Warped Tour Guide

Get the lowdown on the lineup for the 13th edition of punk's ultimate package tour.

The Bay Area's Tiger Army will get all psychobilly on your ass.
The Bay Area's Tiger Army will get all psychobilly on your ass.
The Vans Warped Tour, that all-day extravaganza of punkish rock, extreme sports, and alternative youth branding, turns lucky 13 this summer.

In celebration, the multistage, all-day affair has grown even larger. The band lineup alone features something like 55-plus names. And then there are all the vendors and attractions, like the Guitar Hero II tent and the Vans Skate Ramp.

So let's face it: Even if you're 16 years old with a belly full of Wired, it's impossible to see every band. You need a plan of attack.

Here are suggestions for breaking down the day's musical lineup according to theme. Our list is by no means definitive, but it's a perfect Warped 101 tutorial.

The Classics

Miss these stalwarts and immediately forfeit all punk points:

Bad Religion -- Immortal Southern California punkers from the early '80s, still going strong.
Pennywise -- California skate punks with godlike status.
Throwdown -- Uncompromising straight-edge hardcore.
Tiger Army -- Bay Area punk with a hefty dose of psychobilly.

Girls Rock Too

Almost 60 bands, and only three on the Ohio bill are female-fronted? Weak, but at least the sisters got something:

Meg & Dia -- Cute siblings who sing like angels and wail like banshees.
Paramore -- Expansive but punchy pop rock.
Vincent Black Shadow -- Canadian genre-benders, with a little cabaret.

Grab Bag

These acts defy easy classification. Now that's true punk:

blessthefall -- Irritating use of punctuation. Creative blend of hip-hop, metal, easygoing emo, and . . . Christianity.
k-os -- Former preacher's kid, turned funky, smart hip-hop MC.
Street Drum Corps -- Percussion-only band that favors makeshift instruments, Blade Runner style.

Ohio Bands

The Buckeye State-represents, from local yokels to radio superstars, spread across a number of stages:

Another Found Self -- There are touches of new wave and Cheap Trick in this Youngstown act.
Between Thieves -- It ain't a party unless Akron shows up.
Bleeding a Memory -- The Cleveland outfit's debut is titled We Whisper to Be Heard, but that's simply not true.
Hawthorne Heights -- Dayton quintet that actually beat Ne-Yo for a number one slot on the Billboard charts.
Plague the City -- How? The band hails from Bowling Green.
Sappy Bell -- Playing Warped's midwestern leg, these C-Town roughnecks will slay all the SoCal pop punkers.
This Awkward Silence -- Even Lakewood, home to the dive bar, has turned emo.

On Death and Dying

In these times, it's even a popular subject matter for band and album names:

Escape the Fate -- Las Vegas quintet that named its last album Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. See what I mean?
It Dies Today -- Almost-metal hardcore from a fellow Rust Belt burg -- the always lovely Buffalo, New York.

Quasi-British Invasion

This year every foreign band hails from the United Kingdom or a former British colony:

Gallows -- Classic Brit punk from Watford, England. Envision a cross between the Sex Pistols and the Clash.
Parkway Drive -- Straight-up hardcore from the only Aussies on the tour.

Ska still ain't dead?

A genre that was a Warped staple in the '90s returns -- sorta:

Big D and the Kids Table -- Longtime ska punks from the Boston area. Where else?
Fabulous Rudies -- Extrapolate the sound from the name.
Pepper -- More reggae-tinged rock than ska, it's exactly what you would expect from chilled-out Hawaii.
The Toasters -- These wacky dudes wrote the book on skankin'.

Mellow Out, Dude

Picks for the aging Warped rockers -- you know, people in their '20s who like a little melody now and then.

Mayday Parade -- Melodic rock from Florida with sing-along anthems out the wazoo.
My American Heart -- San Diego quintet with sugary-sweet tunes, bro.
Circa Survive -- Proggy excursions from the former frontman of Saosin.
Evaline -- Mature, dramatic rock from fellows who look especially good in scarves.

Monsters of Rock

The common thread here -- impressive crossover success:

Coheed and Cambria -- Pretty much invented the branch of post-hardcore that delves into prog-rock.
Killswitch Engage -- Crushing metal backbone with a surprising melodic overlay.
MxPx -- Christians who flirted with major-label success several years back.
New Found Glory -- Bona fide pop punk stars.
Hawthorne Heights -- See "Ohio Bands."

Pop Rocks

Purveyors of fast, catchy songs you just can't forget:

Amber Pacific -- Tight, punk-inflected pop rock from Seattle.
All Time Low -- High-energy kids from Baltimore's suburbs, who don't take themselves too seriously.
High Court -- Funky and infectious as all hell, with a love for classic hair metal.

Watch Your Eardrums

The core of this year's lineup -- shredding guitars and vocal-cord-busting shrieks. The following are just the loudest ones. You've been warned:

Bayside -- Wimpy vocals, but thunderous, stomach-rupturing riffs. These Long Island dudes jam.
blessthefall -- See "Grab Bag."
Killswitch Engage -- See "Monsters of Rock."
Parkway Drive -- See "Quasi-British Invasion."
Throwdown -- Totally.