20 years after its creation, Vans Warped Tour is still one of the must-see summer events for fans of pop-punk and alternative rock. This year, Warped offers up a smorgasbord of stylings to satisfy any musical tastes, from R&B (Bad Rabbits) to horror rock (Motionless In White) to pure chaos (A Lot Like Birds). The tour will be coming through the area for several dates, first on July 6 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, and then again on July 11 at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden before heading north to Nikon At Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, NY on July 12. Below are just some of this year’s highlights:
A Lot Like Birds
Created after guitarist Michael Franzino called upon fellow Sacramento-based artists to collaborate on an album, A Lot Like Birds have been gaining attention over the past five years for their stage antics and melodic experimental hardcore. Not long after their debut album, Plan B, the band welcomed former Dance Gavin Dance vocalist Kurt Travis to the lineup after he was initially set to make a guest appearance on the album. The sextet has since released two more discs, Conversation Piece and No Place, the latter of which came out this past October on Equal Visions Records. The band is only participating in part of the tour, finishing up in Camden on July 11.
Air Dubai, a six-piece hip-hop act from Denver, will be taking on their inaugural Warped Tour this summer. Releasing their first LP, The Early Age, in 2008, the group has produced a slew of other studio albums and EPs since. Their latest record, BE CALM, was released in late 2013 and produced by Dwight Baker. The ensemble sets themselves apart from the rest of the hip-hop crowd by performing their live shows with a full backing band and not just programmed, electronic beats, bringing even more energy to the stage.
California-based producer Antiserum emerged onto the dubstep scene in 2008, setting himself apart from other DJs with his intense brand of electronica. The artist has collaborated with others such as 12th Planet, Virus Syndicate and Brillz, as well as teaming up with the Georgia-based artist Mayhem for the release of their first EP, Baytl Dub, on Smog Records. Though Antiserum is still rather unknown, he is definitely prone to be a force to be reckoned with, especially as he prepares to drop his debut album.
Taking their name from the feared ancient ruler Attila The Hun, Attila have developed a fanatic following for their blend of deathcore and tongue-in-cheek party rap. The members met each other during their high school years in Atlanta, and though they dropped two LPs before signing to their current label home of Artery Records, they didn’t begin to gain major attention until the release of their 2010 album, Rage. Vocalist Chris “Fronz” Fronzak is also in the process of writing and recording his first solo rap album.
Blending together an array of different genres such as R&B, indie rock and pure funk, Bad Rabbits will definitely be one of the most unique acts you will see on 2014’s Warped Tour. Forming in Boston, the members of what would become Bad Rabbits first began writing and performing together while they were in college under the name The Eclectic Collection. When that project disbanded, they chose a new name and a different direction, independently releasing three EPs, with one consisting of only covers (including songs by Deftones and Smashing Pumpkins). Their first full-length, American Love, came out in 2013.
Bayside & Anthony Raneri
This year has without a doubt been a chaotic one for Bayside. The Queens-based quartet celebrated the release of their sixth studio album, Cult (which pays tribute to their passionately devoted fanbase), in February, and followed it up with an extensive headlining spring tour alongside Four Year Strong, Daylight, and Mixtapes. In addition to performing every date with the band, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Anthony Raneri will also be playing his solo material separately throughout the tour. Raneri debuted his first solo EP, New Cathedrals, on his own label, Gumshoe Records, in 2012.
Born Of Osiris
Returning for their second year, Born Of Osiris are poised to be one of the must-see metal acts on this year’s tour. Though they have gone through a series of member and name changes in their 11 years as a band, the Chicago quartet has been able to overcome all of the challenges that they have faced. Their latest disc, Tomorrow We Die Alive, came out last August on longtime label Sumerian Records. They are set to participate in the full tour.
Echosmith, the indie pop group made up by siblings Sydney, Noah, Jamie and Graham Sierota, will be returning for their second year in a row. The four-piece, who hail from Southern California, formed in 2009, but took their time writing and recording their debut album, Talking Dreams, which was released last autumn. Now they show no signs of stopping—their follow-up EP, Acoustic Dreams, was issued just last month, taking on four tracks which were a part of the full-length and bringing them back to basics as well as adding one new song.
Every Time I Die
Buffalo-based hardcore act Every Time I Die hit the scene in the late ’90s, releasing their first EP, Burial Plot Bidding War, in 2000. They followed up their debut with 2001’s Last Night In Town, the first of the six LPs which they have released over the past 13 years. Their most recent, From Parts Unknown, dropped at the beginning of the month, and the band is set to play the new material throughout this year’s Warped. This marks their sixth time on the tour.
Falling In Reverse
Falling In Reverse are no strangers to controversy. Forming after founding member Ronnie Radke was dismissed from Escape The Fate during his stint in prison in 2008, the frontman began to write music and recruit musicians while still serving his sentence, eventually leading to the band’s first album, The Drug In Me Is You, in 2011. In 2013, the group released their sophomore disc, Fashionably Late, also on Epitaph Records. Earlier this year, Radke announced that they had begun recording their third record, as well as welcoming his childhood friend and former Escape The Fate bandmate Max Green as their new bassist.
Four Year Strong
In the 10-plus years that they’ve been a band, Four Year Strong have acquired a cult-like following thanks to their pop-punk anthems and intense live energy. Returning to Vans Warped Tour for their fourth year, the band will also be reunited with Bayside, whom they spent supporting on their Great American Cult tour this spring. Though the quartet hasn’t released any new music since 2011, they are promising to play a new track called “Tread Lightly” during their Warped Tour set.
Less Than Jake
Ska veterans Less Than Jake are set to return to Warped once again this year. The five-piece, who formed in 1992 in Florida, have become staples on the summer tour, playing eight years throughout the late ’90s and ’00s. Throughout the group’s two-decade span as a band, they have put out eight studio albums, eight EPs and a handful of live records. Their latest disc, See The Light, was released late last year on Fat Wreck Chords, which is the label of MxPx frontman and bassist Fat Mike.
Motionless In White
Hailing from the relatively small city of Scranton, PA, horror metalcore band Motionless In White are returning to Warped Tour for their seventh year. The band began gaining notoriety after releasing two EPs before being signed to Fearless Records in 2010, which soon led to the release of their label debut, Creatures. This spring, the band announced that their third full-length record, titled Reincarnate, will be finished and ready to hit shelves this upcoming fall.
Saves The Day
For only the second time in their 20-year career, New Jersey’s own Saves The Day will be taking on Warped. Forming in Princeton in 1994 under the name Sefler, the band released their first record, Can’t Slow Down, in 1998. In the early 2000s, the group experienced some mainstream success with video airtime on MTV channels and breaking through the Billboard 200 charts. The band issued their eighth studio album and self-titled record last fall, which also marks the first with new drummer Dennis Wilson.
The tour will receive a bit of theatrics this year by allowing nerd-inspired rock opera act The Protomen to make their Warped debut. Since the invention of the group in the mid-2000s, much of their music has been inspired by a dark and sinister alternate universe based around CapCom’s iconic MegaMan games. The band, which currently consists of nine members, has developed a stage show that is all their own, often performing masked, building upon their reputation for showmanship.
The Story So Far
Forming in Walnut Creek, California, in 2007, pop-punk ensemble The Story So Far have won over fans internationally thanks to their catchy hooks and honest, relatable lyrics. Before signing to Punk Noise, which has put out both of their full-lengths (2011’s Under Soil And Dirt and 2013’s What You Don’t See), the group had also released several EPs and splits with Massachusetts indie act Maker as well as hardcore band and fellow Californian group Stick To Your Guns. This summer marks their second run on Warped.