Raise Your Voice: Warped Tour 2018 Review and Photo Gallery

Walking through the crowded grounds of Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana, on a hot July day, it’s nearly impossible not to reflect on Warped Tours past. It was here, nine years ago, where I baked in the sun watching bands like Saosin, Underoath, and Chiodos while screaming along to every word. A year prior in Cincinnati, I stood on the main stage watching Norma Jean bring down the house before singing along to The Academy Is, Anberlin, and Cobra Starship.

Over the years, the Vans Warped Tour is where I met some amazing friends, discovered some of my favorite bands, and truly felt part of a community for one of the first times in my life. As the longest-running touring music festival in North America comes to a close, I’ve felt it necessary to remember those experiences while acknowledging that the experiences have others have not always been so pleasant. For a myriad of reasons, it is time for Warped Tour to end.

There were things to feel good about and music to be excited about during this final trek, yet the staggering lack of gender and racial diversity across the lineup served as a reminder of why it must come to a close. With any luck, whatever takes its place will provide a more balanced and honest view of the underground music scene in years to come.

For now, we take a look at a few of the bands on the 2018 Vans Warped Tour that made some noise and made the tour’s final run worth the price of admission. Take a look below and feel free to share some of your favorites from the lineup in the replies!

Mayday Parade

For a band that made a name for itself by following Warped Tour around the country in 2006, selling CDs to those standing in line, it’s appropriate that Mayday Parade take part in the festival’s final journey. The band has come a long way since those early days, having just released their sixth studio album, Sunnyland, earlier this summer. Per usual, Derek Sanders bounded across the main stage singing fan favorites like “Jamie All Over” and “Jersey”, making for the perfect summer sing-a-long session.

Check out our podcast interview with Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade!

Mayday Parade

As It Is

The band’s second stint on Warped Tour has brought a new sound and a new look. Making light of the obvious changes in between songs, vocalist Patty Walters introduces the band as “My Chemical Romance.” Even if As It Is haven’t quite hit the heights of the aforementioned emo legends, the early signs from upcoming album The Great Depression seem to be promising. From “The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry)” to “The Wounded World”, these new tracks sound even better live than on tape.

As It Is

Doll Skin

While watching Phoenix, Arizona, rockers Doll Skin tear through their set, I was reminded of watching letlive. just a few years prior. The band harness the same amount of energy and passion in their performance, with vocalist Sydney Dolezal even climbing into the crowd mid-song to unleash her powerful scream. For as exciting as the band’s set was, it was disappointing to find it on a side stage. This is the kind of band deserving of the biggest platform available.

Doll Skin

Real Friends

Real Friends feels like our best current example of what it’s like to watch a band grow up on Warped Tour. Having just released their third full-length album, Composure, the band’s main stage set was one of the highlights of the day. Dan Lambton’s energy, even this late into the grueling tour, provided a spark for the crowd as he lit into “Get By” to kick off the band’s set. Having put together the best album of their career, it will be exciting to see where they go next.

Real Friends

Issues

Tyler Carter has the kind of voice that you have to hear to believe. Even when taking on an early set on a hot day late in the tour, Carter still manages to croon his way through eight songs at full tilt. The band, now a four piece, is in the process of putting together their third album, this time minus Michael Bohn. Nevertheless, Carter handled both sides of the vocals beautifully throughout the band’s set, with help from Adrian Rebollo.

Issues

Waterparks

It feels like the stock for Houston pop punk powerhouse Waterparks just keeps rising. With the release of Entertainment earlier this year, the band has cemented their stay as one of the genre’s hottest acts and have ascended to Warped Tour’s main stage. Awsten Knight carries the band’s vocal duties and helps wake up the morning crowd with performances of “Blonde”, “Take Her to the Moon”, and more.

Waterparks

This Wild Life

While standing at the front of the stage to shoot This Wild Life’s gentle set, I couldn’t help but feel good for the security guards, finally relieved of flying bodies and crowd surfers for 30 minutes. The Long Beach duo’s quiet set is the perfect intermission for a day of loud noises, especially as their catalogue of songs continues to grow. The band performs tracks from their new album, Petaluma, while still finding time to throw in some oldies like “History” and “Concrete”.

This Wild Life

Frank Turner

Yes, THAT Frank Turner took the stage for a few Warped Tour dates this year. Each year on the tour, there are always a few surprises on the lineup that should be labeled required viewing. The English folk singer took to the main stage for an eight-song set that felt all too short, while still providing plenty of moments for sing-a-longs and even a few laughs. His closing performance of “Get Better” proved to be one of the highlights of the day.

