Words by Paige Kochanski
Toronto – Warped Tour July 4
My third year at Warped Tour and first time at the Toronto stop was an adventure.
Toronto’s stop started off as a bit of a confusing mess, but as the day went on and got started, it was my favourite year yet.
The doors originally were supposed to open at 11:00, but were pushed back to 12:00 due to border crossing into Canada. Once fans got in and ran into the inflatable to check out the set times, it was missing. The schedule posting was pushed back from 12:00 to 1:30. As the tour was in the U.S. the day before, it was a mess getting everyone and everything over the border in time, resulting in a lot of the buses being stuck at the border until late morning and a few getting to the show after doors and fans had already arrived.
This is a time when everyone was very thankful for all Kevin Lyman and the tour staff do, as it was taken care of very well without having to sacrifice the day. Toronto is one of the two Canadian stops and though it must be hard to get everything set up to come over in time, it’s always appreciated. Once everything started, it was back to the fun Warped Tour experience everyone was looking forward to.
The venue was a beautiful location at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in the middle of downtown Toronto. With views of the CN Tower and adjacent to Lake Ontario, it looked gorgeous. The set up on the other hand was a bit strange, as everything was so spread out, but that was due to the nature of the venue, rather than on purpose. A particularly cool part of it was one of the stages being on sand, so it was just like watching from the beach.
The first band I saw was We Are The In Crowd on the Warheads stage. As it was such a confusing day and being one of the first bands to play, the crowd was slightly timid until the band warmed everyone up. WATIC has transformed from their first run on the tour in 2010, with a new confidence and tougher sound.
After a five year break from Warped, The Maine are back this year. Their setlist was short but covered each of their albums, including slower songs like “Growing Up” and “Into Your Arms” that were sped-up to fit better into the Warped environment. The best part of their set is the evolution of their vocalist, John O’Callaghan. He really has stepped into his role of lead singer and commanded the crowd immensely. Though he used to seem slightly awkward on stage years ago when they had their first run, he has transformed into a fantastic frontman.
Cute Is What We Aim For were my favourite set of the day and full of nostalgia. After breaking up for several years, this is the one of their first tours back. Playing fan favourites, the set took everyone back to 2008. Vocalist, Shaant Hacikyan told the crowd a story about how he never would have expected to be playing the tour and hoped that every person watching had left the show inspired to follow their dreams. It was refreshing to see how much they enjoyed themselves on stage and how humble and thankful they were to everyone, even meeting fans for over two hours directly after their set.
In the middle of the day, I caught Nick Santino’s set at the Acoustic Basement. The stage is a great addition, as it’s nice to have a break in the shade, especially at the hottest part of the day. Nick’s set seemed to be cut short due to all the schedule changes, but sounded great. He was added in after the times were actually announced, so a lot of people popped in to check it out and enjoyed themselves a lot, which was nice to see.
California’s acoustic duo, This Wild Life, were the perfect set for the end of the day. Being the first time I had heard them besides on an episode of The Bachelorette, they were charismatic, relaxing and a beautiful soundtrack to a Warped sunset.
Beebs and Her Money Makers are one of the most energetic and fun sets that you’ll watch. Though it was late at night and they were the second last of the stop, their set was full of dancing, confetti and trumpets. This is the band’s second time on Warped, after being on last year. They also had their journey followed on Warped Roadies. BaHMM are very different than any other bands on the tour, in the best way possible. There’s something amazing about a band that can get an entire crowd to do a ska dance after a long day of Warped.
Warped Tour is always the best tour of the year. Anyone going can have a different day, but still have an awesome time. The biggest piece of advice is to have fun all day and see as many different bands as you can see, as it goes by way too quickly.
If the tour hasn’t hit your city yet, be sure to check it out! Pick up tickets here.