Warped Tour can be an oppressive affair. Sweltering heat, oversized crowds and a fair amount of uncomfortable controversy all make for a cruel mixture. Yet for all of the obstacles, Warped Tour still offers a platform for up and coming bands and a meeting ground for music fans of all kinds. Now in its 22nd year of existence, the country’s largest traveling music festival is a well-oiled machine.
Per usual, this year’s trek offers up a variety of acts, both new and old, that span across multiple genres. Some bands are using the tour as a chance to say “goodbye,” while others are just making an introduction.
After attending Warped Tour’s recent stop in Indianapolis, we decided to highlight a few of the bands that are shining bright this summer. Whether you’re a fan of pop punk, metalcore, post-hardcore or pop, there’s no shortage of sets you won’t want to miss on this year’s tour. Take a look below!
Mayday Parade has come a long way since their days following Warped Tour in a van in 2006, handing out CDs to bystanders in line. The Tallahassee, Florida, outfit is a full-scale rock behemoth that once again finds itself gracing the main stage. With the release of last year’s Black Lines, Mayday Parade has fully transitioned from pop punk heroes to an alt-rock powerhouse. Even with an impressive new collection of songs at their disposal, the band still finds time to play fan favorites like “Black Cat”, “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over”
Against the Current
After signing with Fueled by Ramen and releasing their smash debut album In Our Bones, pop rockers Against the Current look primed to take over the scene. With the confident Chrissy Constanza behind the mic, the band deliver loads of melody perfect for summer sing-alongs. With a solid debut under their belt and a fan base growing larger by the day, don’t be surprised if Against the Current find themselves on the main stage in the very near future.
Parting is such sweet sorrow. Sure, it’s devastating to consider Yellowcard’s upcoming disbandment following the release of their self-titled album in September, but at least fans are getting another chance to hear their favorite songs. This summer on Warped, Yellowcard reaches back, playing a variety of fan favorites, including four tracks from their smash album Ocean Avenue. Warped Tour won’t be the same without Yellowcard, but we’re thankful that we get to say goodbye.
The Word Alive
Even though Phoenix metalcore act The Word Alive are still a relatively young band, they’re now Warped veterans, spending their fourth summer on the tour. With Dark Matter, the band has evolved from their beginnings, offering a taste of experimental rock and even nu metal sounds. Their setlist is a wild ride, especially with Tyler “Telle” Smith on the mic, working the crowd into a frenzy.
San Diego’s Secrets have had their fair share of re-birth, now enlisting their third vocalist in Wade Walters to handle screaming duties. Multiple changes behind the mic have done little to slow the band down, though, with last year’s Everything That Got Us Here being the band’s strongest work to date. Walters and clean vocalist and guitarist Richard Rogers are now one of the scene’s best one-two punches, providing fans with plenty of reason to jump around in the pit.
Sleeping with Sirens
Sleeping with Sirens have not only climbed the Warped ladder through the years, they’ve also covered a lot of sonic ground that has kept the band fresh in the eyes and ears of their fans. Last year’s Madness finds the band experimenting with pop elements in addition to ragers like “We Like it Loud” and “Kick Me”, which elicit excitement from the Warped Tour crowd.
Moments after the rest of Emarosa takes the stage for their set at Warped, vocalist Bradley Walden shoots into the crowd, performing “Miracle” from inside the pit. It’s the kind of energy that makes this summer tour such a blast for fans, especially when you consider the heart and soul poured into the band’s latest release, 131. Walden and company have taken their game to a whole new level, which is saying a lot for one of the most captivating bands in the post-hardcore scene.
Considering the clamor surrounding their debut, it’s still incredible to see how much Real Friends has upped the ante with their new release, The Home Inside My Head. The band continues to come into their own, now gracing the main stage for this summer’s Warped Tour. Dan Lambton bounds about the stage wailing with passion while the rest of the band drives their set forward, much to the crowd’s delight. Sometimes singing the saddest songs can still be a joyous affair.
I See Stars
It’s possible that Treehouse is the most criminally underrated album of 2016. The latest from electronicore act I See Stars finds Devin Oliver handling full vocal duty for the first time, and his stage presence at Warped is something to behold. The band still brings the house down with hits like “Murder Mitten” and “Filth Friends Unite”, but showcase newfound potential with new tracks like “Mobbin’ Out”. On their third full trek on the summer tour, I See Stars are sounding better than ever.
by Kiel Hauck
Kiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.