Frank Turner

Senses Fail

One final run of Warped Tour just wouldn’t feel right without one of the screamo scene’s old guard in tow, and Senses Fail make for the perfect choice. Over 15 years in, vocalist Buddy Nielsen is still a sight to behold on stage, whether he’s playing old standards like “Bite to Break Skin” and “Calling All Cars” or even a few cover songs. The band’s latest release, If There is Light, It Will Find You, is one of the most underrated albums so far in 2018, and the band’s Warped set proves to be a reminder that Senses Fail still have plenty of life left.

Senses Fail

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

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Review: Issues – Headspace

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Ever since their inception in 2012, Issues have marched to the beat of their own drum. Call it metalcore if you have to, but Issues’ brand of rock draws from a variety of influences that don’t necessarily make sense on paper. Nevertheless, the band’s concoction of R&B, soul, nu metal, pop and whatever else sounds good in the moment have vaulted Issues near the top of the scene mountain at the arrival of their sophomore release.

When reviewing the band’s self-titled debut, I addressed Issues’ need to commit to a sonic identity in order to avoid being a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. In my estimation, the band was at their best when leaning either heavy or light – everything in between seemed to muddy the waters.

So it should come as no surprise that Issues’ new album, Headspace, is more varied than ever. It’s also going to be a huge hit.

You can buy Headspace on iTunes.

You can buy Headspace on iTunes.

Instead of whittling down to one particular thread to follow, Headspace is a melting pot of instruments and influence. At times, Issues is creating some of the most accessible music you’ll hear from this scene. At others, they’re pushing themselves as far down the metalcore rabbit hole as their abilities will allow. Most of the time, though, Headspace is trying something completely new, resulting in wide range of outcomes.

When Issues is at their best on this release, they’re allowing their pop persuasions to guide the way. “COMA” opens with the signature guitar crunch the band often relies on, but sheds nearly all pretense by the track’s massive chorus. Here, Michael Bohn drops his screams in favor of a gritty sung delivery that serves as the perfect volley for Tyler Carter to bring down the house. With a dose of passion, Carter crafts his best chorus to date, singing, “I want to be all you think about / Anything and everything you dream about / As if I had it all figured out / I want to be the one you can’t breathe without”.

“Home Soon” follows a similar suit with some of the band’s poppiest instrumentals so far. Carter’s vocal transitions to falsetto and back are otherworldly and pair perfectly with Bohn’s own pendulum swings from light screams to cleans. “Hero” and “Someone Who Does” also find a new, smoother flow for a band that has relied a bit too heavily on coarse guitar riffs to carry the band’s transitions in the past.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, “Blue Wall”, the heaviest song Issues have ever written, feels misplaced and comes across as forced aggression. Still, the band deserve credit for tackling a topic like police brutality head on, with Bohn sounding pleasantly passionate while screaming, “Empty your clips on the victim / And then you look the other way”. You might argue that the song’s angry demeanor fits the subject matter, but it’s this Jekyll and Hyde routine that makes you wonder if one of these sides of Issues wouldn’t be better served as a side project.

Unlike the band’s debut, though, Issues seem to find an acceptable middle ground with much more efficiency. “Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)” comes across as a pleasing Underoath tribute with Carter and Bohn’s back and forth vocals atop rolling guitars. “Yung & Dum” manages to add a dash of country influence to the band’s mix without coming across as cheesy (for the most part). Still, Bohn’s screams feel out of place on a track that features a fiddle.

Where the band falters the most on this release are tracks that re-hash old tricks. “Rank Rider” and “Flojo” sound like b-sides from Issues, failing to latch onto the unique progression that makes most of Headspace a step in the right direction. Here, our attentions are distracted by awkward guitar riffs and record scratches that make the songs sound hollow. Thankfully, these in-betweeners are becoming fewer and further between.

Things end on a high note when Headspace closes with another new trick. A spacey and stimulating interlude leads into “Slow Me Down”, the best example of where the band could excel going forward. Laced with perfect programming elements and emotive keys, Bohn and Carter have never sounded better as a duo. Bohn’s explosive clean vocals on the track’s pre-chorus make you wonder if Issues should drop the screaming altogether, even before Carter blesses the chorus with syrupy vocal runs as he belts out, “Slow me down / I’m burning out of control / So far from heaven now”.

