More than 90 bands and thousands of music fans ascended the mountain Wednesday as the “Vans Warped Tour” made its annual stop at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
After fighting traffic caused by the all-day music festival, a double-header at PNC Field and Montage Waterpark patrons trying to escape the heat and humidity, concert goers were treated to nearly 10 hours of continuous music in countless styles.
Bands with names such as Air Dubai, Bad Rabbits, Bowling for Soup, Cute Is What We Aim For, Every Time I Die, For All Those Sleeping and a myriad of others played everything from punk rock, ska, alternative rock and hip hop to emo, reggae, pop, metalcore, post-hardcore and seemingly endless variations of each.
The Scranton show kicked off a bit past 11 on Wednesday morning with nearly simultaneous sets on eight stages by For Today (metalcore/hardcore), The Story So Far (pop/punk), Real Friends (pop punk/emo), The Protomen (rock/opera), Born of Osiris (metal), DJ Scout and Heart To Heart (punk/hardcore). There was also a battle of the bands stage where newer artists take a shot at fame and fortune, or at least an invite to a bigger stage for next year’s festival.
One of this year’s standouts was Beebs and Her Money Makers, a sextet from Orlando, Fla., playing a blend of psychedelic ska, funk and soul. The six members were dressed in matching black and white checkered pants, while the lead singer (Michelle Beebs) also wore a checkered dress and red shoes. And – for whatever reason – she also had a checkered tail.
Following a nifty cover of the TLC hit “Waterfalls,” Beebs announced, “No more covers, we hate playing them.”
The band then followed with a cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” A later original tune had the crowd gathered in front of the stage partaking in a “free-style dance party.”
“If you don’t like having fun, you’re going to hate us,” Beebs said. “So, um, sorry.”
The Ready Set, which is not a band but rather the stage name of Jordan Witzigreuter from Fort Wayne, Ind., attracted a sizeable crowd with a 30-minute set showcasing tunes from new album “The Bad & The Better.”
Highlights included the new album’s “Higher” and “Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever)” and “Love Like Woe,” his No. 27 hit single from 2010.
Bayside, a quartet of punk rockers from Queens, N.Y., started its set with “Sick, Sick, Sick” from 2010’s “Killing Time” before moving on to hard-charging tunes from its most recent album, “Cult.”
Scranton’s own Motionless in White, a metalcore band featuring frontman Chris Motionless (born Christopher Thomas Cerulli), played a triumphant homecoming set in front of a large crowd to wrap up the action on one of the larger satellite stages.
“It’s great to be home,” Motionless said following the band’s first song. “We started a few years ago on the battle of the bands stage and every year we climbed up a little bit to another stage.
“Now because of every single one of you (expletive deleted), we are on this main stage right here!”
Standout songs included 2010 single “Abigail,” 2013 single “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” (which turned into an incredible display of audience participation) and new song “Reincarnate,” the title track of the band’s upcoming new album.
The traveling music festival created in 1994 as a showcase for punk rock and skateboarding celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, having sold more than 8.2 million tickets since its inception. Past performers include Green Day in 2000 and Katy Perry in 2008. Less Than Jake, a ska band from Gainesville, Fla., formed in 1992, holds the record for most Warped Tour dates, having played more than 365 times at the festival, including Scranton on Wednesday.