Fare thee well Warped Tour, you'll be missed more than words can tell.
Late last year it was announced that Vans Warped Tour, the punk rock summer camp for the rest of us, was closing its doors after the 2018 run. Many of us grew up with Warped Tour, and owe at the very least our teenage taste in music to the fest. For those that haven't quite grown up, or are still hanging on to their emo nostalgia, the fest announced its lineup for the final run yesterday, and we've compiled a short list of which bands you absolutely can't miss. Now knowing Warped, some of the times are probably going to conflict with one another, but that's just part of the fun. So grab your studded belt, get hopped up on Red Bull, and have the time of your life at Warped for one last time.
1. The Used
The first time I heard The Used was back in 2004, right after In Love And Death
dropped and they were the MySpace anthem of every angsty teenager everywhere. My older brother had gone to Warped Tour that year (I couldn't go lest I ruined his steez), but he brought me back a sampler CD (god do you remember those?) with one of The Used's tracks on it and it was love at first listen. The band's live performances are the stuff of legends and there are stories about singer Bert McCracken screaming so hard he'd be spitting up blood. A must not miss set.
2. Harm's Way
While browsing Twitter reactions to this year's lineup announcement I noticed, like I do every year, that there's always plenty of washed up emo kids that graduated to hardcore complaining about the fact that Warped Tour never features enough heavy bands. To that I say 1. Then you don't understand who Warped Tour is marketing themselves to and 2. You've never listened to Harm's Way. One of the heaviest powerviolence/hardcore bands I've listened to, Harm's Way more than makes up for the dearth of heavy bands at this year's tour. If you need a place to vent your frustrations about Warped Tour shuttering its doors, the mosh pit during their set will be the place to do it.
3. Less Than Jake
I'm not gonna lie, I've always thought that ska was one of the corniest music genres ever created. It's like a Weird Al Yankovic parody of reggae and punk, and I'm surprised that so many people take it so seriously. With all that ska bashing said and done, I do have to admit that I've always dug Less Than Jake. Mainstays of Warped Tour and the alt-punk scene for years, they've tip-toed the line between making well-produced music and remaining self aware enough to not make it too corny.
Looking at this year's lineup there was a holy trinity of emo bands that stood out to me, and I'm very tempted to place Underoath at the very top. Their reputation precedes them, and they are undoubtedly one of the biggest influencers in the emo/punk/hardcore scenes of the last two decades. Plus, they just announced a new album and released a new single after seemingly been done for good, so why the hell would anyone pass on the chance to have one last ride with them and the Warped Tour?
The second part of my holy emo trinity, Silverstein was responsible for a lot of my angsty, psuedo-profound teenage feelings. They've been quietly chugging along the last few years, still turning out tunes that are solid, but you should definitely catch their set in hopes that they'll revisit some of their older material off of Discovering the Waterfront
and When Broken Is Easily Fixed
6. Frank Turner
Unlike most bands on this list, I only recently discovered and started getting into Frank Turner. Formerly of Million Dead, a band that wouldn't have been out of place playing the Tour over the years, Turner has branched out on his own to start a solo singer-songwriter career, and the results speak for themselves. Mixing melodic folk and modern acoustic rock, Turner revitalizes the worn-down image of what a singer-songwriter should sound and look like, and if you need some respite from the nostalgia trips and sad jams, I'd recommend checking him out.
7. Taking Back Sunday
NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. I'm almost not even sure why I'm including Taking Back Sunday on this list, because I'm pretty sure nobody plans on missing out on them. But if you're the type to think twice about seeing them, then I'm here to change your mind. The final piece of my emo trinity, there is no band more emblematic of 3rd Wave Emo or more perfect than Taking Back Sunday. Just listen to "MakeDamnSure" and tell me it doesn't take you back to being 13 and trying to figure your way out through high school and life. I pity the fool that misses their set.