The 17th annual Vans Warped Tour will be kicking off this weekend and the line-up for this years festivities couldn't be stronger. With so many heavy hitters and up and coming acts confirmed to play this summer, these are the 10 acts who caught our attention.
Taking Back Sunday (Playing: All dates)
If you were a teenager in the early naughties and are not 400% stoked about the fact that Taking Back Sunday are back to their original line-up…what gives, man?! With almost a decade and a half of material to chose from, the Godfathers of emo-tinted alt-rock have both the back catalog and the proficiency to pull off an entire tour of unbelievable shows without repeating the same song twice. and with John Nolan back behind the keys, you may even get a snippet of Straylight Run thrown into the mix.
Essential listening: "You're So Last Summer"
Caught somewhere between Jawbreaker and Balance and Composure, Title Fight are probably one of the most furious melodic punk bands you will ever see. They keep things short, punchy and potent, plus Jamie Rhoden's voice translates phenomenally live. If you know what's good for you, Title Fight should be at the top of your list of bands to watch out for in life, not just Warped Tour!
Essential listening: "Shed"
Dead Sara (Playing: June 16th - August 1st)
No matter what acts you end up seeing eventually, here’s one band you really don’t want to miss. Dead Sara’s members are not only rising stars, they possess a power that’s almost unrivaled in female fronted bands these days, and it carries the spirit of rock and roll along with it in a way that few artists can pull off with such success. Catch them while they’re still cheap, because these guys could be headlining next year.
Essential listening: "Weatherman"
If anyone’s a stranger to these friends of the Nightwatchman; Anti-Flag’s name would be enough to let them know how politically fueled they are. The band will be on this year's tour in support of their new album "The General Strike", which follows the Anti-Flag tradition of fusing their concerns and rages into the energy of their music. Anti-Flag are one of those bands that can be seen again and again which never let their audience down.
Essential listening: "This Is The End (For You My Friend)"
Yellowcard (Playing: All dates)
As if there wasn't any other band you wanted to watch! Yellowcard have always been everyone's summer soundtrack, with fan favorites such as "Ocean Avenue", "For You, And Your Denial" and now the recently released "Always Summer" (which is officially the anthem of summer 2012). Heroes of a scene which has been long overdue for a breath of fresh air for many years, Yellowcard make their return back to the Vans Warped Tour after an 8 year absence, teaching new dogs old tricks.
Essential listening: "Always Summer"
Transit have a similar energy to label-mates Hot Water Music and Man Overboard coupled with the gentle brightness of Saves the Day. From the straight-up fast-paced pop-punk of their earlier material to the smoother-edged indie-tinged "Listen & Forgive", everything Transit do is bursting with a dynamism and buoyancy that makes them the ideal summer festival band.
Essential listening: "Long Lost Friends"
Rise Against (Playing: July 5th-9th)
The Illinois-derived punk rockers Rise Against are no strangers to the traveling circus that is Warped Tour; and although nobody should need an excuse to come out and see them, last year’s release of "Endgame" is a pretty damn good one. The band's latest album added another rich dose of activism and heart to the energy and power of their music. With anthems such as "Ready to Fall", "Prayer of The Refugee" and "Audience of One" sure to be played, missing them this year would be a crime.
Essential listening: "Savior"
Calling all members of the B9 forum: roll up your long sleeves and create some space. Polar Bear Club and their gruff, muscular melodic hardcore from upstate New York are ready to blow everything out of the water. Pulling discernible influence (particularly in the vocals) from Thrice, their latest and most accomplished album "Clash Battle Guilt Pride" will likely make up the largest ratio of the set list. Expect fierce guitar lines, climactic choruses, and a whole lot of red-raw chanting.
Essential listening: "Killin' It"
Fireworks (Playing: All dates)
This is the moment of the festival where everyone is allowed free license to get repulsively bromantic. If pop-punk is your jam, then Fireworks are one of the finest bands to come out of the last decade and have written some of the best songs since New Found Glory left Drive Thru. Hit-the-spot harmonies, feel good lyrics, arrangements that reside constantly on the apex - they have it all. So with one arm in the air and the around Gary from high school, get ready to hit your festival peak with the chorus of "When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out The Sun" singing "rather take bad advice from my best friends"
Essential listening: "When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out The Sun"
Listen to "American Death" if you’re in doubt. Although Senses Fail may have seen enough line-up changes to give Axl Rose a run for his money, there’s no doubt that the band is still going strong. With the release of a greatest hits album coming soon, perhaps it’s an appropriate time to reflect upon this band’s history and appreciate the passion that will inevitably burst through a listener’s speakers. Turn the volume up loud and make sure to mark the New Jersey five-piece on your list of bands to watch this summer.
Essential listening: "Calling All Cars"