Ten Bands You Should See at This Year’s Warped Tour

Concert Preview

click to enlarge New Beat Fund - Courtesy of Red Bull Records
Courtesy of Red Bull Records
New Beat Fund
Vans Warped Tour, which was established 1995, has been giving punk fans a summer escape since its beginning. In recent years, as punk has continued to morph into different subgenres, the tour has embraced the changes and included hip-hop, dubstep and even spoken word as part of its programming. Here are some of the acts we think are worthy of seeing at this year's installment that's coming to Blossom next week.


Citizen has shown their ability to grow and mature musically with their recent album Everybody Is Going to Heaven. A drastic change from their previous release, Youth, the album finds the band is doing its best to grow. They have moved from their pop-punk roots to focus more on the punk side of things. The band brings raw emotion the band brings to each performance. (Martin Harp)

Icon For Hire

Formed in 2007, Icon for Hire quickly made its name known in the alternative and pop punk world. With a sound similar to early Paramore and Evanescence, it’s no question why they are well liked and well known. Lead singer Ariel belts out lyrics criticizing the government, society and modern life. But, as music has changed over the past few years since their start, so has Icon For Hire. On their newest self-titled album, hardcore guitar and double bass pedals are joined by electronic sounds and interesting EDM-like sounds. Nonetheless, Ariel's powerful vocals and the heavy instrumentals distinguish the group. (Hannah Wintucky)

Knuckle Puck

Knuckle Puck was most recently featured on the Punk Goes Pop 6, covering “Chocolate” by the 1975. While the band is just now releasing its debut album, it isn't a newcomer. They have had numerous EP's and formed back in 2011. Starting to catch fire and gain a following, Knuckle Puck is an up-and-coming act. (Harp)

Mod Sun

Mod Sun (which stands for “Movement on dreams, Stand under none”) offers a 2:1 mix of hip-hip and rock as the group delivers songs about being happy, smoking grass, dating girls and, most importantly, living the life of hippie. Mod Sun's debut,   Look Up, came out earlier this year; it features tracks with G-Eazy, Jody Highroller (Riff-Raff), MGK and Travis Barker. The songs on his album range from those of psychedelic nature, to up-beat “hippy-hop,” to alternative-meets-rap songs. But, his persona is what sets Mod Sun apart from the rest of the rap world. His long hair, positive messages in his music, and overall happy and carefree nature make him truly unique. His music is danceable, fun and catchy. (Wintucky)

Neck Deep

With their second studio album, Life's Not Out to Get You, set to release in August, pop-punk band Neck Deep has plenty to look forward to. The first single off of the album, “Cant' Kick Up The Roots,” was met with great praise by the band's fans. The band is sure to give a peak at their new album, along with the things fan know and love. With their catchy up-beat style, Neck Deep's songs is sure to be stuck in your head well after their performance. (Harp)

New Beat Fund

When this SoCal group played at Warped Tour a couple of years back, the band, which sounds like a cool cross between Beck and Weezer, didn’t seem to mind that only a handful of fans showed up to hear it perform. The group still put on a helluva show. Its new album Sponge Fingerz, makes extensive use of electronic samples and beefy bass riffs as songs such as “Any Day” and “Halloween Birthdaze” have a funky, Red Hot Chili Peppers-inspired feel to them. Expect the guys draw a bigger crowd when they play Blossom this time around. (Jeff Niesel)


Taking the music scene by storm, PVRIS shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. The band released its debut album, White Noise, back in November to critical acclaim. This alternative rock band has been the talk of the scene, and you'd be a fool to miss out on this band's performance. There's a good reason the band has been so hot as of late, Lynn Gunn's vocals are so clean and catchy, it's hard to get the songs out of your head after hearing them. (Harp)

Riff Raff

Also known as Jody Highroller, this guy may be one of the craziest, most eccentric rappers to ever enter the music industry. Riff Raff’s music is full of hard, bass heavy, dirty beats and odd, sometimes confusing lyrics. But, every one of his concerts is a huge party. With an affinity for neon colors, big chains, cornrows, and grillz, the rapper himself is a sight to see. His most popular hit “Dolce & Gabbana,” is a fast paced, heavy-hitting anthem about rich girls he dates and is sure to start a large rap-induced mosh pit. While his songs may not be the cleverest or well thought out, his beats are fantastic and his stage presence alone is worth the price of admission.  (Wintucky)


Hailing from Boston, Transit is a band that's seen its fair share of tours. The band formed in 2006 and has four studio albums under its belt. Transforming from their emo style into a more pop-punk hybrid of the two, Transit has great versatility. (Harp)

The Wonder Years

A perfect definition of pop punk, the Wonder Years was formed in 2005 and has provided fans with beautifully engineered songs for the past decade. Frontman Dan Campbell’s voice resonates over the perfect mix of drums, bass, and guitar to create the perfect pop punk. No whiny voices here or simple guitar; heart and soul are put into their music. Their most recent album, The Greatest Generation, features songs like “There, There,” a tune that beautifully transforms from a slow song into something almost alternative, and “Passing Through the Screen Door," a very pop punk song with lots of screaming. One of the better pop punk bands in the industry now, they are a must see and are sure to have a head-banging, moshing crowd. (Wintucky)

Vans Warped Tour Presented by Journeys, noon, Thursday, July 23, Blossom Music Center, 1148 West Steels Corners Rd., 330-920-8040. Tickets: $48.50, livenation.com.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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