Over the years, the Vans Warped Tour has fascinatingly evolved to include a widely diverse collection of alternative rock acts. What was once simply a showcase for metal and punk now features rap, electronica, folk and bands in several other genres.
This year's Warped Tour may be the most varied ever; so navigating through a festival that features over a hundred acts can be a challenge. Here are 10 acts that are well worth your while as your sweat off a few pounds traversing the vast confines of Gexa Energy Pavilion this Friday.1. Chiodos
- This six-piece from Michigan has been giving new meaning to the post-hardcore subgenre for over a decade. Original singer Craig Owens returned to the band in 2012 and Chiodos' fourth album is due by year's end. With Owens solidly back in the fold, Chiodos is easily one of the best bands on this bill.2. Crown the Empire
- Dallas' own post-hardcore six-piece has only been together a couple of years, but Andrew Velasquez and crew are already hitting their stride. If you dig Attack, Attack or Pierce the Veil, you will surely dig the glorious noise of Crown of Empire.3. Itch
- "How to Fucking Rule at Life" is one of the best hip-hop singles to come out of the UK in a long while. Itch claims he is "a rap game GG Allin" and he's not that far off. Angry and impassioned, his set is not to be missed.4. Hawthorne Heights
- Hailing out of Ohio, Hawthorne Heights are a case study on how to rebound from adversary. Rhythm guitarist (and unclean vocalist) Casey Calvert died in 2007, but the band shouldered on and eventually recordedFragile Future
. The recently issued Zero could well be the best thing Hawthorne Heights has done.5. Alvarez Kings
- Playing progressive pop, Yorkshire's Alvarez Kings are another great act from the UK turning heads at this year's Warped Tour. The sound of these Kings is a pleasant mix of punk energy and rock-steady beats.6. Oh, Sleeper
- Cowtown's best contribution to the Christian Metal scene, Oh, Sleeper also happens to rock with a vengeance. Featuring bone-crushing riffs and throat shredding vocals, this is definitely a band for the Old Testament.7. Poor Young Things
- Every Warped Tour needs a band of geeks and Toronto's Poor Young Things certainly qualifies. Playing a hook-laden pop/punk, these guys offer a restraint and clarity missing from most acts you'll stumble across on this tour.8. The Black Dahlia Murder
- about as heavy as any band you'll find on this particular day, Michigan's Black Dahlia Murder has been eroding ear drums since 2000. The band's most recent effort,Everblack
, is a furious monster of an album that overcomes the banality of its Spinal Tap inspired title.9. Kairo Kingdom
- German trance/glitch hop/dubstep doesn't get much more intriguing than the relatively new Kairo Kingdom. This Teutonic duo are best when they keep things as uncluttered as possible. Check out the band's wonderfulFantom
EP for the evidence.10. Charlie Simpson
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- currently going solo from the British alternative rock band Fightstar, Charlie Simpson is one of those overly earnest singer-songwriters who manage to get it right. Sure he looks real pretty, but there are some seriously dark undercurrents to some of Simpson's best songs.
Other acts worth some of your time: Motion City Soundtrack, Juliet Simms, Memphis May Fire, Bowling for Soup, Forever the Sickest Kids, Mixtapes, Goldhouse, Defeater, The Story So Far, Never Shout Never, Man Overboard, Middle Finger Salute and Big D and the Kids Table.