The individual talents of Issues, along with their willingness to experiment without bucking current trends, make Headspace a satisfactory step forward. Even with its flaws, the album is still effortlessly catchy, even when addressing deeper subject matter. Issues continue to be a fascinating outlier, refusing to cave to their detractors’ demands or fall in line with the crowd. It’s all just noise to a band that’s happy to keep making their own.

3.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Issues Release New Song “The Realest”

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Issues have released their first new song in two years. Today the band dropped “The Realest”, the first single from their upcoming album titled Headspace. The new album is set to release on May 20 via Rise Records. You can watch the music video for “The Realest” below:

Pre-orders for Headspace are now available here. What are your thoughts on the new song? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

5 New Songs to Add to Your Christmas Playlist

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Now that the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have been devoured, it’s time to conjure up some holiday cheer in the form of your favorite Christmas songs! In addition to your usual playlist, we’d like to offer up a few fresh tracks that we think will add nicely to your holiday decorating soundtrack. Take a look below for five new songs to guide you through the holiday season.

This Wild Life – “Sleigh Ride”

With their airy-light acoustic delivery and Kevin Jordan’s delicate vocals, This Wild Life are the perfect duo for Christmas cheer. Their rendition of “Sleigh Ride” is a jolly ride through a classic holiday song and will serve as the perfect backdrop to your winter gatherings. Can we get a full album of this, guys?

Carly Rae Jepsen – “Last Christmas”

There have been several covers of Wham’s smash single through the years, but Carly Rae has joined the party with her own unique take on a holiday classic. With a sensual saxophone backdrop and Carly’s token bubblegum melody leading the way, this rendition of “Last Christmas” is sure to be tickling your ears during your holiday shopping trips this year.

August Burns Red – “Home Alone Theme”

Why has nobody thought to do this sooner? August Burns Red continue their tradition of serving up metalcore instrumentals of some of our favorite Christmas classics, this time in the form of a John Williams cover. It’s a brutal, guitar-filled ride conjuring up memories of that creepy dude with the snow shovel outside Kevin’s house who turned out to be a pretty decent guy.

Issues – “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”

If anyone was going to cover this *NSYNC holiday classic, who better than Issues, guided by the vocal gymnastics of Tyler Carter? Carter’s smooth delivery guides glorious liberties taken with the melody. Even when Michael Bohn chimes in with some backing screams, the track still manages to feel cheerful, which is quite the feat.

The Killers – “Dirt Sledding”

Carrying on a tradition of Christmas originals, The Killers have returned with “Dirt Sledding”, a hilarious country-tinged track of a holiday song, highlighted by Brandon Flowers over-the-top vocal delivery. In need of a laugh and a smile this holiday season? The Killers have just what you need.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Review: Tyler Carter – Leave Your Love EP

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Hayley Williams. Patrick Stump. Travie McCoy. Brendan Urie. The Warped Tour scene has produced a handful of household-name vocalists over the past decade. Frontmen and women who possess the charisma and vocal chops to hold their own amongst the mainstream crowd and be recognized apart from the bands that made them famous. This sort of transition isn’t common, but it’s not impossible, either.

Tyler Carter has been on the cusp of a breakthrough of similar proportions for a few years now. Ever since his departure from Atlanta metalcore act Woe, Is Me in late 2011, Carter has been in pursuit of a pop crossover. After releasing a few solo singles, he was once again reined back into the post-hardcore circuit and reunited with former partner in crime Michael Bohn in the form of Issues.

That band has since gone on to become a scene sensation, thanks in large part to Carter’s smooth croon amidst the crushing breakdowns. His constant guest appearances on tracks by other scene contemporaries have aided in expanding his fame, but he seemingly has yet to have a big breakthrough.

Enter Leave Your Love, the new solo EP by Carter, released by Rise Records. Yes, it’s only six tracks, and no, it doesn’t include any of his past material. What this long-awaited solo endeavor does do is give Carter a chance to shine on his own stage and perhaps serve as a launching pad for Tyler Carter the brand.

Leave Your Love is a solid effort, to be sure. It’s nothing like anything you’ll hear released on Rise Records this year, and it’s certainly a departure from the heavy crunch of Issues and Woe, Is Me. Instead, you’ll be getting a whole lot of Carter’s syrupy smooth delivery across an array of relaxed R&B beats

Take opener “Sophisticated”, a groovy synth-driven track that goes down easy. Here we find Carter serenading that special lady with his signature bravado and melismatic delivery. Even when he’s singing lines like, “Pretty face, nice thighs” or “If you fancy and you know it / Got your Louis bag to show it”, you can’t help but sing along. The pleading title track adds fantastic percussion and keys to the mix, and takes a more serious thematic turn.

