- The Bay Area's Tiger Army will get all psychobilly on your ass.
The Vans Warped Tour, that all-day extravaganza of punkish rock, extreme sports, and alternative youth branding, turns lucky 13 this summer.
In celebration, the multistage, all-day affair has grown even larger. The band lineup alone features something like 55-plus names. And then there are all the vendors and attractions, like the Guitar Hero II tent and the Vans Skate Ramp.
So let's face it: Even if you're 16 years old with a belly full of Wired, it's impossible to see every band. You need a plan of attack.
Here are suggestions for breaking down the day's musical lineup according to theme. Our list is by no means definitive, but it's a perfect Warped 101 tutorial.
Miss these stalwarts and immediately forfeit all punk points:
Bad Religion -- Immortal Southern California punkers from the early '80s, still going strong.
Pennywise -- California skate punks with godlike status.
Throwdown -- Uncompromising straight-edge hardcore.
Tiger Army -- Bay Area punk with a hefty dose of psychobilly.
Girls Rock Too
Almost 60 bands, and only three on the Ohio bill are female-fronted? Weak, but at least the sisters got something:
Meg & Dia -- Cute siblings who sing like angels and wail like banshees.
Paramore -- Expansive but punchy pop rock.
Vincent Black Shadow -- Canadian genre-benders, with a little cabaret.
These acts defy easy classification. Now that's true punk:
blessthefall -- Irritating use of punctuation. Creative blend of hip-hop, metal, easygoing emo, and . . . Christianity.
k-os -- Former preacher's kid, turned funky, smart hip-hop MC.
Street Drum Corps -- Percussion-only band that favors makeshift instruments, Blade Runner style.
The Buckeye State-represents, from local yokels to radio superstars, spread across a number of stages:
Another Found Self -- There are touches of new wave and Cheap Trick in this Youngstown act.
Between Thieves -- It ain't a party unless Akron shows up.
Bleeding a Memory -- The Cleveland outfit's debut is titled We Whisper to Be Heard, but that's simply not true.
Hawthorne Heights -- Dayton quintet that actually beat Ne-Yo for a number one slot on the Billboard charts.
Plague the City -- How? The band hails from Bowling Green.
Sappy Bell -- Playing Warped's midwestern leg, these C-Town roughnecks will slay all the SoCal pop punkers.
This Awkward Silence -- Even Lakewood, home to the dive bar, has turned emo.
On Death and Dying
In these times, it's even a popular subject matter for band and album names:
Escape the Fate -- Las Vegas quintet that named its last album Dying Is Your Latest Fashion. See what I mean?
It Dies Today -- Almost-metal hardcore from a fellow Rust Belt burg -- the always lovely Buffalo, New York.
This year every foreign band hails from the United Kingdom or a former British colony:
Gallows -- Classic Brit punk from Watford, England. Envision a cross between the Sex Pistols and the Clash.
Parkway Drive -- Straight-up hardcore from the only Aussies on the tour.
Ska still ain't dead?
A genre that was a Warped staple in the '90s returns -- sorta:
Big D and the Kids Table -- Longtime ska punks from the Boston area. Where else?
Fabulous Rudies -- Extrapolate the sound from the name.
Pepper -- More reggae-tinged rock than ska, it's exactly what you would expect from chilled-out Hawaii.
The Toasters -- These wacky dudes wrote the book on skankin'.
Mellow Out, Dude
Picks for the aging Warped rockers -- you know, people in their '20s who like a little melody now and then.
Mayday Parade -- Melodic rock from Florida with sing-along anthems out the wazoo.
My American Heart -- San Diego quintet with sugary-sweet tunes, bro.
Circa Survive -- Proggy excursions from the former frontman of Saosin.
Evaline -- Mature, dramatic rock from fellows who look especially good in scarves.
Monsters of Rock
The common thread here -- impressive crossover success:
Coheed and Cambria -- Pretty much invented the branch of post-hardcore that delves into prog-rock.
Killswitch Engage -- Crushing metal backbone with a surprising melodic overlay.
MxPx -- Christians who flirted with major-label success several years back.
New Found Glory -- Bona fide pop punk stars.
Hawthorne Heights -- See "Ohio Bands."
Purveyors of fast, catchy songs you just can't forget:
Amber Pacific -- Tight, punk-inflected pop rock from Seattle.
All Time Low -- High-energy kids from Baltimore's suburbs, who don't take themselves too seriously.
High Court -- Funky and infectious as all hell, with a love for classic hair metal.
Watch Your Eardrums
The core of this year's lineup -- shredding guitars and vocal-cord-busting shrieks. The following are just the loudest ones. You've been warned:
Bayside -- Wimpy vocals, but thunderous, stomach-rupturing riffs. These Long Island dudes jam.
blessthefall -- See "Grab Bag."
Killswitch Engage -- See "Monsters of Rock."
Parkway Drive -- See "Quasi-British Invasion."
Throwdown -- Totally.