Vans Warped Tour 2016 lured parents and teens alike with plenty of throwback acts from the ’90s and early 2000s. The annual traveling festival showcased music from legacy pop-punk bands like Sum 41, New Found Glory and Yellowcard.
Colorful hair, choker necklaces and band tees galore — PNC Bank Arts Center was any pop-punker’s paradise Sunday. This year’s lineup also featured performances from Warped Tour veterans The Story So Far, Mayday Parade and We The Kings, among more than 60 other bands.
Sunday’s shows mark the tour’s last stop in New Jersey this year after it traveled to Camden’s BB&T Pavillon on July 8. Here’s what you missed at the sweat-soaked summer festival.
– The energy of Sum 41 fans was so infectious that even the crowd gathered at the nearby Journey’s Right Foot stage to watch pop-punk outfit Real Friends sang along to the Canadian rockers’ 2001 jam “In Too Deep.”
The throwback headliner’s crowd was the rowdiest of all in Holmdel, and during“Fat Lip,” frenzied fans thrashed, crowd surfed and threw their fists in the air, an appropriate reaction to one of the most rocking bands on the bill.
“13 Voices,” Sum 41’s first new album since 2011, is set for release on October 7.
–New Found Glory thrilled its crowd with supercharged riffs and choruses that demanded screaming sing-alongs. Since 1997, the Florida rockers have built themselves into genre nobles, and while the band’s set skewed slightly toward its 2002 record “Sticks and Stones,” New Found Glory had one of the most expansive sets of the day.
Still, that album’s lead single “My Friends Over You” proved to be a fitting finale. Dozens of fans crowd surfed to the stage to shout the famous line to frontman Jordan Pundik — “Though you swear that you are true, I still pick my friends over you.”
-After nearly 20 years together, Warped favorite Yellowcard is set to embark on its final world tour in October. But lead singer Ryan Key didn’t let the news of the band’s breakup put a damper on its wild Warped Tour set.
They saved their 2003 calling card “Ocean Avenue” for the finale, of course, but Key played a few other songs from its namesake album.
“Only One” proved to be one of the most emotional performances of the day, as Key wailed “Here I go, scream my lungs out and try to get to you!”
– “The Vans Warped Tour is officially punk-rock again because I’ve seen unsolicited circle pits,” Less than Jake guitarist Chris Demakes told the crowd as he took the stage. The ska band earned lots of laughs from the audience as members smacked beach balls into the crowd with baseball bats, drenched the closest showgoers with a water gun and unleashed toilet paper streamers on the them.
Even parents in the crowd went wild for the band’s 2003 hit “Look What Happened.”
NEWER WARPED BANDS
– Before The Story So Far began its set, band members tossed giant inflatable whales into the audience. By the end of the first song, crowd surfers had figured out they could ride the whales to the front of the stage.
The California band’s frenetic energy was spurred by lead singer and pop-punk powerhouse Parker Cannon, who jumped, kicked and punched his way across the stage as he wailed honest songs with anguish and aggression.
“You have no idea how unproductive it is to fall in and out of you as often as I do,” the crowd screamed along with Cannon on the wild finale “Roam.”
Lead singer Derek Sanders recalled his first Warped Tour, when the band passed around CDs and hoped to get noticed. Ten years later, Mayday Parade has played the festival twice and toured around the world with pop-punk giants like All Time Low.
Half of the band’s six-song set was pulled from “A Lesson in Romantics,” its first album released in 2007. Drummer Jake Bundrick impressed during the band’s’ finale, the melancholic “Jamie All Over,” as he shared vocal responsibility with Sanders while furiously pounding away on his kit.
– Before We The Kings launched into “I Feel Alive,” frontman Travis Clark asked audience members to “sorority squat,” and then jump up and wave their arms “like a wacky inflatable arm flailing tubeman” during the effervescent chorus. From the back row, it didn’t look like a single person refused his wishes.
“None of these bands could be standing where they are right now if you weren’t all standing exactly where you’re standing right now,” Clark said.
He wanted the crowd to feel like family, and he introduced the newest member of that family — rhythm guitarist Coley O’Toole’s baby Elliot. O’Toole carried the smiling 1-year-old out on stage with huge protective ear muffs over his head.
The band’s finale was its explosive 2008 hit “Check Yes Juliet,” one of the loudest singalongs of the entire day.
*This story was originally published on NJ.com