In fact, much of the rest of Leave Your Love follows suit, showcasing an intriguing maturity. Lead single “Georgia” feels as authentic as anything Carter has ever put out and wouldn’t sound that out of place on The 20/20 Experience. By the time he delivers the explosive line of, “By the morning light, she’ll leave” right as the chorus hits, you can feel the corner being turned. This is Tyler Carter primed for the big stage, executing the best vocal work of his career.

While “So Slow” could do without the wispy spoken word vocals that open the track, the bass filled beat makes you move, as does Carter’s sultry chorus of “When we dance so slow / By the way we dance, you’ll know”. His chopped vocal samples atop the bridge serve as an extra instrument, blending into their surroundings and contribute a unique sound that lands miles away from his metalcore offerings.

You get the feeling that with the right producers and the right co-writers, the silver-tongued Carter could hold his own amongst the Timberlakes and Ushers of the world. If you think that’s an overstatement, try to name another vocalist in this scene that can match his charisma and range. Even Jonny Craig’s past solo material has been littered with missteps and odd stylistic choices. A great voice can only get you so far.

To truly cross over, it takes a charm, a vision and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Along with his golden voice, Tyler Carter possesses a certain magnetism and ability to shapeshift that’s hard to come by. Leave Your Love may not be the release that breaks him big, but rest assured, he’s dangerously close to the tipping point and he’s only 23 years old. It’s only a matter of time.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

Tyler Carter Streams “Leave Your Love” EP

tyler_carter

Tyler Carter, vocalist of metalcore band Issues, is streaming his debut solo EP, titled Leave Your Love. The album is set to be released in early 2015 on Rise Records. You can listen to the entire EP below:

Like what you hear? You can currently preorder Leave Your Love on MerchNow.

What are your thoughts on the new EP? Let us know in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Issues Premiere “Mad At Myself” Music Video

issues

Issues have released a new music video for their song “Mad At Myself”. The track is from their self-titled debut, which released earlier this year on Rise Records. The video, a dark tale of a twisted relationship, was directed by Dillon Novak, who also directed the band’s videos for “Hooligans” and “Princeton Ave.” You can watch the video below:

If you haven’t already, you can buy Issues new album on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

10 must-see bands on this summer’s Warped Tour

Warped_14

We’re creeping closer and closer to this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, which kicks off on June 13 in Houston, Texas. As usual, the lineup is massive, likely leaving you with touch choices to make on the day of the tour as to which bands to watch. What happens when two or more bands you want to see are taking the stage at nearly the same time?

Lucky for you, we’re spotlighting ten must see bands at this year’s tour, making your selection process just a tad simpler. Take a look below to see a few of the bands we think you should watch for and let us know which bands you’re looking forward to seeing in the replies!

Anberlin

anberlin_newAs if being one of the most important emo/alt-rock bands of the past decade wasn’t already enough of a reason see Anberlin on this year’s Warped Tour, the band is calling it quits this year, meaning this may be your last chance to see them. Vocalist Stephen Christian is one of the best true performers in the scene and the band has a monstrous back catalogue with too many incredible jams to fit them all into one set. Anberlin will be releasing their final album, Lowborn, on June 23, so be sure to pick up a copy at their merch table after catching their set! – Kiel Hauck

Saves The Day

saves_the_dayRegardless of your stance on the band, Saves the Day are staples to the pop punk genre. Chris Conley’s massive and legendary arsenal of songs were designed to play loud during hot summer days. Warped Tour is the ideal venue for the band, as it’s a massive mash up of newer and old-school fans watching a band born from the influences of the early days of Warped Tour. Saves the Day are pretty stationary on stage, but with sing-a-longs as immortal as theirs, it doesn’t even matter; the crowd will do the hard work for them. – Kyle Schultz

Every Time I Die

every_time_i_dieEvery Time I Die is becoming something of a Warped staple, making their sixth trek on the tour this summer. The metalcore giants always put on an insanely entertaining show and will be dropping a new album, From Parts Unknown, later this summer. If the first song, “Thirst”, is any indication, the band is sure to be shredding the Monster Energy Stage with some thunderous new tracks. Frontman Keith Buckley is one of the best live screamers around and the rest of his band mates know how to put on a show. If you see one heavy band on this year’s tour, make sure it’s Every Time I Die. – KH

