Vans Warped Tour 2016

Vans Tour Photo

It’s summertime, and for most people it’s beaches, vacation, and fun in the sun. However, for a select few, it’s the yearly music festival, the Vans Warped Tour! For those unfamiliar with the Vans Warped Tour, it’s a touring music festival with big name acts in the alternative and punk scene. Hundreds of thousands of people attend this music festival for moshing, crowd surfing and enjoying the music. This year, Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, is basing it on “back to basics”. During the live-streamed lineup announcement, Lyman said “this years tour is really about bringing it back to basics. It’s just about simplifying”. Acts such as Sum 41, New Found Glory and Good Charlotte are kicking it old-school pop-punk. While newer acts such as Waterparks, State Champs and Knuckle Puck are bringing in the new generation of pop-punkers. Warped Tour has also enlisted currently popular bands such as melodic post-hardcore band Sleeping With Sirens, or metalcore act Falling in Reverse. With the diverse styles of music, from pure metal such as Atreyu, to acoustic like Saywecanfly, this year has made it out to be quite promising. And promising it was!

Mayday Parade


Starting off the day, we saw Mayday Parade. A pop-punk band fronted by Derek Sanders. While we missed the very beginning, it was still a fantastic start. Playing some of their older songs, they also incorporated many new songs from their most recent album. On the stage right next to Mayday Parade was We the Kings. At some point, you have probably heard their famous song, “Check Yes Juliet”. They played many fan favorites, such as “Say You Like Me” and “Sad Song”. They even brought out Machine Gun Kelly, who is a Cleveland native, and had him perform a snippet of his song “Wild Boy”. We the Kings also performed “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, which got everyone singing along. They definitely knew how to play a great set! We had some downtime, which was used to buy merch, and energize ourselves because Sleeping With Sirens was about to play. Managing to get through the crowd was a bit of a challenge, but we were able to snag a good spot. Starting right away, they played one of their newer but popular songs, “Kick Me”. They had everyone singing loudly, and I was out of breath by the end of the song. Continuing on, Kellin Quinn knew what to do to keep everyone excited despite the humid temperature. The band amassed a huge crowd that jumped, sang and moshed the entire time. Ending with their iconic hit, “If You Can’t Hang”, I was breathless by the end of their set.

Sleeping With Sirens

Trying to get around the large crowd that Issues was gaining, we took some time off to eat and walk around. Around this time, we realized we were in a bit of a dilemma. Crown the Empire, who I really wanted to see was playing at the same time as Good Charlotte. Because of the genre difference they were set up on different stages, but close enough that we could run back and forth. So deciding that we could not miss either band, we split up the sets. Running too Crown the Empire, they opened up with one of their new songs “Zero” which is taken from their new album “Retrograde”. Due to being a bit of a heavier band, we stood farther back, but still enjoyed their set. The crowd was definitely rocking out to Crown the Empire, as a huge mosh pit formed in the front. While I loved the set, I wish I could have stayed for the whole thing. But Good Charlotte was playing and my friend loves them. Quickly sprinting, we were in the far back of their enormous crowd. I didn’t really know any of the songs, but I could tell everyone else did because everyone was singing along. Even though I really didn’t know any of the songs, they still put on an incredible performance. After they ended their set, we walked around for some more merch and even got a picture with Alternative Press’s Nick Major! Since Sum 41 was a pretty iconic band I wanted to watch their performance. Getting into a spot where we could see was incredibly hard because so many people were trying to get in too. We were in the back, but very tightly packed with so many other people. I honestly don’t know any of Sum 41’s songs except for “Into too Deep” and “Fat Lip”, but I knew by jumping and crowd surfing going on, it wasn’t hard to know they were extremely popular.

Sum 41

Once they ended their performance, one of my favorite band was up next, Tonight Alive. Literally grabbing my friends and moving to their stage, which luckily was right next to Sum 41’s, so we got a really great spot. I was so excited, and when they started performing “To Be Free” I was so pumped. Next they played the song that got me into them “Lonely Girl”, which had me singing at the top of my lungs. As embarrassing as it was, I loved it. I actually almost lost my voice because of it. Jenna McDougall, the lead singer, gave an amazing speech on living our own lives freely. Due to their latest album “Limitless” being based around the idea of living life and having your own power, it was only fitting to encourage the crowd to believe in self-power. Continuing with their set, they played old songs such as “Listening” to new songs like “Drive”. Tonight Alive closed the set with rocker “How Does It Feel?” Getting the everyone to wave their hands in the air, it was a perfect way to close off their set, and close off Warped Tour.

Tonight Alive

While Warped Tour recently ended its course for the summer of 2016, I would say it was an incredibly successful one. They brought old-school bands back on tour to bring nostalgia back from when it started, to popular bands that bring in the newcomers. Despite the extreme heat, it was an amazing day and I can’t wait to go back next year!

Sincerely yours.



