Fender Hits Vans Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour came through Ventura, Calif., this weekend, bringing with it a cadre of up-and-coming punk, hardcore and metal acts to the beach to play in front of a teeming mass of enthusiastic fans.

But even if those genres aren’t necessarily your cup of tea, Warped Tour’s bill boasted several other artists to appeal to a variety of festival-goers.

Headlining the Sunday event was Reel Big Fish, whose classic ska sound brought back memories of their string of hits from the mid 1990s through mid 2000s.

On the other end of the proceedings were Phoenix band the Summer Set, whose 11 a.m. set kicked off things with a catchy pop vibe.

Smack dab in the middle, Black Veil Brides’ Hollywood glam rock drew a huge crowd that sang along with nearly all of their songs.

Milling through the sea of booths hocking everything from food to cheap sunglasses to individual band merch was a mix of tweens, tattooed and pierced 20-somethings and middle -aged SoCal punks looking to enjoy a day of sun and music.

There are so many more bands that could have satiated any age group, but below are three notable performances that caught our eyes:

Ease Up

The San Diego-based reggae group was perfect for the hazy afternoon slot at the Battle of the Bands Stage.  Calling to mind the surfy sounds of Sublime or, more recently, the Dirty Heads, it was difficult to resist the urge to nod along with the stony bassline.






Gin Wigmore

The Australian spitfire was magical, delivering tracks off her latest album Gravel & Wine with sassy confidence and tremendous stage presence.  Backed by a band uniformly clad in black slacks and vests, Wigmore alternated between strumming a guitar and pounding on a drum, and she wore a devilish smile the entire time.  ”Man Like That,” which could be heard in the James Bond/Heineken advertisement for Skyfall, was an exceptional and energetic opener.






Whether it was guitarist Jeff Sayhoun’s aggressive dive bombs or frontman Jason Aalon Butler, Los Angeles’ Letlive stirred up a mosh pit that was impressive considering their early start time. Butler had the crowd in the palm of his hand, encouraging fans to surf up to the stage and even running through them and doing a few kickflips off an adjacent building. Truly chaos at its best.



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