There’s no band on Warped Tour that’s more vital in an election year than Pittsburgh, PA’s Anti-Flag. With left-wing politics and lyrics that attack war and address class struggle and human rights, this band is sure to bust out a fist-pumping show, no matter if you’re Team Obama or Romney.
This Chicago punk band’s live show can be summed up by lead guitarist Zach Blair’s signature high kicks from his stack of amps—the quartet explode onstage like an atomic bomb of punk gusto. A Warped Tour must-see.
Polar Bear Club
Rochester’s PBC crafts muscular rock with alternating shades of indie, hardcore, post-hardcore and emo. The band’s world-worn but resolute attitude means they address more than your typical Warped band (whose lyrical content may not go past girls and guitars). But with Polar Bear Club, you can feel the disappointments and messy possibilities of life. Which is a huge accomplishment for a band whose name might as well have come from "Mary Poppins."
The Riverside, CA-bred rapper born Travis Tatum Mills honed his craft at home in his bedroom, producing beats on his laptop in programs such as Pro Tools and Logic. But now he’s bringing his party-time rhymes to the masses on Warped Tour. He just inked with Columbia Records, which dropped his 2011 EP 'Leaving Home,' but he’s prepping his full-length debut, so expect new tracks to be unveiled live.
Aubree Lennon for Fuse
All Time Low
Named after a lyric from a New Found Glory song, this Baltimore pop-punk quartet have been playing together since high school, so their live sets are tight and polished. They’re also working on new material while touring behind their last release, 2011’s 'Dirty Work,' and expect to drop a new album before the end of 2012. All Time Low are sure to test some of the new material on their devout Warped Tour fans.
If the only thing we knew about Pennsylvania hardcore band Title Fight was their hiring of Rival Schools/Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand member Walter Schreifels to produce their 2011 album 'Shed,' we’d co-sign them. Dude’s a punk legend. On 'Shed,' Title Fight pack 12 songs in less than 30 minutes and recall the best post-hardcore groups. This year will be their first Warped tour appearance since 2007.
Miss May I
After an enthusiastic Warped Tour debut last year, Ohio metal band Miss May I return to the festival on the heels of their recently released third album 'At Heart.' The metalcore group channel their forefathers Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall, blending searing, punishing riffs and double-time kick drums with a grounded sense of melody.
This Denver duo is one of the more unabashedly melodic rock groups you’ll encounter at Warped Tour. Combining slick electro beats fresh from the club with hooky choruses straight out of the bubblegum factory, Breathe Carolina only flirt with punk via the occasional angsty scream: For the most part, it’s synth-emo songs about seduction for these two. Fortunately, the songs are catchy enough that they get away with it.
This Detroit pop-punk band wear its Heartland on its sleeve. They deliver speedy headbangers like “I Was Born In the Dark,” but they also add a bit of pub rock to their punk palette on songs like “Arrows” and “X’s on Trees.” They're personal without being indulgent. Moral of the story: When you come from a town like Detroit, you’re able to sing confessional lyrics without sounding like you’re whining.
Courtesy of Fireworks' Facebook
Of Mice & Men
Only three years after forming, Costa Mesa, CA, metalcore quartet Of Mice & Men have quickly become Warped Tour staples, appearing on the festival’s 2010 and 2011 lineups. Why should you care about the Steinbeck-cribbing group? Two vocalists—melody man Shayley Bourget and screamer Austin Carlile (the latter the former frontman of Attack Attack!)—complement each other and provide musical counterbalance.
New Found Glory
If there’s a Warped Tour 2012 band that needs no introduction, it’s Florida pop-punk all-stars New Found Glory. They’ve headlined the Warped Tour with blink-182 and Green Day on a tour supporting ‘Sticks and Stones,’ which produced “My Friends Over You,” perhaps the song that defined their sound and that era best. It’s awesome that they’re playing Warped in 2012 – don’t miss them.
Taking Back Sunday
This legendary Long Island five-piece, who have only released two albums with their original lineup (their 2002 debut ‘Tell All Your Friends’ and their most recent album, 2011’s ‘Taking Back Sunday’), are playing Warped for the third time. Look out for live staples like the unreleased “Falling for You” and a cover of the Cure's “Just Like Heaven.”
Ten Second Epic
This Canadian alt-rock band, which started as a high school band in 2002, has spent the last decade dropping three acclaimed full-lengths and honing their hooky, shimmering alt-rock sound. They’ve played the Canadian dates on the Warped Tour before but never American shows, so scream extra loud when you see them to welcome them to the Warpedest nation on earth.
Courtesy of Ten Second Epic Myspace
We Are The In Crowd
WATIC are an Internet-era band in the truest sense (and not just because they have a song titled “This Isn’t Goodbye, It’s BRB”). The Poughkeepsie punks came to the attention of their record label attention after a hacker went into their MySpace and deleted all their music and friends. Not long after, they were signed. That’s a 21st century rags-to-riches story. Musically, this band bring a unique element to the pop-punk spectrum. Taylor Jardine, who trades lead vocals with lead guitarist Jordan Eckes, brings a country-inflected approach to her vocals that wouldn’t sound wildly out of place on a record by a different Taylor.
This Jacksonville-bred, Los Angeles-based outfit make use of an instrument not usually used in pop-punk—the violin. And they make it rock. The five-piece band return this August with 'Southern Air,' their eighth studio album. Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday and Tay Jardine from We Are The In Crowd all contribute vocals on the LP, so expect surprise guests onstage with Yellowcard this summer.
We The Kings
While you were in high school sleeping through detention and finding illicit corners to sneak cigarettes, Florida’s We the Kings were forming a band and planning on taking over Warped. The four childhood friends, who named themselves after their high school mascot, are pop enough to get Demi Lovato on their 2009 hit “We’ll Be a Dream,” but punk enough to tour with The Academy Is… and Hey Monday. After taking last year’s Warped Tour off, the band will perform in their fourth tour this year.
Every Time I Die
Sonically and lyrically, this is not a band that take prisoners. “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” -- the first track from their latest -- is a relentlessly cynical tirade and their abrasive metalcore sound hasn’t let up since their debut dropped in 2001. Drawing inspiration from Dead Kennedys as much as Pantera, this is a band you’ll want to save your energy for if you intend to mosh.
The New Jersey band’s motto sums up the band’s musical raison d'être: Defend Pop Punk. The quartet has gone through numerous lineup changes since their 2008 formation, but the now-steady (we hope) group has recorded at a prolific rate, releasing two albums and two compilations in their brief existence. How will they fare on their first Warped Tour, though?
This Queens four-piece, which got its name when the band members couldn’t think of anything else to write on a demo CD they brought to a New Found Glory show to give to the band, is playing Warped for the third time. Bandmembers Anthony Raneri and Nick Ghanbarian host an occasional podcast at Gumshoeradio.com, so listen to that for hints as to what they’ll bring to Warped Tour. And be sure to check out frontman Anthony Raneri's solo acoustic set during a separate time slot.
22-year-old Cleveland rapper MGK, who hasn’t played the Warped Tour yet, is a natural fit for the festival because of his incredible energy, his air of confrontation and the fact that he looks like a major punk. He’s done tracks with DMX and Waka Flocka Flame, and those two are the only dudes in the rap game with the type of ferocity MGK brings.