by Chris Conde
Since 1995 the Van’s Warped Tour has has been traveling around the country uniting scene kids, punk rockers and all those looking to let out all their angst in a circle pit with an afternoon of punk, ska, metal and hip-hop. Over the years the tour has hosted artists like Eminem back in 1999 and Katy Perry in 2008, before catapulting them into global stardom. On Saturday, July 29 the tour is headed back to SA for literally the hottest afternoon of music this summer (make sure to check out those water stations they’ve got set up!). With 64 artists and bands playing this go ‘round, we’ve selected 10 that you won’t want to miss.
Starting out as a slam poet in the Bay Area, San Francisco rapper Watsky can jump from rapid-fire flows about punching dragons to spoken word-esque raps about checking out chicks. While at first listen Watsky can come off as yet another cheesy, white, alt-rapper, a skim through his catalog will make you a believer of this quirky rhyme enthusiast.
With a population of roughly 19,000 people, the tiny town of Alice, Texas doesn’t exactly scream “metal haven." However, with their chunky breakdowns, synth melodies and driving guitars, this six-piece metalcore outfit managed to gain the attention of Victory Records and signed with the label back in 2015. If you dig bands like Unearth, or just are overall a fan of metalcore, peep these dudes.
You know we had to throw some poppy shit in here ... ok maybe we didn’t, but with catchy jams like their über anthem, “Best Day Of My Life," New York heartthrobs, American Authors just might be the break between breakdowns you’re looking for that afternoon.
Hands Like Houses
With 99.5 KISS dousing San Antonio with songs from the likes of Godsmack and Papa Roach on the regular, we’re probably good to go the rest of our lives without hearing anything else from the active rock genre. However, Australia’s Hands Like Houses manage to blend sounds that you might hear from say early Linkin Park, and synth pop group Bastille, all while throwing random hardcore breakdowns in the mix.
Blur the penis! During in an interview with Gwar vocalist, Blothar, back in 2015, FOX 29 reporter J.T. Street from was fired for not blurring out the prosthetic penises bouncing off the singer’s costume. While Street’s journalism career was cut short (he does PR now), Gwar continue to rampage through the years with their crazy monster costumes, gory on-stage antics, and metal tunes – a combo that’s made them infamous since 1984.
Warped Tour wouldn’t be Warped Tour without some ska in the mix! Amiright?! Best known for their cover of Dexys Midnight Runners 1982 hit “Come On Eileen,” Orange County’s Save Ferris are a reminder that the '90s are sort of back in full effect. With horns, pop punk rhythms and jazzy swing vocals, their set will be sure to give you flashbacks to scenes from movies like Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You.
It takes some serious skill to blend the amount of genres Candiria does into their music. Going from straightforward metalcore guitar thrashing to a jazz fusion breakdown punctuated with “ba da da”s, this Brooklyn-based outfit manages to layer their seemingly convoluted compositions in a way that is balanced, articulate and smart.
Bad Cop/ Bad Cop
Drawing comparisons to bands like No Use For A Name and Face To Face, LA’s Bad Cop/ Bad Cop, are bringing the feminist vibes to the Warped Tour party. With three-part harmonies and lyrics like “I’m a modern anarchist / a punk rock existentialist / who wants to make the whole world feminist” these ladies are clearly rocking for a cause.
Sick Of It all
If you know anything about the history of hardcore punk rock, you’ll know that Sick Of It All were major contributors shaping the sound of modern hardcore. Formed in 1986, these New Yorkers are sure to keep shit heavy and fast.