Four Year Strong
Despite the departure of keyboardist Josh Lyford that resulted in Four Year Strong's newest album packing decidedly less oomph than previous LPs, their live performances are still incredibly energetic and exciting. Guitarists Dan O'Connor and Alan Day --who share lead vocal duties -- churn out upbeat riffage that fluctuates from pop-punk to hardcore. And, most importantly, Four Year Strong's epic beardedness remains intact.
New Found Glory
Many aspects of the music scene have changed since New Found Glory made their Warped Tour debut in 2001. However, the 15-year veterans of the pop-punk scene are still coming back for more. From their raw self-titled album (2000) to the introspective "Radiosurgery" (2011), New Found Glory have matured well while maintaining their defining moxie.
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Taking Back Sunday
Although Taking Back Sunday have undergone several lineup and sonic changes over the years, their most recent LP is notable because the personnel is exactly the same as it was during their debut album -- allowing for some mingling of the old and the new, from the raw "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)," to the anthemic "MakeDamnSure."
I Fight Dragons
The underdogs shine brightly when it comes to chiptune band I Fight Dragons, who take inspiration from classic video game sound effects and integrate them into music. Their résumé includes a catchy rendition of “I Fight Ganon” (the theme music from “The Legend of Zelda”) and a signature hit song, “The Geeks Will Inherit the Earth.”
The Ghost Inside
The Ghost Inside play meaningful metal. With the emergence of other heavy hitters in the hardcore genre — including Parkway Drive, We Came as Romans and Of Mice & Men (who are also on Warped Tour) — fans seem to have embraced bands that can throw down brutal breakdowns just as well as they can incorporate meaningful lyrics into their guttural vocals. The Ghost Inside are no exception.
Cherri Bomb have opened for Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins — impressive feats for any band. The catch? No member of this all-girl band is old enough to vote (vocalist Miranda Miller, the oldest, is 16 and bassist Rena Lovelis, the youngest, is only 14). After cutting their teeth on the European festival circuit, Cherri Bomb bring their hard rock style stateside.
Koji, whose real name is Andrew Shiraki, plays an acoustic set at this year’s Warped Tour. However, the Harrisburg, Pa., singer/
songwriter’s gentle guitar strokes are only one aspect of his life — Koji is also the founder of Colormake, an organization that encourages artists to use music to raise awareness for political activism.
Once upon a time, Derek Smith (now known as Mod Sun) was a more typical performer on Warped Tour when he was the drummer of Scary Kids Scaring Kids. His genre now is best described as sunny, stoner hip-hop. Mod Sun is the type of niche artist Warped has embraced as it has expanded from its punk roots. Mod Sun’s ridiculously catchy single, “Happy as F—” may seem like an outdated nod to hippie culture, but Warped Tour could benefit from some happy vibes to cheer up the sullen scene kids.
English folk band Skinny Lister make their Warped Tour debut this year. The five-piece band, notable for not having a drummer, use a male-female vocalist combination between Dan Heptinstall and Lorna Thomas, resulting in a warm sound reminiscent of the style of the Head and the Heart. However, Skinny Lister’s eclectic style also ventures into sounds like Celtic punk bands Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys.