Oh, it's that time of year again. It's the time for all those sweaty punk and metal (and whatever bizarre blend of either) bands to descend on Fair Park under the banner of the Vans Warped Tour. This go-around features a lot of variety and many new(er) bands that should offer the dehydrated masses some excellent music and mosh pits.
Whether Warped Tour is an occasion you look forward to every year or something you scorn, there are plenty of reasons to brave the sun at Gexa Enegy Pavilion this Sunday. Here's our list of the 10 bands we think you should search out as you traverse the wild and wonderful world of Vans Warped.
Acidic There is always room for some stupid and fun hard rock on the Warped Tour and California's Acidic are glad to provide it. Fronted by the gleefully demented Michael Gossard, Acidic play silly music with serious energy.
Beartooth Formed by Caleb Shomo from Attack Attack!, Beartooth are a surprisingly straightforward hardcore punk outfit from Ohio. In the studio, Shomo plays all the instruments, but for touring, he recruits several sidemen to flesh out his, ahem, warped vision. Beartooth's impressive debut album, Disgusting, hit the streets this week.
Front Porch Step Warped Tour always has a few acoustic acts along for the ride and this year one of the best is Jake Mcelfresh. Performing under the moniker Front Porch Step, Mcelfesh writes some catchy, emotional songs and sings them with the appropriate intensity.
I Fight Dragons Hailing out of Chicago, this fascinating four-piece combines pop/rock with something called chiptune, a synthesized electronic music made from the sound chips of vintage computers and video games. Sure, it's fairly cheesy, but the sweaty and sometimes angry masses could stand some lighthearted fare.
Issues Although the band has only been together a couple of years, Atlanta's Issues sound like well-seasoned metalcore pros. Fronted by former Woe, is Me vocalist Tyler Carter, Issues is a raging beast of a band that has even covered Justin Bieber ("Boyfriend") and emerged unscathed.
Young Statues Another relatively young band, Philadelphia's Young Statues play a more structured pop/rock than most bands at Warped. In doing so, they will certainly stick out. But vocalist Carmen Cirignano writes some damn catchy songs that dare one not to hum along.
The Ghost Inside Named after a really good Chinese horror movie, The Ghost Inside are a top-notch, melodic hardcore band hailing out of Los Angeles. These guys have been doing their thing for a decade and 2012's Get What You Give may be the band's signature statement.
Terror Also from Los Angeles, Terror are as intense of a hardcore band as you can find on this tour. Playing extreme punk with all amps turned up to 11, Terror easily live up to their name. And vocalist Scott Vogel embodies everything great about an obnoxious punk frontman.
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Cursed Sails Featuring former members of Woe, is Me and Issues, Atlanta's Cursed Sails are practically a punk/metal supergroup. The band's debut, Rotten Society, came out last month and it's a heaving and heavy collection of nightmares such as "Thunderbird" and "Dead Daze."
Elder Brother A side project from Kevin Geyer of the Story So Far and Dan Rose of Daybreaker, Elder Brother make sweet, almost soulful rock that is about as far from punk and metal as any band on this tour. And that's what makes it essential to catch this duo on this version of Warped.
VANS WARPED TOUR takes place at 11 a.m., Sunday, June 15, at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 1818 1st Ave., 214 421-1111 or gexaenergypavilion.net, $49