Black Dahlia Murder
Black Dahlia Murder
Alex Distefano

Vans Warped Tour- Pomona Fairplex - June 21, 2013

Day two of the Vans Warped Tour brought out the masses of music fans once again to the Fairplex in Pomona for another sun-soaked day full of eclectic bands, vendors, and fans of all ages and backgrounds.

This year's festival was dominated by up and coming popular emo, indie rock, metalcore bands, and pop punk bands, but there was literally something for everyone: from Electronic, to acoustic pop to even hip-hop. See Also: *Vans Warped Tour Day 1 coverage *Photos: Vans Warped Tour 2013

Fan favorites of the day included local ska/punk bands Reel Big Fish and The Aquabats, all of whom played energetic, entertaining sets in the middle of a warm, but not hot afternoon, that got hundreds of fans skanking along nicely. Both bands provided a high-energy beach party vibe in their sets, with the fast, yet upbeat songs making people move.

Noticeably missing however, among the thousands of fans, and over 100 artists on ten stages, were any established punk bands, (either new school or old school). It seemed rather odd, considering the tour began as a punk rock music/skateboard festival 19 years ago.

Despite this, fans were ecstatic to see various pop punk, rock/post hardcore groups such as Motion City Soundtrack, August Burns Red, Chiodos, Bring Me The Horizon, Sleeping With Sirens, Hawthorne Heights, Real Friends, Stick To Your Guns and tons more, literally too many to name.

Some fans gave the impression of a fest that was very disjointed with too many stages, and bands playing at the same time, competing for fans. Thankfully, for the most part every stage was had a crowd of dedicated fans when bands were playing from the start of the festival at 11:00 a.m. to the conclusion at 9:00 p.m.

Alex Distefano

At around 5:00 pm. at the Ernie Ball Stage, fans were treated to a performance by Crossfaith, a metal band from Osaka, Japan, reminiscent of nu-metal, but with a very crushing industrial tinged sound. The band's uncompromising loud set sounded like an emulsified version of Fear Factory, Slipknot, Bleeding Through, Ministry and Prodigy. The band was in a heavy metal party mode, as bottles of whisky were passed among band members on stage between songs. Crossfaith have a very high energy electro metal sound, and the band was able to get more heads bopping and people dancing than slamming with some dubstep sounds, scratches and beats as well which was skillfully incorporated into the heavy sound.

Black Veil Brides
Black Veil Brides
Alex Distefano

Around 6:30, while the sun was still up, American death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder were blunt on their musical intention to the crowd at the Monster Stage, which included several hundred rabid fans. "We are here to kick it up and bring in some testosterone on this tour! And body hair!" yelled singer Trevor Strnad.

Even though this Michigan based death metal band might have fit in more on a tour like the Rockstar Mayhem Festival (coming next weekend 6/29 to San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino), it was a pleasant welcome to watch this band outside of their comfort zone. The fans still loved the change of musical scenery as well, and a swath of pretty ladies were seen head banging along with their fellow male metal head counterparts.

For 25 minutes, there was nothing but a sea of horns and banging heads as the band dished out a blood transfusion of menacing, yet melodic music merging the sounds of Swedish and Florida death metal, with hints of Norwegian black metal and thrash. Sweaty moshers were left wanting more, with a short but sweet set would have been better under moonlight rather than sunlight.

Performing just as the sun was setting to thousands of fans was the Michigan-based metalcore band We Came As Romans. Fans all smashed up close to the stage and crowd surfing reached a maximum capacity level for the security guards at the barricades separating the crowd from the giant stage. Fans circle pitted and whirl winded through this band's anthemic emotional filled vocals, yet heavy songs, filled with oozing breakdowns.

Hailing from Dallas, Texas an ironically-named band called Memphis May Fire also saw thousands of fans scrunched up near the front stage barricades throwing their hands up and singing along with the eclectic, melodic hardcore sound the band produced. The up-and-coming band's emo, metal core and even hard rock blend of styles proved to be a fan favorite, as fans in front screamed out songs with vocalist Matty Mullins.

Black Veil Brides also played to the festival's biggest crowds, many of them under age 18; a good mix of males and females. But forget about a slam pit, for this band it was more like glam pit, with this band's the over-the-top worship of Sunset Strip legends like Poison, Guns N Roses, and of course LA's favorite 80s metal hedonists, Motley Crue-in both aesthetics and sound.

Musically, Black Veil Brides found the perfect formula: Combine catchy 80s metal guitar riffs and solos, punk like power chords, metal core breakdowns, and melodic, emotional clean singing chorus parts, along with a modern rock edge, and fans will flock to the music. You got to give these guys credit for that.

Imagine if 80s metal band Cinderella and Billy Idol made music together. It might sound like Black Veil Brides. Most of those in attendance loved the band, which kept mentioning they were from Hollywood and were hung-over from the previous night's rock star excesses. But it didn't seem to matter as all shirtless, leather pants wearing members buzzed through their set which included an appropriate cover of Billy Idol's 'Rebel Yell," that fans in the front loved.

Critical Bias: The warped tour deserves credit where credit is due. Although they sold bottled water at outrageous prices (which almost all summer music festivals also do), Fans at this year's show were allowed to bring in their own bottled water, and were treated to FREE refillable filtered water container located throughout the show. What a great way to avoid dehydration, with FREE water!

The Crowd: Thousands of concertgoers makes for a diverse crowd. Parents dropping off their kids got in free, so many flocked to the beer tents as the youngsters rushed to the mosh pit. Tons of pretty ladies, hipsters in flannels and tight pants, people in all black, the occasional Mohawk, girls with short dyed hair, dudes with long greasy hair, tons of glasses and facial hair, metal heads, some greasers and tank tops, shirtless tattooed bros, vaporizers and beer/bottled waters everywhere.

Overheard: A middle aged man, in an leather jacket was smoking cigarettes, eating bbq and drinking beers with his peers at a table: "Man, what's with no punk bands this year? What the Hell? But, the amazing thing, is that all these metal bands, bring in tons of chicks!"

Random Notebook Dump: Some mild boos were heard from some jocks and miscreants who were displeased with Black Veil Brides, yelling homophobic slurs from the crowd, and one bald mosher who kept giving the band the constant middle finger throughout their entire set. "Whether you love us or hate us, Pomona, we appreciate all of you and every one of our fans, you mean the world to us, and we're only here to play rock n roll," yelled singer Andy Biersack. Which is exactly what the band did.

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