Heavy music is alive and well-represented on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. Created in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, the tour kicked off its partnership with Vans in the summer of 1995 and has become the longest running annual tour in North America.

What began as a showcase for mostly Southern California punk and ska artists, the Vans Warped Tour has become a traveling, outdoor roadshow of music diversity containing fan-friendly booths dedicated to social awareness, music/culture publications, fan revelry and anything else music related.

With the August 1st stop hitting Atlanta, Georgia and over 73 bands playing 30 minute sets throughout the day across seven stages, every music lover in attendance could easily find ways to indulge their live music craving.

1:00 PM August Burns Red (Teggart Stage)

With their recently released “Leveler” album fresh in hand, the men of August Burns Red (Matthew Greiner (drums, keyboard, piano), JB Brubaker (guitar), Brent Rambler (guitar), Jacob Luhrs (lead vocals), and Dustin Davidson (bass) properly set the tone for my Monday afternoon: Heavy…Hard…and Loud!

1:20 PM Abandon All Ships (Advent Stage)

Making a mad dash to catch as many bands as humanly possible led to witnessing the start of Toronto metalcore unit Abandon All Ships’ set. The group is led by Angelo Aita (vocals), Daniel Ciccotelli (guitar), Martin Broda (bass/vocals), and Sebastian Cassis-Nunez (keyboard/synth)

2:00 PM Asking Alexandria (Teggart Stage)

Navigating a sea of soaking-hot energized people, I made my way back to the Teggart stage to catch Asking Alexandria.

This is one example of the dilemma one faces when checking out a tour with so many good bands. Just a few stages away, California metal band Of Mice & Men were playing on the Advent stage and Atlanta crunk rockers Family Force 5 were starting their set on the Nintendo 3DS stage. The choice was made to bet on the band formed by guitarist and current Guitar World coverboy Ben Bruce. Rounded out by James Cassells (drums), Cameron Liddell (guitar), Sam Bettley (bass) and Danny Worsnop (vocals), the hot bet paid off as the group poured their metal mayhem on the crowd.

3:00 PM Gym Class Heroes (Teggart Stage)

Holding camp at the Teggart Stage afforded time to watch Travie McCoy and the rest of Gym Class Heroes smooth out their indie hip-hop style for a crowd that was geared and ready to dance in the Georgia heat. Before the rest of the band (Disashi Lumumba-Kasongo (guitar), Matt McGinley (drums) and Eric Roberts (Bass) launched into their hit “Cupid’s Chokehold” (which features a sample from Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America”) McCoy proceeded to address a few bands who have played the Warped Tour in previous years. Citing the crying and emoting he’s witnessed of other performers who sing about lost love and sad days, the lyricist eloquently advised the guys to suck it up, move on and find another lady.

More Photos and coverage of the afternoon and evening madness to be continued in Part II…