It’s that time of year. The second Christmas of angsty teens across the nation is finally making its way around again. With all this excitement built up in my system, I figured I’d share it with you all and give everyone that’s going some recommendations of what to check out:
22) The Chariot - Monster Energy stage, full tour
Oh my. If you haven’t looked into this band yet, keep it that way. Go to Warped, then check them out. Your entire experience will be an unforgettable one to say the least. This band will take what you think you know about hardcore music and twist it in every way imaginable. Not to mention you get to see some of the craziest motherfuckers around going insane for a solid half hour. Win-win.
21) Goldfinger - #Domo stage, 6/15-6/23
If you’re looking for the most seasoned veterans of punk and ska music but aren’t necessarily looking to hear stuff that still belongs in the 80’s, then you’re gonna want to check these guys out. They’ve been doing ska better than everyone else for nearly 20 years now, and I don’t believe they’ve slowed down one bit.
20) We Came As Romans - Kia Soul stage, full tour
There’s a lot of metalcore out there. I get it. There’s a LOT. But believe me, buried in that sea of mediocrity are bands that really care about what they do, and it shows. Since their debut To Plant A Seed, WCAR has been doing nothing but growing, as represented by their ‘seed’ that continues to sprout more with each passing album artwork. And this is not just a statement, they’ve proven it by pushing the envelope and creating a more unique sound with each album.
19) letlive. - Monster Energy stage, full tour
I’ve seen a lot of bands in my day, but none have shown the sheer explosive energy that letlive. frontman Jason Butler has. This is the man who took a wired microphone with him as he jumped off stage and started a circle pit in the crowd. Not to mention there’s a lot of depth and quality in the music, too. letlive. have got it all, and it’s sure to be a good time if you fit them into your day.
18) Man Overboard - Tilly’s stage, full tour
Pop-punk has really exploded over the past few years, and at the forefront of that movement were “defend pop-punk” founders Man Overboard. Having created such a strong legacy, their music and stage presence really lives up to the hype. With some of the fastest and most energetic pop-punk performances you’ll ever witness, Man Overboard is a must-see.
17) Forever The Sickest Kids - Tilly’s stage, full tour
If you’re looking for some straight up fun and to break away from the seriousness and stresses of life, look no further than FTSK. This band has always been about fun poppy/dancey/punky songs that reflect on something other than lost love and why life sucks so much, and honestly, that’s what Warped Tour is all about.
16) Anarbor - #Domo stage, full tour
Just celebrating the recent release of their full length album Burnout, Anarbor is definitely gonna be looking to make a huge impact. After a not so flattering 700 first week copies sold, you can imagine the band will be looking to make up for lost ground, and they definitely have the potential to do so. They’re an apparently underrated band that write some of the catchiest and unique pop rock songs you’ll hear all day at Warped.
15) Memphis May Fire - Kia Soul stage, full tour
MMF is one of the most popular metalcore bands out there today, and for good reason. They’ve been putting out some good quality songs, even since their first EP, before Matty Mullins was in the mix. Now, they’ve taken their new lineup and built it even bigger than they could’ve imagined, and the end result is definitely something worth checking out.
14) blessthefall - Kia Soul stage, full tour
Ah, here we have yet another band that continues to grow more and more. If you listened to His Last Walk and hated it, you’re not alone. I did too. But Craig Mabbitt has been gone for a while, and honestly, I think that was for the best. I didn’t think I’d ever get back into them, but replacement singer Beau Bokan has really taken this band to a whole new level. As the rest of the band continues to grow to match this new addition, everything about the band’s sound just gets better and better, and they’re definitely gonna be worth checking out on Warped.
13) Hawthorne Heights - Tilly’s stage, full tour
This band has been around for a while. Maybe you lost track of them after If Only You Were Lonely or maybe even at The Silence in Black and White. Hell, you might’ve heard Ohio Is For Lovers once and never looked back. The thing is, this band is still good. They’ve been constantly getting better, and maybe they won’t put out songs as iconic as Saying Sorry or whatever, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth checking out anymore. Believe me, they are.
12) The Used - Kia Soul Stage, 7/5-7/17 and 7/25-7/31
We all know The Used. If you don’t like them, you still know them because their following is practically a cult. But the fact is, they’ve earned their keep. Maybe there was a slight hiccup with Artwork, but they’ve bounced back with 2012’s Vulnerable and signing to Hopeless Records. Now they’ve shown that they can still right catchy songs, heavy songs, and do it all with an uplifting message that overshadows everything they’ve done before.
