Warped Tour stops at Blossom Music Center

Cassie Neiden

Thousands of people gathered for the Vans Warped Tour at Blossom Music Center on Wednesday to listen to music from bands both old and new, including Taking Back Sunday, Breathe Carolina, The Used, All Time Low, Machine Gun Kelly, The Bangups, Patent Pending and Larry Gee.

The Bangups began the day at the Kevin Says Stage next to the amphitheater. It was the Grand Rapids, Mich., duo’s first time playing at Warped Tour. The band played music influenced by of Delta blues, old country and rock and roll.

“We’ve got guitars, and we’ve got drums. You’ve got hands, and you’ve got mouths. Let’s use them, “ guitarist Joey Dornbos said to begin the set.

People made stops at the stage, many bobbing their heads to the music, while passing through to check out the venue.

Both Dornbos and Drummer Brent French were smiling throughout the set.

“It’s been little, but it’s been a great damn crowd,” Dornbos said.

The Bangups described Vans Warped Tour as life-changing. They said they enjoy the experience as a newer band.

“We’re actually in a van that has broken down twice already, and there’s no air conditioning. It’s pure grit and dreams and fun,” Dornbos said.

The duo has also made built relationships with other bands on the tour.

“Dead Sara are like our best friends now,” French said. The Bangups have also befriended Emily’s Army and Stepdad.

Hanging out with friends is vocalist David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina’s favorite part of the tour.

“You get to see them every day and hang out with them every day. It’s like a big family,” said Schmitt.

Breathe Carolina played on the Kia Rio stage at Blossom’s amphitheater. The band Mod Sun, who Breathe Carolina has become close to on this tour, surprised the crowd by spraying water guns all over the pit.

Reina Cibella, 18, of Leavittsburg, Ohio, said Breathe Carolina’s music is the soundtrack of her summer.

Patent Pending played on the OurStage.com Stage at the entrance of the venue. The pop punk band played to a crowd of about 50 audience members singing their lyrics and jumping to the beat.

Vocalist Joe Ragosta jumped off stage in the middle of the set and had the crowd follow him in a circle down a pathway left of the entrance gate and back to the stage.

The band has been together for 11 years.

“Every time that we go anywhere, Anthony drives and I sit right behind him and every time we play a show, Anthony’s the drummer he sits behind me. So for 11 years, Anthony and I have been staring at each other’s asses,” Ragosta said.

“For 11 years,” he reiterated. He said a band can’t be together without being good friends with each other. Patent Pending has learned to be respectful of each other like not making too much noise on the bus when some of them have to wake up early the next morning.

“There’s no egos in our band, and that’s one of the best parts,” he said.

But playing in Vans Warped Tour isn’t always fun or easy for less-established bands. Similar to Bangups, bands like Patent Pending depend on the sales of their merchandise to get them to the next show. Ragosta referred to a time when the band realized they didn’t have “a single American dime” on them and had to stop at a Walmart to sell their CDs so they could get to the next show.

Taking Back Sunday doesn’t have this issue as an established band.

“We’ve got a great crew that takes good care of us,” said guitarist Shaun Cooper. There are 12 people on the band’s tour bus, and each person gets their own bunk.

Taking Back Sunday played at Warped Tour for the second time in their 13-year career. They played as their original lineup including lead singer Adam Lazzara, guitarist Shaun Cooper, guitarist John Nolan, drummer Mark O’Donnell and bassist Mark Rubano.

The band’s set list, played on the Kia Soul Stage, included some of the classics, such as “You’re So Last Summer” and “Cute Without the ‘E’ (Cut from the Team).”

Taking Back Sunday will be writing new music soon, said Cooper, as he and O’Donnell reminisced about their old times together as a band and the fun they had in their 20s. The band used to stay with some strange people while the band on tour back then, they said.

Machine Gun Kelly ended the day on Tilly’s Stage with a bit of technical trouble before the set, causing about a 25-minute delay, but put on a show that had the crowd screaming, jumping, crowd surfing and “lacing up.”

After MGK came on stage he said he was told to finish his set by 9 p.m., and then he addressed the staff over the microphone, “Do not cut my show, or you will have a (expletive) riot.”

He explained that it would be a “problem” if he was forced to shut down his show early in his hometown. MGK played the entire set, which lasted until about 9:30 p.m.

“He knows how to interact with the crowd,” said Brittany Miller, 20, of Cleveland, who was standing in the front row. “He always does the craziest (expletive). I paid $45 just to see him.”

Contact Cassie Neiden at [email protected].