The 19th annual Warped Tour is ready to kick off, and after nearly two decades the summer-long trek continues to evolve. Boss-man Kevin Lyman is a master of adapting the lineup to reflect the tastes of young fans, making the "Punk Rock Summer Camp" less and less punk rock...but the genres represented on the tour have expanded far and wide. Warped Tour offers a up-and-coming bands the opportunity to break out in a big way, while veteran groups can reach their hardcore fans. And sweating for eight hours in a parking lot, surrounded by music, is always better than another boring summer day spent at home. So without further ado, here are the 20 must-see artists at Warped Tour 2013.
Motion City Soundtrack have been a Warped Tour staple over the past decade—this is the Minneapolis band's eighth time playing at least a portion of the summer festival. One of the most consistent bands in pop-rock, Motion City will have no problem holding their own with the younger groups on the main stage...in fact, the veterans may teach them a thing or two.
This is the Early November's first Warped appearance since 2006, and a lot has changed in those seven years. But one constant is that this band continues to write well-crafted songs. They’re still supporting their Rise Records debut, In Currents, and the mix of new and old material should grab the attention of Warped-goers of all ages.
Sleeping With Sirens might rule the Warped world this summer. Their fan base is growing exponentially, and based on early reactions to their new album Feel, their music connects on a very personal level. If they maintain that intimate relationship live on Warped, the band will continue to grow...and turn their current fans into diehard supporters.
The Wonder Years might be the most important band in pop-punk right now. This year, the Philadelphia sextet ride the momentum of three consecutive standout albums to their debut on Warped Tour’s main stage. Their latest album, The Greatest Generation, is being hailed as their best yet—but you can make that call yourself when you hear the huge hooks on "Dismantling Summer" live for the first time.
So far, 2013 has been kind to the California natives. Their new record What You Don’t See opened with big sales, showing off the band's true reach with pop-punk fans. Their seasoned live set, anchored by frontman Parker Cannon's charismatic presence, and notoriously rowdy crowds should steal the show at the Tilly's Stage. Catch 'em this year—because the next time they're out on Warped, the Story So Far will be rocking the main stage.
Surprised to see this here? Black Veil Brides are one of the most polarizing and talked-about acts on this year’s Warped lineup, but beneath the hoopla is a spectacle of a show. In 2011, the Hollywood, CA quintet dressed up every day in crazy all-black outfits and loads of makeup, a respectable sacrifice in the blazing heat on Warped. Heavy riffs and a heavy commitment to their on-stage image make BVB a sight to see.
Citizen are one the most exciting smaller acts on Warped this year. In fact, by the time Warped ends, "small" probably won't even apply anymore. Run For Cover Records is spearheading 2013's renewal of grunge, and this Ohio quintet is a key part of that movement. They’re extremely young—frontman Mat Kerekes only just turned 19—but already super talented. Check out their new album Youth to get familiar.
Craig Owens is back on Warped Tour. That’s enough to draw several hundred swoopy-haired teenagers into the heat this summer. Owens was "let go" from Chiodos for a while—long enough for the Michigan group to record an album with Brandon Bolmer (Yesterdays Rising) on lead vocals—but his return sets the stage for one of Warped's most anticipated acts. Owens’ return will undoubtedly be a triumphant one...so the real question is whether the band will debut any new material.
Doing Warped Tour two years in a row is a pretty rare, but Memphis May Fire is one of the bands that can pull it off. They’re a leading force in metalcore and the Dallas natives will draw huge crowds in their first year on the main stage. Plus, labelmates Sleeping With Sirens are on the tour too...so we should get to hear Kellin Quinn's guest spot on "Miles Away" at almost every gig.
Mixtapes’ short run on the tour will bulk up the lineup for pop-punk fans. By releasing two albums in just over a year, the Cincinnati four-piece have given themselves plenty of material to work with. The latter of those two albums, Ordinary Silence, will drop via No Sleep Records just before they join Warped.
It’s difficult to gauge how a band like the Chariot will come across on a stage like the one Warped Tour presents. Known for a chaotic, steamrolling stage presence, this is a heavy group that mainly sticks to club tours. Seeing them in a less intimate setting will certainly change the dynamic of their performance, but these guys are nothing if not talented.
This is a no-brainer. One of the biggest metalcore bands in the world, the British quintet and their much-adored frontman Oli Sykes will be a main attraction for many Warped-goers this year. Similar to how A Day to Remember and All Time Low completely commanded seas of bouncing, moshing teenagers during their headlining stints in 2011 and 2012, expect Bring Me the Horizon to dominate the main stage all summer.
It’s been a long time—a whole damn decade—since the “Summer of Screamo” kick-started Silverstein’s rise to prominence in 2003. But the Canadian quintet have fought on throughout their career, adapting to the times while releasing consistently quality (and pulverizing) records. They remain strong candidates for "Most Likely to Incite Circle Pits" all these years later, and that alone will draw huge crowds.
Here’s one of the more interesting stories of the summer. Emily’s Army is perhaps most noteworthy for their drummer, Joey Armstrong, who is the son of Green Day frontman / rock superstar Billie Joe Armstrong. There's a certain amount of pressure that comes with being *that guy’s* son, but the California band will have their sophomore album, Lost At Seventeen, out before the tour starts on Rise Records. Dad will be proud to watch his son rocking the Warped stage.
This Michigan metalcore act has built an impressive following on the strength of their first two full-length records, and that fan base will only expand with another summer on Warped. We Came As Romans is set to drop Tracing Back Roots smack in the middle of the tour, so a couple of new songs in the mix only ups the ante for their fans to catch their set.
If you’re making a list of bands to watch on Warped, there’s an unwritten rule that you have to include a ska band, right? Or at least one band with a pair of crazy sideburns? Maybe not, but Reel Big Fish are honorable Warped veterans—the California six-piece first played the tour in 1997. They bring some respectable old-school punk rock to the main stage.
Forever Came Calling put out one of the better pop-punk records of 2012 and feature a perfect formula for making an impact on Warped. Those unfamiliar with the band will be attracted by soaring hooks, and FCC should be able to use this tour as a launching point for even greater things down the road. If all goes as planned, we'll watch the small-town California natives climb the Warped Tour ladder of stages over the next few years.
He’s only on the tour for about a month, but if Charlie Simpson is playing the Acoustic Basement during your local date, he’s a must-see. The former Fightstar frontman has an impressive singer/songwriter career in the works now, highlighted by his most recent album Young Pilgrim. If you want a break from the chaos and the heat, Simpson provides a quality reason to step into the shade.
The creators of the “defend pop-punk” mantra are heading out on their second straight Warped Tour, and all signs point to it being as successful for the band as last year’s run. Man Overboard's fanbase is an outspoken one, and pop-punk defenders all over the country are hungry to hear material from the band's newest album, Heart Attack. This Warped stint will expand on the New Jersey natives' increasing popularity as the group inches toward main stage status.
This group is among the best of Pure Noise Records’ rapidly rising roster, and their recent full-length Safe for Now provided a refreshing indie-tinged breath of fresh air into the ears of many pop-punk lovers. If you were a fan of the Dangerous Summer on the 2011 Warped Tour, or think you might enjoy something along the lines of a less dynamic Brand New, it’s worth your time to hop into the Acoustic Basement to check these guys out.