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Thursday, July 7, 2016

14 Bands to See at This Year's Warped Tour

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 9:05 AM

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To the casual concert-goer, the Vans Warped Tour can seem like a sensory overload. Seven different stages, way too many bands to keep track of — and really, who has enough time on their hands to figure out which ones are even worth seeing? Well fear not, casual concert-goer, because we’ve got you covered. We’ve studied the schedule for the tour’s July 20 stop at Blossom, and handpicked 14 acts that we think are the worthiest of your attention. Don’t forget to mosh responsibly, folks.

Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!

While their nonsensical name and obvious foreignness may leave a bit of an odd first impression, French pop punkers Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! put on what may be the most fun live experience out of any band you’ll see all day at this year’s Warped. Constant guitar chugging, sugary hooks, and (of course) a lot of jumping up and down in unison will make their set a bit of a cheese-fest, but even the most jaded punk purist can admit they certainly know how to work a crowd. Song titles like “Haters Gonna Hate” and “In Friends We Trust” indicate that this isn’t a band that takes itself completely seriously, and in order to enjoy them to the fullest extent, you shouldn’t either. No one is too cool to enjoy a good breakdown every once in awhile. (Shively)


Not only is coldrain the only Japanese band on the 2016 Warped lineup, but the tour also marks the bad’s first-ever trip to the United States. Not that stateside audiences won’t know who they are, though: The band has gained a massive following in its home country over the years with their unique blend of metal and post-hardcore, and have been releasing music internationally since 2014. It doesn’t hurt that the band’s past two records, VENA and The Revelation, were distributed in the U.S. by Hopeless Records, a label with plenty of Warped cred. Expect them to be the big surprise of the day, winning over new fans with their extensive talent and experience during their cushy time slot between major draws Chelsea Grin and Cruel Hand. (Shively)

Crown the Empire

Formed in 2010, Crown The Empire is one of the leading bands in the post-hardcore scene. Routinely praised by Alternative Press for having a unique sound and style, the band is no doubt noteworthy and worthwhile to see at Warped Tour. By blending classic guitar riffs with unique synths and vocals, Crown The Empire unleashes a cascading waterfall of loud, energizing sound one minute while juxtaposing it with a more melodic, toned and stripped down sound. This seamless blend of style is tricky to perfect, but Crown the Empire routinely proves that it has mastered this art. (Immerman)


Lexington, Kentucky-based post-hardcore four piece Emarosa are embarking on its third Warped Tour this year, which surrounds the recent release of the new record 131. The band's style accentuates the mellower aspects of the genre — unlike many similar bands, Emarosa doesn’t feature a screaming vocalist — and takes sonic cues from peers like Dance Gavin Dance and Chiodos. What they lack in aggression, however, they make up for in progressive and powerful song structure that’s sure to captivate the crowd from start to finish. Recent singles “Cloud 9” and “Helpless” showcase the band’s ability to weave poppier vocal melodies with prog rock-oriented guitar. (Shively)

Every Time I Die

On paper, the term “Southern-fried metalcore” doesn’t seem like it’d produce anything objectively good — but then again, Every Time I Die is a band of action, not promise. This summer marks their seventh time playing Warped, and they certainly live up to their level of experience with a live show that pulls zero punches. Combining blistering riffage with a pedal-to-the-metal rhythm section, each of their seven full-length records is worth its weight in aggression and energy. This, of course, all translates well to a live setting, but the real highlight here though is frontman Keith Buckley and his dynamic vocal range. Catch him later in the day on the Monster Energy stage as his twangy yell-singing on fan favorites “Wanderlust” and “Decayin’ With the Boys” descends into a full bodied scream when the band breaks into “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” or “Floater.” (Shively)

Falling in Reverse

Known for its monstrous on-stage presence, Falling in Reverse is hard to ignore. Led by the boisterous, outspoken Ronnie Radke, Falling in Reverse blends post-hard core, punk, glam metal and rap in its statement-making songs like “The Drug in Me is You,” “I’m Not a Vampire” and “Good Girls Bad Guys,” all of which showcase Radke’s innate songwriting ability, his ferocious vocal range and the band’s unique style. Guitar chords breathe fire into the already scorching vocals that Radke provides, making Falling in Reverse a band not to be missed; Radke’s entertaining persona is something worth seeing as well. (Immerman) 

Four Year Strong

From the fast tempos and moshable breakdowns to the positive, feel good lyrical themes (the most recognizable song even has the words “Eternal Summer” in the title), Four Year Strong is a band that seems literally built for Warped Tour. They’ve made a name for themselves in the pop punk circuit penning anthems like “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die” and “Find My Way Back,” their music equal parts sing-along camaraderie and circle pit-inducing aggression. Find them on the mainstage as the day winds down, encouraging what will surely be one of the most energetic crowds of the afternoon to “Show us what you’ve fucking got!” as their guitars all chug in unison. (Shively)

