While not yet veterans, these bands are far from newbies and have spent a summer or two honing their skills on the tour and becoming some of this year’s must-see acts.
Warped TourCity: Cincinnati, OH
Venue: Riverbend Music Center
Yesterday, PopMatters took time out to give our due to a few of the revered bands making a return to this year’s Warped Tour. Today we’re showing love to some of the bands that are currently coming into their own and making a splash in the scene. While not yet veterans, these bands are far from newbies and have spent a summer or two honing their skills on the tour and becoming some of this year’s must-see acts. Whether you’re into pop-punk, metalcore, electronic rock, or post-hardcore, there’s a little something for everyone on this year’s Warped Tour.
Mayday Parade got their first taste of Warped Tour in 2005, not as performers, but as a newly formed band following the tour across the country and selling their debut EP Tales Told by Dead Friends to those standing in line outside of the venues. By 2007, the band was officially on the tour, celebrating the release of their classic full length A Lesson in Romantics. In only a few years, the band has become a scene staple, especially after last year’s self titled album helped them avenge the demons of 2009’s Anywhere but Here. Lead singer Derek Sanders plays to the crowd as well as anyone on the tour, whether he’s singing well known tracks like “Jamie All Over” or newer cuts like “Oh Well, Oh Well” and “No Heroes Allowed”. With a continually growing fan base and an increasingly impressive live performance, Mayday Parade is as ready as anyone for the main stage.
The first time that Phoenix, Arizona, metalcore act blessthefall took the stage at Warped Tour was in 2007, when then-lead singer Craig Mabbitt was months away from leaving the group to take the reigns of Escape the Fate. Now two full-length albums into their stint with front man Beau Bokan, the band has matured into one of the more appealing and talented heavy bands in the scene. Lead guitarist Eric Lambert absolutely shreds his way through tracks from last year’s Awakening while Matt Traynor has become one of the most respected and talented drummers on the tour. While Bokan may not hit every note pitch-perfect, his throw-caution-to-the-wind stage presence is just one of many things that set this band apart and has caught the eyes and ears of many a Warped Tour passerby.
All Time Low
It was somewhat fitting that All Time Low took the stage directly after Yellowcard at this year’s stop in Cincinnati. The Baltimore, MD, pop-punk powerhouse developed a bond with Yellowcard in the past year while taking them on a tour across the UK and United States. That relationship was undoubtedly important during the band’s major label fallout last year and subsequent resigning with Hopeless Records earlier this summer (the same label as Yellowcard). All Time Low may be a product of the greats that came before them, but they are undeniably talented, catchy, and just punk enough to carry the Warped Tour Torch. Whether it be the raunchy and hilarious stage banter between guitarist/singer Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat or the band’s whirlwind of a set list consisting of summer anthems like “Weightless” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In”, All Time Low have become the poster boys for this current Warped Tour generation.
Of Mice & Men
When Of Mice & Men took their first trek on Warped Tour in the summer of 2010, lead vocalist Austin Carlisle couldn’t take part in the tour with the band he helped create. Months earlier, Carlisle had been relieved of his duties in the band, being replaced by former Sky Eats Airplane screamer Jerry Roush. It wouldn’t be long before order was restored and Carlisle rejoined the band as they headed out for Warped Tour 2011. This year, in the wake of their pummeling new album The Flood, the band is taking the main stage by storm. Quite possibly the loudest band of the day, Of Mice & Men are able to turn the Riverbend Music Center’s amphitheater into a storm of bodies not-so-carefully moshing their way around the built-in seats. While the band still has some work to do to fully set themselves apart from the rest of the metalcore pack, they’re well on their way with an excellent live performance to build off of.
It’s true -- Breathe Carolina is one of several reasons that Warped Tour purists bristle at the lineups and culture that surround the event in its current state. Their brand of electronic rock has gone through a number of changes over the course of three albums, currently taking on a more pop oriented sound, playing a role in the band’s recent signing with Columbia Records. However, I was told by more than one band backstage that they’re happy to see Breathe Carolina take off and they’ve been a welcome addition to this year’s tour. Certainly, the band has improved in nearly every way since their first trek in 2009. Now, when David Schmitt and Kyle Even take the main stage, they perform with a sense of purpose and charisma that had been lacking in the past. It appears that Breathe Carolina believes that they belong on this tour, which is just the kind of confidence it takes to succeed here.
Pierce the Veil
There’s no longer any excuse to not take notice to San Diego, California experimental post-hardcore act, Pierce the Veil. The band, who has felt on the brink of a breakout for the past few years, has used their first stint on the main stage to their full advantage, putting on one of the more passionate and captivating performances of this summer’s tour. Having just released their new, eclectic album Collide with the Sky, Pierce the Veil seems ready to be listed among the best bands in the scene. Vic Fuente’s signature vocals sound better than they ever have, while his brother Mike’s work on the drums has had a significant impact on the band’s shifting sound. During the band’s Cincinnati performance, Vic could be found jumping off the stage into the crowd, shouting through a megaphone, and rolling about on the stage, making for one hell of a performance.
Other must see acts: Fireworks, Title Fight, The Ghost Inside, We Are the In Crowd, Memphis May Fire, Polar Bear Club, You Me at Six, Senses Fail, Bayside.