11) Tonight Alive - #Domo stage, full tour
There must be something in the water in Australia, because there’s always amazing bands coming from there. Tonight Alive are no exception. This band shows off some of the most skillfulness you’ll see in female fronted pop-punk aside from maybe Paramore, not to mention the melodies are always catchy and singer Jenna McDougall has a stellar vocal range. Definitely recommended if you like fun pop-punk that splits the two genres right down the middle.
10) Motion City Soundtrack - Kia Forte stage, full tour
They may be just hanging out in the background of the pop-punk world, holding out their own little synth-themed corner of it, but don’t let that discourage you. They’re one of the best out there. It seems like they haven’t made a big mark on the scene in a while, but with a big chance for them here, I expect them to come out guns blazing throughout the entire tour.
9) Citizen - Kevin Says stage, full tour
Their brand of catchy indie punk may not be the average Warped goer’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean anything. Citizen still can and will blow all unsuspecting listeners away. Being so closely related to so many other bands on the tour, Citizen is sure to have a little something for everyone, and I expect everyone that watches to be pleasantly surprised, even the ones that are already familiar with them.
8) The Early November - #Domo stage, full tour
Being welcomed back into the music world with open arms not too long ago, The Early November is still trying to make waves and keep things interesting. With frontman Ace Enders working around the clock with his music (even performing as I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business in the Acoustic Basement for the duration of the tour), it’s hard not to have heard of this. Well whether you have or haven’t, this is still a band worth checking out. Even with a few critically acclaimed records before their hiatus, TEN has released their most dynamic and ambitious record with 2011’s In Currents, and you can expect to see extraordinary levels of growth since then.
7) Silverstein - Monster Energy stage, full tour
Allow me to introduce you to the most consistent active band in all of hardcore music. Silverstein just put out their new album this year, and it has been widely regarded as their best effort to date. After what was considered a weak point in 2011’s Rescue and a chance experimenting with 2012’s Short Songs, Silverstein finally decided to sit down and think back to what people loved about them most, then expand upon it and create something better than we’ve heard from them before. Their effort is clearly showing, and if their live performance is anything like the last record, this will be a band you don’t want to miss.
6) While She Sleeps - Monster Energy stage, full tour
While She Sleeps is the greatest band you probably haven’t heard of. Gaining most of their popularity in the UK, these metalcore masters put out This Is The Six last year, and it contains some of the most raw, yet melodic metalcore songs out there. These songs show a great balance of the two qualities, but they specialize in crushing breakdowns and mosh riffs that will definitely result in some cuts and bruises. So if you’re looking for something really heavy, check out While She Sleeps.
5) Bring Me The Horizon - Kia Forte stage, 6/17-8/4
Bring Me The Horizon has grown so much since their formation. I haven’t always been a big fan, mainly because they changed so much. They put out great death metal songs early on, but then they took a turn for metalcore around the release of There Is A Hell. It seemed disjointed, like they didn’t know what they were doing. But finally, we realize that this direction is final, and it’s where they truly belong. After a few more albums to capitalize on that realization, Sempiternal came out in 2013 and this band is sounding bigger and better than ever before. If their performance is anything like their stellar one at Warped 2010, this is going to be one of the best.
4) The Black Dahlia Murder - Monster Energy stage, full tour
Now, bear with me here. I know it seems outrageous for them to be on the tour and even more outrageous that I ranked them #4, but they’ve earned their spot. Sure, Everblack just came out and it proves the TBDM can be insanely consistent with quality, even when they bounce around the subgenres of death metal, but the real reason to check them out is the sheer shock value in wandering away from Allstar Weekend or an acoustic set from Craig Owens just to find this band melting faces and creating a circle pit big enough to send someone to the hospital.
3) Story of the Year - Tilly’s stage, 7/9-7/23
They’re back. After a little hiatus and bassist Adam Russell leaving to help Craig Owens form D.R.U.G.S. a few years ago, Story of the Year has reformed. Just in time to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their album Page Avenue. Yeah, that’s right. Right around this happy time when we walk around in the sweltering heat watching our favorite bands play a brief 30 minute set each (when we know it’s less because the best bands always play at the same time), Story of the Year is in celebration mode and probably going to play a lot of songs from one of their best albums.