Real Friends

real_friendsThis is a pivotal year for Real Friends: Their debut album Maybe This Place Is The Same and We’re Just Changing releases in July, midway through their first full run of the tour. After playing a good portion of the tour last year, they’re returning as veterans with the same energetic performances that got them there in the first place. Real Friends provide a fork in the road for pop punk, as their melodies are harsh, beautiful and poetic, but it manages to find a way to sound like the unrefined classic punk that forged the genre. – KS

Issues

issuesIssues made their first Warped Tour appearance last year on the Kevin Says Stage. They’ve upgraded to the Journeys Stage this year and will be playing jams from their self-titled full length debut throughout the summer. The tradeoff vocals between Michael Bohn and crooner Tyler Carter, coupled with their metalcore/nu-metal hybrid make this an intriguing band to watch. Not only are they one of the fastest rising bands in the scene, they put on an extremely fun set, complete with a live DJ. Don’t let the scene police fool you – Issues have something to prove this summer and are sure to be main stage material in the very near future. – KH

One OK Rock

One OK RockRepresenting one of the few JRock bands to extensively tour the US, One OK Rock is an experiment of blended cultures and one of the few non-European bands to attempt to break into the scene. Blending the pop of Fall Out Boy with the heavy metal  chords of early Linkin Park, the bands links the sounds together with strong pop punk to keep their sound diverse, edgy and nostalgic. Though they mostly sing in Japanese, there are a few songs in English to help them attract new fans. They might seem slightly out of place amidst the young punk acts, but it’s just another battleground for a band that wants to prove themselves at every possible challenge. – KS

We Are the In Crowd

we_are_the_in_crowd_2014Hopeless Records pop punk act We Are the In Crowd will be making their third appearance on Warped Tour this summer and look primed to explode. The band’s recent sophomore release Weird Kids is a true testament to the band’s growth as songwriters. Weird Kids is an eclectic collection of songs that pack a lot of heart – many of which beg to be heard at high volume in the summer heat. Lead vocalist Tay Jardine has a knack for commanding the stage and the charisma to draw increasingly large Warped crowds. Don’t be surprised to see these guys storm the main stage very soon. – KH

Teenage Bottlerocket

Teenage_bottlerocketPerhaps one of the most ‘classic’ bands of the tour, Teenage Bottlerocket is the band that punk was made for. Their songs are fast, simple and incredibly catchy. They sound similar to The Ramones, but only because it’s the perfect formula for songwriting when all you want to do is make noise. With the heat of Warped Tour to give them energy, Teenage Bottlerocket are sure to pump the crowd into an absolute frenzy. There is no other band as straightforward as that. – KS

Secrets

secretsSan Diego post-hardcore band Secrets made a short appearance on Warped Tour last year, but will be making the full trek in 2014. On the heels of last year’s sophomore album Fragile Figures, Secrets is certainly on the rise. The back and forth vocals between Aaron Melzer and Richard Rogers put many other metalcore acts to shame, while the band’s ability to transition between heavy and light has caught the ear of many. Expect the band’s set on the Journey Stage to attract a slew of new fans and feature plenty of breakdowns and sing-a-longs. – KH

Bowling For Soup

bowling_for_soupDespite being a successful band for twenty years, you don’t hear from Bowling For Soup too often. However, they’re a band that grew up with the early players of Warped Tour and have kept on after many of their peers fell apart. With their perfect hooks and dedicated choruses that never take themselves seriously, they’ll absolutely crush the stage. BFS are a band dedicated to enjoying themselves and entertaining anyone willing to listen. As the old pros of the tour, I can’t wait to see what they have in store compared to so many younger bands still trying to make a name for themselves. – KS

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel 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.

It’s All Dead Podcast Episode: 004 – Saosin, Midtown and more!

IAD_Podcast_ImageOn the latest episode of the official It’s All Dead podcast, Kiel Hauck and Kyle Schultz chat about the recent reunion announcements of Saosin and Midtown at this year’s Skate and Surf Fest and the problem of fan entitlement. They also discuss recent releases from We Are the In Crowd, Issues and Bayside and what they’re expecting from the upcoming Chiodos album, DEVIL. Listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Issues stream new song “Sad Ghost”

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We’re only a day away from the release of Issues’ debut self-titled album on Rise Records. You can stream the opening track “Sad Ghosts” below:

Additionally, you can check out our review of the album here and you can also preorder the album on iTunes.

What are your thoughts on the tracks released so far? Is the new album meeting your expectations? Share your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck