Warped Tour was once a showcase for punk and its various subgenres, but recent years have seen a wider spectrum, even including pop and spoken-word artists. These artists represent both classic and newer genres on this year’s ticket, so at least one of them is bound to catch your ear. Here is a guide to 10 of the 100-plus acts performing at the festival.
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1. Born Cages (Indie + Alternative)
New York City trio Born Cages combine ’80s-style synths with pure rock guitar for an upbeat experience in the same vein as The Colourist and Walk the Moon. Optimism abounds through self-described “shimmering electronics” and lyrics about the journey that is self-discovery.
Latest release: I’m Glad I’m Not Me, June 2, 2015
2. Juliet Simms – Alternative + Rock
Singer-songwriter Juliet Simms was a 2012 finalist on NBC’s The Voice, and her pipes are indeed what makes her noteworthy. The former lead vocalist of rock group Automatic Loveletter sounds like Hayley Williams of Paramore meets Joan Jett, and she has been belting out pure girl power on every track for the past decade. This is Simms’ first year on the Warped Tour as a solo artist, but she already proved she doesn’t need to share the stage.
Latest release: All Or Nothing, January 27, 2015
3. Pvris – Alternative + Pop
Alt-pop trio Pvris formed only three years ago but has already released two EPs and a full-length album, and this is their second year on Warped Tour. Lyndsey Gunnulfsen’s dreamy vocals meet haunting electronic undertones and the beat-driven melodies of guitarist Alex Babinski and bassist Brian Macdonald. The band's latest full-length White Noise is a flowing, coherent release that should translate well to the Warped Tour stage.
Latest Release: White Noise, October 4, 2015
4. Fit For a King – Metal + Hardcore
Jared Easterling and Aaron Decur founded Texas Christian metal outfit Fit For a King in 2007, but several member changes and the lack of a backing record label stalled the band until signing to Solid State Records in 2012. This is the second year these melodic metal rockers are on the Warped Tour ticket, but this year will see tracks from last October’s Slave to Nothing, an album about the fierce commitment to happiness and not being tied down by anything.
Latest release: Slave to Nothing, October 14, 2015
5. Set It Off – Rock + Pop
Tampa, Florida-based Set It Off is making their return to the Warped Tour after taking a break in 2014, and their angst-filled take on pop punk translates into bold, honest, and raw statements about sense of self. Similar acts include All Time Low, Sleeping with Sirens, and local Phoenix group Anarbor. This is Set It Off’s first month without longtime member Austin Kerr, but a replacement bassist shouldn’t significantly offset the performance.
Latest Release: Duality, 10/14/2015
6. Kosha Dillz – Hip Hop + Alternative
New Jersey/Israeli MC Rami Matan Even-Esh, better known as Kosha Dillz, is notable for his trilingual rhymes, rapping in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. His background includes participating in the New York City rap battle scene and studying creative writing at Rutgers University, and his influences stretch from hip-hop to jazz. 2013’s Awkward in a Good Way discusses the struggles of addiction and juggling cultures, but Dillz has embraced his past and is ready to share it.
Latest release: Awkward in a Good Way, November 5, 2013
7. Palisades – Dance + Rock
New Jersey rock group Palisades start with emo melodies and add ample amounts of aggressive guitar, percussion, and sometimes-harsh vocals to create a unique brand of hardcore. Extensive touring after their 2013 debut gained them experience that only traveling will bring, which shines on their sophomore release from this past January.
Latest release: Mind Games, January 9, 2015
8. Alive Like Me – Alternative + Hardcore
Quick-acting quintet Alive Like Me formed in Eugene, Oregon, in 2013 and released their first single mere months later. Last year, the group signed to Rise Records, made its debut on the Warped Tour, and released its first full-length album. They have been touring in North America and Europe and are eager to share their take on hardcore with old and new fans.
Latest release: Only Forever, October 6, 2014
9. M4SONIC – Electronic + Dance
Electronic dance music is relatively new to the Warped Tour, but ambidextrous Australian producer Nick Boundry, known by his stage name M4SONIC, is one act to watch. With a background in composition on the piano, M4SONIC operates by listening and has since created mashups and his own original songs on a Novation Launchpad. He has performed on four continents and at three major festivals—Warped Tour is his fourth.
Latest release: M4 [EP], August 19, 2014
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10. Major League – Rock + Punk
New Jersey quartet Major League is what Warped Tour is all about: the punk rock sound, the distinct angst-filled vocals, the emotional lyrics, the early 2000s skate culture aesthetic. This No Sleep Records-signed band spent last fall on tour supporting Mayday Parade, and they’re ready to prove there’s nothing wrong with them.
Latest release: There’s Nothing Wrong with Me, November 4, 2014