2) Chiodos - Kia Forte Stage, full tour
Speaking of reformations, Chiodos has reformed yet again, bringing back beloved frontman Craig Owens and drummer Derrick Frost, restoring the lineup to almost exactly what it was in the band’s prime (commercially, that is. I still think the band’s prime was Illuminaudio era. Sorry Owens fans). This kind of stability shows that the band went through a lot of disputes and, through that, growth. Hearing Owens’ refined vocal talent on the D.R.U.G.S. record is just a small sign of how insanely solid this band is going to sound, considering everyone else in the band has to have grown a lot in that time as well. Bottom line is, this reunion is going to bring Chiodos fans of all kinds together and it’s going to probably be one of the most memorable moments you’ll relate to this band.
1) The Wonder Years - Kia Forte stage, full tour
This choice shocks me a little bit, but probably not anyone else. I haven’t heard much from TWY, mainly for the reason that I haven’t had time. I know they’re a killer pop-punk band, and after listening through The Greatest Generation, I was honestly blown away. When you listen to this band’s discography front to back, at each album you’ll be left wondering “how could this band possibly get any better?” Then you’re left feeling stupid for having doubted them because they do just that: get better. It’s honestly unlike anything I could imagine, hearing them play with the passion and heart that they do. They lyrical content is relatable and the songs are still able to be fast and fun and easy to mosh to. Basically, The Wonder Years has it all. They’ve had it all for a while, but they continue to push the envelope further than any pop-punk band ever has before. This, in addition to the high energy live performance, makes for an unreal combination sure to be one for the record books for Warped fans of all kinds.
I've been thinking about the controversy behind Kickstarter and other crowd-funding services, and I just don't get it. I think it's such a good idea and the arguments against it just don't make any sense. Sure, they can make money by working, touring, and selling merch, but touring isn't always a very lucrative option, and hey, the way I see it, Kickstarter is just like selling merch anyway. There are no "handouts" being given here, and even if there were, what's it to you if a fan wants to give their own money to a band they love if it goes strictly into a new album or van or whatever? With that being said, there is a small little problem with the execution that I wanted to talk about here (points to anyone who finds a few specific campaigns I called out).
Basically, the way I see it, Kickstarter could appeal to a lot more people if these bands did it right. A lot of them do, but a lot of them lean towards methods that are a little sketchy. One of these methods is the practice of offering a limited run of shirts, vinyl, what have you. This is just greedy the way I see it. You could easily be giving out the shirts you already printed that are cluttering up your online merch stores, the pressings of vinyl you already released, etc. If you make a special limited edition shirt and expect your fans to pay extra for it, you're taking more money than you have to from your fans and you and all of Kickstarter look worse because of it. So just don't do it.
Another problem is asking for too much money. Kickstarter is here to help give your fans an avenue to more effectively help you, more effectively than they were already. However, all they're doing is helping you. They're not doing everything for you. If you want to go all out, do the most elaborate packaging, marketing, recording, and mastering package possible, that's great, more power to you. But your fans should NOT have to cover all of that for you. If it really costs $150,000 or whatever, have your fans cover $75,000 and deal with the remainder (or at least the cut Kickstarter takes out) yourself (and please, show them EXACTLY where every cent of that huge number is going). We know you aren't completely broke and you can work to cover some of that yourself. Seriously, an enormous goal like that will make your fans think they have to go for the giant packages just to get anything (because they know that if you don't meet your goal, you don't get shit). And if you tell them this and use it as a way to get them to pledge more money, then you're just a terrible person.
It's even worse when these large goals match up with expensive packages. I mean, NO ONE would normally spend $1,250 to fucking eat pizza with someone, and you know damn well you wouldn't, so don't ask your fans to. I mean, I don't care if you offer the pledge, but keep in mind you're offering once in a lifetime opportunities, so fans ARE going to chip in more than they normally would to get them. To take advantage of that is despicable. It is their money to do whatever they want with, and I respect that, but just don't be a greedy asshole. You're not worth that much, I'm sorry.
There are a few other little, less common issues I've seen. Don't charge more for your signatures, don't limit the number of reward packages so your fans end up spending more than they want to get something you're offering, etc. Those don't make as much of a difference, but if you take a look back from a fan's perspective and use a little common sense, you should be able to realize what rewards you're offering that are a little unfair to your fans. Once you fix those, maybe people will stop bitching about Kickstarter and actually support your endeavors. Kickstarter has the potential to be universally accepted and a really effective way for all bands to fulfill their goals, but we all just have to work together a little bit to make it so.