LIVE: Warped Tour UK @ Alexandra Palace [Saturday – 16/11/13]

By Ben Tipple

With the iconic Warped Tour now spanning two days at London’s historic Alexandra Palace, we find ourselves dividing our time between top quality bands, joining the relaxation at our very own Punktastic Acoustic Basement, and catching up with some specially selected bands for our video interviews and documentary.

Although quieter than last year, the slightly reduced number of spectators makes for a more streamlined festival experience. Rather than spending our time wrestling with inexplicable crowd control, we join punters as they largely move effortlessly between seeing heavyweights and upstarts of the pop-punk and hardcore genres alike.

Ben Tipple and Lais MW are on hand throughout the two days to witness all the action, flitter between interviews, and generally act like excitable kids in a sweet shop.


Ben: Fittingly, I start the day at the Punktastic Acoustic Basement to catch the reggae inspired Californian ska punks The Dirty Heads perform in this stripped back environment. Clearly experienced in delivering this type of performance, it sets the tone for things to come on the chilled out stage.

It’s not long before I am literally chilled as I venture outside to the tour buses to speak to The Wonder Years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we talk a lot about the weather.

Lais: My first stop is the press room to do some interviews. I have a lovely triple whammy of Parkway Drive, Yellowcard and Chiodos. All three are fantastically good fun and set us up for the weekend.

Ben: Back in the Acoustic Basement, The Maine are delivering another surprising but flawless minimalist performance. John O’Callaghan’s vocals steal the show here, and rightly so. As just one of three performances over the weekend, there’s definitely more to see from this band.

Real Friends provide the first true big hitter of the weekend over on the Jagermeister stage. Despite obvious similarities to the likes of The Wonder Years, tracks such as ‘I’ve Given Up On You’ sound immediately anthemic.

Lais: Following their acoustic performance, The Maine are on the Monster stage next. Their set mainly (no pun intended) consists of tracks off their newest album, ‘Forever Halloween’, and they sound great. The show probably doesn’t convey just how great their songs are, and how much they make your heart hurt, but it’s a good show nevertheless.

Ben: After chatting to Lonely The Brave about their Warped experience so far, I head back to the Jagermeister stage to catch their atmospheric crescendo take the festival by surprise. It still might be the anomaly on the line-up but nothing is lost in the vast open space. Tracks from their forthcoming full-length sound as epic as they ever have, and undoubtedly pull in some new fans.

Lais: Next I trot over to the main stages to catch Memphis May Fire. They’re a personal favourite of mine and they play all their hits, ‘Vices’ and ‘Legacy’ included. Frontman Matty Mullins’ voice is excellent, and they bring on Chiodos’ Craig Owens to sing the brilliant ‘Miles Away’.

Ben: I have a chat with Canterbury about their new record, and some seriously random things along the way, before heading back out into the throngs.

The Color Morale treat their fans to a particularly special headline performance to close off today’s proceedings at the Punktastic Acoustic Basement. Far removed from their amplified post-hardcore, frontman Garret Rapp appears alone before exclaiming his frustration at the seated crowd. Moments later he is surrounded by a horde of standing fans, offering something entirely unique to the dedicated following.

Lais: We meet up to head back to the press room to interview Neck Deep, who have already played a blinding set. These guys have only been around for a year and their debut album hasn’t even been released yet, but they’ve generated a wild amount of hype and they’re already in Australia as we speak. Amazing work.

Ben: I spend the majority of my evening in the Kevin Says stage, enjoying the trio of We The Fiction, Handguns and Canterbury. The former deliver a ferocious performance sitting somewhere between melodic hardcore and the distinctive “wave” bands – particularly La Dispute. The energy emanating from the stage is particularly noteworthy.

Handguns impress with a more traditional take on pop-punk. The half-filled room hang on to every work, regularly throwing themselves at the front row. The more intimate atmosphere in this room lends itself well to the likes of Handguns.

Canterbury prove to bethe highlight of the day, delivering a set dense with tracks from the seminal ‘Heavy in the Day’. There’s no time for the down tempo ballads, yet I can’t help but turn to the person next to me to express disbelief at frontman Mike Spark’s insanely impressive vocals. By the middle of the set, the Kevin Says stage is having a full-on party.

Lais: Next up I catch Itch on the Jagermeister stage. Things have changed a lot since his days as the frontman of The King Blues, but his solo career is smashing it as well, just in a completely different way. Songs like ‘Spooky Kids’ and ‘London Is Burning’ are certified bangers, and Itch always puts on an incredible show. That boy’s got swagger.

Ben: Rise Against close the first day of the festival in their typical style, delivering a setlist mixed with crowd favourites and a few oddities alike. It’s the first performance of two, and possible that the band are holding back until the Sunday for the heavy hitters. That said, ‘Help is on the Way’ and ‘Give It All’ allow the audience to explode into song, belting the lyrics back at the stage. As they leave the stage, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that something is missing from this headline performance.

There’s just time for us to hit the after party before some much needed rest. Alexandra Palace – see you in a few hours’ time.