60°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Punk rock roadshow the Warped Tour hits Vegas one last time

The traffic lights continued to work at the corner of Third Street and Bridger Avenue, though they did little to alleviate the gridlock of bodies.

There was a human traffic jam at the downtown intersection Friday afternoon where a pair of stages faced each other a block apart on the closed-off streets, erected atop griddle-hot asphalt for a sold-out crowd to sizzle upon like black-clad bacon strips.

The audience of 12,000-plus weathered the punishing weather at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center for the last Vegas stop of the Warped Tour, the traveling punk rock summer camp launched in 1995, long before much of Friday’s teen-heavy crowd was born.

What made Warped last longer than any other annual package tour was its unique ability to resonate with younger generations, continually redefining itself so that it was as much a draw for teenagers in 2008 as it was in 1998.

Though Warped turned 23 this year, its core audience never aged — with the exception of an increasing amount of parents escorting their kids to a show they most likely attended themselves years earlier. That enabled Warped to outlive scads of other package tours, once-popular summer draws such as Ozzfest, Lollapalooza, H.O.R.D.E., Lilith Fair and the Mayhem Fest, none of which survived even half as long as Warped.

How did Warped do it?

The tour never shied away from the next generation of acts — even if plenty of disgruntled old-schoolers checked out along the way. Warped went from seminal, second- and third-wave punk headliners such as NOFX, Bad Religion and Pennywise in the mid- to late ’90s to emo favorites such as Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard in the aughts to more metallic acts such as Falling in Reverse, Black Veil Brides and Motionless in White, the latter three among the more popular draws on this year’s tour.

Though Warped has always been punk-based, it’s been defined by diversity as much as a singular sound, serving as an early platform for future stars ranging from Beck to Katy Perry, Eminem to Black Eyed Peas, G-Eazy to Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit to, err, Sugar Ray.

So to see it all come to an end Friday was a bittersweet experience, even if Warped has left the door open for future events of some sort (this year’s outing is being billed as Warped’s “final full cross-country tour,” meaning it will probably continue as a destination festival in one or more markets.)

The past meets the heavy present

A number of Warped vets dotted this year’s bill, such as ska stalwarts Reel Big Fish, who first played the tour in 1997, returning for their eighth go-round, 12-timers Simple Plan and newer staple Falling in Reverse, which has been in the lineup for six of the past eight incarnations.

“This song is so old that MTV was still playing music videos when it came out,” quipped guitarist Chris Lewis from pop punks Fenix TX as he introduced a set-closing “All My Fault,” a hit back in 2000.

With the passing of time, Warped has gotten heavier.

“This one goes out to the metalheads” announced Matthew Hasting, frontman for Alabama metalcore troupe MyChildren MyBride, introing a concussive “God of Nothing.”

Those metalheads were everywhere, there to take in the hardcore pummel of Harms Way, whose sound was as burly as its barrel-chested singer; the Justin Timberlake-meets-Meshuggah Djent pop of Issues; the red-faced howl of Every Time I Die, whose set ended with guitarist Jordan Buckley crowd-surfing all the way back to the soundboard, dousing himself in Bud Light along the way.

One thing that has remained constant for Warped is a strong female presence, embodied Friday by the excellent, grunge-indebted Vanessa Silberman, the ceaselessly effervescent, socially conscious pop punk of Doll Skin and the feel-good bounce of Aussies Tonight Alive.

“We stand for personal power and emotional freedom,” the latter band’s singer, Jenna McDougall, declared from the stage.

Lasting memories

Aside from the music, what we’ll miss most about Warped are all the burning questions that only this tour can answer.

How does porcelain-skinned Black Veil Brides frontman/metalcore heartthrob Andy Black sweat when he clearly lacks pores? Where else can one score marijuana-leaf-adorned booty shorts and register to vote in the same vendor area? Is it possible to catch a buzz in 100-degree heat without sweating out your Miller Lite before it has the time to produce its desired effect?

Guess that’s all for now.

“It’s a sad, sad thing to see,” Hasting said of the Warped Tour’s final road trip. “But we’re glad you’re here making memories with us today.”

Plenty of those memories will last.

And so, the same can be said of the Warped Tour, after all.

Related

Las Vegas musicians remember playing, attending Warped Tour

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST