The Vans Warped Tour has been uniting the punk/alternative scene since 1995 and to celebrate the tour's final cross-country run, I've compiled a list of the 10 bands you can't miss on the tour's final stops.
Before I (stage) dive right into the list of bands to see this year, I want to clarify that this list only includes bands who are playing the full tour. Bands who are huge in the scene like Sum 41, Asking Alexandria, Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, etc., have not been included due to the fact that they are only playing a show or two.
Now that we got that little disclaimer out of the way, let's talk about the 10 bands playing all summer long that should make your Warped list.
1. Motionless In White
These Warped natives are one of the few bands on this list that have made several appearances on the Warped lineup throughout the years, and it's only fitting that these guys are hitting the road for the tour's final run. Motionless In White's aggressive, synth-infused, brand of metalcore is one of the finest in the scene today. Throw in their one-of-a-kind stage presence and their impressive catalogue of songs from all four studio albums, will leave you walking away from their set in total awe.
This band is probably the scene's best kept secret (and this author's favorite band on the list.) While they are still fairly new to the scene, having been formed in 2015, these guys are truly ones to look out for when going to the show. Their sound is a little complicated to pin down, as they've got emotional lyrics that are fused with a pop-punk/rock/post hardcore vibe, they can fit in with any of the band's they're playing with which makes these California natives the perfect addition to the tour's final run.
3. Don Broco
If you're wanting a break from all the pop punk and metalcore acts you'll find at most of the stages at this year's Warped, you may want to check out Don Broco. Their funky rock mixed with a little pop sound is something that's completely different to what any of the band's on the current lineup (and maybe even the alternative scene) are doing. If their wild music videos have any indication of just how impressive this band's creativity and presence are, you'll be in for one crazy ride through the entirety of their set.
4. Every Time I Die
This couldn't be considered a Warped Tour list without the band of Warped Tour. These guys have had a long history with the tour and it would only make since that they would be hitting the road on its last cross-country run. The metalcore act is known for their high-energy and intense live shows so if you're a long time fan or just seeing them for the first time in passing, Every Time I Die will for sure leave their mark.
5. Real Friends
Real Friends are one of the biggest pop-punk bands in the scene, and for good reason. Between their energetic live shows mixed with their catchy and often introspective lyrics, this band knows what the perfect recipe is for a spectacular live show. Add in the fact that they've dropped two new songs (that they'll for sure be playing during their set) and you'll for sure be leaving the Journeys Right Foot stage with a sore throat from all the lyric screaming you'll be doing.
6. Chelsea Grin
This year's Warped is going to be an interesting one for Chelsea Grin. With lineup changes plaguing the band, including the departure of frontman Alex Koehler and two of the three guitarists, the band was forced to undergo some pretty heavy changes that includes former Lorna Shore vocalist Tom Barber fronting the band. These guys are probably one of the heaviest on the lineup, so I'll be sure to see ya' in the pit.
7. The Maine
The Maine are no strangers to the Vans Warped Tour, having played their first tour all the way back in 2008. Since then, the band has played the tour five times, so much like Motionless In White, it's no surprise they are joining the tour for it's final year. The Arizona natives have an alternative pop/rock sound that goes wonderfully with their "give it all" stage presence.
What's more? The band dropped an amazing album in 2017, Lovely Little Lonely, and according to the band's drummer Pat Kirch, Warped will be the last of the LLL era, so if you love the tracks off of the album, you might want to consider checking out their set.
Grayscale is still a relatively new band, but don't let that deter you from checking these guys out. The Philadelphia natives have perfected blending their angst-ridden lyric with a pop infused alternative rock sound that makes it seem as though these guys are seasoned veterans.
9. Wage War
Wage War has been on the rise in the scene for quite some time, and Warped is the perfect place to showcase their raw sound. The band already has two full-length albums and I'm sure they'll be playing some of their heaviest, mosh-ridden, tracks during the tour's final run. Get your elbows ready because this band is definitely going to have an intense and rowdy crowd of concertgoers at their stage.
10. Knuckle Puck
Knuckle Puck is undeniably one of the biggest pop-punk bands in the scene. With the recent release of their sophomore album, Shapeshifter (2017), the band has matured a great deal in not only their sound, but lyrics as well. The Chicago punks will most likely play a few songs from their entire catalogue, so new and old fans will be able to enjoy their upbeat brand of pop-punk all summer long.
Ah, we've made it to the bottom of the list, did you agree with my picks?
The final Vans Warped tour is happening right now! For a full list of cities and to see what bands are playing the full tour/select dates, you can go here.
Photo by: Beth Casteel