Live Coverage || Warped Tour @ Columbia, MD (29/7/2018)

The final cross country run of Vans Warped Tour made a stop  this year at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland on July 29th. It was a bittersweet day to say the least knowing that the infamous tour was coming to an end. However, the Warped lineup was stacked including bands such as The Amity Affliction, Deez Nuts, In Hearts Wake, Less Than Jake, Good Charlotte, Chelsea Grin, and This Wild Life

When I first arrived at the venue, I ran straight over to the Red Dawn stage to catch The Amity Affliction. The Australian metalcore band was my favorite one to photograph because they pour an immense about of emotion into their performance. In addition, it is crystal clear that the band’s powerful lyrics are changing lives right in front of me.

When I first heard that a band called Deez Nuts was playing, I had make sure to check them out. The Australian rap hardcore outfit interestingly enough ended up being one of my new favorite bands. The vocalist, JJ Peters also made sure to acknowledge the photographers with smiles as the cameras captured the images.

The next band on my list to photograph was yet another Australian band, In Hearts Wake. I heard about their insane crowd surfing and I was instantly intrigued to  photograph them. Vocalist, Jake Taylor invited the crowd to participate, during "Survival", as he and his stuffed koala rode an inflated raft across the sea of fans towards the sound booth. Only an Aussie could carry that one off.

I made my way over to the Journeys Rightfoot Stage to catch Less Than Jake. I’ve never listened to them before but their set was fantastic and used props such as smoke machines and streamers to engage the audience. The band members also had fun with the photographers using facial expressions as a means of capturing their personality on the images.

The best part of my day was yet to happen when the infamous Good Charlotte made a surprise appearance. I was in absolute shock that they were playing. I hustled over to the Journeys Rightfoot stage as fast as I could. Good Charlotte played all of their classics. including ‘The Anthem’, ‘Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous, ‘Girls & Boys’, ‘Little Things’ and ‘I Just Wanna Live’. The nostalgia felt like 2003 all over again.

Chelsea Grin performed from the  Red Dawn to stage. To kick off their set, vocalist Tom Barber poured water all over his head and began head banging. After the first 3 songs ended, I left the photo pit and walked around backstage. I found a place out of the way to photograph and I had a blast. I was able to shoot images from the vantage point of the musicians looking out at the crowd. At the end of Chelsea Grin’s set drummer Pablo Viveros walked past me and gave me a fist bump. Confirmation of a job well done.

I was pretty exhausted running from stage to stage, so I took a break at my friend Jake Langley’s tent. Jake of Pass Along  Knowledge Yourself  Records (PAKY) was onsite with his merch and offering information on starting a record label or help with independent record labeling.

The last group to photograph was This Wild Life. Vocalist Kevin Jordan didn’t seem to miss a note despite having a broken arm while playing his guitar. I captured shots from the pit before moving backstage to get crowd shots. Taking photos from backstage looking out into the crowd provides that birds eye view that band members feel and a sense of connection with the fans. As a photographer and music lover, I am grateful to be able to share and capture the emotions from both the band and audience perspective.

As the sun began to set, I couldn’t help but reminisce over the wonderful memories of past Warped Tours. I was not ready for this day to end. The full cross country Vans Warped Tour will always remain close to my heart. 

Forever Warped.

All pictures courtesy of Ashley Kalinoski Photography
(Features photos from the Columbia, MD, Scranton, PA, Camden and Holmdel, NJ dates)

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