Rock Photographer: Nalinee Darmrong

How amazing would it be to have the opportunity to follow your favorite rock band around the world on tour and take photos of them? What would be even cooler is to take those photos and turn them into a photo book published by Rizzoli New York Publications. Nalinee Darmrong did just that! At the age of 17, she went on tour with The Smiths, one of the most influential alternative rock bands of the 80’s fronted by Morrissey. Nalinee ended up putting all of her photos into a book appropriately titled, The Smiths. Born in Bethesda, MD, she now currently resides in Washington DC and is a house photographer for several clubs in the DC area. Recently, I was able to ask her questions about her amazing career:


Where did you attend high school and college?

Holton-Arms School for high school, University of Maryland, College Park for college.

How did you get into rock photography?

Ironically, The Smiths were the first band I ever shot consistently after high school.  I took a couple of high school photography courses, shot a few pix of shows at the old 9:30 Club on 9:30 F Street.  I was very lucky, at the right place at the right time (between high school and college) to shoot The Smiths for such an extended period of time.  They were amazing, and I will forever be grateful that they granted me the access to take most of the photos that are now part of my first photo book, The Smiths (Rizzoli publishers).

How did you get into rock music?

I’ve always been into music, as far as I can remember.  There was always music in the home when I was growing up.  I love all music, but rock music especially, because it speaks to me the most.  I’ve been in 5+ bands over the years,  and The Smiths’ guitarist, Johnny Marr, is the reason I had the courage to pick up a guitar and see what I could do. He is one of my ultimate guitar icons. and an amazing human being as well.

How did you end up touring with The Smiths? Are you a big fan?

My good friend Tony made me a cassette tape of the music and got me my first ticket to a Smiths show (Washington DC) as a graduation present in 1985.  Another friend got me a ticket to the next show (Philadelphia).  A bunch of friends and me talked to Johnny Marr after the DC show, and he put us all on the guest list for the 2 shows in New York (following Philadelphia).  Everything seemed to happen organically, and not forced in any way.  I grew to love the band the more I saw their live shows – incredibly energetic and crowd-inclusive – that’s what sold me for the long haul on why The Smiths were so great, and are still great to this day.

What was the experience like?

Magical!  I was 17 going on 18, shooting candid pix of an amazing band, and traveling for the first time on my own (without my parents) and discovering the world.

What are you planning on doing next?

I’m currently one of the house photographers for the 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall, Lincoln Theatre, Echostage, and Merriweather Post Pavilion.  I will continue to do that while focusing on my book and selling photo prints.

What was the coolest place your job has taken you?

Though photographing The Smiths wasn’t exactly ‘my job,’  the coolest place I went to was The Shetland Isles in Scotland.  It was a very small community, and everyone had to travel by ferry to get there.  I saw some Shetland ponies, and learned about their rich Viking culture.  Everyone who was there for the show felt special, honored, and humbled to see a Smiths show in such a remote locale.

What other bands do you really enjoy?

Too many to name…the great thing about being a hired music photographer is that you get to see bands you wouldn’t normally see and get turned on to all different kinds of music.  I love that!

What inspires you?

My son, Rama, he’s 7, and I love seeing the world through his eyes.  He’s an amazing individual.

As a photographer, what do you feel makes a good picture?

It’s not the medium (DSLR, point and shoot, cell phone, etc.), it’s the eye.  It’s taking the time to see and frame a photo in your mind before you tap the button.  Bill Crandall, a mentor and good friend of mine, calls this ‘intention.’  I’ve never forgotten this valuable advice.

What is the best photo you have ever taken? Why?

One of my faves is Joan Jett at RFK Stadium, July 4th, 2015.  It was the first stadium gig I was hired to shoot photos for.  Joan Jett was one of the first female rock pioneers, and it was amazing to get this shot.  I’ll treasure it always.  I got a lot of experience from my good friend, James Canty, for getting me into Coachella 2013 with a photo pass for all 3 days.  I learned A LOT.  One word: sand.


If you weren’t a rock photographer, what would you be?

Probably a musician.  It’s funny, I always thought that that’s what my career would be, but photography was always so much more natural to me.  There hasn’t been a week in my whole life where I haven’t taken a picture.  I just didn’t think that anyone would ever want to see my photos.  I’m so humbled and grateful that I was wrong!

You can get Nalinee’s photo book,  The Smiths, in stores now or online at Amazon (The Smiths ). I would like to thank Nalinee for taking the time to answer my questions, and for giving me advice on how she got into the industry. I would also appreciate any feedback, as this is my first blog post!

Sincerely yours,


My First Blog Post

This is the post excerpt.


Hello! This is my very first blog post! I am a 15 year old girl from Cleveland, who loves music, writing and pop culture. This blog will showcase my interests in music, entertainment reviews, travel, photography and fashion. I hope you look forward to my posts and opinions!

Sincerely yours,