68°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Las Vegas musicians remember playing, attending Warped Tour

It’s a heavenly kind of hell, the Warped Tour experience.

Standing atop concrete or asphalt all day beneath the punishing sun, turning oneself into a human raisin while taking in dozens of bands is a brutal, merciless, self-flagellating kind of fun.

We’re going to miss it.

After 24 years, this will be Warped’s last run.

There’s never been another tour quite like it, from its guerrilla-style setup, often taking place outside traditional music venues with traveling stages set up in parking lots, to its punk-leaning lineups, to the egalitarian way each show’s running order is arranged, with rotating headliners, meaning you might see just one of the biggest bands of the day at 4 in the afternoon.

Beginning in 1995, Warped played a key role in the mid-’90s punk boom, introducing tens of thousands of kids every summer to the likes of NOFX, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Dropkick Murphys and hundreds more.

Warped didn’t always come here, but Vegas has been a regular stop in recent years. The tour returns Friday for one final outing at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center with new and old favorites such as Black Veil Brides, The Used, Falling in Reverse, Simple Plan, Every Time I Die, Unearth and dozens more.

Before we bid it farewell, we reached out to some Vegas musicians for their favorite Warped memories:

Cash Colligan, solo artist, former bassist for The Cab

“I will never forget the first time I saw Underoath at Warped Tour in 2004 at Desert Breeze Park. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s had their life change after seeing that band. It opened my mind in music forever. That performance at that festival to this day has stuck with me.

“I unfortunately had left my band The Cab the summer before they got to perform at the festival, but I remember watching them. I remember being so proud of something I created hitting a monumental moment in the scene. It will be very weird not having this festival anymore. It was almost an affirmation for bands: If you made it onto Warped Tour, you made it in the scene.”

KC Wells, The Day After bassist

“I don’t know if it’s my ‘favorite’ memory from Warped Tour, but it’s definitely the one that stands out: The 2013 Warped was held in the Silverton parking lot. It was excruciatingly hot. It ended up setting the record for hottest Warped Tour date: 117 degrees. One-hundred-seventy-two people were treated for heatstroke and 34 were taken to the hospital.

“I just remember kid after kid being stretchered out and thinking there’s not going to be anyone left at the show. They were all wearing black, which I thought was stupid and knew it was going to be a problem.

“Band-wise, The Story So Far put on the best show that day.

“I was able to go to a few Warped Tours. They didn’t always come through Vegas, so it was definitely an event when they did. It was a bigger deal for me that they included Vegas on the tour than it was what bands they included on the tour.”

Brendan Scholz, Mercy Music singer-guitarist

“Of the handful of Warps I’ve attended, I’d have to say my fondest memories stem from Warped Tour 2000 (in Phoenix).

“This also happened to be the first time I attended.

“The only reason initially was to see Green Day, because they hadn’t toured in like two or three years, and 13-year-old Brendan was the biggest Green Day fan in the world.

“That being said, I didn’t even pay attention to the rest of the lineup until I got there. Upon arrival, I was super stoked to see that so many of my favorite bands were also playing.

“That day I got to see Millencolin, One Man Army, Good Riddance, Snapcase, Lunachicks. It was a punk mecca for a 13-year-old, not to mention all the free stickers and promotional swag.

“Anyway, Green Day played, Billie Joe was wearing shorts, and I went home happy and dehydrated. Was it worth the 110-plus-degrees Phoenix temps? Probably.”

Roxie Amoroso, managing member of Beauty Bar

“As a teenager growing up in the fertile and boring forests of Northern California, I would read Thrasher magazine and dream about how cool it would be to go to Warped Tour. But I was poor and the city was too far, and so I would read and look at pictures each month when my brother’s subscription to the magazine would show up.

“Fast-forward to 2002.

“I’m 22 years old, still just as poor, but now living in Las Vegas with my boyfriend (now husband, Jesse Amoroso). We both played in punk rock bands and worked in different ends of the local music scene. I woke up one hot summer day and Jesse tells me to put my shoes on. He got a phone call from one of the dudes in Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

“We were going to Warped Tour!

“That year was headlined by Rancid and held at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.

“So we arrive, and we had all-access passes, which meant I could eat the foods and use the clean toilets backstage. I can probably trace my entire career back to that day and discovering how different your experience could be if you just had the right color wrist band. Every day of my life since has pretty much just been the thrill of making sure I have ‘the right color wristband’ in whatever situation life throws at you.

“Jesse tech’d for Me First and another local band, 2 Cents Worth, that were friends of ours that day. I sat way up in the bleachers watching the show with an eagle’s-eye view.

“At the end of the day, we were standing around saying our goodbyes and I saw (Fear frontman) Lee Ving leaving!

“That’s been my Warped Tour joke ever since.”

Blair Dewayne, Rusty Maples singer-guitarist

“Warped Tour was a huge deal to me as a teenager. There wasn’t much for kids to do in the valley in the early aughts. We had the Huntridge Theater and occasional shows at House of Blues and The Joint, but fests like Warped Tour and Our Big Concert were highlights of teenage life.”

Mike Lavin, Digital Insight Recording Studios co-owner, The Pluralses drummer

“The best Warped Tour I had was at Desert Breeze Park (2004). I was looking for work and got hired by the load-in and load-out crew. I showed up at 7 a.m., unloaded a bunch of semi-trucks, and then they released us to come back at the end of the night.

“However, we had our wristbands that let us get in and out.

“I must have carried in five 18-packs of beer for my crazy friends and I.

“Got wasted.

“My friend Tito from Recess Records was the sound guy for Anti-Flag, so after I got drunk, I sobered up and beat the midday heat in the Anti-Flag bus.

“Left there, drank some more. Loaded all the semi-trucks at the end of the show.”

Isaac Irvine, Happy Campers singer-guitarist

“The first time I went to Warped Tour was up in Lake Tahoe. Happy Campers was just getting started and played one of our first out-of-town shows in Reno. We went to Warped Tour the next day and it blew me away. It was like a giant summer camp for punk music. NOFX, Rancid, Bad Religion, Vandals: So many of our favorite bands all in one spot. I got to meet my idol, (Bad Religion singer) Greg Graffin, and he signed my ticket. (Still have it.)

“The next year or so we played Warped in Vegas. I think one of the great things Warped did was include local and regional bands. Everyone got to feel like they were a part of it, and get to say they played with Bad Religion or whoever (albeit from a much smaller stage on the opposite side of the festival).

“The next year we added a couple California dates. Warped was part of our biggest tour ever. It was actually quite exhausting being at a festival all day and driving through the night to the next destination. We sold our guest wristbands each day for food and gas. We had some great shows and met awesome people. Sad to see it go, but it was instrumental in bringing punk, ska and other underground styles to the masses.”

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
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
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)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
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)
THE LATEST