Good Charlotte

With high profile acts such as Sum 41, New Found Glory and Reel Big Fish on the bill, this year’s Warped will be just as much about taking a trip down memory lane for some as it is about seeing bands that are currently at the top of their game. Recently-reunited D.C. pop punkers Good Charlotte are a solid addition to that star studded list, and will be bringing nostalgic hits like “The Anthem,” “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” and “Little Things” to the main stage all summer long. Twin brothers/frontmen Benji and Joel Madden, now in their late thirties, still know how to work a crowd — bringing out the long-forgotten high school angst in some of the tour’s older attendees, which will at the very least be entertaining to watch. (Shively)

New Found Glory

If everyone’s supposed to grow out of pop punk eventually, it’s clear that New Found Glory never got the memo. Their nearly two-decade career is littered with influential records, massive tours, and a relentless drive to keep creating the music they love. As their peers of the early 2000s scene have slowly dropped off one by one, NFG will play its sixth Warped this year, a feat that in itself shows just how passionate the guys are about what they do even as some members near their forties. Expect to see members of other bands watch the band perform as most of the bands on Warped this year are young enough to have grown up listening to influential albums like Sticks and Stones and Catalyst. Still not sold on their importance? Observe the crowd’s reaction as the group launches into “My Friends Over You” or “Hit Or Miss.” There’s a reason why they’ve been around for this long. (Shively)

Real Friends

Pop-punk at its finest, Real Friends are one of the most unusual pop-punk bands churning out music today. With honest and relatable lyrics at the forefront of their music, their instrumentalization equally matches their lyrics in terms of uniqueness. For the lyrics to jump out and remain at the center stage in all of their songs, Real Friends have mastered the ability to create music that never overpowers the vocals; the guitar, bass and drums all serve their purpose and no doubt have their own stand-out moments, but the gritty, raw vocals that set Real Friends apart from other pop-punk bands of today. (Immerman) 

Reel Big Fish

“When are they gonna put ska bands back on Warped Tour?” was a question often heard from the mouths of punk rock purists over the past few years. This year, they finally got their wish. Ska superstars Reel Big Fish are playing their first Warped since 2013, bringing copious amounts of brass and an attitude that still feels like it hasn’t aged since 1999 in tow. They haven’t released any new material since 2012’s Candy Coated Fury, so expect them to litter their set with classics like “Beer,” “She Has A Girlfriend Now,” and, of course, “Sell Out.” Skankin’ it up with your buds to some rad tunes in the summer heat — what could be better? (Shively)

Set It Off

For those of us who like to take the less post-hardcore path, Set It Off is a Warped Tour band not to be missed. Formed in 2008, Set It Off has rapidly rose to prominence in the alternative world with its unique spin on the classic pop-punk sound we know all too well. Lead vocalist Cody Carson takes his vocals to new heights with every note that he hits while the frequent use of the trumpet provides an unusual background for Carson’s vocals. Jams like “Why Worry,” “Partners in Crime” and “Kill the Lights” are all exemplary songs that will undoubtedly get you hooked on Set It Off if you aren’t already a fan. (Immerman)

Sleeping with Sirens

Making girls swoon since 2009, Sleeping with Sirens is a five-piece rock, post-hardcore band led by charismatic vocalist Kellin Quinn. Though the music as a whole is great, the highlight of Sleeping with Sirens is no doubt Quinn. Known for the versatility of his tenor vocal range, it’s easy to get swept up in his mesmerizing performance. One minute, his voice is piercingly high, to the point that you momentarily think a female pop vocalist is crooning before you, but then in the blink of an eye Quinn will just as easily emit deep notes. His unreal vocal performance is not to be missed, so be prepared to make a stop at Warped Tour for Sleeping with Sirens. (Immerman)

Sum 41

Most popular in the early 2000s, Sum 41 makes it impossible to create a 2000s playlist without including some of their classics like “In Too Deep,” “Still Waiting” and “With Me.” Between their Green Day-esque rock undertones and '70s punk edge, Sum 41 continues to churn out some of the best music in the pop-punk, punk-rock world, as demonstrated by their headlining performance at the 2015 Alternative Press Music Awards. You won't want to miss a chance to witness one of the hallmark bands of the 2000s perform live. (Immerman)

Vans Warped Tour, 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, Blossom Music Center, 1148 West Steels Corners, Cuyahoga Falls, 330-920-8040. Tickets: $51.50,

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