the violin and guitar but I was expecting authentic enthusiasm from the band. I picked up this vibe that they were not enjoying themselves too much, everything seemed a little forced as I noticed with a few other bands. Tonight Alive’s front Woman “Jenna McDougall” didn’t seem as though she was genuinely feeling the tunes she was performing, it was very pageant like. Her voice sounded decent but the heart was not there. I did like her Sailor Moonish hairdo, I still wear my hair like that sometimes. Other bands we caught were, Of Mice and Men who put on a crowd worthy performance but it was nothing new or special to my eyes and ears.
A few other performances worth a mention are Every Time I Die who put on a solid set, but I wish vocal mic was a little louder than the guitars. Even standing at the back of the crowd where the sound is the best, you could not hear him sing. A new band to my ears was Breathe Carolina who for an auto-tune band put on a very energetic and respectable performance, the people were loving them. The crowd was more of a blend than last year, various groups of people young and old.
As we waited to be let into the pit for one of the bands, there was some random trailer park looking bottle blonde with a Nikki Sixx try hard look-a-like who thought he was a super star. Trailer girl was yelling for everyone to get out of their way so they could pass. Nobody cared about the pint sized Mini Sixx or knew what band he belonged to, yet gladly moved out of his way without a fuss. It was amusing to me because of the recent documentary on Warped Tour “No Room For Rock Stars”. That wannabe isn’t the only one guilty of this, there are many I have come across that have bigger egos than talent and careers. What they don’t realize is, because of that ego their career is at a stand still, people don’t like arrogance.
Moving it along, we don’t want a super novel to unfold! Next band that I thought was pretty good was Pierce The Veil, as lead vocals Vic Fuentes stated “We’re just a bunch of Mexicans from California”, not too shabby for a bunch of Mexicans, they tore it up! Still so young yet they know how to work the stage and crowd. Judging from the fans reception these young larries have a very bright future ahead of them!
Next up was another old school Florida punk band New Found Glory, I was never a fan of this band but thought, hey why not see how they do live. Not bad at all, they put on a good show although I’m still not feeling vocals too much but I do recommend checking them out.
Before I talk about the last band, one more must have a mention Taking Back Sunday! They were the best of the Tour hands down! Adam Lazzara’s Vocals were stellar and he embodied every note of his music in the performance. They were so amazing live, the crowd loved every single second of the set. Surprisingly they let us stay in the pit for four tunes, the only band that day who let the media stay in the pit for more than two. I ducked out of the crazy pit after the third tune to watch from the side, I would love to see them rock out again. What I realized about Warped tour is almost every random media outlet is accredited, professional or not. There was “Media” in the pit with their Walmart cameras taking teenie shots of themselves in front of the bands as they played. Another thing I noticed that I have only seen at Warped Tour is every Tom, Dick, Mary and Larry backstage stands on the stage to watch the sets. Common courtesy, if you are not a photographer, videographer, stage tech or in the band, get the fuck off the stage!
The final band I will speak of for this years Toronto stop of the Vans Warped Tour is Britain’s , You Me At Six. They actually did well despite the sound issues, majority of the bands had some pretty killer sound considering there was a hurricane like storm hours before. The crowd of mostly teenage females was anxiously waiting for them to begin and then sang every word to every song. I’ve never covered a set or attended a concert where the band had to ask the crowd to start surfing. Their fans were female and after the death of 19 year old Taylor Nesseth earlier that day, was that really a good idea? However, they did start floating and bodies were flying after lead vocals Josh Franceschi requested it without incident.
Warped tour is always great for the variety of bands, if you don’t like one band, you can easily find another by wandering around to the different stages. This year was different, a new venue was hosting, the weather was out of control and a young concert goer lost her life. The show must go on and that it did! Bands played and the music was heard as thousands of people enjoyed their time at the Toronto date of The 2012 Vans Warped Tour, a little rain didn’t scare them off! I have to give huge thanks to my awesome photographer Joanna for the always fantastic shots and the incredible folks over at MSO. As always, you can find more photos and videos of majority of the mentioned artists here and here, see you all next year!