Josh Balz offers advice for surviving Warped Tour, featuring MiW and Newfound Glory
MOOSIC — On July 11, the traveling musical buffet that is Vans Warped Tour stops at The Pavilion at Montage Mountain to serve up bite-size sets from over 60 different acts.
The tour has a history of mixing in newcomers with scene veterans, and this year is no different; music fans can choose to see new names in the pop-punk conversation like ROAM and Waterparks in the same day as genre journeymen Sum 41, Yellowcard and New Found Glory.
For NFG guitarist Chad Gilbert, another stint on Warped Tour isn’t just going through the motions; it’s catching up with former tour mates like Less Than Jake and The Story So Far, as well as getting ready for the future.
“We’re definitely going to be writing a lot of songs on Warped Tour, on the bus and stuff,” Gilbert said. “There’s no exact date or anything like that, but we’re sort of starting the talks. Our new record came out in 2014, so we’re kind of due for a new record next year.”
Gilbert said NFG’s 2014 album “Resurrection” was a rebirth for the band, but their newest release — a 120-page coffee table book — is all about looking back. “Stories of A Different Kind” is a 19-year visual history of the group told through flyers, poster art and short stories that Gilbert hopes will send longtime listeners down memory lane while giving younger fans a taste of what the pre-Internet music scene was like.
The guitarist had a third audience in mind too: a younger version of himself.
“When I was a kid and I started listening to music I had no heroes telling me oh, you should be in a band,” Gilbert said. “All the people you saw that were successful were sort of these larger-than-life characters. Growing up in punk rock I was like, alright, if my band ever did anything successful I’d want to tell people like me that with some hard work and dedication anyone can do it.”
“Stories of A Different Kind” is available for pre-order at NewFoundGlory.com, but the band will have signed copies of the book available July 11, at their Warped Tour merchandise tent.
Motionless in White keyboardist Josh Balz is used to the usual meet-and-greets at his band’s tent, but this year he also has a presence in vendor’s row as a small business owner. Along with handling the day-to-day responsibilities of an artist on tour, Balz manages a tent representing his Kingston-based specialty boutique The Strange and Unusual.
“I’ve had a lot of friends out on Warped Tour with their vendor booths and they’ve always done fairly well,” Balz said. “Our store’s been doing good every day, plus every day there’s an increase in online sales, so they’re familiarizing themselves with our product.”
There’s no shortage of tents to visit at Warped Tour, but none would be there if it weren’t for the music. The tour’s large number of acts means each band plays truncated sets; Balz called his band’s set “the power set,” and said fans are in for a heavy, high intensity ride.
“We only get a half hour, so we’re playing five songs that we have videos for — our heavy hitters we call them — and we’re playing a new song,” said Balz, referencing his band’s new Northeastern Pennsylvania inspired single “570.” “It’s awesome to be able to play something new and the kids are reacting great.”
Along with MiW (obviously), Balz recommended fans check out sets from Sleeping with Sirens, The Word Alive and Gideon. He also said pop-punk bands Sum 41 and New Found Glory were worth braving the summer heat; they’re not the heaviest acts on the tour, but the best part of punk rock summer camp is there’s something for everyone.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: Van’s Warped Tour
When: Monday, July 11. Doors open at 11 a.m.
Where: The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Moosic
How Much: $41 plus fees.