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Punk Picks: 10 Bands You Gotta See at this Year's Warped Tour


Now in its 19th year, Warped Tour still serves as a great way for punk fans to see some of their favorite bands in one fell swoop. Nine stages will be set up at Blossom, with the music starting at noon and carrying on until 9 p.m. And expect to see a slew of vendors hawking everything from band merch to magazines and skateboards. We've provided a rundown of some of the musical highlights.

Beebs And Her Money Makers

With her fishnets and brightly colored stripes, lead singer Beebs looks like a circus act and has a mind-blowingly soulful and energetic voice that's so low sometimes it's hard to recognize it's that of a woman. The group combines elements of funk, jazz, soul and ska in a circus act of costumes and high energy marching on stage. Its 2013 release No Sleep Tonight has well-produced horn parts and opens up the songs to more soloing and improvisation than previous albums. In fact, the entire album seems to be more influenced by jazz this time around, by scrapping some of the straightforward hip-hop beats for more complex rhythms. (William Hoffman)

Big Chocolate

As Warped Tour has evolved over the years, more and more electronic acts have found their way into the festival grounds. One of the heaviest and most entertaining groups of this genre is Big Chocolate, a guy who mixes dubstep and metal-inspired drums. He gained momentum as the vocalist for death-metal group Burning the Masses and Disfiguring the Goddess and now has a reputation as a highly skilled EDM artist. (Hoffman)

The Black Dahlia Murder

It's almost never enough to simply categorize a metal band as "metal" anymore. In the case of the Black Dahlia Murder, the quintet has been placed in all kinds of categories, from metalcore — a fusion of extreme metal and hardcore punk — to melodic death metal, a subgenre that supplements its modern sound with influences from late-'70s metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Whatever the masses decide to consider the band, Black Dahlia has made a name for itself in the metal world since its formation in 2000. (Jacob DeSmit)

Five Knives

This Nashville band hasn't been around for long — it made its debut last year at a secret basement party. A cross between M.I.A. and Nine Inch Nails, the band plays what can loosely be called electro. Frontwoman Anna Worstell is a real screamer who follows in the tradition of Sleigh Bells and Crystal Castles. The group's new EP, The Rising, opens with the surprisingly poppy "All Fall Down," a jittery anthem that sets the bar high for the forthcoming full length, which the group has been busy recording. (Jeff Niesel)

For the Foxes

Anyone who enjoyed the early 2000s alternative punk movement will enjoy this fresh new band. Just four years in, this four-piece is combining modern techniques of electronic indie pop with the teenage punk rebellion of the Millennials. The group's 2012 EP The Revolution was mediocre at best but with the release of two new singles this year the band is really embracing an electronic rock style that appeals to a larger audience. "A Son of a Gun (We Have Fun)" sounds like Nate Ruess of Fun. singing on a Fitz and the Tantrums track — a lethal combination. (Hoffman)

Hawthorne Heights

The simple fact that these guys hail from Dayton is reason enough to get behind them. And it helps that they're actually a pretty good band. They had a hit nearly 10 years ago with the breathy emo anthem "Ohio is for Lovers." Their latest album, Zero, is a much darker affair. A dystopian concept album, it opens with the wispy "Skeletons Remain (Transmission 1)" and then segues into more typical screamo/emo territory with the rousing "Darkside" and the speedy "Spark." Even if the concept doesn't entirely hit the mark, it's an ambitious effort that deserves kudos for taking on something more esoteric than a bitter breakup. (Niesel)

I Can Make A Mess

It's a curious decision that I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business mastermind Arthur Enders would cut off the "Like Nobody's Business" end of the band's name after returning from hiatus. It may not necessarily mean anything, but one has to wonder if it signifies a change in the acoustic-driven solo act's approach. Enders — originally of emo quintet the Early November — has been known to craft a tasteful blend of soft styles across most of Mess' catalogue. The first release, this year's Enola, under the simplified name is no different. (DeSmit)

Motion City Soundtrack

Formed in 1997, Motion City Soundtrack is one of the veteran acts on this year's tour. The guys have released five albums to date and some of them sold pretty well (but when the group started, downloading wasn't as rampant as it is today). Their sound falls on the pop side of the pop-punk spectrum and their most recent album, 2011's Go, pretty much drops the punk part of the equation altogether. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Speedy power-pop tunes such as "Circuits and Wires" and "Son of a Gun" are radio friendly numbers that would blend it with the latest tunes from Train or the Foo Fighters. (Niesel)

Juliet Simms

Juliet Simms got her big break on the reality TV show The Voice by placing second on the 2012 season. She blew everyone away on the blind audition with a raspy, soulful rendition of "Oh Darling" that sounded more like Janis Joplin than the Beatles. "Wild Child" is her first single, and it shows a lot of potential for this beautiful singer. Along with other unreleased songs, you can probably expect a number of cover songs she sang on The Voice including "Roxanne" and "Free Bird." (Hoffman)

Story of the Year

Story of the Year reached commercial acclaim way back in September 2003 with their debut album, Page Avenue. But as the critics and MTV turned their backs on the band — honestly, what true artist hasn't MTV turned its back on? — the alt-rock quintet had an army of devoted pre-teen followers that were too in love with songs like "Anthem of Our Dying Days" and "Until the Day I Die" to let the band, well, die, until 2010. The band has come out of its three-year hiatus for a 10th anniversary tour of the album that will include a stop at the Cleveland Warped Tour. While the aforementioned army of fans may be adults now, lead singer Dan Marsala's angsty delivery could transport anyone back to their most confused, hormone-riddled days. (DeSmit)

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